Today I am wrapping up my list of ways I believe we are held back in a victorious walk of faith.
If you are joining in for the first time you might want to stop by and read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series within the series of Faith Life Preservers. As I said when I decided to jump in to The Nester's 31 Day Challenge (I am #410 of 1236 participants-WOW!), I had no idea where it would lead or what would come out, I have been led, blessed and surprised along the way.
From the first post:
Here are the tentacles I believe hold back
and cause stumbling in believers.
The Octopus has 8 tentacles so I considered these 8 in my own life:
1. Negative Thinking and Self Talk
3. Past Mistakes
4. Fear of Rejection/Failure
6. Critical/Abusive People
7. Self-Defeating Behaviors and Choices
8. Places That Bring You Down
I affirmed the reality that God wants to lead us to victory:
"He lives to disentangle you from the present danger and deliver
you into a place of safety, truth and peace."
I want to encourage you at the onset of our concluding post through
His word for you today of our ultimate victorious position and the triumph of our faith.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57
... for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4
We tackled the first five tentacles in our previous posts
and now we move on to our final three...
6. Critical/Abusive People
The topic of others can be difficult. We are to be salt and light, grace and truth, to a desperate and needy world. But Jesus did not hurry nor was He pressed by the agendas of others. There are those God brings into our lives for a season and there are those who will appear apart from His will. We need to stay close to Him to discern who is in our inner circle and who has access to our hearts. I am a pretty transparent person. I struggle with boundaries and have made some serious bad judgement calls in the past. I am careful now to heed him. Make no mistake, the enemy wants to sidetrack the sheep from the specific will of God. Following Him helps us to make healthy and appropriate boundaries. The hardest of these can be with those we love who challenge our mental health and well being. I will only say this. With God all things are possible. Apart from Him we can do nothing. But because of Him we can walk on water...or at least in places it seems impossible to walk without Him. This too is all from God. We keep our eyes on Him and lean on Him for the difficult people He does have us around, who by His design, we can't escape. I am trying to be careful and sensitive here. We all have people in our lives who challenge us to our core. God's word and Holy Spirit are where the answers lie. In the case of physical abuse at the hands of another, I pray I do not have to say that it is not God's will for a woman or child to be harmed by any one who is supposed to love and protect her/him.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7. Self-Defeating Behaviors and Choices
We watch helplessly as we see others choose things that we know will not be good for them. We struggle ourselves in many ways and recognize behaviors in our own lives that need to be dealt with and/or surrendered to God. Nothing good comes easy. Effort and perseverance are needed when we are dealing with patterns of behavior, thinking and choices that need time to come under the hand of grace through the relationship we have with Christ. It takes time. Trust. It often involves the love and support of others. We need to be willing. Jesus is long suffering with us. He finishes the work He starts. He never gives up on us (even when we give up on ourselves) and He will have His way in the end.
Meanwhile let's remember this verse as He lovingly, patiently teaches us His ways.
God IS greater than our hearts and He knows everything. Even the secret things. He loves us to the core.
This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
I John 3:18-22
8. Places Bring You Down
Early on in my Christian walk, I was going through a bit of a down time. I questioned everything: my salvation, God's love for me, my future, my choices.
I wondered if anything had really "happened" to me with regard to conversion.
I began to wonder about what it meant to be "saved" and I slipped further from the dock that had only begun to secure my heart and mind safely in the harbor of Truth.
I remember this one particular time when I heard the Holy Spirit speak clearly to me.
It was loud because the place I was at at the time had loud, blaring music. I was in the wrong place for the wrong reason and God made it so clear. As I ran around inside this establishment trying to run (literally) from the voice inside which I could not escape, I heard the Holy Spirit repeat "You do not belong here."
I could not drown out the voice no matter how I tried.
I had been sealed by His Holy Spirit and this specific incident became a turning point for me. Only you know the places you go that drown out God's voice for you. You don't belong there. If you hear his voice, heed it. We all have places that we should not go. Some are obvious. Some not so much. God will make it clear to you, so listen and do what He says.
So, as the Holy Spirit says:
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
Well Friends, this concludes our Octopus Tale.
I wonder what tentacles get you tangled up and cause you to stumble now
or in the past in your own walk of faith?
How have you overcome?
Perhaps you can encourage another by sharing your story
and God's faithfulness and ability to get you untangled!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
1 Corinthians 2:14
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
1 John 16:33
Praising Him with you today!
31 Days of Faith Life Preservers
October 1-31, 2012
See all other Faith Life Preserver Posts HERE.
Check out all of the other
31 Day Topics and Bloggers HERE!
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