This was a tough one for me, especially after the past few weeks I have had. When you hear breakout, you think prison or shackles right? Well, there are three different kinds of prison; physical prison (jail), spiritual prison (witchcraft and demonic possession) and the last one which I call the Eve/self-prison (me, myself and I). This sort of prison is one that keeps you locked in the world’s way of thinking (ancestral traditions, cultures, laws that satisfy our hidden thoughts and desires), keeps you from God’s best, it doesn’t challenge you to be better, there is no humility, no service to one another and it breeds self-recognition. This message was inspired by a sermon I heard on forgiveness and it got me thinking in a different way.
The Spirit spoke to my heart that a well-rounded Christian is not one who can quote scriptures or perform miracles but one who goes through various trials, learns and emerges victorious. Satan is very persistent and just when you think you got it or you have arrived, he throws a different curve ball at you. The lesson here is to never get comfortable that you know the word because you will fall hard (1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall”). The word of God is vast and fresh revelation is given no matter how many times you read a particular verse or chapter.
I have been fighting against Satan’s attacks in the form of illness, witchcraft and dreams. Now I am thinking I have got it down, spiritual warfare here I come and then he changes his attacks. Funny enough, before the attacks started I prayed like David “Lord please search my heart, reveal anything that is not pleasing to you and bring it out so that I may grow”. For an entire week, I continuously received condemnations about my calling, my failures, how I was not doing enough and standing out in society after all the studies. I was so devastated because this came from people in my close circle. I became spiritually drained, weak and I held onto that offence because I forgot that I was not fighting flesh and blood but wicked spirits in high places (Ephesians 6:12 ). I forgot that the enemy is master strategist and his intent is to get you to hate yourself, hate God and turn you into and angry and bitter person. Carrying anger and bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills your offender. Most times people hurt you because they do not love themselves, or they are genuinely not sensitive people. One thing you cannot do is expect perfection from anyone, especially from those close to you. I don’t know if I am speaking to someone today.
I spoke to my sister in-law about the anger I carried, and she spoke the word to my heart but somewhere I was still hardened (Proverbs 28:14; Daniel 5:20; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 2:5). Then the Lord spoke to my heart “Do not get too comfortable in this world my child. When you exercise at the gym, your muscles start to build. However, you will meet a plateau and development stops. So if you don’t push past that plateau to a new level, you will remain stagnant”. Then it hit me, break out Chichi, break out of the norm and start doing and living uncommon. Satan exists to move us to a new level through trials but Christ came to show us how to live life in the supernatural/uncommon way. The most important attribute to have in order to live a supernatural life is Love. This love is not like any ordinary kind of love but love that resonates in anyone who has Christ. Naturally we will all make mistakes but the gift of God’s grace is to get up and keep trying, Amen.
No matter how deep into the word of God you are, if you have no love in you, you have nothing. This love is one that teaches you to go the extra mile for people. The preacher showed me what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:41 when he says “if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles”. The Roman law was absolute and anyone in authority could compel you to carry their luggage for a mile and that was it. So now imagine what would happen if you go an extra mile. It scares the enemy when a child of God does the extraordinary. The person you are angry at has no clue and they are carrying on with life. In that moment, you have lost the battle because you chose to fight the mortal instead of the demon behind the offence. Once the demon brings you to a state of bitterness, he has entrance to different areas of your life. Please look for the documentary called The Lazarus Phenomenon.
Offence cuts deep because it is a spiritual slander that flows from the lips of men. When someone offends you, instead of hurting them back, react with kindness and forgiveness. In that moment, you have taken back the power or control they had over you through offence. One thing most preachers of grace remind me is that he who is forgiven much, loves more. Christ forgave me for all the things I did and will still do, so why do I keep resentment in my heart (Psalm 66:18 “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear me).
I cannot even begin to imagine the love Jesus showed by dying on the cross. Each time I get angry or allow bitterness in my heart, I can feel him reminding me of his wounds. The Old Testament days were hard times to live in because God did not take stubbornness lightly. Now we take God for granted by hardening our hearts and not listening to what he tells because we think we know it all. The life and chances given to us over and over is because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The Agape love that Jesus talks about is one that teaches you to pray for those who mistreat you, walk the extra mile for someone, let the bitterness and pain go (Proverbs 25:22; Matthew 5:44).
Know who you are in Christ and do not let anyone steal your joy. In my entire life, no one has hurt me like my Dad did. By God’s special grace I declared forgiveness every single day till it became real to me. I went from bitterness to pity because this is not just about me or how he treated me, I became more interested in bringing him to Jesus. Friends, forgiveness is never wasted, it feels good to hold onto that anger but all you are doing is tainting your soul and giving it to the devil for free.
I am not saying stand there and let people do what they want to you because there is a limit to what even I can take. However, the lesson here is to choose your words wisely because anger solves nothing. Show tolerance and allow people to be who they are without passing judgement on them. Over time by the special grace of God, my husband has learnt to never respond in anger when we have arguments. He takes time to weigh everything he says, and believe me when those words hit me, instead of remaining offended, I find myself being thankful to God. This world is bigger than you and I because in the midst of bitterness, arguments and offence, we don’t know who is watching or listening. It could be your child whom God has placed in your hands to nurture or it could be a co-worker who is looking up to you to guide them to Christ.
Ephesians 4:29-32 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. Jesus has called us to season our words with salt (Colossians 4:6). This man of grace knows that salt is used for flavor, food preservation, odor elimination, cleaning wounds from bodies and stains from materials. When someone offends you and your words are seasoned with salt (full of forgiveness, kindness, and tolerance), you show God’s grace and this in turn preserves, cleans and brings a change of heart in the offender. The next time you are faced with the spirit of offence, I urge you to take a step back and commit to breaking out of the normal. May the Lord bless these words in Jesus name.