Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Satan's Attack on Ministry Families

I am writing this post with a heavy, concerned heart for all of those who are in the ministry. Within the past six months I have heard stories of at least three ministry families whose family has been torn apart as the result of attacks by Satan on the wife/mother of the family. This concerns me greatly and has caused me to pray and try to put some understanding to what is occurring in many ministry families. This concerns me for not only the families who have been destroyed or at best seriously wounded, but also for the ministries that these families were a part of. In all three of these cases the husband was in some kind of full-time ministry. And while I do not personally know these families, my husband is friends with the husband. I do not know all of the circumstances surrounding these families but what I do know is that in all three cases the wife has decided that she no longer wants to be married to a minister. I am married to a minister and consider myself an important part of his ministry. I consider it my calling in life to be a helpmate to my husband and to be instrumental in helping him be as effective as he can be a minister. I am by no means perfect and have at times found myself feeling very unworthy of this calling. However, I consider it a great honor and priviledge to serve with him. Our roles in the ministry are different, his role is more focused on interacting with people, preaching, counseling, comforting families, being the face of the ministry while my role is to be the caretaker at home and take care of the needs of my family. While I am also involved in several different ministries at our church, my primary calling is to be a godly mother and wife and to make sure our family is taken care of. I believe this is where a lot of the conflict occurs. From what I have been able to understand many of the wives feel as though their husbands spend too much time doing ministry. I do have to interject here that being a minister's wife is not easy. There are often many expectations put on you by people outside of the family and yes there are many times that your husband is suddenly called away for some kind of ministry need. Just like people tend to put ministers on a pedestal so the wife and children are often put in a "glass box." People tend to look at the wife and children of the minister with high expectations, like we are to be super human and make no mistakes. This is simply false and often leads to much frustration for the wife because we are looked to as the ones who are the care takers of the home and children. Yes it is my responsibility to be the caretaker of my home and children, but is not your responsibility to be the judge of how well I am performing. As a result of my God-given responsibility to my family and the world-given view of my family and how it is managed there can be a great source of stress for the wife and when you add a husband who is often away doing his God-given responsibility then there is where I believe Satan has an opening to push his way into the heart of the wife and cause much destruction to the ministry family. Unfortunately we live in a society that is focused on self. We are told to do what is right for you and do not worry about what other people say. As women we are told that we have certain rights and needs, and that if those needs are not met then we are being deprived. On a side note, I believe that the women's rights movement did more for destroying the family and the values of this country than any other tool of Satan. If Satan can get us as women to believe that we deserve certain things, then he can get an inroad in to our hearts and ultimately our families. We have been taught that we deserve to have time for ourselves, we deserve to have a fairy tale romance, we deserve to have everything this world has to offer us. The problem with this is that one, this world is controlled by Satan and the things of this world are corrupt and destructive. Secondly, if we deserve anything it is death and eternity in hell. I do not mean to be harsh hear (ok, maybe I do) but in reality the only thing any of us deserve male or female is death. Follow me here, we are born into sin. We are all sinners. God is loving, yes, but He is also just and righteous. And because He is just and righteous he cannot be in the presence of sin. Therefore, in our sinful nature (which we are born into) we can not by any means stand in the presence of God. But praise God He has provided away for us to stand before Him blameless and that is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Only through the cleansing blood of Jesus can we stand before God blameless. This truth is only the result of God Himself. We can and have not done anything to earn it. It is only because of God's mercy and grace do we have the ability to believe in Jesus' death and resurrection and therefore have our sins removed from His sight. So, if you want to talk about what any of us deserve then the only conclusion one can come to is that we deserve death and eternity separated from God. So, if you want to understand why I serve Him it is because Jesus did for me what I could not do myself. I owe him a debt I could never repay. Satan has caused us to believe in the lie that we deserve certain rights and privileges as humans. If he can get us to focus on what we want or think we need, then he has taken our focus away from God and what His desire is for our lives. When the Psalmist says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart," he is not referring to any type of fleshly desire. He is talking about the desires that come out of an intimate walk with God. The desires that come from God alone and not from our own desires of the flesh which only lead to destruction. These are just a few of the Scripture that speaks about our desires: Mark 4:19; Ephesians 2:3; 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 2:12. Galations 5:24 says "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." WE ARE NOT TO GIVE IN OR LET OUR OWN DESIRES CONTROL US. Satan is a liar and a deceiver, he will make what is not of God look pleasant and right. John 8:44 says "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. 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." We must make it our mission as children of God to be aware of the lies of our enemy Satan. He seeks to destroy us. Those of us who are directly involved in ministry are particularly vulnerable to Satan's attacks. If Satan can get into the head and heart of the wives that our needs or desires are not being met, then he has he can cause us to focus on ourselves and not God. My husband should not be the one who meets my needs. If I am looking to him to be the one to meet my need and desires then my needs and desires are worldly focused. How dare I put him in the position to be the one who meets my needs or desires. He is a sinful human being just like me and if I set him up to be the source of my strength and my provider of my needs, then I am setting him up for failure. God is the only one and should be the only one who meets my needs and desires. When the source of my strength is God and the source of my provision is God and when the source of my desires are from God, then this frees my husband to be the man God has called him to be. Will my husband fail me, yes. Will I fail him, yes. We are two sinful human beings who are married to each other. Neither one of us are perfect and for either one of us to put the other in the position of being perfect is a lie straight from Satan. There have been times in my marriage when I have been guilty of making my husband my source of strength and the provider of my needs. It was during those time that Satan would use even the smallest annoyances to bring out frustration and anger. However, through spending time in God's Word and in prayer, God showed me that the problem was not with my husband but with my relationship with God. God should be the source of everything I need and desire. I had allowed my relationship with to suffer and therefore my focus was on my needs and fleshly desires. Only when I started focusing on my relationship with God was I able to see that I was the problem and I had allowed Satan to influence my thoughts. Satan is author or lies and God is the author of truth. We are either following Satan and his lies or God and His truth. Please be in prayer for all of those you know who are in the ministry. You may never know exactly what is going on in their lives. Just because someone has been called into full-time ministry does not mean that they are perfect or immune from the attacks of Satan. If anything the opposite is true. As a minister's wife, I call on all other minister's wives to pray for each other and to make sure that your relationship with God is the most important focus in your life. Because if it isn't, then Satan has a foothold into your family and can cause much destruction. Please seek godly counsel if you are going through a difficult time. We are not in this alone. I'm going to end with at request that you read Ephesians 2. There is much truth and hope in these words.

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