Several people recently have expressed a deep disappointment over the sense of betrayal and disloyalty in close relationships. I thought, boy there seems to be a lot of that going around right now. Then it hit me: when a shift in direction approaches, God always allows circumstances to reveal the people in our lives that truly want our success and those whose loyalty is compromised. Knowing the difference is what allows us to let go of certain relationships without feeling guilty. Not everyone can go with us into the next season.
Loyalty is tested both when people experience failure and when they experience success. Sometimes when people fail everyone they once thought was a friend or supporter walks away. Disappointment or embarrassment at being associated with someone going through failure can be perceived by those close to them as sharing in that person’s guilt, shame, or collapse and so they opt towards self-preservation in order to protect their own reputation. While this proves to be disappointing to those going through a difficult time in their life, ultimately it proves the depth of loyalty and friendship, and those that are insincere. Will Smith has a great quote that goes something like this: "If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success." Sometimes the difficulties we face help weed out those that have selfish agendas.
Loyalty and relationships are also tested when people begin to enter a new level of success, promotion, favor and blessing. Some people are only loyal to a point; but the success or blessing of one person can often trigger competitive feelings in those close to them. Jealousy, envy and competition are relationship killers. There must always be a sense of a winner and a loser, because jealousy and envy are fueled by lust. Lust for power, recognition, promotion or simply the desire to win accolades of others can foster the green-eyed monster of jealousy and envy. The reality is, that weakness was there all along. The circumstances were just not developed enough in order to trigger certain responses that gave away what was really hiding underneath the composed exterior and friendly appearance.
Remember that at one point or another everyone in life experiences a Judas situation. Your Judas does not arise from your enemies or those you already perceive as a competitor; the betrayer arises from those closest to you and has the potential to do the most harm. Betrayal can run quite deep. Sometimes it is a best friend, a mentor or trusted advisor, a superior on the work scene, business partner or even a spouse. The danger comes when the mask slips off and you recognize the potential threat, but choose to continue to make yourself vulnerable to those that have an open door for the enemy to work through. Those that can't be truly happy for your success will show it in one way or another. All you have to do is watch for the signs and then ASK GOD FOR THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE.
James 3:16 warns us, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Envy, jealousy and competition always lead to discord and divisiveness because those emotions are ruled by pride. Whether a person recognizes it or not, they are the very things that disqualify people for promotion. Factions arise in order to determine who has the godly characteristics of honesty, integrity, humility and trust in the Lord. These things determine who is approved and those that are not. (see 1 Cor. 11:19). These are the things God looks for when reviewing people to see if they are ready for promotion. The Lord is so very gracious to His people that He allows those He wants to promote to see and recognize the dishonorable qualities in others. In this way, they recognize what they do not want to become so that they will choose the path of humility and trust in HIM. He will promote, advance and increase those that choose to trust Him rather than try to gain their desire by their own strength. Consider what God says in Ps. 44:3. “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, Nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, Because You favored them.”
Many people feel the only way they can advance towards success is by incorporating cutthroat tactics in order to win at all costs. These things include stepping on others, ruining other people's reputations, creating a false reputation aimed to please people, acting deceptively in order to create followers, and crushing those seen as opponents. It can be very, very difficult indeed if people we thought were on our side actually turn and take the side of an adversary. The enemy will introduce all manner of deceptive ploys in order to tempt us to sabotage our own future through emotional responses. If the enemy is enticing you to react to an emotionally charged situation, you need to remember that it never works out well for the bait. Be careful.
His word reminds us in Deut. 9:4 that we do not advance by our own strength, nor do we warrant great pats on the back for our own righteousness. "Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you.” It’s really not about how wonderful we think we are! We are given the opportunity to advance because of the dishonorable characteristics of those “giants” already in the land. Sometimes the things that must be confronted are in others, other times they are within us. The giants are the things that stand in our way of possessing our promises: fear, intimidation, the need for approval and validation outside of God, anger, or other fleshly responses are what the enemy hopes to pull out of us. Tests arise on the brink of a breakthrough in order to tempt us to react out of our flesh and thus disqualify ourselves for promotion. Be aware of these things as difficulties arise, or the sudden indication of a Judas in your midst. Those temptations to respond out of emotion are like bait on a hook. The enemy is trying to reel you in and get you to do something you might regret later. The little quote, “Stay calm and carry on” are words of wisdom at such a time. Don’t let the enemy rock your boat! Above all, remember that tests do not come when we are prepared for them. Tests come when we are tired, weak, vulnerable and off guard. PRAY NOW to recognize them when the tests show up, and to have the right response that will help you pass them.
I thank You for showing me those people in my life that are loyal and those that not. Thank you for showing me the telltale signs that indicate whether or not the people closest to me are supportive of my success or disloyal. Help me to know the correct response so that I do not say something I might regret later. Holy Spirit, I yield to you so that You may silence me before I say or do something the enemy might try to use against me. Let me see the intent of the enemy so that I can avoid the snares. I put my trust in You, Lord, for advancement and promotion at the time You see fit, and by Your hand. Let Your favor do for me what I cannot. In Jesus name, Amen.