God has a way of taking people out of your life. The right relationships in your life will produce the kind of future that you envision. But the wrong relationships will divert you from your vision and from the plans God has for you.
God has a way of removing people from your life to save you from their influence. When we think of deliverance, we think of the laying on of hands. It’s true, sometimes deliverance comes in the form of God removing demons from you. But then sometimes God will remove a person, and by removing the person in your life, He’s removing their demons too. He does that so we can walk in freedom. If you want to go where God has called you, you can’t be friends with everybody and anybody.
Abram and Lot
God has always been in the practice of removing people from your life so that He can take you into your destiny. Let’s take a look at a biblical example.
Let’s look at the account of Lot and Abram in Genesis 13:1-9 (ESV):
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and silver and gold.
From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
Freeing Up Bandwidth
When you have wifi routers in your house, these routers can only support so many devices before too much bandwidth is eaten up. If you’ve ever tried to stream something on your phone or TV in a place like this, you’ll notice a lot of buffering. It’s frustrating when the internet is so slow! There are too many devices connected to the router. You have to disconnect devices to open up bandwidth.
Similar to a wifi router, your mind and emotions have a designated capacity. They can only handle so much. If you have too many people connected to the router of your soul, it will slow you down.
Abram was Lot’s uncle, and they both had large herds of livestock. Lot’s herd was eating more than their fair share. They were taking up too much bandwidth. It was time for them to part ways to free up the bandwidth.
Not Enough Connection Points
The Lord gave me a picture of a Lego as I was preparing this message. If you have ever used Legos to build things, you know that they click into one another. On the underside of a Lego, there are several connection points. If the underside of the Lego is full, the only way you can continue to build is to remove one of the pieces attached to the connection points to make it available.
Many of us have too many connections underneath our Legos. However, when someone is removed, it frees you to build something new. The way God frees us is by disconnecting something that was connected so we have the room and bandwidth to build. Abram had to let go of Lot so that God could build something great in and through his life. Staying with Lot wouldn’t get him there.
What Is Infected and What’s Not?
Here in the United States, ground beef is made in a beef factory. The meat is processed through grinders. There are times when the factory owners have to do a national recall of their product because they find that some of the pre-processed beef was infected. But because it went through a grinder and came out as ground beef on the other side, there’s no way to differentiate what is infected with bacteria and what isn’t. That means the entire batch has to be recalled.
The more you enter into deep relationships with people, the more difficult it becomes to tell what’s “infected” and what’s not. Trying to save pieces of a relationship is like taking ground beef and trying to pick out the bad pieces – it’s virtually impossible. You can’t separate what’s infected from what’s not infected, so the whole thing has to be thrown out.
Abraham’s Heart Vs. Lot’s Heart
Abraham had a heart of kindness for his nephew Lot. Abraham wanted to see Lot fulfill his destiny. But the scriptures indicate that Lot would eventually be one of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. His heart was bent towards sin, not salvation.
Abram’s heart was, “I want to be righteous.” Lot’s heart was, “I want to be right.”
Abram’s heart was, “I want God’s will.” Lot’s heart was, “I want to do my own thing.”
Abram’s heart was, “I want thy will.” Lot’s heart was, “I want my will.”
You can see a clear difference between the two. Because of Lot’s heart and mindset, the only option was a separation between him and Abraham.
The person that you spend the most time with will be the person that you act the most like.
So I make it a priority to spend the most time with Jesus because He is who I want to talk like, love like, and walk like. I want to be mentored by Jesus, so I make it a priority to spend more time praying without ceasing, reading the Bible, and studying than I do surrounding myself with any other influence.
Why Don’t I Have a Mentor?
I hear many Christians ask, “Why don’t I have a mentor? I have no one to disciple me!” We all crave that relationship. However, what if, In God’s kindness, He hasn’t allowed it to happen because the person you had in mind for mentorship was going to mentor you into the same madness that their mind had been manipulated with?
Maybe instead of a mentor, God is giving you peace. I would rather be alone with peace of mind than with others and swirled in the chaos that I didn’t create.
The Holy Spirit as A Mentor
We tend to seek people more than we seek the Holy Spirit. We want a man to do the thing that God desperately wants to do in our life. The scriptures say that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things (John 14:26).
We forget that the first-century church after the second chapter of Acts didn’t have a physical Bible. They were writing the Bible in the moment with their lives! These Christians only had the Old Testament scriptures, the prophets, and the Torah. They didn’t even have a New Testament Bible because they were living it.
The Holy Spirit wants to mentor you just as he did those first-century Christians. Allow Him to do it. Stop waiting for a person to call you for mentorship and start calling on the Holy Spirit! As you are mentored by the Holy Spirit, you will become so confident in your relationship with God that you walk in His wisdom. You will start sounding like God. You will become confident in your relationship with Him. You will walk in His wisdom because you begin sounding like Him.
If you repeat a fool, you will be thought of as a fool (Proverbs 26:4). But if you repeat a wise man, you’ll be thought of as wise. Anything wise that comes out of my mouth is a direct result of my relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Maybe you’ve done the hard work to break generational curses. Maybe you’ve received financial wisdom through a course so that you could become disciplined and break negative patterns. Maybe you’ve grown spiritually through disciplining yourself in the things of God. Why are we so quick to want a relationship with someone who doesn’t have the discipline to maintain deliverance in their own life?
You can either lower yourself to be in a relationship with that person, or they can come up to your level of discipline to be in a relationship with you. I think we can ascertain which one is the path toward life.
Stop having friendships, dating relationships, and business partners at the level of your self-esteem. Stop having dating relationships. Stop going to churches that match your level of self-esteem.
Here are some indicators that your relationships might be reflecting low self-worth:
- Your “friends” treat you like your past instead of treating you like your future.
- Your “friends” take from you more than they give to you.
- They expect you to work for them and invest in them, but they don’t reciprocate it.
You have to see yourself the way that God sees you. Once you do, you will start putting yourself in relationships with people that match the identity that you have in Christ.
Your Life Has A Purpose
If you have the desire to be called to greatness, this is for you. There’s a reason why you didn’t give up after the divorce. There’s a reason why that terminal illness wasn’t terminal for you. There’s a reason why the car accident wasn’t fatal for you. There’s a reason why you were born with an illness that required immediate surgery, but you survived. Your life has a purpose, but relationships could be holding you back from that purpose.
Job had friends that were not friends to his purpose. Some people are only friends with you because they love talking about your problems with other people. They are friends with you because they need to be close enough to get the latest story so they can turn around and tell it to their other friends. All you are to them is a walking tabloid. They want your life to be bad so they have something good to talk about.
Job had friends that were not friends to his purpose. They were not friends with his future, they were friends with his drama. They were friends with his shortcomings, the failures they witnessed, and the tragedy that he experienced because it was good gossip.
Job was constantly being drawn in by his friends into their bad thoughts and opinions, okay? If you’re in a relationship and you’re a cheater, you’re going to think you’re being cheated on because you projecting onto your partner what you are.
If you are a gossip, you will always think that everybody else is gossiping about you, because you project onto other people what you are.I pray for people, fast for people, financially invest in people, and help people. So when people treat me poorly, even to my face, it doesn’t register because that’s not who I am. There have been many times when my wife will say, “Wow you’re handling the way they’re treating you so great.” And I don’t even realize what they’re doing because it’s not on my radar.
Some people are so sick that they love to see you sick. They love to see you down and discouraged. They celebrate when you fail. They celebrate when things don’t work. When you have a bad day, they feel better about themselves.
Gossip Is A Gateway to Demonic Activity
Good gossip comes from bad situations, and your bad situations are good gossip to bad friends. God is removing them because they’re not for you. The Bible says that where there is gossip, there is every other evil work (Romans 1:29-32).
Where you have gossip, there is a lack of the fruits of the spirit (joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23). Where there is gossip, you will find the fruits of the flesh.
The fruits of the flesh are always gateways to demonic activity. So if you have been praying that the Lord would remove demonic attack from your life, don’t be surprised if he removes a person that is connected to the demonic.
Some of the fatigue that you are experiencing might not be from demons in your personal life. It could actually be a secondhand demonic attack. Because you’re connected with the wrong people, their drama has become your drama. They are holding hands with the devil, and you are holding hands with them. That means that by proxy, you’re holding hands with the devil. Don’t get me wrong, our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). But this isn’t about fighting a person. This is about letting them go.
Peter and Paul
Sometimes separation isn’t over critical issues of salvation. Sometimes it needs to happen because of a difference of opinion. We see a separation in the New Testament account of Peter and Paul. Paul said, “Hey, there’s some beef between me and Peter, he’s leaning a little too much theologically into a works-based, Judaism-oriented gospel. And I don’t know that that’s the right thing, so we’re gonna have to separate. You go on your journey, you do your thing. Let’s agree to disagree.”
Peter had to go on his journey, and Paul had to go on his. Maybe your friend is leaning in one direction and you’re leaning in another. They say, “Why do you care about those things? Why do you always think about those things?” Instead of trying to stop it, don’t be surprised if you pray that God removes a demonic attack and He removes a person in answer to that.
You Don’t Have to Be Their Best Friend
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (ESV). Jesus does not say you have to be their best friend. He doesn’t say that you need to call them on the phone every day, give them money hand over fist, and support their laziness. It just says bless them and pray for them.
What If The Person Is In Your Home?
What if the person that you need to be removed from your life is in your home? This is a valid and real question.
1. Teach them how to treat you.
I’m a pastor. My church doesn’t need me as a friend, they need me as a pastor. I’m not their big brother or their friend. I’ve been placed as their spiritual authority and as the shepherd over their lives. We live in a society that is constantly trying to remove authority, but in a kingdom there’s authority.
So, sometimes people in my church will call me by my name, like “Hey, Mike!” When they do this, I teach them how to treat me because, in the pastor-church member context, I’m not Mike. If I am Mike to them, they can choose to listen or not listen. But if I’m Pastor Mike to them, I can pastor them.
There are times when I have to teach people how to treat me. I’ll just ignore them until they say, “Pastor Mike,” not because I need a title, but because they need a title. They need me to be Pastor Mike in their lives, whether they realize it or not.
Sometimes what you listen to and respond to conditions people that they can continue talking to you and about you in a specific way. If you live with someone who treats you poorly, you don’t have to engage. You can stop giving ear to it, and that will teach them how to treat you.
2. Schedule the Discussion
You don’t have to have “the discussion” in the heat of the moment. Not every argument has to happen in the moment. I have heard it said the higher the emotion, the lower the intelligence, and conversely, the higher the intelligence, the lower the emotion.
So when you are high emotion and low intelligence, why would you have a discussion when your brain isn’t in a good state? Why wouldn’t you instead access the fullness of your brain when you’re relaxed, and inflammation and your blood pressure are down?
You can schedule the discussion for a later time. I had to learn that in my own house. My wife and I had to have a safe word. We haven’t used it in years, but the word was Eskimo because Eskimos live where it’s cold. So, when things got tense, we would say, “Hey, things are heating up. We need to cool it down. Eskimo.”
There would be some times when my wife would say, “Eskimo.” And I would be completely oblivious to the fact that things were heating up. I’m like, “I’m just getting started.” And she would say, I don’t want to go there right now.” And so we had to learn that living in the same home, we could schedule an argument.
God Always Replaces When He Removes
It can be scary to think of God removing someone, and the void that might exist there. However, when God removes, He never leaves a gap. He removes and then replaces. He’s a good God.
For example, He says, “Don’t get drunk with wine.” He forbids drunkenness. But people think, “But man, drinking is kind of fun.” God removes the drunkenness that has a penalty of waking up the next day hungover and affecting your liver. But He replaces it with drunkenness in the new wine of the Holy Spirit. He removes and replaces, which is why He’s good.
Remember The Old You?
God is going to replace people with those who will remind you of who you are. And for some of us, He is going to replace them with people who remind you of the old you. Some of us have nothing from our past that we want to resurrect. But others feel like they became out of touch with the best of the old them.
Maybe you stopped creating. Maybe you used to be a preacher, and you stopped preaching.
Or maybe you used to be on the dance team, and you stopped dancing. God is going to replace your friends with people who make you feel like the person you once were.
The Bible says, “I will restore the years that the locust and the cankerworm have eaten” (Joel 2:25). One of the ways that He restores years is He restores friendships that remind you of who you used to be, and remind you of who you are.
This rejuvenates you. God says in Isaiah, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31) What is it that you are waiting for? You’re waiting for new friends. And those new relationships will renew your strength because they’ll encourage you. They’ll remind you of who you are.
From Criticized to Celebrated
When you read Hebrews 11 and look at the hallway of faith, as you walk down those corridors, you’ll find men and women who were very misunderstood in one generation, but then very much celebrated in future generations.
Just because you’re being criticized doesn’t mean that the criticism is valid. People who are criticized in one generation are celebrated in the next generation because it takes time for us to catch up to what God is doing. Maybe the things that people criticize you for aren’t wrong, they’re just misunderstood.
The Messy Middle
You can go from criticized to celebrated in one lifetime, but there is a messy middle. I’m speaking to the messy middle. The messy middle will make you feel like you’re crazy. That messy middle makes you feel like you made the wrong decision. That messy middle will make you feel like you should turn back. That messy middle will make you feel like you should listen to their criticisms. That messy middle will make you feel like they’re valid, and you’re not valid. But
God is calling you to keep walking forward because you’re going to go from criticized to celebrated.
My Breakthrough Community is full of people just like you who are hungry for more of God. If you are interested in learning more, consider becoming a part of the Breakthrough Community!
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