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For the week of June 12, 2023 Having a Grace-Based Character

On our Christian journey, our character determines our destination in life. It can either work for us or against us; we therefore must pay close attention to developing godly character traits and avoiding destructive ones. One of the biggest red flags for us in this area is manipulation, which employs anger, guilt, shame, and other negative emotions to get our own way. Properly dividing God’s Word keeps us safe from this spiritual danger.

God sees manipulation as evil, immoral, and based in self-centeredness. It’s a character flaw that He wants to work out of us. Selfishly manipulating others is so offensive to God that He compares it to witchcraft. Manipulation is the opposite of what God tells us to do, which is to look not on our own things but on the things of others, and to seek the things of Christ.

Believers live surrounded by manipulators, which is why it’s so important to be on the alert for it. When Paul preached the Gospel of Grace to the church at Corinth, he warned them not to be taken in by any manipulative doctrines preached. This is still true today; there will always be people willing to disguise themselves to manipulate others. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Manipulation is especially dangerous in the church, which is where the enemy directs his most intense attacks. We’re warned against false prophets who appear to be harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. People like this are serving their own personal interests; by smooth talk and glowing words, they deceive innocent people.

A thorough knowledge of God’s Word, and a willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s directives, keeps us out of harm’s way in this area. The Spirit is always ready to teach us the discernment we need and reveal others’ inner motives that only God can see. When we reach the point where we no longer care what others think—only what God thinks—then we’re finally delivered from manipulation.

Prayer:

Lord, living under grace and following Your lead frees us from manipulation by others. This is one way we live in the world without being a part of it. Thank You for giving us Your Word in this area. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Scriptures:

Galatians 5:19, 20

Philippians 2:4, 21

2 Corinthians 11:14, NLT

Matthew 7:15, NLT

Romans 16:18, NLT
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