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Spiritual Enablers

The Spiritual Enabler

In recent years, the terms “co-dependent” and “enabler” have become quite popular in dealing with people who are in dysfunctional relationships. These ideas have infiltrated the church.

For instance, we may fail to obey the Lord when He tells us to step down from a place of ministry. After all, if we step down, who will fill our shoes? The church needs us! We are spiritually co-dependent when we think God cannot find someone else to fill that place of ministry.

I went through a situation where a lady kept seeking me for advice. I spent a great deal of time talking with her on several occasions. I gave her clear-cut, scriptural guidelines. Yet, she refused to make the necessary changes. By allowing her to monopolize my time, I was enabling her – enabling her to take time away from my family and my priorities, not to mention enabling her to drain me emotionally, physically, and mentally.

I have seen a situation in church where a lady lies continually. Several people refuse to confront her lying ways. Doing so enables her to continue in her sin, whereas, loving confrontation may lead her to repent for her sins.

I think women fall into this trap too often because we have such a hard time saying “no” when we are asked to do something. Keep in mind that when we refuse to say “no,” sometimes we hinder God’s plan for someone else. Perhaps what we just agreed to do was really a job God had planned for someone else. Yet, we just got in His way.

Is there someone who seems to be drawn to you like a magnet, constantly needing spiritual advice? Perhaps they discern you are a person of the Word, so they seek you instead of the Word because they are too lazy to seek God on their own. By letting them continue in their behavior, we become enablers. We may also be co-dependent; for we may love the way they make us feel when they seek our wisdom. Often, one feeds the other. We enable the behavior because it makes us feel good to be needed.

David asked the Lord to search his heart. I think it is wise to ask the Lord to also search our relationships. Perhaps we will discover that we have become spiritual enablers.

Have you fallen into the trap of being an enabler?

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

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Spiritual Hyenas

Spiritual Hyenas

One behavior common in the animal kingdom is the arrival of hyenas trying to steal the prey from other animals. Rarely will you see a nature show portraying hyenas on the hunt for live prey. They let other animals do the hunting, the chasing, and the killing. They come along after the fact, in hopes of taking the food for which others have worked.

I have seen spiritual hyenas in the church. These hyenas are too lazy to “hunt” for spiritual meat, so they try to take it from others. Often times, they even demand that you spoon-feed it to them.

Spiritual hyenas are too apathetic to chase after God. They may show up at the altar and weep bitter tears, yet walk away unchanged because chasing after God is not something you do only on Sunday. A healthy spiritual diet requires that we pursue God on a daily basis. (Psalm 61:8; Proverbs 8:17)

Spiritual hyenas refuse to kill their fleshly desires. (Romans 8:13) They also refuse to fight spiritual battles. (Ephesians 6:10-18) They would rather prey on someone who is prayed up and ask them to fight the spiritual battle for them. Yet God says to put on the full armor of God so that you are able to stand against Satan’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10) Notice that it does not tell us to find someone else to stand in our place against the devil.

When we allow spiritual hyenas into our life, the results are:

1. We are not giving to them from the overflow of God’s Spirit in us. Rather, they are stealing our spiritual food and we will quickly become spiritually depleted.
2. Not only do they steal spiritual food from us, they steal glory from God. If only they would seek the Lord for themselves, God would give them plenty of reasons to praise Him!
3. They begin to seek us instead of God. In a sense, we become God to them.

We are told to be very wise in the way we live, making the most of every opportunity. (Ephesians 5:15-16) When we are doing things which seem to be of a spiritual nature, we may think we are still using our time very wisely. However, spiritual hyenas are very sly and sneaky. Because of that, we must be careful to guard against them so we do not end up becoming unwise stewards of our time.

Have you become prey to a spiritual hyena?
© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

Spiritually Used

In my quest to be a prudent and frugal woman of God, I have discovered that we need to be cautious in our friendships. When we become friends with the wrong types of people, it might not necessarily drain us financially. However, it can certainly drain us physically and emotionally, not to mention keeping us from being as effective in other areas where the Lord desires to use us. The toll it can take on our families can be very pricy, thus we are wise to be cautious in friendship. I have written some devotions along those lines, sharing from my own experiences in order to try to help others learn not to make the same mistakes I did. Here is the first of those devotions:

Spiritually Used

It is a noble thing for a woman to desire to model Titus 2:3-5. However, because a woman has a passion to minister to other women, she can easily fall prey to the tactics of a user. Women who are timid find it difficult to say “no” to a user. Women with strong personalities often find pleasure in being asked to share their opinions.

I met a lady whom I will call Betty. We hit it off very well, seeming to share the same values. We forged a friendship, attending some of the same classes, and even visiting each other on occasion.

I began to notice a pattern to our conversations. They seemed to revolve around the happenings in her life. She was constantly seeking my advice. When I would respond with scripture, she would quickly affirm my insights with comments like, “Oh, that is good,” or “I never thought of it like that.” Because I thrive on words of affirmation, I never seemed to notice that she rarely brought scripture into our conversations.

Several months later, Betty was faced with a difficult dilemma. Because of my desire to help women, I spent a great deal of time counseling her with a scriptural approach to her situation. A few times I even left messages for her, stating that I had some more information which she may find helpful. Those calls were always quickly returned. Yet on other occasions, she would rarely, if ever, return my calls.

One evening, I was quite stressed and in despair over a situation of my own. I knew Betty had faced this very circumstance, so I decided to call her. I left a message for her, leaving no doubt as to my frame of mind. I knew I could count on her to help me. After all, Betty was my friend. However, she never returned my phone call.

As I pondered and prayed about this, I realized that I was not being unreasonable in feeling that I deserved a return phone call, for true friends are kind to each other. (Job 6:14)

I also came upon the realization that some people are only friends with us if we give them gifts. (Proverbs 19:6) I had poured myself into Betty’s life, yet was not getting anything in return. I discerned that what Betty was doing was using me. She was seeking the spiritual food which I had earnestly sought so she would not have to be diligent in the Word herself.

By trying to be a Titus 2 woman, I had ended up becoming spiritually used, allowing her to use up my time, my energy, and my spiritual food.

The Word tells us that faithful friendships are refreshing. (Proverbs 27:9) A true friend sticks by you in good times and bad times. (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24) Real friends are like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17) If you cannot say this is true of your friendships, perhaps you have also been spiritually used.

Take some time to evaluate your friendships. Have you been spiritually used?
© 2007, Stacy R. Miller