A friend of mine used to have a goat farm called “Git Yer Goat.” A wise man once said concerning such things: “If you don’t have a goat to git, nobody can git it.” Obviously, this plays out in our daily lives on Planet Earth. We live in a world where goat getting can be not only aggravating but dangerous as well.
Right now, you’re likely thinking about, have been thinking about, in the middle of a goat-getting session or about to be. Only the people with a ministry of contention enjoy these situations. You know them — they’ll start a fight if there’s nothing else to do! The Bible is clear: only by pride comes contention—“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Prov. 13:10). So pride is THE root of contention.
The other part says to us to be wise around such people — walk in the Spirit when you’re around them, get ready for that demon that aggravates the situation and be gracious in your speech with them — A soft answer turns away wrath (Prov. 15:1). I’ve seen this thing in action on many occasions (the demon of contention and strife majors in Sunday morning fights). Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
God’s sandpaper: the goat getters
In God’s inimitable way, He has strategically placed people in our paths who rub us the wrong way. Yeah, we live with some of them, and others we call friends, except when we see their names on our phone ID, we cringe. They are ministers of aggravation or goat-getters! I’m not talking about kooks — get them out of your life! We all are hearing about or may have experienced online creeps who are simply after their own way, their own thing, and their own agenda. The horror stories abound! Of course, there’s always the driver in front of or behind us who hasn’t a clue about what to do or how to act in traffic!
All the tea in China will not replace precious friends and relations that matter. Salvaging them is paramount. “Drama” is the operative word. We need to be peacemakers not peacekeepers. God said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called children of God.” The Sermon on the Mount is kept by walking in the Spirit. It’s important to remember that Christlikeness is the main thing in this life. In the final analysis, how many demons you know by name and cast out, dollars you were able to confess in, how many dreams you interpreted, the number of books you have written or the number people you’ve won to the Lord are NOT what life is about.
All these are excellent, but being conformed to the image of Christ is (Rom. 8:29) what’s on the Father’s heart. God uses these ministers of aggravation to cause us to yield to Jesus’ spirit as we so often fail in our attempts to prevail by our own means. We grit our teeth and give it the old college try but often go down in flames. The sweet Holy Spirit says to us, “Trust me, trust me, inside you.”
Jesus never had his goat gotten. Nobody, baby, was able to provoke his flesh – because he had none of the Adamic nature in Him. He said, “The prince of the world is coming, but he has nothing in me” (John 14:30). Jesus had no goat to get. The devil couldn’t find one thing in God’s gracious and merciful Son that would cause Him to back off, flee or cast blame on anyone else. He had full trust in His father for all that came to him in the way of temptation.
Fending off the goat getters
These goat getters have access to our goats because we cannot fend them off. I want to give you several tools that have worked for me — not always — but most of the time.
- Place the cross by faith between you and all your ministers of aggravation. When Jesus died, he took your soul with him to the cross and crucified it of all selfishness and goat-getting (Rom. 6:6). You soul and mine were actually freed from selfishness as well as others’ abilities to use soulish power against us. If you faithfully learn to place the cross between you and that “minister of aggravation,” you will soon see learn that your fleshy reaction will not have control over you. In other words, the goat-getters will have lost their ability to get yours!
- Faithfully stand against contention between you and your “sweet” enemies. God said pray for those who spitefully use you. This ain’t easy. It takes a great deal of courage and desire to please God and not yourself. It’s easy to be a jerk!
- Pray BEFORE the storm comes. You probably know by now when and who is going to cause you trouble. Self-confidence won’t work — confidence in the Holy Spirit will. Realize that in this world you WILL have tribulation. Expect it so when it comes, you won’t be caught by surprise. You know when _____________ (fill in the blank with your minister/s of aggravation) shows up, calls you, etc., you’re about to be in the swirling drama of blame, criticism, faultfinding and the Victim Spirit.
- Recognize resentment. Most of those who get your goat are people you actually resent for some reason.
- Bless them and don’t curse them. Always a goodie for overcoming any kind of difficulty with others.
- Let some goat getters go. Some of these folks fall into the category of insensitive jerks, who are so self-centered and demanding that you need to let them find another “friend” to annoy. In other words, establish boundaries that place distance or space between you and them.
Not learning lessons about those who get our goats result in a great deal of frustration, pain and sometimes long-term negative emotional turmoil that gets tucked away in the basement of our souls, resulting in unhappiness and even psychosomatic sicknesses. Take steps to deal with this, and one day you won’t have a “goat to git.”