Tag Archives: pride

Time For Grace

3 Jul

The Beatitudes:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God. ~Jesus

The past year for me, like most, has been extremes of trials and blessings, but for me,  the lessons of grace and mercy have taken my heart captive.

I have such strong feelings when I feel my fellow believers are being religious, legalistic, unkind or in my opinion, standing in the way of true evangelism. Yet, as soon as I think that way, The Holy Spirit convicts me and shows me my own sin. My own pride. My own legalism in my judgement.

We are supposed to love God, love our fellow Christians and mostly, love our neighbor. This is the fulfillment of the law.

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:4-14 

Loving your neighbor doesn’t just mean those that are in your inner circle but rather this includes those that are different from you- the atheist, homosexual, abortionist, muslim. This also includes the guy who disagrees with you, or the guy that just cut you off on the freeway, the girl that was rude to you, the boss that screams at you. It also includes your husband when he is unloving or your wife when she is disrespectful. This is agape love. This is grace. This is where I sin most.

Grace is essential in every single aspect of our journey to become Christ like. Without grace, you truly are not aligned with Christ and your faith is not evident.  If we seek it, we need to give it. Your walk should embrace grace and be evident.  Jesus warned us about Spiritual pride. 4″ Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4, 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:10 

So before we can walk in grace, we absolutely must humble ourselves. God teaches us in His own way, in His own time, and The Living Word breathes truth into us, over and over again, we grow, we soften, we learn, as that knowledge is shown to us, by the Father.

Humility is essential to growth, to love, to grace, to salvation. Without it, we can’t possibly understand how to love as Christ loves us; Our ego fights this, our free will fights this.

We are sinners. If we are judging the sin in other’s, we take a step away from humility,  from grace and from Christ. Before you hate the sin in other’s you must first hate your own sin and your own sin nature. Ask forgiveness for your own sins. Let Him walk you through your own refinement. This is faith. This is how God can begin to change the world, first within us. Then through us.

After all, He loved us first. All of us.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

I have recently had my own major lessons and convicted misteps in grace. Being hurt by family and/or family of believers,  I being shocked by the dishonor, blatent unkindness and later, the untruth and slander that was exposed. responded with protective anger. Especially at the cruelty that crushed the spirit of someone I care about.  There is a hurt that goes so deep when the hurt comes from family and/or our family of believers. It is more unexpected in some way. We walk more transparently with our fellow believers, or we should anyhow.

But Christ himself walked everything before us and he expects us to stay focused on him and on grace.

39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:39

He teaches us how to stay focused on what truly matters in our journey to eternity. We can’t care about what others think of us. God has a different expectation. His approval is all we truly need.

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26  

As with all scripture, you must read the whole in which the context is taken Jesus didn’t mean to “hate” your family but rather this is a warning that walking a Christian life is difficult. We must love God first and be willing to lose all the rest, in the end, for that love. Jesus loved the law, including to honor your mother and father. but He was very clear:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

In the end, humble, forgiving grace is essential to our journey. Grace doesn’t approve of, enable or minimize sin. Grace doesn’t decide forgiveness of sin, Jesus did that on the cross for us. It is not our job to convict, nor judge. That is the Holy Spirits job. Justice is not ours. Humility says, if justice were served, I would be unworthy to receive the mercy and grace of our Lord’s crucifixion.

When our fellow Christian sins, (not the unsaved), like we do ourselves…we must help them back to God’s truth, even if it is our spouse. We submit to God first. If our fellow believer, whether friend, child or spouse is hurtful or walking away from alignment in Christ  we lovingly speak truth, sometimes it is a must, but it also must include acknowledgement of forgiveness, and our own need for forgiveness and grace.  Ultimately, it can cost rejection, but if it is in line with Christ, it is worth it.

When the world walks in sin, like we do ourselves, we must step out of discipleship and into evangelism. Jesus was a revolutionary teacher of peace and of LOVE in a time of arrogant legalism and religious politics. Truth be told, times were very politically extreme like it is today. If we aren’t perfect, like He was, which we are not, we can’t have the same righteous anger. If we aren’t transparent and humble, walking in grace and love, then we are not following the words of Christ. Our words and actions at all times are our evangelism. If they aren’t in line with scripture, we have too much work to do on ourselves before we put ourselves in a role of leadership. Period.

In the end, Grace wins.  I think The Message version sums it up best.

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

 

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Let It Go

18 Dec

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Our relationship with the Triune can be so influenced by our relationship with one another here. As a child we are born to trust but over time, our people, whom are imperfect, chip away at our innocence.

There is a theory, that if you can find what area’s of faith you struggle with, there is a direct influence of relational issues and strengths you carry, a belief system, based on what relationship you struggled with or relied on most in your life; what message you received.

This is it, broken down. This is rough and not perfect but hope will convey the point.

God is the Father: The Head, the corrector, the protector. What our relationship to our own father is, can determine what our relationship to God is. Are we intimidated, unsure of His approval? Is he a loving father, a distant, seemingly uncaring father? Is he weak?

The Holy Spirit: Comforting, convicting, full of wisdom, the promptings or thoughts in our head come from the Holy Spirit in us. Our relationship with our mother can influence our relationship with the Holy Spirit. What message did your mother give you. Do you have guilt or shame? Did you feel safe and loved? This area is great because of the wisdom factor.

Jesus is the Son, the giver, the heart. The unconditional love and acceptance. No matter what you have done, He loves you anyways.To believe He died for you, to truly have a relationship of faith and trust with Jesus, to see Him as your salvation, is influenced by your relationship with your friendships and can also be influenced by your role in your family with your siblings.

Finding the area’s within you that may need healing, to forgive or to lay at the foot of the cross because it is so huge, but that which may be keeping you from fully embracing a trusting, child-like relationship with the Triune. We are to become like children. That means letting go of all the messages we received over a lifetime and going back to square one. It means forgiveness, and a leap of faith. The world will tell you all sorts of stuff, but the fact is, most doesn’t line up to The Word of God.

The Word will not tell you to judge, not even your enemies. It will tell you to love your enemies. To love those that do wrong. To see those in need and distress. To especially love your fellow Christ followers because we cannot know what it truly means to have Grace and Mercy without that love; to be loved so much we know we are saved and washed clean of our sins, for no other reason than putting all our hearts and trust into one sacrificial lamb, one amazing Father, and to allow the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to reside within our hearts.

Find your idols, you will find your insecurity. Find your insecurities, you find your belief system. Humble yourself and let The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, heal your belief system, become child like and watch your faith grow.

We seek and seek, we try to run from or find the source of our pain, rather than finding the source of our hope. Our faithlessness or inability to trust is worldly. Seek and grasp your worth in the Holy Promise.

God chose every single one of us;Designed us and loves us beyond measure. Some of us will lay our hearts at the foot of that promise, letting it build great hope in us. Other’s will walk with a desire for more but a lack of ability to believe we don’t design our own destiny. We do, with free will, but heaven can only be achieved by letting go of self and leaping out away from the legalism of religion, pride, and trying to bend and twist a most difficult yet simple truth.

We can never be good enough nor bad enough to achieve or not achieve salvation. We can only be child like enough in our trust in Him, that He meant what he said. There is nothing weak about letting go of the idea that your life depends on you, do you really honestly believe you have complete control? Truth is: Your life depends on your relationship to the Triune.

Small sacrifices

30 May

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family” Matthew 5: 8-9 MSG

Today I had the honor of praying with a mother that lost her daughter. Her not quite woman, no longer child, beloved daughter. Her heart is heavy with grief, a grief I do not know and pray I never do. What I saw in her eyes was something haunted and at the same time, peaceful. Her faith is strong and she knows her child is now with Jesus.

I was incredibly moved by her, but what I found so incredible in her words and heart, was love. She humbly apologized for tearing up, stating she knows that other’s have it worse. She expressed such a gratitude for the time she had with her child, shared a joyful hope of watching her other child grow, she feels blessed to participate in his journey. She was gracious and humbled by the outpouring of friendship she has received from neighbors and family. This woman is strong in Jesus.
Her strength of faith, her tenderness and her sorrow all touched me deeply. Would I be so strong in faith? I would like to think I would. I have had my own grief and found the joy in that, but that took time and my grief was divorce, not the death of my child.

When I see people being so bogged down in their own anger and bitterness, the contrast to this beautiful faith-filled woman is stark. I am not speaking of those that are under fire, or those that struggle with mental illness or chemical imbalances. I am talking about those that are rude or unkind for no apparent reason, those that are so jealous of what other’s have they don’t see their own overflowing blessings. Those that speak out against faith,in bitterness for being slighted, in anger for the life they don’t have, for those that find the negative in every situation.

When you look at the eyes of anger, you are inclined to turn away. This world will tell you to not take it personal, don’t let them get away with it. Christ said to love the least of these. I believe the woman that lost her child but loves the Lord has far more than the one that is filled with anger. We are instructed to be drawn with compassion to love our enemy. We can do this safely from afar or minister directly to the one that is so angry. God didn’t create us to be doormats, through Christ He made us strong and victorious.

The next time someone is rude, rejecting of you, hurtful towards you, pray for them. Instantly. Pray for a compassionate heart. We ask for prayers for those that are reaching out to God already. They are in His hands. Safe and sound. Pray for those that don’t know Him. Pray for those that do and can’t begin to trust Him. To be in relationship with Him.

My heart is so full of compassion for those that don’t know Grace, Mercy, Hope, Forgiveness, Peace… This world is only the beginning. My friend is at peace because she knows one day, she will hug her daughter again. We will all pass from this world. We won’t have the opportunity to do this over. Our actions and our words will stand. Our hearts will be examined, not for how good we were but did we know and share Jesus. Were we transparent in our sin, were we striving to love better, to share the insurmountable, unexplainable Joy of Faith? Not for those we condemned or those we avoided because they were mean to us. Not because we were moved by a woman’s deep sorrow at the loss of her child.

Small sacrifices are as simple as swallowing your pride, loving first and mostly, in spite of.

Love Your Enemies

“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5: 38-48 MSG