Often times we are quite ignorant of the spirit at work in us. Even as believers, we do things that we sometimes can’t understand why. we are not mindful of what is going on within us, though we are reminded that ‘we do not wrestle with flesh and blood (humans) but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places’ Eph. 6:12. So that we must be conscious of our actions and reactions, …’why am I reacting in this way?’
There are two main types of spirits, good( spirit of God, a benevolent spirit) and bad (evil spirit which is at enmity with God, malevolent spirit seeking the destruction of man). this evil spirit is what seek to gain control of our mind, ( for the mind as we know is the battle field)to cause us to react in negatively and destructively. Luke 9:51-56, is food for thought, as it highlights how even our ‘good’ intention ate corrupted.
It tells of the Samaritans rejection and opposition to Jesus, they refused to welcome him …’because He was heading for Jerusalem’.
Now, the disciples with him namely, brothers James and John; when they saw this rejection of their master, they were upset at the effrontery and asked Jesus… ”Lord do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?”
But Jesus rebuked them and cautioned them saying (v55)…”ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” i.e. that they did not know the kind of spirit they possess. That He has not come to destroy but to save!
This reaction of the brothers is typical of the human nature. Often time we are after revenge, we want to retaliation, to those who have offended us, opposed us or disagreed with us. Those who are not favourably disposed towards us, we want to do to them as they did to us. Just as the disciples proposed to do, destroy them with fire!! If not that Jesus stopped them.
The disciples were aware of the great power they had access to, and were ready to abuse it in a punitive and vindictive manner. This abuse of power is so prevalent, in our dealings with each other.
As Christians, people of a merciful God, we too are called to be merciful, to reflect God’s love others.That saving grace of God. We cannot be part of doing evil for evil, seeking retaliation and the ‘destruction’ of those Christ died to save.
The desire or need for retaliation, is characterised by a vengeful spirit; at work in our lives, emotions, reasoning, especially in our relationships, homes, families. When we disregard the word of God and we are not willing to forgive offenses, then the consequences of our hard stance can be far reaching.
It is helpful to remember scriptures that cautions us, e.g. Lk 6 27-36, calls us to bless those curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, who despitefully use you…
Matt 5:44 reminds us to love our enemies and pray for them bless that that curse you.’ while these may not make sense to us, we already know that God’s way is not our way, but we seek to obey Him. So seeking revenge is contrary to the nature and will of God. Given that we have received His mercy, we hold out mercy to others.
Anyway, vengeance belongs to God alone, He is a merciful God and when He avenges it is out of his mercy. When we retaliate it is out of those negative emotions like spite, anger, hatred; spurred on by evil spirits.
God demonstrated his mercy and love to us, that while we were enemies of God, in rebellion to His will and ways, dead in our sin, living opposed to his word, rejected him as the Samaritans did; He did not destroy us but sent His only son to come for our salvation; because His merciful nature supersede His judgment.
As believers, we’re therefore expected to be Christ like. To extend love and mercy to those difficult unlovable ones in our lives. for His spirit of reconciliation lives within us, to reconcile others to Him.
If you are not sure what spirit is at work within you, then examine your attitude, reactions, words. If you have the spirit of Christ, you will endeavour to walk by His spirit; to produce Christlikeness in you.
So check yourself, are you ruled by the flesh or by His spirit? Help is available.
For by their fruit, you shall know them. God is not mocked, a man will reap what he sows, Gal 6:7.