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.

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

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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!
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  • 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

Six Scenarios Where We May Need to Break Contact with Others

woman standing at edge of dock on lake

This post is one I have been working on for awhile. I had some questions about this last week, as well. It is one of my least favorite topics ever! But it is important.

Breaking contact with people is something I do NOT enjoy doing.

Like – I REALLY, REALLY do not like having to do this. It’s painful. It’s heartbreaking. I want to just be able to work through things with others. I try to assume the best about others and try to be willing to reconcile. Most of the time, we can pray through conflicts and work through them successfully with others.

Sadly, breaking (or minimizing) contact with people in certain situations is necessary in this fallen world.

I have learned (the hard way – many, many times) that if I don’t stop communication with someone when I really should, I end up paying a steep price. Sometimes, my marriage and children also pay a high price. My ministry to other people suffers. And often, the person I wanted so much to help is harmed, as well.

This is exactly why I need God’s wisdom.

There is a delicate balance here. We are to love people with God’s unconditional love. We are to be kind, forgiving, gentle, gracious, merciful, and patient.

In life, some conflict is inevitable in following Christ and in human relationships. Just because there is conflict or I am sinned against doesn’t usually mean I should stop talking with someone. Most of the time, we can work things out, thankfully.

Of course, if there are things I can do on my end to repent of any sin in my life, I need to do that first (Matt. 5:23-24, Matt. 7:1-5).

But in certain situations – we just cannot have real peace with some people – unless something dramatic changes first on their end.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Rom. 12:18

Sometimes the situation doesn’t depend on me. Sometimes there is nothing I can do to correct the problem on my end.

If God gives me instructions about avoiding someone with a certain kind of spirit or behavior, I would do well to obey and trust God with the outcome.

Yes, even if I don’t like what He is asking me to do. It is for my own good – and, just as importantly, the good of everyone else involved.

Let’s see what Scripture has to say.

Here are six scenarios when we may need to break or minimize contact with others:

ONE

When a professing believer refuses to repent of significant sin.

Major unrepentant sin for a professing believer sets that person under God’s discipline. It hurts our witness to continue in fellowship with such a one. Those who belong to Christ should not be able to be content in sin.

  • If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matt. 18:15-17
  • But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 1 Cor. 5:11
  • Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6

TWO

When someone is trying to tempt us into sin.

We don’t play with temptation. We flee from it. Especially from idolatry and sexual immorality.

  • Let not your heart turn aside to (the adulteress’) ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Prov. 7:25-26 (Same is true for women, we should avoid men who are adulterers.)
  • Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Cor. 6:18
  • Flee from idolatry. 1 Cor. 10:14
  • Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Tim. 2:22

THREE

When our husband asks us not to have contact with someone.

A husband generally does this to try to protect his wife, children, and marriage from situations like:

  • Men who are flirting or acting in inappropriate ways.
  • People who consume too much of his wife’s or family’s time.
  • People who are stressing his wife/children/himself out.
  • People who are toxic to be around.
  • People who can’t be reasoned with.
  • People who are very emotionally or verbally abusive.
  • People who make threats against someone in the family.
  • Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:18-19
  • Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord… Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:22,33

Of course, sometimes we may see these issues ourselves and decide we need to break contact before our husband says anything.

Please search my blog for the word “submit” and “submission” to see many posts about what that means and what it doesn’t mean. It does not mean slavery, abuse, or Fifty Shades of Gray! It does not mean BDSM or CDD.

It is about a wife honoring her husband’s God-given leadership unless he asks her to clearly sin because God intends to lead, protect, and provide for her through him in certain ways. (See this post for times I would not submit to my husband.)

An exception to honoring your husband’s request not to talk with others would be if he is abusive and he is trying to isolate you and harm you. In a situation like that, or if he is not in his right mind, he’s drunk, high, or otherwise dangerous, please reach out for appropriate, qualified, trustworthy help. Talk with the police, check out resources at your church, talk with a trusted, experienced counselor, or contact The Hotline if it is safe for you to do so.

FOUR

With a foolish, divisive, or hot-tempered person, a gossip, or a slanderer.

These sins are contagious and poisonous. We must choose our friends, mentors, and influences wisely.

  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20
  • Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. Prov. 20:19
  • Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Prov. 22:24-25
  • I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our LORD Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Rom. 16:17-18
  • Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. Titus 3:10

FIVE

When a person is clearly a false teacher.

Sheep should not try to have discussions with wolves. The only sane thing for a sheep is to run away to the protection of the Good Shepherd.

  • Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them… A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matt. 7:15-20
  • For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Matt. 24:24
  • I know that… fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30
  • See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8
  • If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Tim. 6:3-5
  • Guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. 1 Tim. 6:20-21
  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Pet. 2:1
  • I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.  Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work. 1 John 1:7-11
  • Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3

SIX

With those who refuse the gospel, “dogs,” or “swine.”

There is a time to share the Gospel and the love and power of God. Our goal is to share it with every living soul on the planet. But there is also a time to stop when someone is hostile or unreceptive and move on.

GotQuestions.org has a great explanation:

“Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospel once it is presented to them.”

  • And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Matt. 10:14-15
  • And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” Mark 6:11
  • 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. 7:6-7
  • In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 1 Tim. 3:1-5

Should we never have contact with any of these people in these six scenarios again?

Sometimes we need to break contact just temporarily, until the other person repents and rebuilds trust on his/her side. Sometimes we must wait until they come to Christ and the Spirit opens their eyes. Sometimes our husbands change their minds about people. Of course, there are also times, unfortunately, when people do not change.

Our prayer is always for them to be reconciled to God, to the Body of Christ, and to us.

It’s important for me to remember that Jesus is the Savior and the Holy Spirit opens people’s eyes. I am not the savior of humanity. And I can’t even open my own eyes. If I stay and try to force someone to understand rather than relying on the Spirit, I will cause harm.

Our motives must always be wholehearted love for God, death to our sinful self, repentance from our own sin, obedience to the Lord in the power of the Spirit, and love for others. God’s kind of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 agape love. We must be careful not to do things out of hatred, bitterness, sinful anger, malice, or resentment.

When I do obey the Lord and don’t allow certain very toxic people into my life, I get to enjoy a whole lot more peace, I am less distracted by drama, temptation, false teaching, and snares from the enemy, and I can focus much more on Christ and all that He calls me to do. 

We need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, prayer, and sometimes wise counsel from our husband or an appropriate godly mentor. These situations can get dicey quickly. So we want to lean on God not our own understanding.

SHARE

Is this topic difficult for you, too? What general godly wisdom have you learned that you would like to share?

AN IMPORTANT REQUEST

Let’s not share specific situations here.

A public forum like this is not an appropriate place to spill a lot of details about how someone mistreated us. Let’s go to the Lord, our own husbands, or other trusted counselors, in private, if we aren’t sure what to do.

If you need private counseling, please check out these resources:

  • Focus on the Family offers a one time free counseling consultation and counselor’s referral service.

Thanks so much! <3

NOTE

Sometimes we are in a very close relationship with someone and it may not be possible to completely break contact. This is all going to require God’s wisdom and His leading for us in specific situations. I don’t know what every person should do in every possible scenario. But God does.

We need His discernment, His mind, His power, His Spirit, and His heart. Sometimes, we may have to speak to people out of necessity. We can be respectful. We can have loving motives toward them. But we may have to set firm limits as the Word of God and the Spirit lead us.

May the Lord grant each of us the wisdom, love, and discernment we need.

MY NEXT POST

The next post in this series is about the opposite situation, “What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?”

And the post after that is about “What If Your Husband Doesn’t Care about Your Feelings?”

RELATED

Why, When, and How Does the Lord God Discipline Us When We Sin? by www.gotquestions.org

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said to Not Cast Your Pearls Before Swine? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

What Sort of Spiritual Boundaries Should We Set in Our Lives? by www.gotquestions.org

Boundaries Will Not Cure Codependency by www.desiringgod.org

Watch Out for Those Who Lead You Away from the Truth. by www.desiringgod.org

How to Interact with a Destructive Person by Leslie Vernick

My posts on conflict

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Articles about sound doctrine by www.gotquestions.org

The Real Motives Behind People Pleasing

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

 

 

 

 

My Response to Insults Says a Lot about My Character

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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.

SHARE

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!

RELATED

What Is an Insult? (And just as importantly, what is not an insult?)

A Critical Spirit VS a Godly Rebuke

When Should You Answer a Fool? by www.lifehopeandtruth.com

How Should a Christian Respond to Bullying? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Dealing with Difficult People? – by www.gotquestions.org

25 Ways to Respect Myself

My Identity in Christ – the only source of my security, peace, joy, fulfillment, and purpose!

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Prayer for Wives with Critical, Harsh Husbands  – by Radiant

Got an Angry Man? – by Nina Roesner

Quick Tip for Handling an Angry Husband – by Nina Roesner

Do I Have a Spirit of Offense?

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – VIDEO

How Does the Bible Describe a Fool? by www.gotquestions.org

 

What Is the Difference Between Complaining and Informing?

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
Avoiding complaining can get a bit fuzzy, at times. There are situations where we need to inform those around us about important things they need to know. How can we discern the difference between complaining vs. informing?
 
Let’s hash through this a bit together.

About Complaining – from www.gotquestions.org:

The Greek word translated “complainer” means literally “one who is discontented with his lot in life.” It is akin to the word grumbler. Complaining is certainly not a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and, in fact, is detrimental to the peace, joy, and patience that come from the Spirit. For the Christian, complaining is destructive and debilitating personally and only serves to make our witness to the world more difficult. Who, for instance, would be attracted to a religion whose adherents are dissatisfied with life and who continually grumble and complain?
Clearly, as believers we are challenged not to grumble or complain (Philippians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 4:9); rather, we are to love one another deeply so that we may become “blameless and pure” in God’s eyes. If we grumble and complain, it shows how worldly we still are (James 4:1-3). A complaining spirit leads to fighting and quarrelling because complaints come from unfulfilled desires, which lead to envy and strife.

How Can I Tell If What I Want to Say Is Complaining or Informing?

My thoughts:

Complaining is primarily about focusing on the negative about circumstances, people, or perceived negatives about God. It is about communicating a lack of gratitude and a lack of faith in the Lord. A complainer is not looking for solutions, but just wants to spread negativity and discontent. The information shared is not something that the hearers need – or want – to know. And, sadly, a complaining spirit is very contagious.

Informing is primarily about sharing important information that the other person needs to know. We may need to share our desires about certain things. We need to share if we are physically, emotionally, or spiritually so unwell that we need help from a specific person. And we need to share, with the right people, if someone else is not okay and he/she needs help.

From four of my wonderful readers (shared with their permission):

  • I think complaining assigns blame, seeks sympathy and usually doesn’t solve anything. The hearer may not need the information at all. Informing seeks solutions and is intended to benefit the hearer by giving them needed information.
  • I look at this way, “First, can it change?” If it can, “does it need to?” And then, “how can I say it in such a way that isnt received as competition?” A lot of concerns come out as “I’m better than you.” Or “At least I do the dishes” when in reality we just want to be appreciated and have our concerns heard.
  • I think it’s all wrapped in the words you use. Instead of saying, “Why do “you” always leave the toilet seat up after “you” go?”   The  better approach would be, “Honey, guess what almost happened to me last night, I almost sat right down into the toilet “…  then ask can we work together to think of a way we could possibly remember to put the seat back down? (This has actually happened to me long ago.) When I made “you” statements, it was complaining. When I made the “we” statements, it included us as a couple/team. Working together for our good. My husband didn’t want me to fall or get wet. It was just a habit he had.  Talking and agreeing on a problem brings resolve. Not pent up frustration that steams and brews until it becomes a screaming match.  Love isn’t like that. Moral of my story:  We agreed to put both the seat and the lid down after using the toilet. Happy endings prevail where love abounds!!😍
  • This scripture impacted me recently. Both complaining about OR withholding the truth of what is going on in our lives can be detrimental. If speaking the truth of our circumstances could lead others to eventually rejoice in God’s deliverance, then it is worth telling. Here, Paul is neither complaining nor withholding:

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:8-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/59/2co.1.8-11.esv

 

I think it is helpful to look at my heart, motives, and scripture as I try to decide if what I want to share is complaining or informing.

Complaining:

  • Am I saying negative things about God, assuming He has evil motives or speaking wrongly about His good character?
  • Am I condemning other people or highlighting their sins to people who aren’t involved and who don’t need to know?
  • Am I walking in a lack of gratitude?
  • How often do I talk about the problem? Is it a continual habit?
  • Am I gossipping? Meaning, am I sharing negative information about others in order to make others thing poorly of someone else or to try to make myself look better than someone else?
  • Do I tell lots of people, even those who can’t do anything to help the situation?
  • Is this simply an annoyance that I could/should overlook?
  • Am I focused on my own personal preferences/comfort more than biblical principals/God’s glory?
  • Am I trying to control something that is not in the realm of my responsibilities?
  • Is this something I need to accept and invite God to use it to change me? What if this trial is an answer to my prayers to help me grow spiritually? Or is it something I have a responsibility to change?
  • Am I encouraging others to complain, to be afraid, to not trust God, or to be upset?
  • Am I attacking or criticizing others?
  • Am I looking for genuine help and resolution of the problem, or do I just want attention and sympathy?
  • Are my motives wrong? Do my words spring from envy, sinful jealousy, selfishness, self-righteousness, gossip, pride, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, malice, idolatry of someone/something (codependency), fault-finding, a critical spirit perfectionism, people pleasing, playing the martyr, fear, a desire to control, assuming the worst motives of others or God, unbelief in God/lack of faith, etc…?
  • What is my goal? Am I trying to resolve something that is resolvable? Or do I just want to say negative things just to say them – and I am not really looking for a solution?

Informing:

  • Do I simply want to make my needs known to God and – in faith – ask for His help and provision?
  • Do I have a legitimate need or problem and am I looking to the person (or people) who can truly help me?
  • Am I seeking only to tell people who actually need to know about the situation?
  • Is my problem a significant one that I can’t handle on my own?
  • Am I asking for things or sharing my perspective or the information I want to share respectfully?
  • Is the problem something that can change and that is my responsibility to try to change?
  • How often am I talking about the problem? Just enough to tell the person who can help me?
  • Is this issue something that grieves God’s heart and something God instructs me to attempt to correct?
  • Are my motives right? Do I seek to get the problem fixed in a way that honors the Lord?
  • Am I acting in divine (1 Cor. 13:4-8 style) love for God and for others?
  • Am I pointing others and myself to trust God, to love others, and to have greater faith?
  • Will my sharing this information spur others on to greater faith in the Lord? Will it help them grow spiritually?
  • Am I reverencing the Lord, respecting other people (my husband, my children, and others), and respecting myself in the situation?

Our pastor said something interesting yesterday,

“Lack of gratitude is the first step toward idolatry.”

Obviously, if we don’t trust and thank the Lord, we are going to look to other things to trust. We must guard our hearts carefully against this tendency, my precious sisters!

Lord,

We need Your clear wisdom, guidance, Word, and Spirit to help us discern rightly in this – and every – area. Help us to see our motives clearly. Help us to long to honor You in our thoughts, attitudes, motives, words, and actions. Help us to receive Your Spirit’s power to walk in holiness because we can’t do this on our own. Change us, Lord! Make us more like Jesus.

Amen!

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What do you think? How do you believe we can discern between complaining and informing? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights in the comments. Thanks for being on this amazing journey with me.
And let us know how your 21 day fast from negative words is going. It’s not to late to join if you would like to!
RELATED
Complaining rewires our brains, adversely impacts our health, damages the way others think of us, and hurts our relationships. No wonder the Lord doesn’t want us to live like this!
What Does the Bible Say about Complaining? – by www.gotquestions.org
Faith VS Fear – What Does the Bible Say? – by www.gotquestions.org

The Purpose of Marriage

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

God intended marriage to be a living picture of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

We think of a “church” as a building today. But when Jesus talks about His Church, He is talking about His chosen people, the ones He has chosen out of this world and who have chosen to receive Him as Savior and Lord. The incredible thing about marriage is that it is a spiritual mystery revealed to the world of the tenderness, love, respect, honor, and beauty of the interaction and spiritual intimacy between Jesus and His beloved people. (Eph. 5:22-33)

The church is “the Body of Christ.” Each believer is part of it. We are “living stones” being joined together and built up into a “spiritual house” and a “holy priesthood”  (1 Pet 2:5). Paul describes each of us as being a part of the body – a hand, a foot, an ear, an eye, the nose, etc… We work together with the Head of the Body, which is Jesus, to accomplish His good purposes in His kingdom.

Marriage displays the gospel.

How Marriage Parallels  the Relationship Between Jesus and the Church

The Groom-to-Be Initiates the Covenant

  • A man buys a ring, today, and proposes to his intended bride-to-be. He initiates and is the one who invites her into the possibility of marriage with him.
  • Jesus came to earth and paid a great price for us, inviting us to come to Him and to enter into an eternal covenant with Him. He followed the pattern of Jewish marriage customs in almost everything He did for us.
  • He even used the same words a Jewish man would use to propose to his bride to invite His Church to be with Him forever:
    • In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

A Name and Identity Change for Her

  • A bride takes on the name of her husband. When I married, I legally became Mrs. Gregory Cassidy.
  • The Bride of Christ also takes on His Name as Christian or Christ-follower.

A New Home for Her

  • A bride leaves her parents’ home to live with her husband and start a new life together
  • Jesus will come get His Bride and take us to be with Him in heaven – either when we die, or through the rapture. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

A Life-long Covenant Representing an Eternal Covenant

  • One man and one woman enter into a life-long covenant to be there for each other “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… till death do us part.”
  • Jesus, God in the flesh (the only One God), and His One Bride (the Church), have an eternal and unbreakable covenant.
  • For thousands of years, a prospective groom would give a great deal of money to the bride’s father.  He paid a “bride price.” This demonstrated that he valued his bride-to-be and was willing to sacrifice greatly for her to become his wife legally. Jesus sacrificed greatly for us, too. He paid our sin-debt with His very blood on the cross. God became a man and lived the perfect life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserved on our behalf. He conquered sin and death to rescue us from condemnation and hell. 
  • A covenant is much more than a promise or a business contract that can be easily broken. It is intended to be binding until one or both spouses die. Jesus has offered an eternal Covenant with us through His blood, the New Covenant – which is vastly superior to and replaces the Old Covenant of Moses. We have access to Jesus, to God the Father, to the Holy Spirit, and to eternal life in paradise with Him through this covenant. We belong to Him from the point we trust in Him and receive His salvation and Lordship through the rest of our lives and into the eternal future. The fellowship and relationship with God that we lost after Adam and Eve fell in the garden is restored!

Selfless Generosity and Joyful Receiving for Both Spouses

  • A man takes on the position of protector, provider, and giver, in many ways to his wife. Today, a wife may contribute financially, as well. But for thousands of years, husbands were primarily the breadwinners and financial providers. Wives took care of the home, children, garden, cooking, and chores (of course, women’s and men’s responsibilities did vary a bit depending on the particular culture). For many women, they had no means of providing financially for themselves in the past, and even in some places today.
  • And even today where women can financially take care of themselves, husbands tend to still have a profound sense of responsibility to provide financially and to meet their family’s physical needs (“For Women Only,”by Shaunti Feldhahn).
  • This is a picture of the way that Jesus gives and provides so generously. He provides for all of our physical and spiritual needs. He provides salvation. He provides new Life and eternal life. We can’t earn it. We joyfully receive and welcome Him and all He has done for us.
  • Both spouses fully give of themselves for the other and receive and accept one another in joy.

His Strength for Her Honor

  • A man uses his physical strength to defend his bride from danger, protect her (and their children) from evil, and to build a home for his wife. He values and cherishes her. She is the “weaker vessel,” and this means it is his job to use his strength courageously for her good. He honors her by fighting for her and their family in ways she cannot fight for herself.
  • Jesus uses His vastly superior strength to save us, to rescue us from danger, to provide for us, to protect us, and to defend us from evil and sin. He fought for us in ways we could never have fought for ourselves. We were the damsel in distress and He was the greatest Hero.

Sanctification

  • God designed marriage to be a place where we are made holy (“Sacred Marriage,” Gary Thomas), where He exposes sin and invites us to go much deeper with Himself. We can’t hide our flaws and sinfulness in marriage. Our motives, thoughts, expectations, words, and deeds are exposed. This is an opportunity for us to repent from sin and turn to Jesus and allow Him to transform us to make us more like Himself.
  • Jesus takes on the responsibility in the New Covenant to present His Bride to Himself without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. He cleanses His Bride with His Word and makes her holy. (Eph. 5:25-28)

Access and Authority for Her

  • A bride enjoys access to her husband’s property, authority in certain matters, finances, and any inheritance he may have.
  • Jesus’ Bride also enjoys access to all that belongs to Jesus. She has access to all of His heavenly riches and provision, access to God the Father, access to the Holy of Holies, and access to His authority. Her identity is now wrapped up in Jesus’ identity. We are co-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17)

Oneness 

  • The one-flesh relationship of marriage depicts the one-Spirit relationship between Christ and those who love Him. Part of the husband’s physical body enters part of the wife’s physical body to become one flesh. Their love and oneness brings forth babies. Their DNA combines to become a new life. This is a holy thing, only to be shared in a life-long covenant as part of marriage.
  • We are the temple of the Holy Spirit as believers in Christ.  Part of the very Spirit of God comes into our spirits. We are indwelled or “filled” with the Spirit. And spiritual fruit results.
  • In the Body of Christ, the fruit of our spiritual union with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives (Gal. 5:22-23) and new baby Christians, new disciples and followers of Jesus, as we share the Gospel and God’s Spirit works in and through us and others to bring new believers into the Body of Christ. This intimacy we have with Jesus is something we are only to share with Him in the context of His covenant with us.

Faithfulness Is Required and Expected

  • If an earthly spouse cheats with another person, it is adultery. In the Old Testament, that offense was punishable by death, it was that serious.
  • To God, idolatry is just like adultery in marriage. This is a picture of how severe an offense it is for those who belong to Jesus to worship and exalt other things spiritually in their lives. God is always faithful to us. We, sadly, are not always faithful to Him. But we should be completely faithful to Him and He can give us the power we need to walk in purity and faithfulness by His Spirit.

Exaltation and Portrayal of  the Gospel

  • The primary purpose of the human marriage relationship is to point everyone who sees that relationship to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5) God designed marriage to showcase the beautiful differences and interplay between godly masculinity and godly femininity.
  • The husband is to represent the sacrificial love, humble servant-leadership, strength, and devotion of Jesus to His Bride.
  • The wife is to represent the love, honor, biblical submission, and cooperation with the leadership of her husband to portray the way the church is to relate to Jesus. (Of course, with human marriage, there do have to be some limits that the church does not have with Jesus because human husbands are not perfect or deity.)
  • The husband and wife have equal value in God’s eyes (Gal. 3:28) and they are joint-heirs with Christ if they both belong to Him. But they do have different roles. Their value and worth is separate in God’s eyes from their roles in marriage. Both roles are equally important to show the picture of the gospel.

Fruitfulness

  • God also designed marriage to be the primary building block of society and the place where godly children are raised (Mal. 2:15) so that they can model themselves after the beautiful example of their parents. Then the children will grow up knowing about God, loving Him, and knowing how to have a godly marriage in the future, too.
  • The church is to produce godly offspring, as well. The Holy Spirit works in believers and in unbelievers and believers in Christ share the gospel and seek to disciple others and new baby Christians are born into the Body of Christ.

This is why we can’t just change the definition of marriage to suit our particular desires or our culture’s current PC trends.

God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman to display the gospel. When we alter it, we change the picture of Christ and His Church. We don’t have the authority to define marriage or to change it. That is God’s prerogative, alone. Marriage is holy because it pictures something holy and because it is meant to produce holy people – holy men, holy women, and holy children.

Of course, there are numerous other good purposes in marriage – companionship, romance, emotional connection, sexual fulfillment, spiritual refinement and growth, health benefits, more benefits to children, stability for society, etc… But I wanted to share some of God’s biggest purposes in marriage to help us see how holy, beautiful, and powerful His concept of marriage is. And how important it is for us to honor His design and not attempt to change it.

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How has the picture of marriage helped you better understand your relationship with Jesus?

How has your walk with Christ helped you better appreciate marriage?

 

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Jewish Marriage Customs – reveals a LOT about the way Jesus came for us and His words to His Bride, as well as the rapture of the church

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Biblical Manhood? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Biblical Womanhood? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Be a Godly Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Being a Christian Wife? by www.gotquestions.org

My Posts on Godly Femininity

20 Signs That God Is about to Do Something AMAZING in Someone’s Life

Photo by Robert Metz on Unsplash

I have walked beside hundreds and hundreds of women on this journey. There are several telltale signs that I have noticed that I want to share with you. When I see these indicators beginning to unfold in someone’s life, it means that God is at work, opening her eyes and preparing her heart. It also means that things are about to get beautiful!

This is often a progression that happens in steps over time.

The woman (or man):

  1. Stops blaming other people, making excuses for, or justifying her sin and takes full responsibility for things she has done wrong. She admits that she is a sinner. A wretched sinner. Completely unable to be “good enough” to pass God’s standard of perfect holiness on her own. She acknowledges that she deserves to be separated from God because of her sin.
    • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23 
    • For the wages of sin is death… Rom. 6:23a
    • Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom. 7:24
  2. Genuinely grieves over her sins, seeing just how great a debt she owes to Jesus and just how unimaginably holy God is and how He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all.
    • Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:8-10
  3. Wants God’s cleansing, healing, His new life, and a close relationship with the Lord.
    • On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rom. 6:23
  4. Begins to grasp the overwhelming magnitude of the unconditional, divine love of Christ specifically for her and His goodness toward her, in spite of her wretched condition. Jesus left heaven and all of His glory in order to come rescue her, while she was still in rebellion against Him. He loved her with a love that is beyond human ability to fathom. She sees that there is no greater love in all the universe than the love of Jesus for His people. All other love begins to look faded and tarnished in comparison. 
    • But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8
    • But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Eph. 2:4-5
    • That you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
  5. Humbles herself greatly before the Lord, realizing her total dependence on God’s provision. 
    • And you were dead in the trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
  6. Understands that only the perfect, finished work of Jesus on the cross can make her right with God in God’s sight. She begins to see that He lived the perfect life she could never live in her place. He died the death she deserved for her sin. He conquered sin, death, and hell on her behalf. He offers her eternal life after this life is over and abundant spiritual life in this world! God allows her to make a great exchange. Her sinfulness for Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Her utter spiritual bankruptcy for Jesus’ overflowing spiritual abundance. Jesus’ death for her life. So God counts all that Jesus did as if she did those things when she receives the gift of Christ and His salvation. When God looks at her, He sees Jesus’ perfection. 
    • Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Rom. 5:9-10
  7. Realizes that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe – and nothing else comes anywhere close to His worth. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. No sacrifice seems too great.
    • The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
  8. Desires to die to her old self – to her sinful nature, to her sinful desires, to her old human way of thinking, and to this world.
    • And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
    • We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Rom. 6:6
  9. Receives her new identity in Christ and God’s truth about her new status.
    • We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:4
    • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
    • But God… raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6
    • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
  10. Hungers for God, His Word, and the kingdom of God. Has a healthy spiritual appetite for confession of sin, prayer, reading the Bible, praising and thanking God, and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
    • O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Ps. 63:1
    • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matt. 5:6
  11. Becomes teachable and ready to absorb and receive God’s truth, spiritual healing, and provision.
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
    • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
  12. Wants to do whatever it takes to be as close as possible to God, not to earn salvation or to get other things she wants, but just out of gratitude and love for the Lord – no matter the personal sacrifice involved. She wants to obey God – even if it means giving up previous priorities, time, money, sins, and completely changing her lifestyle to please the Lord. 
    • Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
  13. Accepts God’s Word as truth rather than her feelings, past experiences, past teaching in her life, the culture, and personal perception/wisdom.
    • Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
    • All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16
  14. Seeks the Lord wholeheartedly even if no one else does, even if it is lonely. Even if her husband, her family, her children, or her friends don’t understand and don’t want to change like she does.
    • Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37
  15. Desires God’s will far above her own knowing there is no other place she would rather be.
    • Not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
  16. Trusts God – or determines that she wants to learn to trust God – and has new-found faith that God’s way will be best. Her fears begin to melt away.
    • For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
    • There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
  17. Knows that God is good and understands God’s character as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
    • No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
  18. Is willing to give up lies about God, others, and self and rebuild her life on the Solid Rock of God’s Word alone.
    • Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matt. 7:24-25
  19. Invites the Holy Spirit to have full control in her life. She fully yields to the Lordship of Jesus. She no longer wants her sinful nature to be in control, although she can still choose to act in the sinful nature. But now, she has the ability to choose to live in the Spirit! She begins to see the Fruit of the Spirit in her life.
    • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6
    • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23
  20. Begins to experience the very divine love, grace, mercy of God for others in her life. She sees them with new eyes, with heavenly eyes. She can start to see their wounds and need for Jesus. And she can begin to extend the love, grace, and mercy of God that she received to others in every day life. She becomes a fruitful instrument for God’s Kingdom.
    • For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal. 5:14
    • I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

When I see these things happening, I know that God is transforming someone by the power of His Spirit. And I know that He is going to do something glorious that will bring much honor to Himself and much good to the person and the kingdom of Christ. It brings me such joy to watch God miraculously changing and healing people!

PRAYER

Lord, 

We can’t open anyone else’s eyes spiritually. We can’t even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit to resurrect people’s souls from death to new life in Jesus. We invite You into this place and into each of our hearts. We invite You to breathe Your eternal and abundant Life into our souls. We invite Your Spirit to work in mighty ways and to bring salvation to many who didn’t know You before. And we invite You to continue Your good work, as You have promised You would, in those who know You already. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship! We long only for more and more of You – Your goodness, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your transformation for each of us to make us more like Jesus.

Thank You for the incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving us so much more than we could ever comprehend! Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your Words and Your love for us. Empower us to choose the narrow way that leads to Life.

Amen!

 

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What are some signs you have seen in your own life, or in other people’s lives, that help you know that God is very much at work?

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11 Reasons We Can’t Afford to Skimp on Thanksgiving and Praise to God

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Ps. 69:30

The more I know the Lord and the more I see of His goodness, character, and love, the more I spontaneously desire to praise and thank Him. It is a natural outpouring that results from understanding who God is and acknowledging all of the innumerable blessings He has given me. Truly, it is the only appropriate response for me as a believer in Christ to my kind, loving, generous, gracious Creator, Savior, and Lord.

Of course, some days praise and thanksgiving comes more easily than others. But whether I feel like giving praise and thanking God or not, there are many good reasons that I want to live a continual lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfully, this is a choice of the will that I can make no matter how I may feel in the moment.

11 reasons I want to enthusiastically embrace praise and thanksgiving every single day:

  1. God alone is worthy of all of my praise and thanksgiving.
  2. God calls me, and all believers in Christ, to praise as a vocation – here on earth and in heaven.
    • God created people to praise and worship Him. (Isa. 43:21, Eph. 5:19, Heb. 13:15)
    • I am most joyous, fulfilled, and satisfied when I choose to live out my divine calling and purpose from God.
  3. It is God’s will for me to live in continual thanksgiving and praise. 
    • An attitude like this puts God and my problems in proper perspective and grows my faith.
    • God commands me, as a believer in Christ, to live in thanksgiving and praise because it greatly blesses me, it is an appropriate response to Him, and it honors Him. (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 99:5, Isa. 42:10, 1 Thess. 5:18)
  4. My praise for and thanksgiving to God align me with His good purposes and His will for my life and His kingdom.
    • I agree with God about His goodness and His wisdom when I praise and thank Him. (Col. 3:17)
    • This attitude paves the way for me to walk in joyful obedience to the Lord.
    • My praise and thanksgiving allow God to shift my desires to match His own and to soften my heart to His will.
  5. My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord help to transform wrong, sinful thinking.
    • It is part of allowing God to renew my mind. (Rom. 12:2)
    • When I am boasting in God, I am not boasting in myself. God opposes my human pride but gives grace to me when I am humble. (James 4:6)
    • I acknowledge that He is God and He has all the rights of being Lord and I do not. I learn to lean on His wisdom rather than my own human wisdom. (Prov. 3:5-6)
    • I learn to develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one – to see how God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
    • Praise and thanksgiving are a huge part of how we take our thoughts captive for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
  6. God inhabits the praises of His people. 
    • My praise attracts God, makes Him feel welcome, and draws me closer to Him and Him closer to me. (Ps. 22:3, 1 Pet. 2:9)
  7. My praise and gratitude to God create a spirit of faith and trust in me. (Prov. 3:5-6, Heb. 11:6)
    • As I see God for who He really is and all that He has done, I realize I have no reason to fear, unbelief, doubt. My fears melt away as I grasp His greatness and as I taste His goodness. (1 John 4:18)
    • When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness in the past, I see that He will also be faithful in my current and future circumstances. (Ps. 42:6)
  8. Thanksgiving is how God instructs us to approach Him in prayer. 
    • God hates my grumbling/complaining/arguing because it is a clear sign of unbelief and lack of faith.  (Num. 14:27)
    • God responds graciously to my gratitude, trust, and faith. (Phil. 4:6)
  9. Demons feel very unwelcome when there is praise and thanksgiving to God going on. 
    • My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord is a spiritual weapon. As I sing praises to the Lord, evil spirits flee. (1 Sam. 16:23)
    • Sometimes trials come from the enemy to test my faith – just like with Job – to prove that I will turn against the Lord and stop praising Him if I suffer temporarily in this life. (Job 1:9-12)
    • May I never give the enemy of my soul any occasion to mock the Lord! But may I continue to praise God and trust Him no matter what may happen here on earth, knowing He is with me and He is for me and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isa. 54:17)
    • When I stand on God’s Word and proclaim His truth and praise out loud in faith in Jesus, demonic opposition cannot stand against me. I don’t have power against demons/Satan in my own strength, but in the Name and power of Jesus, I can resist the enemy with the truth about God and the truth of God’s Word. (James 4:7)
  10. Praise and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual prescriptions for depression, discouragement, anxiety, and fear.
    • When David wrote the Psalms, he poured out his heart, burdens, trials, and heavy emotions. Then he always reminded himself to praise God, even when he faced humanly impossible circumstances and his very life was in jeopardy. (Ps. 42:5)
    • It is impossible to continue to feel depressed, defeated, lonely, or discouraged when I set my eyes firmly on the Lord in all His glory and I see His goodness, love, and provision for me! God is infinitely greater than my circumstances and other people.
  11. My sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord open the floodgates of heaven to countless blessings:

NOTE – Trials are a signal to me that I need to greatly increase my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord to allow much more of His Spirit, wisdom, and power to flow into my life and circumstances. My response when under any kind of spiritual attack or warfare must include much praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

 

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How has God revealed these truths to you in your own walk with Him?

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What Does the Bible Say about Ingratitude/Unthankfulness? by www.gotquestions.org