In-law problems ∙
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. – John 8:44
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,
2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?
One evening a young lady brought home her fiancé to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother told her father to go and learn more about the young man. So they went for a walk, and the father started quizzing him.
“So what do you do?” the father asked.
“I am a Torah scholar,” he replied.
The father, obviously impressed with the answer, continued, “Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?”
“I will study, and God will provide for us,” he answered.
“Now, how do you plan to buy my daughter a beautiful engagement ring?” The father asked.
“I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man replies, “God will provide for us.”
“Hmm…and how do you plan to take care of your children?”
“Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” answered the young man.
Each time the father asked a new question, the young man expressed his confidence in God’s provision.
At bedtime, when the mother inquired about the conversation, the father responded, “Well, he has no job and no plans, but he thinks I am a god and that I will take care of all of his needs.” (https://www.laughsend.com/jokes/god_will_provide.php)
Since the Fall, human beings have been subject to the subtle and overt influences of the enemy. Anyone can be manipulated – some more than others, particularly in moments of weakness, such as physical or emotional distress.
It is sensible, if not sagacious, to choose wisely those to whom we are closest. This is particularly true regarding marriage, which is intended to be a lifelong mutual commitment of fidelity and support. Seek the Father and ask for wisdom and guidance.
Many of us marry for love without consideration of the overall family we marry into. We should ask ourselves; what kind of people are our potential in-laws. What are their values and priorities? Will this lead to potential difficulties down the road?
The Lord Jesus Christ makes a somewhat subtle yet obvious observation. There are only two family lines on planet Earth: those who have the Father, the eternal King of glory, as their Father, and those who have the devil as their father.
If you marry a person who is not a child of the King, you are setting yourself up for problems with your in-laws, particularly your father-in-law.
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
There seems to be a strong family resemblance between the values and actions of one’s father and oneself. Consciously or unconsciously, we tend to act out the desires of our father. This realization should be taken into consideration when entering into marriage. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ should be taken as more than advice; they should become a stern warning!
REFLECT & PRAY
Anyone can have a bad day. But only the Chicago White Sox had a bad century.
Father sometimes, I feel so inadequate to make wise decisions. My life is marked by so many errors in judgment and mistakes. Please help me depend upon You more and more for direction and guidance.
The wiles and coaxing of the enemy are not limited to those who are not the Father’s children. Every child of the King can be tempted and succumb to his schemes.
Acts 5:3 Peter said, Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit and kept back some of the price of the land?
The enemy strongly influenced the decisions of Ananias and Sophia, which led to their own destruction. He planned and encouraged their actions, “filling” their hearts.
This can happen to any of us at any time. Perhaps this is what Paul had in mind when he spoke of “the flaming darts” of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
The enemy is a force for evil and devastation in our lives. He is constantly seeking a foothold, an opportunity, a launching point to wreak havoc in our hearts and minds. One obvious gateway is negative emotions.
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
The Greek word often translated as foothold, place, or opportunity is topos. Topos literally refers to a specific or defined area, a geographical place, or a location. When topos is used figuratively, it connotes a favorable circumstance for accomplishing something, a chance, an opportunity.
Thus, the thought can be translated as “do not give the Devil a chance to tempt you” or “do not give the Devil any time in which he can try to make you sin” (UBS). Negative emotions not dealt with and which remain unchecked open wide the gate of our hearts to the influence of our enemy. As a result, he may even dominate our lives.
For children of the King, spiritual warfare involves a struggle of their minds and hearts. “Through uncontrolled anger, Satan is able to gain a foothold . . .. But anger may not be the only means the devil can use to achieve his own wicked ends” (O’Brien).
In the immediate context of Ephesians 4:25-31, other deprecated behaviors are listed: lying (25), stealing (28), bitterness, rage, harsh words, slander, and unwholesome talk (29). The temptation to do any of these . . . is presumably the occasion of a spiritual battle which the devil can exploit to his own advantage. Believers need to withstand every temptation so that the influence of the evil one may be resisted. For Paul, there can be no middle ground or nominal Christianity.
Spiritual warfare involves a struggle within the hearts of the children of the King. “Through uncontrolled anger, Satan is able to gain a foothold . . .. But anger may not be the only means the devil can use to achieve his own wicked ends” (O’Brien).
The English word translated as devil comes from the Greek term diabolos which means accuser or slanderer. That is who he is, and that is what he does.
The Father has provided us with the shield of faith. To protect us and those we love. It is prudent to use it promptly and frequently. The longer we wait, the greater the foothold and opportunity we provide the enemy.
Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.
1 John 3:8 When people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
© Dr. H 2022