I recently sat in a Bible class where we discussed different weapons we have to fight temptation. Our teacher mentioned how Satan throws “fiery darts” at us that not only hurt on impact, but the flames spread throughout our bodies. Satan’s fiery dart for my family this time of year is busy-ness.
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Last Sunday, my oh-so-talented husband was gone from the house for 12 hours straight doing church- and music-related activities. Then it’s back to work Monday-Wednesday, with a band concert thrown in there, and a trip out of town for three days, then a potluck at church on Sunday, followed by musical orchestra rehearsal, and then we get to Memorial Day, where he will have to mow the yard (he doesn’t know this is on his To Do list for that day!). I’m sure your calendar is the same way – filled up with lots of good and productive things to do. Are any of these things bad? No, not inherently.
However, they can become harmful, much as Satan’s fiery darts spread flames. As I’ve learned from Dave Ramsey and our Financial Peace University material, if you spend money on ABC, you DON’T have money to spend on XYZ. The same goes for time. If you spend time away from home, you aren’t spending time at home. Makes sense, right?
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
One of Satan’s most effective ways of winning the war between good and evil is to attack our families, breaking them down little by little. Sometimes it’s a job loss, sometimes it’s laziness, sometimes it’s a devastating illness, sometimes it’s just never being together as a family. We need to identify which dart he is throwing at our own families so we can defend ourselves against him.
So once you identify the weakness, how do you ward off the “fiery darts?” These are what I do to protect my marriage and my family:
1.) Schedule your “together time.” Whether that is family time or husband-wife time, you need to keep that session intact, and it needs to happen every day (personally, I think you need both). One baby-raising book I read recently said that Mommy and Daddy should have “Couch Time,” where they sit and talk to each other in a face-to-face conversation on the couch, before bedtime, where the kids can see. Nothing should interrupt (phones, tv, kids) this sharing time. This shows the children how important your marriage is, and how your spouse comes first, even before they do.
2.) Just say no. There are so many wonderful opportunities for us to use our talents and gifts. Sadly, Satan uses these (through guilt or other destructive emotions) to his advantage and our disadvantage. Back to last Sunday, I think in hindsight, we should have said no to the things we had control over.
3.) Consider what you would give up to take on whatever is presented. Is it worth giving up family time? Is it worth neglecting your personal devotional time? Is it worth skipping your exercise time?
4.) Pray for guidance. Psalm 25:9 “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”
5.) Forget about others’ expectations of you. This is one of Satan’s most destructive tools for me, personally. What will so-and-so think if I do this? Or what will they think if I don’t do this? You have to do what is best for you and for your family.
I’m no expert in family dynamics, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do want to share what we are doing and how we have been blessed. Protect your family as you would protect your home. Lock things out that need to stay out, and lock things in that need to stay in. In doing so, God will bless you exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine. – Ephesians 3:20-21