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Everybody in a relationship should keep this posted in plain sight: “Of course we experience relationship struggles, becoming one can and will be a struggle.”  
Relationships that believe otherwise are doomed to sink in the quicksand of unrealistic expectations.  It might survive but love will be a recess between the hell.  What makes us all, Christians, have to deal with relationship struggle with purposeful intent is that we know that God did not put us on this earth or in a relationship to suffer (Jeremiah 29:11).
The devil wants you to play emotional ping pong with hurt and to keep wounding each other with friendly fire.  Here it, the devil is at the center of mess.  When I say the devil, I’m not talking about the spooky, I’m talking about familiar spirits.
Familiar spirits activate familiar, toxic behavior.  You’re sitting in the relationship, you’re going back and forth over a problem but you’re talking about everything except the problem.  You’re talking about what they did and why you did what you did, and on and on, knowing good and well you’re not solving anything. 
Put This In Your Spirit: You cannot solve any problem by fixing a symptom.  A symptom is the result of the problem, not the underlying problem or root.  Problem solving is for grown people.  You know like I know that kids fight without any intent of solving anything — they haven’t emotionally matured to this level, that’s why we call it tantrum.  
When relationships waste time throwing tantrums, revisiting and rehashing symptoms, staying in old feelings instead of healing feelings, you have a mess on your hands that messes relationships up. We’ve all been there.  Don’t look at the grass next door, it’s only green because they’ve done their work. They did the work if the grass is not artificial.
Most of us have heard, “Do your work.”  But most of us don’t learn how to do the work until we lose the job.  Lose the love, lose the relationship.  Familiar spirits activate emotional demons, dysfunction and feelings that keep us from doing our work. Everybody has to agree to cut the mess out if you’re going to put the devil out. 
Familiar spirits are the enemy of love.  They speak into the problem to bait ego, pride and, unrealistic, unhealthy and even fantasy emotions that deceptively justify tantrums and division.  Doing the work is a decision that can only be made after agreeng that the love you signed up for is the love that you’re going to fight for.
The bible says, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2).  Don’t do another thing until you write the love vision down and make it plain. Not a thing. Did you hear the point and purpose of this scripture: “So he may run who reads it.”  You cannot run without knowing where you’re going.
The recovery, the healing, the restoration is not possible unless there is a vision that all minds, emotions and intentions agree to (Amos 3:3).  Getting and using the tools, resources or whatever is takes to run in the direction of the vision is what love has to do to love on purpose.  You cannot have an outcome that requires two people if only one person is working or both people aren’t working towards the same goal.  Write the vision and make it plain, then be clear that everybody is on board and ready to die to self for the cause of love.
Is it ever easy? No. But if you’re with the right one, the one God assigned to you, all things are possible. It takes commitment, vision and complete and total surrender to your goal of having the best love daily. It takes abiding in the Holy Spirit and a dedication to casting down all contrary spirits, emotions and thoughts that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  
Don’t let anybody tell you that great love does not require great work and — The ability to forgive, to be vulnerable, to extend grace, to move past the past, to shut down familiar spirits, to prioritize actions that produce healthy love, and the ability to love the love of your life even when you don’t like them or what they did.  Green grass, not artificial grass, is the result of serious work, compassion, desire and motivation that never stops — can’t stop.
It’s not a secret.  It’s not magic.  It’s work.  It’s knowing the price before you pay it. We can and do lose the love of our life when familiar spirits overrule and override love, and the will to prioritize actions that run after the vision as opposed to division.  Love is in the work — and work is for those who are ready and able to submit to God’s plan for relationship to be the most incredible love that two people will ever experience on earth (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Remember, you aren’t love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  How much love we give is based on how much of us we move out of loves way: “He must increase but I must decrease.”  That’s intentional love work.
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Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
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What do you do when you have to deal with difficult people?  You can’t just walk away from every difficult situation or just cut off every difficult person.  A difficult person is not somebody who’s optional, a difficult person is somebody who we have to deal with.
Why? Optional people are not difficult.  If they aren’t required or necessary, you can walk away from them instead of putting up with them.  Problem solved!
No, your difficult person is not that simple.  The spirit of difficulty has to use somebody who is a part of your life, who has a role and a position in your life that makes dealing with them necessary or even required.  Family can be difficult, bosses can be difficult, spouses can be difficult. We can even be our own difficult person. 
How do you deal with somebody who is difficult? Let’s address some points up front. Somebody right now is being abused — mentally or physically.  If this is you or somebody you know, tolerating abuse is not difficult, it’s deadly.  Deadly is not to be tolerated, cooperated with or confused with God’s will.  We’re not talking about people who are a threat to our well being, we’re talking about people who we desire to get along with but for some reason, it’s difficult.
Put This In Your Spirit: Haven’t you noticed that the difficult person affects the way you deal with them?  Remember, self-control is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  The first rule for dealing with difficult people is, “Be the thermostat and not the thermometer.”  This is easier said than done but nothing is possible until you use your power to control you first.  
Some folks think that believing in God means that we don’t or won’t encounter difficult spirits. That’s foolery. Grown Christians have read: “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating” (Proverbs 18:6).
Remember, they are difficult because they are necessary, important or not optional at the moment. Every difficulty in life, every wall, every challenge is a symbol of our difficult person. Sometimes God puts us in difficult situations because there is no way around it except through Him — If we allow it, our most difficult person or situation will cause us to go deeper in Him and higher in power.
Without difficult situations, we would not know what Jesus meant when He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).  The difficult person, difficult situation is going to be overcome by your power.  This is what is meant by, “Turn the other cheek.”  Turning the other cheek has nothing to do with letting somebody slap you twice.  You’re not literally turning the other cheek, you’re turning to power to respond instead of turning into them, acting like them or turning your power over to them.  Turning the other cheek and owning your power, feelings and response is your victory in difficult situations.
When the situation or the person, the problem or the difficulty has control over us, we are owned by them and that’s what makes them difficult. Think about it — If you’re smart enough to know they’re difficult but you’re letting them dictate how you act or feel — they’re controlling your temperature.  You have to flip the script — be the thermostat and not the thermometer and watch what happens.
Every difficult person, difficult situation and difficult problem has one thing in common, purpose.  When God allows difficult, He’s preparing you for a greater release of your power.    
They may never change, the problem may never change but the victory is not about them or it.  The victory is about walking in power when you have to deal with difficulty.  If you stay in power, God will move or remove what will not change.
Follow Pastor Patrick
Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
To read previous blogs or to sign up to be notified by email of new blog posts by Pastor Patrick, Click Here.
Join us at the HILL, FAITHHILL Church this Sunday as we dig deeper and put difficulty in check with practical application for every situation!



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