This week’s video … Brain Ruts. Do your thoughts tell you the truth or lies? What is it like to “think” truth? How do your thoughts affect your life? As a man thinks in his heart so is he. Where do the ruts in your brain takes your thoughts?
Have you ever felt that you are not good enough – that you just don’t serve enough, care enough, pray enough, read your Bible enough, or you sin too much?
Those feelings can be good or they can be bad.
If the feelings are because of God’s love drawing you into a closer relationship with Him, and it is your heart’s desire to spend more time with God, serve more, care more, read God’s Word more and have less sin in your life, then those are good feelings. The feelings are being generated by God transforming you from the inside out and giving you a desire for more of Him.
However, if the feelings are there because they are fed by condemnation and striving, they are bad feelings. It is very easy to let feelings push you across a line into becoming works oriented with the result being that a process of striving commences – a process that eliminates the Biblical truth that it is only because of the cross that we are good enough.
God always looks at our hearts – our motives. The moment I do things only because I “have to” to obtain God’s favour, the process of a works oriented striving starts. I walk outside of the finished work of the cross.
Sometimes, we also compare ourselves to others. That person reads their Bible more hours a week than I do! That other person prays hours and hours longer than I do! That person across the aisle is so much sweeter and kinder to people than me!
Who am I to judge myself or others? There is only one fair judge and that is God.
What does God’s word say? Our hope is built on nothing less than the cross and God’s transforming power to make us how He wants us to be — in His time and in His way. I am not the person who is sitting beside me or across the aisle. I am me with my frailties and weaknesses. We are all in different states of being transformed, and we all have our weaknesses.
“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NASB)
If you are not perfect and a particular sin seems to still not be totally rooted out of your life and you still fall down a lot — Get up! Repent and get up! This is not to say we use grace as a reason to purposely sin; however, we are not perfect and when God has not completed sanctifying a particular area of our life — when we fail — repent and get up!
The getting up is what the righteous do. If you wallow in self-pity and condemnation the enemy wins. Instead recognize that God is your righteousness and He forgives! He will complete the work He has begun in you; but, you are a work in progress. You are not perfect yet – you are not in Heaven.
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again . . . (Proverbs 24:16)
You are not good enough and never will be; however, God will make beauty out of your ashes. Through the process of sanctification, He will transform you. Just remember, you are a work in progress!
I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 of the Bible. These three men made a decision that had enormous consequences.
They were ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar to worship a golden statue he had set up. If they refused to bow and worship his idol, they would die for their disobedience.
They chose to disobey the king. The backlash to their decision was that they were immediately ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar to be thrown into a fiery furnace. The king was so angry that he even instructed the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual.
When they were thrown into the flames, the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego saved them. The King jumped to his feet because he could clearly see four men walking around in the fire. That was as I would say, “Unreal!”. How could there be four men walking around in the fire when only three tied up men were thrown into it?
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be in that fire! To be thrown into the fire, to be alive and not burning, to have your chains fall off, and then for God to join you – that would make any person dance for joy in the fire! I would look at my hands and feet and laugh and dance! Even more incredible would be that my God joined me in the fire!
Here is what the Bible said King Nebuchadnezzar’s response was:
Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out! Servants of the Most High God, come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. When they came out, the governors, assistant governors, captains of the soldiers, and royal advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. Their hair was not burned, their robes were not burned, and they didn’t even smell like smoke!
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their God has sent his angel and saved his servants from the fire! These three men trusted their God and refused to obey my command. They were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god other than their own.
So I now give this command: Anyone from any nation or language who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn apart and have his house turned into a pile of stones. NO OTHER GOD CAN SAVE HIS PEOPLE LIKE THIS.” (Daniel 3: 26-29 NCV)
The God of the Bible has not changed. He is the still the same God. No matter what fire you are thrown into God will immediately free you and join you in the fire – you can dance in the fire! You will dance in the fire!
There is always a battle in our minds – fear, doubt, and uncertainties try and rule us. Those thoughts are lies! The truth is God’s Word! The real truth is that God will join you in any fire you are thrown in and you will dance in the fire!