They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, hurl the stones at her until she dies. But only he who never sinned may throw the first!” John 8:7
“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. 2 For others will treat you as you treat them. 3 And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Matthew 7:1-3
In my spiritual journey with God I learn something new each week. Sometimes I learn something new each day. In the past week God has been impressing one thing on my mind. What I heard from Him this week was the following, “Your works, what you do for others and what you teach others are not what impresses me, what impresses me is when you become more like my Son each day.”
If we stay busy about the Father’s work and if we dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, we cannot help but become more like Him. Intimacy with Him involves spending quality time in the Word, in worship and in prayer with Him each day. We become like those we spend the most time with and when we spend time with Him, we become like Him. The attributes of His nature, become attributes of our nature.
We will not be perfect anytime soon. We are often very hard on ourselves, but we shouldn’t be because it is through our mistakes that we learn the most about God’s forgiving nature.
Whatever your weakness is, expect to be tempted in that area constantly. You will never be so spiritual that you are no longer tempted to fail in certain areas. Satan is like the schoolyard bully we all remember. He spends a lot of time studying each of us and looking for those area’s of weakness in us so that he can stir up trouble in those area’s. Temptation isn’t a sin, but giving into it is.
I teach a lot about overcoming depression, anxiety and self-pity. Those are areas of my life that I have been delivered from. If you think that I never have a day when I might get depressed, anxious or start to feel sorry for myself you would be mistaken. Satan uses more then one thing against me in those areas on a continuous basis. The difference is that I am getting really good at recognizing the attacks and a whole lot better at deflecting them.
This week I had one bad day where I felt everything piling up on me. Yes, in the natural I knew what it was all about. I knew where the depression was coming from and I knew where the self-pity was coming from. Like that schoolyard bully Satan noticed that weakness in me and kept piling up “junk” into my life. Yesterday some bad news, which actually turned out not to be that bad, was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I broke down in tears.
The woman on the phone with me, at that time, seemed shocked. I could tell from her tone of voice that she didn’t expect me to show any normal emotions. She had only heard the positive words that come out of my mouth, up until then, and she apparently used the situation to make up her mind that, “I thought so, these Christians are such hypocrites!” I read that in her voice. You have been there. You know what I am talking about.
I was so disappointed in myself after that. I was disappointed that I couldn’t keep my emotions in check. I was disappointed that she seemed so judgmental. Then self-pity set in and I began to speak to God and said the following, “If she had to put up with one day of my life she couldn’t take it. If she had a husband that she had to feed, shower, run errands for because he couldn’t do a thing for himself, she couldn’t take it either God! If she had a chronic illness and no one to help she couldn’t take it God”…and on and on I went.
I realized that at any moment, any of us, can be pulled right back into our weaknesses. Yours may not be depression, it might be anger, or sex-addiction, or drugs, or alcohol, or anything! But none of us are so spiritual that we cannot be tempted to fall back into our old habits.
The good news is that God always forgives us. The world is judgmental and they stand by, sometimes gleefully, hoping to see a Christian fall so they can say, “I told you so, they aren’t perfect!”
They judge us, beloved, to keep from looking at their own lives. Believe me, they have problems in different areas too. The difference is that we have a heavenly Father who gathers His hurting child up in his arms and tenderly says, “That’s okay, you are going to fall a lot on your journey, but I am here to help you get up and try again.”
We need to quit being so hard on ourselves when we miss the mark. When you and I feel convicted that we didn’t do the right thing, or that we handled something in a less then Christian manner, we only have to repent and then learn from the experience to do things differently the next time.
Condemnation comes from Satan. He loves to bring condemnation thoughts to our minds. He wants us to think we are hopeless and helpless so that we give up and go to hell with Him.
We cannot be perfect, but we can keep getting back up and moving closer to the goal. Do you know what I think? I believe that God allows us to be weak in certain areas so that we have to be dependent upon Him.
The devil wants us to concentrate on how far we have fallen; rather then how far we have risen. God wants our focus on our strengths not on our weaknesses. In the following scriptures we see how God wants us to press forward, and forget the things of the past.
“No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.” Philippians 3:13,14
I don’t care if you “blew it” five minutes ago, quit beating yourself up emotionally and get up and do the right thing the next time. God understands His children and He knew before we did it, that we were going to do it. He also knows our potential. Tell that little condemning voice from Satan that “I am God’s child. I may fall 10 times but I will get up each time and press forward with His help!”
In those times when we fall, if the unsaved world wants to judge us, so what? We have to please God, and not people! Let it go, pick yourself up and trust in Him for strength to overcome the next time!
In His Unconditional Love,