Look Outward at Others in Divine New Ways

man helping woman cook

We have been unpacking the 4 Step Peace Plan for several posts. There is a summary at the bottom of the post. <3

(This post will make sense even if you haven’t read the others. So don’t worry about it if you haven’t read them yet. You can always go back later and read them.)

When women are whole in Christ they are empowered by God to have divine relationship skills that greatly bless their marriages and other relationships

Once you see Jesus rightly and you see yourself rightly, then He gives you the ability to see other people with His eyes and to love them with His heart.

When the old nature controls us, we are all emotionally and verbally abusive to some degree or another. We act in dysfunctional ways. That is what our sinful nature does best.

The sinful nature hurts others, it grieves God, and it hurts us.

In Christ, you have freedom from your old sinful flesh so you no longer have to:

PRAISE GOD!

You no longer have to live as a slave to these miserable principles and way of life!

You have freedom from all of this in Christ!

Just getting rid of these poisonous things goes a long way to helping us have much healthier relationships. But we can’t stop there! We then allow Jesus to help us add the godly ways of thinking, relating, speaking, and acting. Then we become instruments in the hand of God to pour goodness, love, truth, healing, and His supernatural Life into our relationships with others.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 

1 John 4:7-8

Jesus gives us the power to look at others and see their pain, their spiritual woundedness and their suffering. He shows us how they are being held captive by the enemy of their souls. He helps us to see that people are not our enemies. We have a real enemy and He helps us fight the actual enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Eph. 6:12

Now that you are in Jesus, you have the power of the Holy Spirit to act in your new nature:

  • Produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control by the power of the Holy Spirit working in you even when others are acting in their flesh. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Let God meet all your deepest spiritual and emotional needs and fill your spirit to overflowing.
  • Grow increasingly in spiritual maturity as you seek Christ first above all else.
  • Experience the immense love of God for you and then share that same incredible unconditional love with other people because God loves them and they are created in His image. (Gen. 1:27, 1 Cor. 13:4-8, 1 John 4:11)
  • Be open to God’s Spirit and His leading to share His love in tangible ways with your husband, family, and everyone around you. (Phil. 2:3-4)
  • Walk in the victory of Christ.
  • Repent and get back up when you stumble into sin and hurt God or someone else.
  • Walk in humility and faith in God and His wisdom.
  • Only do what will benefit and bless others in God’s eyes.
  • Take your thoughts captive for Christ.
  • See people with God’s perspective.
  • Use God’s wisdom and discernment about how to best approach difficult people and situations.
  • Know when not to trust people who are acting in the flesh and when to distance yourself respectfully from those who continue in unrepentant sin.
  • Have compassion even for people who treat you as an enemy, realizing they need Jesus, and repay evil with good. (Matt. 5:43-48).
  • Have a bit of God’s eternal perspective on situations.

This kind of divine love and power is very attractive to others. We let Jesus love and shine through us and pour His Spirit out from us all over everyone around us.

Yes, some may be offended by the fragrance of Jesus Christ in us, but our continued prayers, love, gentleness, respect, and kindness may be instruments in God’s hands over time to soften cold hearts to Jesus, salvation, and healing.

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How has putting Jesus on the throne of your life and allowing Him to give you a new nature changed the way you treat your husband, children, and others in your life? We’d love to hear from you!

Feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, upset, or confused? This is a great place to ask questions or request prayer. <3

NOTE- If you are on the home page, you will need to scroll up to the title and click on it then scroll down to the bottom of the post for the comment section.

The 4-Step Peace Plan

This plan is a simple pathway to show you how you can enter into the heroic life God has for you and experience real peace with God, with others (as far as it depends on you), and with yourself.

  1. Look upward and yield your life completely to the Lordship of Jesus, who is Lord of the universe.
  2. Look inward and die to your old sinful nature and your old ways and put on your new nature in Christ.
  3. Look outward—Receive Jesus’ eyes and heart for others to love them with His divine love.
  4. Look forward—Watch Jesus turn your pain, trials, and difficult relationships into beauty for your ultimate good, a blessing for others, and His greatest glory. And look forward most of all to eternity in heaven with Him and everyone who loves Him forever!

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

Look Inward

run down shack with man looking out window

This is Step 2 of the 4-Step Peace Plan that can help you on your journey to becoming the amazing woman the Lord calls you to be. (There is a summary at the bottom of this post.)

The second step in this plan is that we look inward into our hearts, minds, souls, and lives with God’s help. We have invited Jesus to be our Lord, now we allow Him to take control of our lives and make any changes He wants to make. And the truth is…

He wants to make radical changes in each of us for the better!

  • Jesus doesn’t just want to tidy up a bit, slap on a new coat of paint on the walls, and dust. A good spring cleaning won’t begin to address the severity of the issues in our lives. We all need total heart change!
  • He wants to tear down the old, contaminated house and completely rebuild something heavenly from scratch, His way.

It is important to remember that HE does the heavy lifting in this and every step. We can’t clean ourselves up. We simply cooperate and invite Him to have control.

TWO THINGS HE WANTS TO HELP US TO DO:

  1. Put off our old sinful self—by crucifying and burying it with Jesus.
  2. Put on our new Spirit-filled self—by receiving all of Him and His provision.
Photo by Stephanie Watters Flores on Unsplash

ONE: DIE TO OUR OLD SELF AND THIS WORLD

Jesus didn’t come to just put a bandage on a small wound to make us spiritually whole. Our old sinful selves are completely corrupt. They have no good in them at all.

The only solution is to have a funeral.

The wages of sin is death.

Rom. 6:23

Jesus knows that the only way out for us is death. Death means “separation.”

  • Spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God—that is how we all start in life, as spiritual stillborns.
  • Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body.
  • The second death is the permanent separation of the spirit from God in hell.
  • The death of our sinful nature is the separation of our sinful nature from our new nature in Christ and the separation of our sinful nature from God.

When we come to Christ in salvation, at that moment, God counts our old sinful self as dead with Jesus and counts us as dead to this world and alive to Him through Jesus!

The tricky part about the death of our sinful nature here is that we still have access to our sinful nature as long as we are in this world. We can choose to take our old sinful nature off the cross or out of the grave where it is supposed to be, or we can “take up our cross” and kill it daily.

But we are no longer slaves to our old nature like we were!!

What great news!

Now we have a choice!

We can choose to follow our sinful nature’s desires and temptation from the enemy of our souls by feeding and cherishing it. Or we can choose to follow our new nature in Christ by feeding and cherishing it.

Of course, if we belong to Jesus, He gives us a new nature and changes our desires so that we long to walk in His ways, not our old ways. We hate our sinful nature and any sin and it will grieve our hearts. We want to avoid sin like the plague and we want to repent from sin ASAP once we know it is there.

We die to our old self by rejecting and resisting lies from the enemy, temptation, sin, and anything that is not from God by the power of God’s Spirit. We stop feasting on the world’s spiritual junk food.

The essence of dying to self is that we yield our will to God’s will in everything like Jesus did, “Not My will but Yours be done.”

This part can be painful. But it is more than worth it!

It’s scary to let go of our old lives, our old shack is all we have known. It can seem like Jesus is asking too much for us to let Him tear things down. But Jesus wants to replace our dirty old shack with a beautiful new spiritual mansion that can stand every storm of life and is fit for the King of the universe to live in.

We purposely deny ourselves what our old nature wants and seek God and His righteousness first.

We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Rom. 6:2-4
Photo by Walter Sturn on Unsplash

TWO: PUT ON OUR NEW SELF IN CHRIST

When we come to Christ as our Savior and Lord, God counts everything He did during His life as if we did it. Isn’t that the most incredible love?!

This means that we put on all that He has done for us. We put on our new identity in Him. We put on His promises, His power, and His truth. We put on His love for us. We put on His Word and build our lives on the Solid Rock.

We receive His Spirit and choose to give Him full control and Lordship of our lives every moment. We feed on God’s Word, prayer, praise for God, and thanksgiving.

We receive His:

All of the things He has done are finished. They belong to us completely when we come to Christ in faith.

Then we “work out our salvation” day by day learning to walk in all of these truths and gifts that we already possess fully to a greater and greater degree in everyday life in the process of “sanctification.” (Please see note at the bottom of the post.)

We obey Jesus because we love Him, we are so thankful for all He has done, and because of our new nature—not to try to earn salvation. We depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to obey, not our own. That is the only way we really can walk in obedience, victory, and holiness. (John 14:23-24)

When we live in our new identity in Christ and the power of His Spirit, we are new people inside. We have new fellowship with God. And this completely changes the way we interact with other people, even if they haven’t changed!

In the next post, we’ll focus on Step 3—Looking Outward at other people and our relationships.

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What is the Lord speaking to your heart about this? Do you have some insights or frustrations you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it.

RESOURCES

Romans 6—dead to sin, alive to God in Christ

What Does It Mean to Be Dead to Sin?—by www.gotquestions.org

Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation? — by www.gotquestions.org

Who Am I in Christ? — by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean That a Christian Is a New Creation?—by www.gotquestions.org

A SUMMARY OF THE 4-STEP PEACE PLAN

  1. Look upward—at Jesus and yield fully to His Lordship.
  2. Look inward—at yourself, get rid of toxic things and receive good stuff from God.
  3. Look outward—at others with a whole new divine perspective and approach.
  4. Look forward—to how Jesus will create beauty from everything you’ve gone through, from even the most painful, difficult times of your life. And look forward most of all to being with Him forever in heaven.

When women are whole in Christ they are empowered by God to have divine relationship skills that greatly bless their marriages and other relationships.

The process of a believer’s journey:

  1. Salvation—At this moment, we experience justification before God, meaning, He declares us right with Him.
  2. Sanctification—We are positionally holy before God at the moment we are justified by our faith in Christ. But then we experience a process of spiritual maturity where we learn to live out what we possess fully in Christ as we grow.
  3. Glorification—We are finally completely sinlessly perfect and we have glorified, heavenly bodies like Jesus does now.

The Peaceful Wife Story

silver dove with cutouts

At Peaceful Wife, I know that many wives go through their days feeling frustrated, insecure, ill-equipped, and unloved. Feeling unloved and insecure makes a woman sad and causes her to lose hope, and sometimes, it even causes her to inadvertently sabotage the very intimacy she longs for in her marriage.

When a woman finds God’s love, power, and beautiful design for her femininity and for her marriage, she comes alive. The spiritual abundance she finds in Christ gives her security in knowing she is deeply loved, secure, known, and empowered more than she could ever imagine through Jesus. This gives her the strength to approach her marriage—and all relationships—in healthy new ways.

April Cassidy
April Cassidy—2015

I seek to shine a light on the pathway to spiritual wholeness through Jesus because every woman deserves to have the key to the greatest fulfillment and spiritual abundance available to her in the world. Then she can have the divine power and wisdom she needs to pour God’s life and healing into her marriage and has the chance to see many miracles happen.

When women are whole in Christ they are empowered by God to have divine relationship skills that greatly bless their marriages and other relationships.🎉

The 4-Step Peace Plan

This plan is a simple pathway to show you how you can enter into the heroic life God has for you and experience real peace with God, with others (as far as it depends on you), and with yourself.

  1. Look upward—Set your gaze on Jesus Christ in total awe and yield yourself fully to His Lordship in faith. Step down off of the throne of your life and let the Prince of Peace, Jesus, rule your heart and mind.
  2. Look inward— Invite God to help you crucify your old sinful nature with Jesus and give you a new identity, His Spirit, His love, and new Life.
  3. Look outward—Receive Jesus’ eyes and heart for others to love them with His divine love and power and to speak His life and blessing into their lives, including in your marriage.
  4. Look forward—Watch Jesus turn your pain, trials, and difficult relationships into beauty for your ultimate good, a blessing for others, and His greatest glory. And look forward most of all to eternity in heaven with Him and everyone who loves Him forever!

You can choose to have a saving relationship with Jesus today to begin finding life-changing spiritual healing  and hope.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

It’s Time for You to Become the Woman God Created You to Be!

woman in gray dress in front of a building

Let me invite you into a story that is all about you. It is about your hopes, fears, dreams, and frustrations. It is about where you are right now and how to get from where you are to where you really want to go.

As a woman, you probably long for several core things:

  • Security—You want to know you are safe emotionally, physically, financially, mentally, and in every way. You want to know your identity is firm and that your life is built on something unshakeable no matter what storms may come.
  • To Be Known—You want intimacy with someone who deeply understands you, fully knows you, and accepts you. You want to have strong, healthy, vibrant relationships— with your husband, with your children, with God, and even with yourself.
  • Unconditional Love—You want to know that you are cherished, important, special, and loved just because you are you, no matter what happens.
  • Empowerment—You want to be the best version of yourself. You want to be an incredible blessing on your husband, your family, coworkers, friends, and neighbors. You want to make a huge impact on the world for good and leave a wonderful legacy that will matter forever. You want to be an important part of a bigger story.
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

THE PROBLEM

Perhaps you feel insecure, misunderstood, unloved, and like you have no idea which way to go to make things better. Maybe you believe other people are the real cause of your pain. You have been depending on someone to meet your needs, maybe even your husband, and that person has failed you in some way.

The truth is, life can be really difficult. Relationships and marriage can be harder than we ever imagined they could be.

You feel like you have tried so hard to make things work, but you don’t know what to do. You’ve read books. You’ve talked to girl friends. You may have even tried a counselor or mentor. And you are still disappointed.

Some people will tell you to wait on your husband—or other people— to change first. But…

A real hero knows that she can’t afford to wait on someone else.

Time is short. There is a crisis. Someone has to step up and be courageous and strong—now.

Of course, you may not see yourself as a hero… yet. You may be filled with self-doubt, fears, anxiety, and a feeling that you are just not very well-equipped for the whole marriage thing, or even for life, in general.

You may have come to the humbling place where you realize you can’t fix or save anyone else. And you can’t even fix or save yourself.

What are you supposed to do with that?!?

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

YOUR ENEMY

You may be tempted to think that your enemy is your husband, your in-laws, that hateful coworker, or some other person. But the Bible shows us that people are not actually our enemies. Our primary enemies are unseen in the spiritual realm.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Eph. 6:10

There really is someone who is trying to destroy your life and your family. He hides himself pretty well in our culture, but his work is evident all around us.

He has been covertly feeding us toxic lies through other people, books, media, our culture, and even our own fallen nature about God, marriage, masculinity, femininity, and ourselves. Many of us have inadvertently built our core beliefs on these lies and we don’t know why our lives are so painful and dysfunctional.

We don’t realize that we built our marriages and our lives on a shaky foundation and that is why when the storms of life pound us, things fall apart.

I’VE GOT JUST THE PLAN YOU NEED

Every hero needs a boost, of course. We all need someone who has been in the trenches where we are and has overcome adversity and who understands the baby steps it takes to get to victory. We need someone with a solid plan to show us the way we should go.

It’s good that we get to the place we realize we need help desperately, that we can’t do this whole life or marriage thing on our own. This humility and brokenness is the door that opens our hearts to the narrow path that God has prepared for us.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

I want to see your life of frustration, isolation, loneliness, helplessness, and pain transform to one of confidence, contentment, empowerment in Christ, peace, joy, and all the spiritual abundance God has prepared for you.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

If you are ready to be a hero in your own real-life adventure story, I’d love to show you the way.

The 4-Step Peace Plan

This plan is a simple pathway to show you how you can enter into the heroic life God has for you and experience real peace with God, with others (as far as it depends on you), and with yourself.

  1. Look upward—Set your gaze on Jesus Christ in total awe and yield yourself fully to His Lordship in faith. Step down off of the throne of your life and let the Prince of Peace, Jesus, rule your heart and mind.
  2. Look inward— Invite God to help you crucify your old sinful nature with Jesus and give you a new identity, His Spirit, His love, and new Life.
  3. Look outward—Receive Jesus’ eyes and heart for others to love them with His divine love and power and to speak His life and blessing into their lives, including in your marriage.
  4. Look forward—Watch Jesus turn your pain, trials, and difficult relationships into beauty for your ultimate good, a blessing for others, and His greatest glory. And look forward most of all to eternity in heaven with Him and everyone who loves Him forever!

You can choose to have a saving relationship with Jesus today to begin finding life-changing spiritual healing  and hope.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

YOUR DEEPEST NEEDS ARE SATISFIED IN CHRIST ALONE

When you build your thinking, your heart, your core beliefs, and your identity on Jesus, He fills you up with all you were lacking. He, alone, can truly give you the things you desire so deeply in an intimate, personal, spiritual relationship with Him.

In Jesus, you are completely secure and unshakeable. You are fully known and completely loved unconditionally. And you are empowered with a new nature, a new life, and a new Spirit to become the very best version of yourself that God created you to be.

He meets the deepest needs of your heart that no human can ever meet. He is the only one who can truly complete us and heal us to the core.

THEN IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A HERO FOR OTHERS

Jesus will even empower you to be an instrumental part of His heroic plan to help set many other miserable captives free so that they can come into His kingdom, as well! What an incredible honor to be part of His work and miracles in other people’s lives!

In coming posts, I plan to share more details about each step of this plan and how you can grow like crazy in the Lord.

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You’re welcome to share in the comments! <3

If you can’t see the comment box because you are on the home page, just scroll back up to the title of the post and click on it. Then if you scroll to the bottom of the post, you can enter a comment.

MY RESOURCES FOR YOU

Why try to reinvent the wheel when you could benefit from the years I have already spent and learn from my failures and successes and other wives’ stories that I share? Join thousands of other women from around the world whose lives have been changed by the power of God as they read about the treasures God has shown me on my 11 year journey.

I want to see Jesus heal as many women and miraculously change as many lives as possible!

  • Sign up for my free blog so you don’t miss a post!
  • Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for women for free encouragement and tips at “April Cassidy
  • Check out my books – For the cost of one lunch date with a friend, I share all the secret baby steps you need and all the wisdom I have learned over many years of thousands of hours of study, prayer, journaling, and wrestling with the Lord, myself. You can save yourself a lot of time, frustration, and spinning your wheels if you learn from my mistakes. And you can get to the really good stuff a whole lot faster. My desire is that I might put the dots much closer together for those who come behind me than they were for me. I don’t want it to take 3 years for things to click for you like it took for me!

Don’t take my word for it, read the reviews!

The Peaceful Wife—Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – God’s design for us as wives and women that I wish I understood 25 years ago when Greg and I first got married.

The Peaceful Mom—Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord How to have peace with God, with yourself, with your thoughts, and with others. Ideal for moms but also a huge blessing to women in any season of life.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR WOMEN

Rest. Wait. Follow. Me?

sheep in a meadow

It’s great to do things for God. But it MUST be according to His will, His Spirit, His leading, and His timing. I have learned that if I run ahead and do things on my own, I just make a big mess. A really big mess.

Not only do I not bless anyone, I can even cause harm when I try to do things in my strength, my effort, and my wisdom.

It’s hard for me to be still and wait. I don’t want to waste time. Life is short! Running ahead with my own plans is easy. My normal tendency is to want to just take off and go about 100 miles per hour feeling like I am DOING something important for God. Whether He has called me to that thing or not. Whether it is by His Spirit and assignment or not.

But God has been calling me to a MUCH slower pace. And a LOT of waiting, at times.

Because… He is good.

There’s nothing wrong with making plans in advance, necessarily. We need to make some plans. We do need to think about the future, at times, and pray about possible options. But sometimes I end up expending a lot of energy over potential decisions that may happen way down the road that we may not even need to ever make.

It’s critical that I remember that the Lord is in control, not me. I must be ready to set aside my plans every second for God’s plans.

Turns out, I don’t have to have everything figured out in advance.

A Pillar of Cloud and Fire

God has also been showing me recently that following Him is a lot like the picture of Israel following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38

The Israelites had no idea when God would move them or how long they might stay. God didn’t tell them His plan in advance. Sometimes, they stayed in a place only one night and the cloud moved the next day so they broke camp and followed. Other times, the cloud stayed in one place for a month or longer.

They were a lot like sheep, following their Good Shepherd.

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

It makes me think of how God leads me. I don’t know His plan any more than these adorable little lambs know their shepherd’s plan. I don’t know what He will do even 5 minutes from now. And yet, He is with me. He does lead me.

Through His Word. Through prayer. Through godly counsel. Through circumstances. Through His “still, small voice.” Through people in positions of leadership in my life.

He is great at leading me through my wonderful husband who thinks so very differently from me. And He leads in other ways, too.

I have learned that human plans can change very quickly. I don’t want to put much weight on them.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17

In one heartbeat, our entire reality can suddenly change.

Only God really knows what will happen. And only God can truly know what will be best in any given situation.

All I really need to do is seek God’s beautiful face. Meaning, all I need to do is worship, thank, praise, and trust Him. As I keep my spiritual eyes focused on Him, He will direct my steps and give us the prompting, the open doors, the provision, the opportunities, the desires, the calling, the vision, the assignments, the wisdom, and the direction that I need.

This takes a whole lot of strain off of me. I don’t need to know the plan. And you know what else? Huge light bulb moment…

My husband doesn’t even need to know God’s plan in advance, either!

I just need to love and trust that God has the plan and He will reveal it to both of us one step at a time – at just the right time. I have found that He absolutely will as I devote myself fully to following and trusting Him.

When I say,

Lord,

Do ALL that You want with me and in me and with my family. Lead my career and ministry in Your narrow path that leads to Life. I want to experience as much of You as possible. I want to yield to Your Lordship completely. I want to get to see everything You want to provide and know and experience all of Your Spirit that I can possibly receive.

I leave everything open. I give you total access to every door in my life. Every possibility in the future. Every talent and gift I have. Everyone in my family. Every trial. Every blessing. It’s all completely Yours.

Let Your will be done 100% in my life. I don’t want to miss out on one good thing You have for me. I want to experience every bit of Your unfathomable love. I want You do to whatever will bring You the greatest glory in my life. Amen…

It is amazing what He will do.

ISAIAH 30:1-3

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

ISAIAH 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

ISAIAH 30:21 (God’s plan for His people with the New Covenant in Christ)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

I want to be more like that little lamb who just seeks to be close to her shepherd and is ready to follow wherever he may go in a moment’s notice. It’s not about me, my plans, my opinions, my wisdom, or my thoughts about what would be best. It is all about Him!

It is a lot more simple than I ever realized.

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Have you learned something about resting in Christ, waiting on God, and following Him that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear the godly wisdom you have gleaned in your walk with the Lord.

RELATED

What Did the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night Signify? by www.gotquestions.org

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Resting in Christ

Why Is My Husband So Skeptical of the Changes I Am Making?

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

First of all, if you have decided to walk on this road, I am thrilled that you want to allow the Lord to change you and you want to become the woman and wife God calls you to be. This is not an easy journey. It is a narrow, lonely path and very few find it. But God’s path is the most wonderful place to be in all the world – full of the presence of God, the glory of God, and spiritual treasures and blessings in Christ.

  • Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Tim. 2:21

Many times, we wives (especially us Type A personalities, like me), throw ourselves into trying to completely change everything in our lives all at once. We expect ourselves to be able to master these new ways of thinking, speaking, and acting in a few hours or a few days. We are sincere about wanting the Lord to change us. And… we really want our husbands to be supportive as we change.

Maybe we make some big changes:

These are great things.

Maybe I have been doing that for a few days, or even a few weeks or months – and yet, my husband doesn’t seem to be changing. In fact, maybe  he doesn’t seem to “buy” the new me.

Why Is My Husband So Skeptical?

One thing I have noticed is that most husbands remain skeptical about the changes their wives make on this journey for quite some time – whether they are believers or not. That seems to be a pretty common pattern. I have seen one husband who was super supportive immediately and who made his wife breakfast in bed the next day after she apologized for her disrespect. But most of the time, husbands are confused and concerned about the sudden changes they see. Even good changes can seem scary to someone who isn’t sure what is going on.

If you have a history of months, years, or decades of acting one way, and now you are seeking to allow God to change you, that is awesome! And I want to encourage you to keep going and to press on, allowing God to do all He wants to do in your heart and life. I am right here, cheering you on, praying for you, and rooting for you with all my heart!

  • And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6

But let’s stop and try to see from a husband’s perspective in this situation. They do have legitimate concerns, many times. Just like a wife may have concerns if her husband suddenly changes abruptly after years or decades of acting in certain ways.

The truth is, it generally takes time for people to have total heart change.

People can put on a front for a while. But not many people actually have a total heart and life change that lasts.

If you have been married any length of time, and you have a personality much like mine, you have probably read a lot of marriage books and tried many new approaches in the past. Your husband may assume that this is just “another one of those phases.” He may think that this is another attempt at manipulating him. Or that it is a fad that will fade in a few weeks. So he may not get on board right away and cheer for the good new things you are doing. He may be afraid that if he doesn’t respond the way you want him to, that you will get really upset. Change can be super scary for husbands. Even good change. They aren’t sure yet why you are making these changes and if it really will be as good as it seems.

He wants to see that what is happening is for real.

And the only thing that will convince most husbands that this kind of change is real – is that they see it consistently over a significant period of time. Like many – months or even years.

I haven’t ever come across a woman, in my 7 years of ministry, who suddenly and completely changes in an instant. I sure didn’t. It took me over 3 years to begin to feel like I had any clue what I was doing. And I was studying and praying 3-5 hours per day almost 7 days per week that entire 3 years. It was another year or two after that before it all began to really feel like the new me. And I am still learning every day, after 10 years on this journey, and will be for the rest of my life!

Besides that, your husband has his own journey to make, too. And his timing may be different from yours. God can reach him all the more as you get out of God’s way and as you cooperate with the Lord in becoming the woman and wife He calls you to be. That will make it easier for your husband to hear God’s voice to him. Don’t worry. He will have a lot of changing to do, too. God will handle that.

This Journey Is Completely Life-Changing

This journey is more like a baby learning to walk than it is like flipping a light switch. Or it is like learning a brand new language that is foreign to us. We don’t go from infant to being able to walk in a day or even a month. And we don’t suddenly become fluent in a foreign language in a few hours or a few weeks. Or even a year.

What God is calling us to is radical.

He wants us to give up our old fixed beliefs about God, other people, and ourselves. He wants us to unlearn all of the brainwashing and indoctrination we have received from our culture, our sinful natures, and the enemy for decades. He wants us to crucify our sinful natures with Jesus on the cross and receive His Spirit. He wants to shine His blazing Light into the darkest, most wounded areas of our hearts and minds and get rid of anything toxic and bring total healing. He wants us to rebuild our lives completely on His Word and His truth alone.

He wants total sanctification.

  • This is not a matter of a house that just needs to be painted on the inside and have new curtains hung in the windows.
  • What God wants to do is raze the old house and rebuild from scratch.

Positionally, I am sanctified in God’s eyes. I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I have received all of Jesus’ righteousness and holiness into my account. He completely paid my sin debt in full. When God looks at me, He sees Jesus and His holiness and goodness! How amazing is that!?!?

The process of experiential or progressive sanctification lasts our entire lives on this planet. There is always so much more to learn, so much more to comprehend. There is always more growing to do in our faith and so many more spiritual treasures to discover in Jesus.

  • Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23

What Do I Do If My Husband Stays Skeptical for a Long Time?

My precious sister, you just keep doing what God calls you to do. Until He calls you home to heaven.

Reverence Christ above all. Think rightly about and respect your husband. Think rightly about and respect yourself. This is ultimately all about you and Jesus. Continue to let Him change you. Continue to allow Him to heal and teach you. Continue to humble yourself before the Lord and invite Him to have full control and yield to His Lordship completely.

Continue to demonstrate to your husband that when you stumble, you get right back up.

Show him that this is real. You’re not perfect, but you are determined! Don’t talk much about what you are learning and doing if he is skeptical. Your words won’t impress him. The genuine heart and life change he sees in you will eventually speak much more loudly than your words ever could.

Be patient with your husband’s skepticism. Realize that he does have a point – that people don’t generally change 180 degrees in an instant. And use this time where your husband may not be super supportive to let God refine your motives. If your motives are that you want your husband to change, you won’t be able to hold on for months with a skeptical husband. When you find you are disappointed in your husband’s lack of support, let that be a reminder that you want your motives to be simply to please and honor the Lord. Change for Jesus.

If your husband hasn’t experienced the transforming power of God, himself, or he hasn’t seen it before, he may not realize that it is even possible for people to dramatically change by the power of Jesus. So you have an incredible opportunity to be that example.

Note to any husbands who may be reading – The more supportive and encouraging you can be toward your wife who wants to become a more godly wife, the easier it will be for her to make these changes!

I can remember feeling discouraged many times in the first 3 years, especially, of my journey. I had no clue what I was doing. No mentor. No one to help me navigate this seeming minefield but God, my journals, and over 30 books. I would get frustrated that Greg didn’t seem to be changing or didn’t seem to be as supportive as I wanted him to be.

In those moments, God would gently speak to my heart, “April, why are you doing this? Are you changing so that you can control Greg and make him do what you want him to do for you? Are you doing this so that you feel more loved by Greg? Or are you changing for Me?”

Then I would redirect my motives and focus to the Lord and keep on trusting Him and inviting Him to change me.

Be patient with yourself. You are human. This is a difficult journey that very few women make, especially today in our culture. None of us will be completely perfect until heaven. We need to give ourselves much grace – and our husbands, too. But we can allow God to help us grow. We can allow Him access to our souls and minds. We can determine to yield to His leading and trust Him to give us the light we need for each little baby step. We can trust Him with the outcomes. We can allow Him to give us the power we need to walk in holiness and obedience. We can rest in Him and allow Him to restore our souls and to be our Good Shepherd.

Note to Wives with Severe Marriage Issues:

If there are any uncontrolled mental health issues, active addictions, lots of secrecy about money/time/other contacts, adultery, abuse, or other serious problems going on in your marriage, please reach out to a trusted, experienced, godly counselor for help one-on-one – preferably in person. You are probably going to need additional support, prayer, and wisdom. If you are not safe, please try to get yourself and your children somewhere safe. Involve the authorities if you need to.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Walking the narrow path of Yours is tricky. And lonely. And sometimes we feel like no one else is with us but You. Encourage those of us who are discouraged today. Help us keep our focus on You and all that You want to do in and through us. Help us decide to follow and obey You no matter what. Help us yield to Your Lordship and to the power of Your Spirit to give us the supernatural ability to do all that You ask us to do. We can’t do this on our own. Help us to set our faces like flint to follow You and to seek to please You far above anything else. Help us to see that You are truly the Greatest Treasure there is. Refine and purify our motives and make us more and more like Jesus for Your glory. Let us set godly examples for our husbands, children, and everyone else around us by Your power working in and through us.

Amen!

SHARE

If you have been on this journey for awhile and you’d like to share how your husband responded when you first began to ask God to change you, we’d love to hear about your experience!

If you are just starting out and you need some encouragement or prayer, please let us know.

If you are a husband and you have masculine insights to share to help us better understand our men, we’d love to hear that, as well.

Much love in Christ!

RELATED

Influencing an Unbelieving (or Believing) Husband for Christ

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

I Don’t Think My Husband Loves Me – How Can I  Become a Godly Wife?

Sometimes This Journey Is Lonely- but This Wife Is Being Faithful to God

Don’t Expect Outside Support – from friends, extended family, coworkers, etc… on this journey

Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – by The Restored Wife

Dying to Self

25 Ways to Respect Myself

 

 

 

 

Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

We are continuing our 21 Day Fast from Negative Words and this week the focus will be on arguing. The Lord gives very clear instructions throughout the Bible that those who know, love, and follow Him are not to argue, quarrel, or fight.

Oh, and don’t forget to comment on how you are doing with the fast. Let us know if you are stuck or need some prayer or encouragement, too.

The Lord instructs all believers in Christ not to argue or quarrel.

  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Phil. 2:14
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
  • Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Tim. 2:14

Sometimes conflict is inevitable. But arguing and quarreling CAN be avoided!

We need to be able to discuss, share, inform, request, and suggest things in our relationships. We even need to be able to appropriately confront sin, at times. We need to be able to state our opinions and desires respectfully. We need to be able to have important and unimportant discussions. Thankfully, we can do all of this without arguing with God’s help, wisdom, and power.

What Does It Mean to Argue or Quarrel?

Google Dictionary gives two definitions of arguing.

  1. give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.
2. exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.
In this post, we are talking about the second definition. Or about quarreling, squabbling, bickering, or fighting. We are not to pick fights. We are not to act foolishly, only caring about trying to force our own opinion and agenda on everyone with selfish motives. We are not to try to crush other people and hurt them to prove how “right” we are about something.

What Does It Mean to Discuss Something?

Google Dictionary gives three definitions of “discussion.” Here are two that are most pertinent to our conversation today.

  1. the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
  2. a conversation or debate about a certain topic.
Note that with a discussion, there is no anger.
There is no attempt to hurt others or to “win at all costs.” It is a peaceful conversation about ideas, priorities, perspectives, and solutions. This is very freeing! We can discuss without tension at all – recognizing that the relationship is generally more important than the issue being discussed. The only time the issue is more important is if it is something about God or sin. And even then the Lord instructs us to handle those who oppose us gently and with respect, desiring the opponents to come to repentance, salvation, and right relationship with God (2 Tim. 2:25).
We can respectfully share and discuss our perspectives, ideas, desires, needs, and concerns. We don’t have to insult anyone or be rude. We don’t have to go after anyone with sinful anger, rage, hatred, or malice. We don’t have to be selfish. We can remain Spirit-filled, self-controlled, calm, and peaceful. We can treat others with honor, godly love, and respect as we act in our new nature in the Lord.
Yes, even if we disagree.

Why Do We Quarrel and Argue in Sinful Ways?

The Bible shares several reasons for the prevalence of quarreling among believers:

The Cure Is to Live in the Spirit with Love and Humility

The cure for quarreling, bickering, and fighting:

  • Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
  • Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
  • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
  • But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
  • If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3

In witnessing, there are times to stop. When people don’t want to hear the Gospel and they reject it and us, we move on. This will help avoid quarrels, as well:

  • Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matt. 7:6
  • And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Mark 6:11

But how in the world do I avoid arguing in practical ways when I live with sinful people who want to argue constantly? And how to I avoid arguing when I have my own sinful nature to contend with, as well?

Some Suggestions to Prayerfully Consider

To avoid arguing, there are some disciplines and things I need to pray about:

Some Verses about Avoiding Arguing and Quarreling:

From the New Testament:

  • As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Rom. 14:1
  • But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

From Proverbs:

  • Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Prov. 3:30
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Prov. 19:13
  • It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Prov. 20:3
  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
  • A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. Prov. 29:22
  • Pressing anger produces strife. Prov. 30:33

SHARE

What are some things that have hit you in this post or in this series? How is your 21 day fast going? Do you need some encouragement or prayer? What has been the hardest part? Have you noticed any good fruit in your life or relationships?

Much love!

RELATED

We have been doing a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words inspired by this wife’s story. We started on Valentine’s Day and agreed that we would seek to avoid the following:

What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus As Your Personal Savior? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

Humility” by Andrew Murray

NOTE – If you are not safe, if someone is abusing you or threatening you or your children, please try to get to safety. Avoiding quarrels and arguments doesn’t mean we sit and take physical abuse or we just stay and let someone mistreat us terribly. Please reach out to proper authorities if you are not safe. Or you can contact www.thehotline.org if you are on a safe computer.

If I Insult Others, I Need a Spiritual Check Up ASAP

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

It’s easy to get into the habit of fault-finding and having a critical spirit about other people.

It takes no spiritual maturity, wisdom, talent, or special abilities to criticize others and tear them down with words. The sinful nature does this effortlessly.

It’s also easy to think, “Well, he hurt me, so now I get to hurt him.” Or, “She insulted me, so now I get to take revenge and attack her and hurt her even worse than she hurt me. That will teach her a lesson!” Or, “How dare anyone think bad things about me? How dare anyone not think I am totally perfect?” Then I may think I can justify my sinful response to that person in my mind. Of course, this won’t hold water with God.

Sin is never justifiable in His eyes and He always provides a way out from temptation for His children. If only we will take it!

If I think along the lines of pride, vengeance, hatred, jealousy, or self-righteousness, I will respond in the flesh not in the power of the Spirit of God. I must learn to take my sinful thoughts captive for Christ before they lead me into sinful words and actions.

  • With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10

From the post, “What Does the Bible Say about Being Meanspirited?” by www.gotquestions.org

Christlike living is in direct opposition to a mean spirit. To highlight some differences:

• Our mean spirit wants to get revenge; Jesus says to forgive (Matthew 6:14–15).
• Our mean spirit wants to exalt itself; Jesus says to seek humility (Matthew 23:12).
• Our mean spirit wants to be first; Jesus says we are blessed if we choose to be last (Mark 9:35).
• Our mean spirit wants to fight; Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
• Our mean spirit wants to gossip; the Bible says to guard our mouths (Proverbs 13:3).
• Our mean spirit is rude; Jesus says our speech should be gracious (Colossians 4:6).

God Calls Us to Love

There are two primary commands for believers in Christ (Matt. 22:36-40).

  1. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
  2. To love others as we love ourselves – with God’s agape love.

Here is the kind of love God calls us to have for others.

It is a divine love that we can only have through the Holy Spirit:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor. 13:4-8

And God calls us to live by the power of the Spirit not by the power of our sinful flesh:You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Gal. 5:13-15

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal. 5:22-26

Why Do I Want to Insult Others?

Maybe it could be helpful for me to think about why I feel compelled to insult other people, if this is a struggle for me. Once I see why I am doing this, then I can invite God to help me address the root sin issues so I can repent and stop living this way and start living in ways that honor the Lord.

  • Do I not know Jesus as my Savior and Lord?
  • Have I submitted myself to the Lordship of Christ?
  • Is it just a bad habit that I don’t even realize I am doing?
  • Do I want to feel better about myself by putting others down? Am I a bully and/or emotionally abusive?
  • Am I self-righteous? Do I think I am more holy and good than other people?
  • Am I prideful? Do I think I know best and my wisdom is equal to or greater than God’s?
  • Am I putting myself, in my mind, in the place of God as Judge of human hearts, minds, and souls? Do I consciously or subconsciously think people answer to me rather than to the Lord?
  • Do I think God’s Word doesn’t apply to me? I am somehow above His commands?
  • Am I acting in fear? Am I trying to protect myself by lashing out at others?
  • Do I enjoy hurting other people? Am I malicious?
  • Am I a narcissist? Do I only care about myself and my happiness?
  • Do I know the Lord, but have I grieved His Spirit because of unrepentant sin in my life? Am I walking in disobedience to the Word of God in some area of my life so that I don’t have the power of the Spirit right now?
  • Do I love and desire something else more than God? If I have something else on the throne of my heart, I will feel frustrated and resentful because there is no contentment, joy, or peace in anything but Jesus.
  • Do I hate God or think lies about God or feel betrayed by God because people hurt me?
  • Do I hate people?
  • Do I hate myself?
  • Am I codependent with someone else? Do I idolize my husband or another person and then get angry at them when they don’t meet my deepest needs? Do I expect other people to be responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing? Or do I think I am responsible for other people’s decisions and their emotional and spiritual well-being? Do I have my boundaries and responsibilities mixed up in a dysfunctional way?
  • Do I have unbiblical or unrealistic expectations of others and resent them when they disappoint me?
  • Do I let my emotions rule and reign in my life instead of the Spirit?
  • Do I let PMS or hormones dictate my words?
  • Maybe I feel insulted by someone else and I end up reacting in the flesh and am not sure how to respond rightly.
  • Do I have a medical issue that needs attention – thyroid problems, nutritional deprivation, sleep-deprivation, low blood sugar, side effects from a medication, postpartum depression, etc…?
  • Am I deeply spiritually and emotionally wounded myself and do I need spiritual healing?
  • Do I have issues with bitterness, grudges, unforgiveness, and resentment?
  • Do I want power over others, do I try to control them with hurtful words?
  • Do I believe that I have to insult and disrespect others in order to respect myself?
  • Did I experience emotional/verbal abuse when I was growing up? Does this just seem normal and maybe I don’t purposely do it, but I don’t know any other way to relate to people? Maybe I don’t know how to be vulnerable and direct or how to respectfully ask for what I would like?

Or is there some other reason behind my hurtful words?

Pray with Me

Lord,

We invite You to illuminate our hearts, minds, motives, and deepest thoughts. Please expose any sin in the dark corners of our souls. Shine Your blazing Light of truth and love in every nook and cranny. Help us to see toxic ways of thinking and help us to repent so that we can be made right with You and we can be healed by the power of the blood of Jesus. Then please show us how to seek to repent to those we have hurt and to try to make things right and to live Your new way from now on. Help us to treat others with Your love, honor, and respect. That is how we show our love for You. However we treat people – You take that as how we treat You.

Amen!

Verses about Insults

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12 

  • (Note, this doesn’t mean we never confront sin. But we don’t go telling everyone about it. We handle it rightly. And we realize some things are so insignificant, we can pass over them.)

Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a person with understanding keeps silent. Prov. 11:12

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11

Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools. Eccl. 7:9

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matt. 5:22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt. 5:43-45

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rom. 12:14

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:17-21

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Eph. 4:26

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2

When he (Jesus) was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Pet. 2:23

SHARE

What are some things you have learned about why you have been tempted to insult people in the past? We’d love to hear any wisdom the Lord has given you about overcoming the habit of using hurtful words.

Much love!

RELATED

What Is an Insult? And what is it not?

How I Respond to Insults Says a Lot about My Character

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

What Place Do  Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?

Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, and Violence

Our Words Can Cause Catastrophic Damage

Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

SALVATION THROUGH JESUS IS AVAILABLE TO US ALL

Of course the foundational thing I need (in order to do anything good in God’s eyes) is to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I need to:

1. ADMIT I am a sinner and there is nothing I can do to make myself in right relationship with the One true holy God of the universe.

– “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

2. BELIEVE that Jesus, God in the flesh, left the glory of heaven, came to this world to live the perfect life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved for my sin in my place. He conquered sin, death, and the grave on my behalf and was raised on the 3rd day.

– “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
– “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

3. CONFESS that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord and give my whole life and everything in my life to Him. He is now in charge not me and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.

– “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9
– And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:15
– “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21

Much love!

My Response to Insults Says a Lot about My Character

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Unfortunately, we will all be the targets of insults, at one time or another. Even Jesus faced intense criticism, insults, and terrible persecution. And He was God! He was completely perfect. And yet, so many people hated Him.

It hurts deeply to feel misunderstood, wrongly accused, berated, or verbally attacked.

Our knee-jerk response when we feel insulted is to get defensive. Or to go on an all-out offensive attack at the person who insulted or criticized us.

This topic could easily fill many books. This post is not a comprehensive guide to exactly what to do in every possible situation. It is a general overview. We will need the Word and God’s Spirit to give us the wisdom we need in individual scenarios.

There are two primary ways we can respond to insults for believers in Christ. The flesh or the Spirit.

Fleshly reactions to insults:

  • React in a spirit of offense, self-righteousness, and pride.
  • Vigorously defend myself and try to control and change what the other person thinks about me.
  • Attack the other person in sinful anger.
    • Malice – try to hurt the other person in any way possible, including physically, financially, socially, emotionally, etc…
    • Gossip about the other person.
    • Slander the other person.
    • Seek revenge.
    • Complain to other people about the person.
    • Passive-aggressively try to undermine and attack the person.
    • Triangulate with another person – take my offense to another person instead of to the one who hurt me.
  • Hold a grudge and bitterness against that person.
  • Retreat and hide in fear.
  • Freak out and worry.

Yes, it is very tempting to lash out and launch a swift “nuclear attack” when we feel insulted.

But what does it accomplish – other than to add to the emotional and spiritual carnage? And it separates us from fellowship with the Lord because it grieves the Holy Spirit.

What if there is a better way to respond? A way that honors the Lord and keeps from escalating the situation – as far as it depends on us? That is what I want to talk about together today.

What Is the Source?

I think it is important to remember what Jesus said about the source of what comes out of people’s mouths. 

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt. 12:33-37

It is super helpful to remember that what a person says reveals what is in that person’s heart. It really isn’t necessarily about me at all.

I need to avoid making the mistake of thinking that what people say must reflect me or be about me – or that what they say must be true automatically.

What people say is primarily about them. It is about their motives, hearts, and issues. It is about who is in control of their lives – the sinful nature or the Holy Spirit.

  • Some people are walking around all filled up with the sinful nature. When they get pressured by relationships or trials, the nastiness that is inside them comes spewing out all over whoever is around them.
  • Other people are walking around all filled up with the Holy Spirit. When they get pressured by relationships or trials, the fruit of the Spirit is what gushes out of them all over whoever is around them..

So I don’t have to take everything that other people say personally. This is so freeing!

I need to carefully weigh what people say vs. what God says. If the person’s words contain a godly rebuke, even if it wasn’t thoughtfully presented, then I can humbly receive that part and repent for any sin in my life or any wrong doing on my part. I can take anything constructive from what was said and invite God to use it to help me grow. But if the person’s words are not true, if they are not constructive, or if their words are from the enemy, I don’t need to absorb them.

Who is speaking?

I want to consider who is speaking the words. Is it a spiritually mature believer in Christ whom I trust and who loves me and wants God’s best for me? Is he/she attempting to give me a godly rebuke or constructive criticism that maybe I need to hear? Am I hearing this person accurately or am I misunderstanding something or assuming negative motives where there aren’t any? Do the person’s words align with the Bible?

Or is this person someone who is far from the Lord, as far as I know, and who has a lifestyle of insulting almost everyone? Is this someone Proverbs would classify as “a fool“? An unbeliever may speak some truth to me that I need to take to heart. But I want to be a lot more cautious about receiving words from someone acting in the flesh.

I also need to consider if the thing that I perceive to be an insult, actually isn’t one.

Responding to Insults with Wisdom

If I respond in the flesh to an insult by immediately vigorously defending myself to try to “make the other person understand” and make them change their minds about me, or if I respond by attacking the other person, I will often only pour gasoline on the fire. I can escalate the situation into a much worse situation with greater tension and greater wounds on both sides.

Godly responses to insults:

  • Restraint and self control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Respect and honor for God, for the other person, and for self. (1 John 4:20)
  • Righteous anger toward sin, never sinful anger at a person. (Eph. 4:26)
  • Patience and understanding if the other person is deeply wounded or may have significant spiritual, emotional, physical or other kinds of problems, realizing the person is not okay and the insult is probably a symptom of their spiritual or physical condition. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Attempt to clear up any misunderstanding if there was one.
  • Diffuse the situation with appropriate humor – in certain situations.
  • Avoid assuming the absolute worst about the other person’s intentions without clear evidence.
  • Repent for any sin I have committed against the other person. (Matt. 5:23-24)
  • Sometimes ignoring it is the wisest thing to do, especially if the person is someone who is foolish or a scoffer and clearly just looking for a fight or is so prideful he/she is not open to listening to anyone else’s perspective. (Prov. 12:16)
  • Other times, addressing the underlying issue in the person’s heart, not the insult, itself, may be wise. (Prov. 26:5)
  • Bless the person. (Luke 6:28)
  • Recognize this may be an opportunity to witness, to share the gospel, and/or to shine for Christ. (2 Tim. 2:24-25)
  • Realize the real enemy is not the person but a spiritual enemy. I need to fight the real enemy with spiritual weapons. (Eph. 6:12)
  • Pray for God to work powerfully in the life of anyone who mistreats me, that they would come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord and that they would be regenerated and conformed to the image of Christ for God’s glory. (Luke 6:28)
  • Without a spirit of fear but with a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. (Deut. 31:6, 2 Tim. 1:7)
  • Sometimes humbly, respectfully confronting the sin – after I have dealt with any sin in my own life) is the best approach, if the person is sinning against me – especially if the person is a believer. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)
  • Draw appropriate boundaries if someone continues on in unrepentant sin and is very toxic spiritually/emotionally. There are times when we warn someone once or twice and then need to have nothing to do with that person if they continue on sinning in certain sins (2 Tim. 3:1-5, Titus 3:10)

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19

From a Reader:

When offended we must be calm and be slow to speak. And ask God to help us to not be offended. It’s our response to the insult that matters most. I really dealt hard with feeling like I was offended. Someone may joke or I may have taken what they said the wrong way. What God showed me is my response with gentleness and kindness, regardless of how I felt, is what matters most. I found out that when not responding negatively, the outcome has (often) been peace, and less arguments. Feeling offended led me to give mean, angry responses that were only damaging the person and myself. I was under conviction and now I feel so much better when I don’t react in the flesh.

What Does God Say about How I Should Respond to Insults?

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6

The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke the wise, and he will love you. Prov. 9:7-8

A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Prov. 14:29

A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. Prov. 18:7

Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. Prov. 20:22

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Prov. 26:4-5 (Meaning – don’t stoop to a fool’s level and react in the flesh. But you may need to wisely answer to keep him from becoming more conceited.)

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28

 

If I Am Insulted for My Faith in Christ

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 1 Tim. 3:12

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Pet. 4:12-14

I want to see us respond to insults without fear, without pride, without a spirit of offense, without bitterness or resentment, and without lashing out and hurting others. I want to see us respond in the power of the Spirit and with the mind and heart of Christ!

Those unbelievers who insult us may be future brothers and sisters in Christ! God may desire us to help pray them into His Kingdom. They are people Jesus loves and for whom He died.

In the next post, we will talk about avoiding insulting others.

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What wisdom have you learned about responding well to insults? We’d love to hear about it. What are your thoughts on today’s post? And how is your 21 day fast from negative words going? It’s not too late to start if you would like!

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If I Stop the Negative Talk – What on Earth Will I Talk about?

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