MANIPULATED OR MANIPULATORS???


Ephesians 3:14-21 – “For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,   15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height —  19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  NKJV

Nobody likes to be manipulated but too frequently we use manipulation to get what we want, or we attempt to.  My thought is, if we dislike being manipulated why would we resort to it?  SELF-INTEREST is the culprit.  I believe it goes far beyond that simple statement and can be discovered in the prayer of Paul in verse 17 of this passage. 

Note the prayer:  “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love…”  Of course, we must read the rest for the full context. But the thought I want you to catch and entertain is that the reason we manipulate or attempt to is because Christ does not dwell in our hearts to the point we are rooted and grounded in His love and demonstrating His character.  I do not mean Never but that at the moment of succumbing to the temptation to manipulate we are lacking.

Another key is this prayer is not a prayer for the unbeliever but believers.  Paul is crying out to God that believers Know the Love of Christ that transcends the bounds of human knowledge and understanding.  One of the problems is too many believers never move far from the point of entry where they encountered Christ as Savior and fail to follow the Process of becoming Christ-like.  God’s desire is that we be Complete!

I would suggest that man in the Garden of Eden was complete.  Adam and Eve were joined as one to the creator and it was only as they became disobedient; they fell into incompleteness.  You and I, to be complete must be joined as one to our creator and we cannot be complete any other way.  I cannot complete you and you cannot complete me that is something that can only come from God. 

We all need to be loved even if we insist, we do not, we do.  However, human love is conditional love and out of that need, we fall prey to the temptation of manipulation.  But if we are secure in the Love of God we can love as God loves and reject the need to manipulate others to give us the impression of satisfying that need deep inside our beings. 

We all have desires that in and of themselves are not wrong.  God made us to enjoy life. We need to be satisfied and as the old song goes, ‘we search for love (and satisfaction) in all the wrong places’ for true satisfaction can only come from God.

Churches and Ministers are often manipulators often without intending to.  We use religion to manipulate rather than release people.  The drive for acceptance is so strong that we manipulate and allow manipulation as we strive for acceptance.  Man is continually trying to fill that empty hole in his life and tragically some try to fill it with drugs, alcohol, work, sex, things, etc. 

When we attempt to manipulate God through religion we fail miserably.  We know that as humans if we do certain things for others they appear happy and pleased. Therefore, we seek to make God happy by what we do failing to understand it is not what we do that pleases Him but who we are in Him.  We manipulate our words and lifestyles to make God happy and to be accepted by Him.  We go to church, say our prayers, volunteer, and fill our daily schedule to the max to be accepted thinking if we do enough, He will like us, and we will receive His favor and blessings. 

Sadly, manipulation often results in emptiness and when a person is empty inside, they seek to fill that void with something.  There is a significant kinship between a person seeking to fill the emptiness in their lives with drugs and a person seeking to fill the emptiness with religion.  I understand that one may have by-products of worthwhile activities, but both are missing the mark that it is Who We Are not What We Do that moves the heart of God.

It is impossible to bargain with or manipulate God, so you only frustrate yourself trying.  We need to allow God to help us Be Who He made us to Be! As someone said, we are not HUMAN DOINGS we are HUMAN BEINGS and we need to be joined to our Creator as one and BE.  It is out of being that we are free!

God bless you as you embark on today’s journey in life!