Surface Christians

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Generally when we initially come to Christ we make a significant attempt to change our outside appearance (many times based on the awkward looks we get from other church members), but what happens when we aren’t just as concerned about what’s happening inside of us?

The bible tells us we wrestle not with the flesh, but with powers and principalities (Ephesians 6:12).

If we are fighting daily battles with forces beyond our flesh, how can we survive if we’re only manicuring our flesh, and not getting in connection with those powers within to strengthening our inner man?

Yes, we see you every Sunday at church. You’re dressed to impress and you’re lifting your hands in worship during praise. You may even have a tattered bible with notes written in various colors that you’ve taken during different services, but that does NOT exclude you from spiritual warfare!

I can say these things because this was me. I would attend church, even serve in different capacities, but my heart remained wicked. My inner man remained unchanged. I was still the same selfish, lustful, angry person I was without Christ. Although I dressed modestly and even changed the type of music I listened to, I was looking very “Christian.” But inside I was so weak! I would crumble during spiritual attacks like a dried glob of mud in your hand. It didn’t take much pressure for me to fall apart. 

Surface Christians are more concerned about how they appear to other people-in the natural… but what about how they appear in the spiritual realm? 

This could’ve been just me, but how often do we hear a scripture during a sermon, highlight it, and never go back to read more and really understand, and accept, what’s written? 

In an impromptu bible study with one of my sisters, as she’s reading, I’m looking at my bible thinking, “All of this is highlighted, I should know this!” But it was as though I had never heard those words a day in my life! I was shocked, amazed and appalled all at the same time because I had never just sat and read it for myself to gain a full understanding of what this Christ-like life is all about! 

Again, I had been living on the surface! 

No wonder I felt weak… I was! There is so much power in the Word, that so many of us miss because we are not diving deeper. My reason for “surfacing” may be different from yours, but they are all forms of disobedience. God did not equip us with the same power He gave Jesus, for us not to use it!

Talk about a much needed revelation! 

We do NOT believe just for the title of being Christian, but we are charged to use what God has given us to bring glory to His name. We can only do that by going deeper. Don’t be content living on the surface.

Be encouraged. 

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Breaking Your Own Spirit

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How many times have you heard:”Don’t break their spirit”?

Referring to a child, or anyone for that matter. Usually because they’re not doing something “right” or by “normal” standards…

Did you know you can break your own spirit?

Well you can.
In my experience, breaking your own spirit hurts more than someone else breaking your spirit. You’ll continue trying to justify why you should put up with lowering your standards and morals. Versus someone else breaking your spirit, you can disregard what they say.

Let’s just say over the last year I have done a lot of breaking my own spirit. Settling for significantly less than I deserve in several areas of my life.

You may ask, but how did you break your own spirit?

One way was engaging in relationships that didn’t build me up. Friendships, dating, things like that. Holding onto people that don’t deserve to be in my life because I felt I needed them, or they needed me, so I thought.

I’ve learned that people who are needy will prey on those who need to be needed to satisfy their selfish desires. While those who need to be needed will prey on those who are needy to fulfill their selfish desires.

Did that person say they needed you? Or did you assume because they lack something you have, they needed you to teach them that quality? Did they actually ASK for your help, or are you handing out your help because you want to feel important, or like you saved them from themselves?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself lately since I fall into the “need to be needed” category.

There have been several times where I was not asked for help, but I will ask if help is needed anywhere or I’ll just step in if I saw lack. I’m wasn’t being led by God, no shove from the Holy Spirit, it was just me.

This eventually led to self destruction.
I never gave myself an opportunity to rest, causing a horrible snowball effect.Not having a chance to rest affected my ability to be available to my children, as well as my overall enjoyment of life. Everything became a chore. It wasn’t a matter of me having hobbies and taking time out to do things that made me happy, but everything felt like it HAD to be done! My selfish desire of needing to be needed took over my life.

Generally I love to cook. I would find joy in it. That too became a chore that I didn’t want to do.

So I didn’t.

That resulted in us eating out frequently, gaining weight and overall feeling the affects of not properly nourishing our bodies.

I wasn’t properly resting.

I stopped praying.

My kids were getting on my nerves every second of the day.

I didn’t find joy in anything!

My spirit was broken… by ME!

God wasn’t leading me to do ANY of the things I was doing, I just did them because I felt I needed to do them.

I had to check myself…

I said “You used to love this! The activity hasn’t changed, so you must’ve changed. What is wrong?!?”

What was wrong was my lack of contentment.

I want things that it’s not God’s timing for me to have…

*clears throat* my own home, a husband…

That translated into doing SEVERAL things that should bring joy, but didn’t because I wasn’t doing them for the right reasons.

As soon as I stopped being satisfied with what I have been blessed with was the moment everything began to fall apart. Not overnight, but very gradually.

When I was previously able to keep things together, it was because I was content in where I was in my life! Content in my blessing, and content in the things I lack because I knew God was aware of the desires of my heart, and He wouldn’t withhold those things from me if I was righteous (Psalms 84:11.)

But thank God for revelation…

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33-34‬ NKJV

The moment I started examining the “happiness” of others, over the will of God for my life, is when selfishness and discontentment settled in and I broke my own spirit.

Be Kingdom minded and enjoy the season YOU are in…

Don’t break your own spirit.

Be encouraged.

God and Your Relationship

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I read an interesting question the other day from one of my favorite Facebook pages. It is dedicated to single Christians that are walking/ learning to walk in their purpose while trusting God and waiting for their spouse.
The question asked, “Does God really care about who we marry? Or does He want to be involved in the selection?”

My response: Yes and YES!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

In ALL your ways, not just some of them.

I’ll use this personal example:

I was in a relationship, it wasn’t bad, abusive, harmful or anything. It was actually going really well. Then it ended.

The REALLY hard part came when it was time to explain to my daughters why he wouldn’t be coming around anymore – I have learned some helpful lessons about dating with children, I’ll address that at a later time – I tried to break it down as easily as possible for them to understand, I simply said, “God didn’t choose him for me, I chose him.” When asked for more details, I asked them some questions:

Why do we pray? They answered, “To talk to God.”

I asked why are we supposed to talk to God, they said, “So we know what He wants us to do.”

I affirmed them.

We talk to God for direction, for guidance.

(as usual, while teaching them, I end up learning something myself)

Now although I was praying while in this relationship, I was praying that this man WOULD be “the one”, I didn’t start asking if he was until close to the end of our relationship… and guess what God said?

NO! He pointed out several reasons why he wasn’t my husband, but did I call things off? No… Had I ended things earlier (when I was told to) I wouldn’t have experienced the hurt I did because of how it ended.

Now back to the question: Does God care about who we marry?

ABSOLUTELY!

We have been given instructions on who we, as Believers, should connect with/ marry:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthias 6:14

We have also been given specific instructions on how husbands and wives are to treat each other in marriage:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the savior of the body.” Ephesians 5:22-23

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” Ephesians 5:25-26

Knowing this, why wouldn’t God care?

Marriage is a covenant made before God and He wants us to be connected to people that will enhance our relationship with Him. If our partner is hindering that relationship instead of enhancing it, what’s the point? Companionship? Sex? Children? – Those things are bonuses to marriage, not the purpose for it.

Now for the women, as a wife, would you submit to someone who is leading you in the wrong direction? Of course not! Especially when we know right from wrong. As a wife, we would be disobeying God by not submitting to our husband. Now, the fact that our husband is not someone we would want to submit to (for whatever reason) would be no one’s fault but our own. We weren’t seeking God’s approval of this person before we made our vow “’til death do us part.”

For the second part of the question: Does He want to be involved in the selection?

YES!

Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk in the Spirit. By walking in the Sprit we can avoid “fornication, adultery, hatred, envy, selfish ambitions, idolatry” (verses 19-21)

-Notice, I included characteristics that are usually present in relationships where God isn’t –

When God is involved, we are less likely to fulfill our own selfish, lustful desires, so we NEED Him to be involved in order to keep us focused on the task at hand – enhancing the Kingdom of God!

This can be a challenge, because we think we know what’s best for ourselves (or we get caught up by how they look on paper or in person), but as David said in Psalms 139:1-3 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.” (The rest of this chapter is good too, but I’ll let you look it up yourself).

He knows us better than we know ourselves!! He knows what we NEED!

Not only what we need today, but what we’ll need tomorrow – we don’t. Let Him direct ALL your paths, not just some of them…

Be encouraged.