Speaking Beyond the Person to the Source

Do you have someone that you’re often around who has the uncanny ability to push your buttons? You know the buttons I’m referring to, the ones that create emotional responses in you that instantly steal the peace and calm you’re currently enjoying. This person seems to possess the uncanny skill of finding the perfect words and/or actions capable of changing the way you’re feeling within a breath. Suddenly, your mind is creating thoughts you know are quickly rising from the former way of thinking and feeling you’re working so hard to conquer. You’re working hard and long using intentional habits to fill your mind with the building blocks of the new you the Bible speaks of when you know Christ and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. We accomplish this through a consistent pattern of making time for sincere prayer and stillness, listening in your heart to hear from the Holy Spirit. It’s so important to set aside dedicated time as frequently as possible for reading our Bible, daily devotions, good books, and watching or listening to content that reminds us of who we truly are in Christ Jesus.

It’s amazing how quickly this shift can occur, isn’t it? It’s also amazing how much it can consume your inner dialog and the time it can rob from the day, and primarily, your effectiveness of being the new you that enjoys the peace, joy, praise, and living your testimony of God’s Grace.

We do our very best to capture this “disturbance in the force” within us (a Star Wars pun) and prevent any negative outward display that we full well know feeds the purpose of the efforts of the other person. In doing so, we hope to rob them of their expected response and show the solidity of our identity in Christ we diligently strive for.

But sometimes the negative reaction just happens, and we act from that old nature within us before we can take the time to be still and consult the Holy Spirit within us, seeking His guidance.

We live with a gravitational pull toward the old ways of our old nature. But we daily fight for freedom! We intentionally daily guard our hearts and say no to that which will impede or strip our freedom while saying yes to all that is available in Christ and from Christ that will secure and advance our freedom in Him.

I want to show you a few scriptures I’ve recently come across that provide examples from prominent men of God in scripture we should strive to imitate and understand something of critical importance, which they did in their moments of confrontation.

I found the first in Acts 16:16-18 where the Apostle Paul is the recipient and a demonically possessed slave woman is the button pusher.

Acts 16:16–18 (NASB 2020)
16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave woman who had a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing great profit to her masters by fortune-telling.
17 She followed Paul and us and cried out repeatedly, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you a way of salvation.”
18 Now she continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and he turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

I admire that while the voice and actions intended to thwart Paul’s mission was coming from a person; he saw the situation differently than those around him. You can bet that others present experienced the annoying efforts of this slave woman and their focus was on her. But Paul saw deeper! Let it be made clear: Paul was very annoyed, but his annoyance did not overrule his discernment. Paul saw the actual source of the disturbance, being a demonic effort through the slave woman who was not only a slave to men, but to demonic forces working their own diabolical plans through her. Paul addressed the true and deeper source of what was truly annoying him when he spoke directly to the demons and demanded their departure from this lady.

Another great example is from our Lord Himself. The disturbance was from none other than a disciple whom He deeply loved and knew would later become an apostle whose bravery and passion for the growth of the Kingdom of God will be known by all generations to come.

Matthew 16:21–23 (NASB 2020) – Jesus Foretells His Death
21 From that time Jesus began to point out to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem and to suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised up on the third day.
22 And yet Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.

Jesus knew the source was not Peter himself. Peter had the best of intentions at heart and mind in the moment and felt he was sincere and right in what he was saying. While what he said vocally was wrong, it came from the passion of a right heart in love with his master and from a very protective heart for Jesus.

Jesus, of course, knew that and did not rebuke Peter, but the deeper influencing source that Peter could not recognize was using his love and passion for Jesus in trickery. We see Jesus speaking directly to the actual source being Satan himself.

What do I take away from all the above?

How many times have I failed to see deeper than I perhaps could have had I just taken a pause and go to the Lord in quick and short prayer asking for divine guidance prior to allowing my mind and heart to process the experience from my own best efforts? While I may truly use the best judgement I have within me, I can still fall short given the strong gravitational pull of my natural man. Through a habitual effort of committing to a stop, pause, and sincerely asking direction of the Holy Spirit within me, I have the best chance of a much more effective outcome in my response  towards whatever, whoever, has just pushed my offended button. And in that moment, my response can make a significant difference, having a lasting positive impact, growth in my discipleship, and the opportunity to show the life changing Love and Grace of God. Or not! Although unintentional in the moment, being just like Peter acting and speaking what felt right within, but in doing so I may deny the effectiveness that could have taken place if I’d just paused and sought the Holy Spirit, but in my haste, didn’t.

Lord I sincerely pray asking with all my heart to learn from what Your Spirit has made possible to recognize and learn from in this moment through these powerful examples in Your Word of the importance of the stop, pause, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me, responding that which best represents You in and through me. Dear Lord, help me see the true culprit and offender. I ask You to help me see the person before me in Your Love and Grace, and see through to the actual source and speak and react accordingly to the enemy that is using the person to be loved to get to me.”

Learning and applying this in our everyday life towards those that can push our buttons can make a world of difference in our relationships and our effectiveness in those relationships in showing the Love and Grace of God rather than allowing the enemy the win of a response that can bring damage.

I leave you with this scripture and a quote to ponder.

Proverbs 4:23 (NASB 2020) – Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

“Never let the problem to be solved become more important than the person to be loved!”

Love you brothers and appreciate the life many of you speak into me when I so need it!

Blane Sheffield