Fight Off Fear-Driven Dissatisfaction

The Devil tries to bring fear into our lives through dissatisfaction. 

He uses dissatisfaction to introduce fear into our lives by convincing us we’re missing out on something we deserve to have. The devil tells us that other people are enjoying something that was meant for us. He makes us think that because we don’t have what other people have we are less than they are.

In fact that was his strategy when he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Fight-Off-Fear-Driven-Dissatisfaction-Photo-of-woman-blindfolded.jpg  A photo by Oscar Keys. unsplash.com/photos/AmPRUnRb6N0“One day the snake said to the woman, “Did God really say that you must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden?” The woman answered the snake, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God told us, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch it, or you will die.’” But the snake said to the woman, “You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!” (Genesis 3:1-5 NCV).

The snake (Satan) twisted the words of God to make Eve think that God was holding something back. He tells her that God hasn’t given her the whole truth and that her life would actually improve by stepping out of the will of God.

Satan does the same thing to us every day.

He tries to make us believe that our life doesn’t quite measure up.  Satan tries to convince us that we are less than sufficient, and that what our heavenly Father has provided isn’t enough.

This isn’t the kind of fear that brings nightmares and cold sweats. It’s the kind that breeds a subtle dissatisfaction with our lives.

This dissatisfaction will cause us to question everything we have: Our house, our salary, our friendships, our parenting, our marriages, etc.

We should absolutely desire to improve in all these areas, but fear and discontentment will never bring growth. Fight-Off-Fear-Driven-Dissatisfaction-Photo-of-man-with-dog.jpg

Instead of growing, we will diminish. We will become angry, closed off or overly competitive.  We will begin to think the reason that we don’t have enough is because we aren’t enough.  These emotions can drive us to do unreasonable things and the whole time the force behind our negative emotions is fear.

If you were to ask an adulterer why he had an affair it’s not likely he would answer, “Because I was afraid.”  When you ask someone who was recently fired why she lost their job she wouldn’t say, “Because I was afraid.”  If you ask someone who has no friends why he pushes people away he wouldn’t tell you, “Because I am afraid.”  These people would give you a litany of other reasons: They were unhappy in their marriage; They didn’t get along with their coworkers; Other people don’t understand them.

The real reason is fear.

They are afraid somebody is using them, lying to them or has something they believe they should have.  They’ve fallen into the same trap as Eve. They’ve allowed fear to stop them from seeing the blessing of God in their lives.

That’s really what Eve missed. The Devil told her she was going to be like God and she forgot that she was already made in His perfect image.

Fight-Off-Fear-Driven-Dissatisfaction-Photo-of-woman-blindfolded.jpg  A photo by Jared Erondu. unsplash.com/photos/j4PaE7E2_WsWe can fight off this fear-driven dissatisfaction by knowing that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. The feeling of not having enough is destroyed by knowing that we are enough in Christ. We are made in the image of God the same way Adam and Eve were.

We need to remind ourselves of 2 Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that we are always missing out on something. God has already blessed us and will continue to do so. We only have to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Trust in God’s Timing

perfect timing 2Walking in God’s plan for our lives means that we have to trust in His timing. The key word here is “trust”.

Paul wrote it best in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

The word “walk” in this verse doesn’t mean our physical walk. Paul is not telling us to walk around with physical eyes closed and have faith that we won’t stumble into oncoming traffic. No, our “walk” is our daily manner of living. It is the way we go about our lives. Paul is instructing us to make faith the norm in our lives.

So, to walk by faith and not by sight means that we no longer focus on the things of the world. Our focus is now set on Jesus.

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,” (Hebrews 12:2).

The people of this world are focused on themselves and their circumstances. They are walking by sight. They don’t know about and don’t have access to the power of God, because they aren’t children of God. The only ability they have is the ability within themselves. So, when they are trying to solve a problem or figure out the next step in their lives, all they have is their own strength and wisdom.

That is why the world goes around stressed out and confused, because there is no true strength or wisdom outside of our Heavenly Father.

However, we are no longer like the people of this world. We, as Christians, have the amazing ability to trust God for everything in our lives.

When it seems like God is taking a long time to come through for us, we don’t need to be like the world. We don’t need to turn to our own power and wisdom in order to try and make something happen for ourselves.

We don’t have to wonder or worry about what God has planned for us or when it’s going to happen. We simply trust that God loves us and that His plans are always good. This is what it means to rest in the finished work of Christ.

If God has spoken to us about the plan for our lives, if He has promised us something, we don’t need to be concerned about when or how it will happen. We just need to have faith like we read about in Romans 4:21, “And being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”

Moving Beyond Yourself

starting block - Moving Beyond YourselfWhen we decide to follow God’s plan we need to know that it’s going to lead us to new places. We will no longer live or look like the world. The majority of people live in isolation. They are either alone or only concerned with their immediate family. God calls us to move beyond ourselves.

In order to move beyond ourselves, we have to realize that while our gifting and calling from God is ours, it is not for our benefit alone. He gives us talents and abilities, and opportunities to use them in order to bless others.

Read what the Bible has to say about moving beyond ourselves: “Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor],” (1 Peter 4:10 Amplified).

This should be one of the most encouraging verses for those of us who don’t believe we have anything to offer. God has given each one of us a special gift. We’ve been empowered by the grace of God to change the world in a way only we can.

Don’t think that God has given us a gift just to hide it from us. He wants us to discover our talent and purpose.

Don’t listen to the voices of the past. Many of us have been discouraged by parents, teachers and those close to us. They told us that we aren’t talented or smart. A high GPA or income are not requirements to be used powerfully by God. God does not conform to the standards of the world, and neither should we.

If we don’t know what our gift is, we simply need to ask God.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking,” (James 1:5 NLT).

God is not going to be angry at us for wanting to know our gifting. He gave it to us. He doesn’t want us to spend our life frustrated and discontented because we never discovered our purpose.

It’s a beautiful thing to discover what God has called us to do. It opens up our world in a way that nothing else can. Once we know what it is we can start to work on it, develop it and allow it to stretch us as God takes us to new heights.

Our divine gift will put us in contact with new and different people; people that we never would have dreamed would be in our sphere of influence.

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men,” (Proverbs 22:29).

God will exalt us as we seek to glorify Him and bless others with the gift He’s given us.

I encourage all of you to stop listening to the lies of the world and the devil that say you have nothing to offer. You are called an anointed by God to powerfully impact the world for His kingdom. Pray and ask God to show you what your gifting is, then get to work and watch your life move to new heights.

Heart – Searching For God’s Heart

searching for Gods Heart

King David is known as “A Man After God’s Own Heart”.  He was a man searching for God’s heart.  He loved God and simply enjoyed being in His presence.

The first time King David is mentioned in the Bible he is a long way off from being king. He’s the youngest son of a man named Jesse. He is not the favorite. In fact, he’s out in the field taking care of the sheep and goats. It wasn’t a glamorous job. It definitely wasn’t the kind of work we would expect a future king to be doing. However, God makes a powerful statement to the prophet Samuel as to why He chose David to be king:

“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Our heavenly Father looks at us the same way He looked at David. He isn’t concerned with our age, height, hair color, education, etc. He looks at the condition of our heart.

God did not choose David to be king because David had prepared his body and mind. He chose David to be king because David had prepared his heart.

In Acts 13:22 God said this about David: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”

David was a man after God’s heart before He was anointed to be king of Israel.

David did not love God for the things God could give him. His purpose in seeking God was not because he knew one day he would be king. He simply loved God for His goodness, mercy and love.

It is easy to fall into the trap of seeking God in order to obtain material blessings. We think that if we can memorize enough scripture, go to church twice a week and maybe even serve while we’re there, then God will give us a bigger house, a bigger paycheck and a nicer car.

While none of those things are bad in and of themselves, they should never be the goal of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the reward of our relationship with Him.

David did not desire to be close with God in order to gain social status and material wealth. He was a shepherd out in the fields alone; becoming king was probably one of the furthest things from his mind. He simply enjoyed the presence of God. He was content with the fellowship of his heavenly Father.

That is why David was the ideal choice for king, because the deepest desire of his heart was to seek and know God. God knew that when He promoted David, David would have the position and the position would not have him.

This is the danger of seeking after God in order to gain riches. Our heart never truly belongs to God, it belongs to the riches. So, when we receive the promotion, move into the house or deposit the bigger paycheck, we leave God and cling to the riches.

We should make this the goal of our relationship with Jesus: to be content and fulfilled with His presence and fellowship.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment,” (1 Timothy 6:6).

When we stop seeking after God’s things and simply seek Him, we will begin to see and walk in His plan for our lives. It is only in His presence that we will receive everything we ever wanted.

 

www.ocfc.org

Expected Hope-God’s Plan

God has a plan to give you a future and a hope.

God has a plan for all of us. It is a plan with a hope, a future and an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

We need to have faith in His plan for us. We need to know that when we follow it, it will cause us to experience all that He has created for us and bring about the best possible outcome.

However, we can get too focused on the outcome of God’s plan for us.  This will cause us to miss the importance of the process. We sometimes think we need to get to the end as quickly as possible while bypassing everything else on the way.

Desiring an instant result will make us impatient and impatience causes us to abandon the plan early.

Think of the process an apple tree goes through in order to become a mature, fruit-bearing tree. It starts off as a seed, grows into a sapling, and only after years of the roots growing deep and the branches growing strong, does it bear healthy fruit.

Like an apple tree, it is in the process that we become strong. Following God’s plan day-by-day makes us more like Christ. We have to commit to this process otherwise, we may never see the fulfillment of God’s plan for our lives.

Impatience makes us grow weary, though. We think to ourselves, “If it was going to happen, it certainly would have happened by now”.  This kind of thinking is born out of fear.  We’re afraid that God’s plan just won’t happen. We fear that He’s not working in our lives, or that He has forgotten about us. This fear makes us impatient.

If an apple tree tried to bear fruit in the first year of growth, the weight of the apples would break the small trunk of the immature tree. It has to be fully grown in order to handle the weight of the fruit it’s destined to bear.

We must also be mature in order to step into the fullness of God’s plan.

“Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.”  Galatians 6:9

When we put our trust in God’s word and learn to keep our eyes on the path that He has laid out before us, we can stand strong against discouragement and fatigue.

Psalm 1 describes the kind of person who has faith in the Word of God: “But they delight in the law of the LordGuard Your Heart - Seek God's Plan of Hope for Your Future, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do,” (Psalm 1:2-3).

When we believe in the truth and power of God’s Word, we are like trees planted by riverbanks. We have a constant source. This is what makes us strong and prepares us to fulfill God’s plan for us.

Righteousness Pt 10

How do we avoid the trap of self-righteousness and condemnation? We maintain a consciousness of our righteousness in Christ. When we are mindful of our right-standing with our heavenly Father we can sidestep the deceptions the devil will throw at us.

However, this kind of thinking doesn’t happen by accident. It has to be maintained. It has to be kept. The great thing about God is that He doesn’t make it complicated. He doesn’t save us and make us righteous to abandon us. Jude 1:24 says “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.”

Notice that it’s not our power that keeps us from falling away. It’s the power and ability of God. It is our choice whether or not we stay close to Him. That’s how we maintain a righteousness consciousness; by staying close to God.

We let His words become uppermost in our hearts and minds. We’ll never be able to keep a consciousness of our right-standing in Christ if we are constantly feeding on the negative words of this world and our flesh.

Romans 8:6 tells us “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Setting our minds on selfish, fleshly desires brings about disastrous results.

Colossians 3:16 instructs us how to live our lives. It says, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.”

We have to allow His word to fill our lives. We can’t be full of the world and full of God. It is one or the other, and only one will keep us from falling away.

Let’s make a commitment to empty ourselves of our flesh and the world by letting the word of Christ live in us richly. When we do this we’ll stand strong in our righteousness and easily avoid the pitfalls of self-righteousness and condemnation.

Righteousness pt 9

In my previous posts I’ve written about self-righteousness and condemnation, and how they severely hinder our relationship with Jesus. What we also need to know about these two hindrances is that they can form a cycle in our lives, a cycle that can be difficult to break.

It goes like this: Self-righteousness puts us under the law. The law gives us knowledge of our sin, then that knowledge causes us to condemn ourselves and that condemnation leads to us distancing from our Heavenly Father due to the shame we feel.

If we let the mindset of condemnation take root in our lives we can eventually become prideful in our own shame. We think we have arrived at some great revelation in the discovery of our own unworthiness. We consider ourselves the second class citizens of God’s kingdom, the step-children of His family. We think that we are walking on thin ice with God, one step away from being cast out and getting “what we deserve.”

The next step is judging those who don’t do the same. We think to ourselves “Who do all these people think they are? Walking around like they aren’t one mistake away from God’s wrath and vengeance.” We think that everyone needs to have a low opinion of themselves the way we do.

This is not a revelation from the Holy Spirit. You cannot find this standard of living in the Word of God. This is a lie from the devil to keep us ashamed, separated and afraid of our Heavenly Father.

In and of ourselves we absolutely deserve God’s punishment, and the pain of a Christless eternity, but we are no longer in ourselves. Colossians 2:10 says “and in Him you have been made complete.” We are now in Christ, and Romans 8:1 tells us “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

So, living our lives being afraid of God and judging others for not doing the same is not true Christianity. It is false religion created by the devil and perpetuated by bad doctrine.

John 3:17 says “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Now we can see that we are no longer living in fear of getting “what we deserve” from God. If God were interested in giving us what we deserve, He never would’ve sent His son Jesus Christ to save us.

God’s judgment and wrath was spilled out on His only begotten Son when Jesus suffered and died on the Cross. He did it so we could be saved by grace.

And what is grace? A basic definition tells us that “it’s getting what we don’t deserve.”

We don’t deserve the righteousness we have in Christ, but we receive it by grace. So, let’s stop living under condemnation. Let’s stop putting ourselves back under the law. Let’s allow God, Who began a good work in us, to bring it to completion.

Righteousness 5: What Does It mean To Please God?

Galatians 1:10 says “Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”Please God - Tree with Light Photo

We can look at this verse and think “Yes, I don’t need to please people, because I only need to please God,” and we would be absolutely right, and also miss part of the meaning of this verse. What does it mean to please God? Is it the good things we do? Is it our talents? Is it how much money we have in the bank?

None of those things are the reason God is pleased with us. In fact, all of those things come from God. There is one essential element in pleasing God, and it’s faith. Hebrews 11:6 says “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

Our good works do please God, when they are done in faith. Our talents please God when we use them believing that they came from Him and no one else.

Both our good works and our talents will never reach their fullest potential without faith, because it becomes about us, or someone else, and not Christ.

So, when we think we have to earn God’s love, or that man’s approval is our answer, we aren’t living by faith. We’re depending on our own strength, and when we do that, we will always fall short.

We overcome our dependence on man’s approval through our righteousness in Christ. It frees us from all the things that could trap us. We don’t get caught up in trying to be someone we’re not, because man’s approval lessens in the light of God’s approval.

We are made righteous by faith.

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22).

The righteousness that we receive by faith, will also help us live by faith.

Righteousness pt 4

Every season, year, or decade always has its own trends. Eventually, things fall out of style, a new trend takes their place and the cycle continues. These trends are usually based upon the opinions of celebrities, editors of magazines and websites or the masses.

Sometimes we get caught up in these fads because we see everyone else doing it and we don’t want to get left behind. We think that we’re just going with the crowd, but, if we look deeper into it, what we’re really doing is following the opinion of a few.

There are those of us who would say, “I don’t follow the popular fads. I have my own style, opinions, etc.” But how often do we mold ourselves to better fit the people we live with every day? How do we let what other people think about us change us?

This isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes people think more highly of us than we do about ourselves, and it helps us reach new levels in our lives. There are those who think that we are not worthy of their time and

won’t hesitate to show us through their words and actions.

The mistake we make is trying to earn these people’s approval. We think that if we can conform ourselves to become what they want, then, they will love us and approve of us. That isn’t true.

The same way fashion trends change with the seasons, people’s opinions about us change with their moods. We will exhaust ourselves trying to be what they want, because when we do meet their standard, they will change it. While we’re trying to do this, we will completely miss who God wants us to be on the way.

What we forget while striving for man’s acceptance is that man’s acceptance is unstable. When we try to build our life on it we will be unstable as well.

What would happen if we stopped trying to earn everyone’s approval? What if we based our identity on being the righteousness of God in Christ?

Unlike man, God’s standard doesn’t change. That’s because His standard was met in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Since we are in Christ we have met God’s standard. There is nothing we need to

do to try to earn God’s approval. There is nothing we can do to earn it. It is ours in Christ.

We don’t have to be insecure wondering if we are good enough for God. Righteousness removes the need to measure up. Jesus Christ measured up for us.

We don’t live in confusion about how God feels about us. His love for us was proven when He gave His only son Jesus. (John 3:16).

We’ll stop participating in the rat race of trying to win man’s approval when we realize that God’s love and approval is all we need, and that we already have it.