"He who has no sense of self-importance cannot
be offended or defeated." -- W. Phillip Keller 

This has been an interesting summer, to say the least.  It started with what felt like a crash course in Spiritual Warfare 101.  Lots of role play and pop quizzes to show me how easily my buttons can still be pushed.  Ouch!  Not what I expected at all.  And not much sympathy from some folks either, which got me to thinking how unsympathetic I can be too when I see someone reacting all out of proportion to something I don't see any reason to get upset about.

Lest I keep failing my quizzes, I'd best remember they are only tests.  The battle for our souls is very real and we are caught up in the midst of it.  There is a very real enemy out there who knows our weaknesses and tries to trip us up by using our senses and our intellect to blind and deceive us from the truth.
The good news is that the God who created the universe and everything in it, has not left us defenseless.  The whole battle plan is mapped out in His Book, along with detailed warnings and instructions so we won't be caught off guard, and if you don't know where in the Bible to look, click on the picture of the notebook on my sidebar under PROMISES BY CATEGORY.  It contains a whole section on spiritual warfare.  (If you're a skeptic, think product manual troubleshooting guide. Who better knows a product than the person who created it?)

My victory is in the Lord, when I keep my focus on Him and walk by faith, not by sight, when I remember who the real enemy is, and don't buy into his lies, no matter how real they may seem.  When he tries to use an unsuspecting loved one to try to push my buttons so he can drive a wedge between us, an image that helps me keep things in perspective (when I remember to use it) is that of the magician who saws a lady in half.  It may look as real as real can be, but the truth is that it's only an illusion.

When we walk in the flesh, the way we interpret the things we hear and see tends to be colored by our past experiences and it is so easy to take offense where none was intended, or to feel threatened where there is no threat, to jump to conclusions, and to experience a whole gamut of emotions as the enemy has a great time pushing our buttons and causing division and strife.

On the other hand, when we walk by faith with our focus on the Word, and we manage to remain unmoved by what we see, hear, feel, or think, we will enjoy stability, joy, and peace that surpasses all understanding--no matter what our circumstances may be.    I know it works for me.

My buttons still get pushed, but it's getting less and less, and I am increasingly amazed at how a change in perception can so alter the way you experience the things you are presented with.  If you don't believe me, try it and see.  Next time you feel slighted, hurt, or offended by something someone says or does, pretend you're playing a push the button game where you score points by not letting your buttons get pushed.  You may find it turns what could have been a painfully negative event into a pleasant game of wits instead.