When People Pull Your Strings, Abide in the Vine

I. Controlling People Know What Strings to Pull

Controllers like to pull people’s strings to make them move. Instead of dangling like strings from a branch, Jesus invites us to live as branches as we draw upon Him, the vine. In so doing, we’ll bear good fruit. Do you see the difference? Strings are flimsy but a vine is strong. But people tend to come with strings attached. The question is, who pulls those strings?

When someone knows what strings to pull to get their way with you, then maybe they have too much control over your life. If they know that pushing certain buttons makes you jump, they’ll just keep pushing them until they drive you mad.

There’s a word for that. It’s called “emotional manipulation,” which is a form of abuse.  Abusers take advantage of needy people who are desperate for affirmation. With a smile for a lure and a hug to reassure, they draw their little “fish” into a cozy little nest.

The “s” inside the nest stands for “security.” If your security is in man, then the “s” will fall out of the nest, leaving you with nothing but a net.

It doesn’t feel like a net, though, until you realizing that you’re gagging. Then you see that the relationship is not as nearly as strong as it first appeared to be. The flimsy threads have become a trap for you, because to please the person you must follow their rules. Like a robot, when they pull your strings you must obey.


II. Pulled Strings are Tied to Fear

When people strings get pulled, they often have knee jerk reactions. Such reactions may come in the form of an automatic “I’m sorry” which pops out of one’s mouth before the other can explode. Knee jerk reactions usually cause more harm than good, however. It’s like throwing grease on a fire, because such reactions spring from fear:

Fear of what the person thinks;

Fear of what they’ll do;

Fear of any and all repercussions resulting from their anger (repercussions the Grim Reaper cannot cushion).

Fear attracts more fear and makes anger escalate. People try to placate anger, thinking  they can make it stop. But it simply doesn’t work that way.


III. The Fear of Man says “Man Will Save Me,” Breeding Insecurity

The fear of man lays a snare (Proverbs 29:25).  When we look to people to make us feel secure, we put way too much pressure on them to provide for us.

There’s an old country song where a man pleads with a woman, “I’ve got to know if your sweet love is going to save me.”

Is he kidding? God’s word is clear: no mere human love can save us. Salvation comes from God alone, in the form of His only Son Jesus Christ whose blood shed on a cross paid for our sins to be forgiven. He didn’t come to pull our strings or push our buttons. His goal was not to manipulate us into obeying God’s laws in order that we might somehow earn our way into heaven. On the contrary, He became THE bridge that draws us near to God. He didn’t come to take from us but to give us abundant life (John  10:10)

Instead of commanding us to, “Do God’s will or else,” he invites us to abide in Him so we might bear much fruit: the fruit of His grace.  (John 15:1-5; Ephesians 2:1-9;  Galatians 5:22-23).

Isn’t it time we as believers found our identity in Him instead of looking to man to tell us who we are?


Emotion: Energy in Motion

Emotion: Raw Feelings


Emotion is like energy in motion

Revolving ‘round the hub of our devotion.

When such devotion lacks a worthy notion,

It brings forth sounds of dissonant commotion.


Raw feelings, such a vast variety,

Spawn drunken songs that mock sobriety,

With incoherent odes to notoriety

And wicked strums that lack all sense of piety.


But, oh the energy those sounds impart!

Each cymbal clash exudes a fiery dart,

An all-consuming noise that hits the heart,

The breeding ground where wild emotions start.


Misguided tunes and idle words resound

When idols of impure desire abound,

Their winds of doctrine carried on a flute

Which floods the atmosphere with evil fruit,


Resulting in a knowledge overload

That hits a guy before he hits the road.

The chaos in his head turns into rage.

Then comes the crunch, alas the sinner’s wage.


Emotion, Faith and Deliverance


But what his heart believes lies at the root

Of every single leaf and fruit and shoot

That travels through his bloodstream, reaching out

With movements born of faith or tinged with doubt.


Emotion is like energy in motion

Revolving ‘round the hub of our devotion.

When such devotion lacks a worthy notion,

It brings forth sounds of dissonant commotion.


It’s how we think deep down, what we suspect

To be the truth. Such thoughts we shall reflect.

The feelings we receive we’ll resurrect,

But what we disagree with we’ll deflect.


Foul moods lie at our fingertips each day,

Enticing us to put them into play,

To bang the piano keys and make them zing

With sounds so loud, they’ll make your eardrums ring.


God’s Word, however, teaches us to pray

“Your will be done, Lord.” That’s what we should say.

“I yield myself to you. Please light my way,

And keep my reckless energies at bay.”


Emotion is like energy in motion

Revolving ‘round the hub of our devotion.

When such devotion heeds a worthy notion,

It brings forth songs of joy and not commotion.


Do We Walk By Faith Or By Feelings?

“Please fix my feelings, Doctor, so I can walk by faith.”

Can you picture Peter saying this to Jesus as he stepped out of the boat? Better yet, can you picture Jesus saying this to Peter?

“I’m afraid you’ve got a little problem with manic-depression, Peter, jumping out the boat one moment, confident that you can walk on water. The next moment, you’re in a panic, crying out for me to save you as you sink beneath the waves. You need some meds to even out your mood swings!”

Many times, in Christian circles I have heard it said that believers are to walk by faith and not by feelings. But I have noticed that when Christians feel bad or are experiencing depression, they often do follow their feelings – straight to the doctor’s office. They want medication to balance their nerves and bring peace to their souls.

“I know I’m supposed to walk by faith, Doctor, not by feelings. So please, you have to fix my feelings so I can walk by faith.”

Isn’t that basically what they are saying? Well, that’s what it sounds like to me. The question is, what does Jesus think of this idea? Can you imagine Him sending his disciples to a doctor to cure the post-traumatic stress they undoubtedly experienced on the Sea of Galilee? How about when the demon-possessed man came at them from the tombs? That had to shake them up.

After all, the guy was like a man with multiple personalities – and they were driving him crazy. But Jesus drove the demons out and brought calm to his mind.

That’s what He can do for our emotions if we’ll let Him. After all, feelings change. They’re like waves of the sea – up one moment, down the next. That’s why Christians shouldn’t live by their feelings. But does that mean we shouldn’t have them?

Many of us have felt God’s presence. We have experienced His touch. Our emotions have been stirred through worship. When we read His Word, it stirs our hearts to action. If you know you should step out in faith but your heart’s not in it, should you look to natural means to fix your feelings so you can walk by faith?

Or should you seek the LORD with all your heart and believe the promise in Jeremiah 29:13?