Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Courage to Change: The Sin of 'Self Awareness'

Do you ever ask the questions: 'Am I loved? 'Do I have purpose in this life?' 'What is my worth?'
Or maybe you do not ask the questions, maybe you just believe that you are unloved, that you do not have a purpose in this life, nor that your life has any real worth. Perhaps you do not only 'believe' it, but it's starting to show in ways that are apparent to others.

Maybe you've tried to believe the right thing, that 'you are loved by God', that 'your life has a meaning' and that 'you are of worth', but to no avail...every time you think that you can make it, something happens, you step back, you look for your approval or acceptance in another person, in a romantic relationship, in being the best at some particular just cannot feel confident in your own shoes...just when you thought you were strong enough, you see yourself reaching out to find your purpose and worth in the things of the people, places, or things that never filled before...You know you shouldn't be doing this, and you aren't even doing it on purpose, but you can't help it... because the truth is you must feel loved, your life must have a purpose, you must be of worth...and unconsciously your trying to find all of the above in something or someone other than yourself. Why?
Because you, yourself, are not confident enough on your own. You've tried to trust God, but life is just so hard, and without that feeling of self worth you just cannot go on.

It is very important to have a right self is destructive to have the wrong image of yourself. Which is why Christ Himself has died on the cross to show God's great love for you, and why Christ is our great purpose, and the Bible says that you are of great worth to God and created in His image.
But what if you do not believe that Christ is all that He says He is? What if there is more to the story than just a desire to feel love? What if 'false guilt' is hindering you from receiving God's love, purpose, and His say on your worth?

I've known quite a few people who continue to live lives in constant struggle with believing in the Love and forgiveness of God, and the people who surround them. Yes, one of the reasons for this is because they grew up, or experienced offenses from those, usually those close to them, who may have 'acted' or 'said' that they loved them, but really 'did not'. But, another equally popular reason is that the individual had done something wrong, or had sinned against God or others, and 'did not' or 'could not' get themselves to believe that they could be 'forgiven' and 'loved' because, they had done so much wrong. More than, just being in shock about it, they 'disbelieved' that they could or 'should' be loved or forgiven...because inwardly, 'they did not forgive 'themselves' therefore they did not believe they should or could be loved and forgiven by others...
As much as this may seem like a form of humility to the person who has done wrong, or 'feels' like they have done wrong, it is NOT humility at all. Many times a person who cannot or will not forgive themselves, and will not allow themselves to be, or believe in the love and forgiveness of God/ others, (believe they should do so in order to 'punish' themselves, because they do not think they 'deserve' better.) But, the reality is 'rejecting God's love' or 'forgivness' aka (what Christ did/accomplished on the cross) is NOT humility or penitence at all, but 'rather' rebellion stirred by pride.

3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
 8Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.”
 Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”
~ John 13: 3-9

A big problem that a lot of us a problem with an 'over awareness of self'.
We think that we are being 'just' by pushing God's hands away, or protecting others from knowing who we truly are, but in reality we are just too concerned with 'self' and the 'way it makes our pride feel', and that 'hinders' us from freely surrendering to love.

Here are some other issues that usually actually stirred from Selfishness, (being too self centered)
1. Pity (the most obvious)
2. Depression
3. Doubt
4. 'False' Guilt
5. 'False' Humility/Justice
6. 'False' Love

I'll explain a few of these points further...Pity (False Guilt) can sometimes disguise it's self as Humility but it is NOT. Do not get confuse self pity, or self inflicted guilt with the work of the Holy Spirit or Biblical sorrow or repentance. It is all possible for a person to feel 'guilt' and it 'wear at their self image' but STILL not be 'repentant' of their sin...sometimes we may feel guilty for things that we need not even feel guilty for! and that is a sign of being too 'self focused' the point that you are despising yourself for not being as 'perfect' as 'you' think you 'should' be. Now, it's a good thing to want to better yourself when it is scriptural, but even then 'guilting over something' is not the same as 'repenting' and 'changing'!

Depression is proven in many cases to be the result of self pity, and too much focus on the 'bad' in a particular Individuals life...God says to think on 'good' things, and not too get caught up in focusing on all that 'isn't going right for you' but rather to worship Him in all circumstances and seek to focus on the blessings in your life.

Religiosity. Sometimes what we confuse with 'humility' and 'being pleasing to God' - is really our own sense of 'religiousity'. We stress over what clothes we are wearing, what music we are listening to, the way we are acting to an extreme extent; to where what may seem like 'wanting to be pleasing to God' and 'being modest' or worrying about 'not flirting' or 'not seeming prideful' or 'worrying on not listening to certain tones in music' or 'worrying about what we are eating' -when in reality we are actually doing nothing more than keeping up our sense of 'religiousity' and obeying our own standards. And 'then' when we do not 'live up to our own standards' we inflict ourselves with guilt...So that in actuality, we begin without God and end without God. We do not live up to our own sense of 'perfection' and therefore we punish having a pity party, and yet we 'still' do not repent...because why repent? Because it is not God in the first place that we were keeping holy, pure, etc...for...It was 'ourselves'. Therefore God is not even involved.
It is not enough to just 'please ourselves'.

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:20

The Pharisees were not only Hypocrites but they made up their own laws to be "holy". They would condemn others who did not obey the laws that 'they' had created, and they thought that just by heeding to their own 'religiousity' and 'self perfection theroy' they would be the greatest in God's eyes. Christ spoke against the Pharisees and their methods of holiness.

3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. - Titus 3:3-7

Saved by Grace through faith, and not by works least any man should boast!

It is important to know why you do what you do. Ask yourself if you are, and if so, why you are rejecting God's love or the love of others in your life? Ask yourself if your guilt is truly even genuine? Ask yourself if you are really willing to give up your sin, and receive blessing in it's stead? If so you will be 'repentant', and the thing about repentance is that it is not only 'being humble enough to admit you were wrong, and seeing that you have hurt God, and put yourself in harms way', but also the second part of repentance is being humble enough to receive God's love and brave enough to take the new chance and dropping the chains of the past sins.
Repentance is asking for forgivness, turning from your sin, and receiving God's love and pardon!
The beautiful thing, that just being 'guility' and 'condeming yourself' cannot do - is give you a new start and another chance. Just knowing you've done wrong, and condeming yourself for it, is not what God wants you to do. It is NOT what God wants you to do...It can be very self centered, and cause you to 'instead' of 'change' - 'get stuck focusing on 'your' 'sin' and what 'you've' done wrong, until it's just a pity party and has nothing of Godliness left in it. The only thing that will or can change you, is repentance and receiving God's forgivness and being changed by His love.
It's all an act of God. God is who saves you, God is who convicts you, and God is who forgives you.

When you insist on refusing God's love and forgivness you are disbelieving in what Christ has done for you on the cross. When you choose to 'guilt yourself' over your sin instead of 'go to Christ with it' you are choosing to let Satan destory you with your mistakes, and stand between the past and the future.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. - Ephesians 2:14-18

Repentance brings peace of mind. It is a lie that we have believed that we must 'guilt' ourselves to such a degree...we form self centeredness instead of godliness when we do that...God's will is that when we have done wrong, we realize what we've done wrong, ask for forgivness, and receive His power to 'sin no more!'

3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11She said, No man, Lord.
And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.  - John 8: 3-11

God's forgivness is so deep and so wide. The enemy would like us to stay in our sin and never live lives free, blessed, and useful; but God wants us to live lives where we are filled more with the 'awareness' of Him and His freedom, blessings, and love than the 'awarness' of ourselves...

We need to lay down our own pride, fear and standards on the altar before God and receive His humbling love, peace and holiness. We receive the holiness of Christ, by salvation and oneness with 'him'.

For what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:1-23

Why do you seek to obey? Is it because you want to be 'perfect' in your own eyes? Is it because of your own desire for a a sense of 'acceptablness'? OR it because you do not want to offend the Lord; Is it because you love Him?

This should be the reason you obey...because you love God, and trust that He knows what is best for your life. You trust him because, you 'know and believe' that He has your best in mind...not just because people tell you he does, or that you've heard that 'God's ways are better than our ways, or the world's ways'...but the beautiful thing that you will discover, is that God only wants you to live a blessed life. And if you obey Him you will not inflict death upon yourself, whether that be death spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or the death of your future happiness and Christian effectiveness...
Sin reaps death. But you have the ability to choose life, which has been made possible for you by the forgivness and unity made by Jesus Christ.

So do you ever ask the questions: 'Am I loved? 'Do I have purpose in this life?' 'What is my worth?'
The answers to these questions is 'Yes'. You are loved. You do have a purpose in life. And you 'are' of worth! If you get down on yourself too hard and too long after you have made a mistake, or 'Think' you have made a mistakes, it's time to consider whether or not you are doing what you do, or trying to be holy to win your own salvation...or for your own feeling of self worth.
Find your self worth in Christ. Believe in His love. Receive Forgivness. It's a gift. It's undeserved.
See Christ bleeding on the tree? It was for you, it was for me.

Fact is, if you are trying to find love from others, or a particualr person in order to keep breathing, or fill the hole inside... mostlikely you have not let Christ's love fill you to the place where you can rely on Him. Once you rely on Him, 'He' will send others into your life to bless you and fill the other areas of your life such as romantic love and friendship. But Christ must be first. Will He be your first love? Will HE be the purpose of your life? Will you believe what He says about your worth to Him?

John 3 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Rom 5: 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Fight the fight against sin! Fight the fight against self awareness/self centerdness!
You have the power in Christ Jesus to make the Change. Stop the pity party and realize that 'courage to change' comes from the Lord. When you are so down upon yourself, and tell yourself that you cannot change, what you are really doing is being 'selfish' and 'pittiful'.Christ gives you the chance to change, and Your strength comes from Him alone. Believe in Him.
2 Thess 2:16-17
16And may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you!- in every good deed and word. - Make War! John Piper: Great video!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Memories...they come and remind us of the past...sometimes they hearken the laughter of conversations back in time, the remembrance of streets once walked, or the reality of things, or relationships once vivid and living...but the odd thing about memories, the almost uncontrollable and sometimes punishing thing they can do is bring back the feelings of something in the past... Memory doesn't doesn't just hold on to words, images, and sounds, but also 'feelings' and emotions. When a something, someone, or a relationship has passed on, or a situation has changed, memory often and unexpectedly brings back a feeling unneeded or uncalled for; almost like the sensation of pain or touch in a limb that no longer exists...Memory can almost be like a special effect box, or an illusionist.

How do we make ourselves realize and awaken to the fact that some memories cannot or should not draw us to the past; but are instead hurdles to jump over (in way of the future)? It's almost as if we must forget the missing limb, and what we used to do with it, in order to move on...Ah, the power of memory...sometimes we must learn to let go and move forward; not that we make the past void in terms of lessons learned and feeling felt etc. Nothing can really change the past, it is over, and yet somehow memory can make us believe that memories are still alive in as much as we live in them or believe they are the present. The past does make the journey to where we are in this moment, but what makes tomorrow is what we do in 'this' moment....and how the 'present' is, is not always how the 'past' was. We cannot make the mistake of thinking the present is always the past, or that the past is always the present. Yet, there are things that transcend time, there are memories that relay the continued reality of today - but they are based on unchangeable, and sacred things.

Even so, feelings may always remain caught up in a moment passed, sealed away by memory...but it is the lasting things, love, diligence, faithfulness, and endurance, that makes the present and will determine the future. We have the choice in life to let the past own us, or let the will of God and the truth of thing (how they were, are, and should be) direct us and motivate us into the future. Thank God for His allowance for new beginnings and His encouragement for change; or else we would be slaves to the our memories, our mistakes, and our past way of viewing thing, when in reality; people change, truth shows it's head, and not all stays the same...We choose whether to escape the memories that would like to keep us rehashing, and or sliding. Another important thing is to realize what memories are of 'false realities' such as stirred from our own 'fantasizing'. Doesn't mean the feelings weren't real, but sometimes the relationship, situation etc...wasn't as 'alive' or real' as we imagined at the time.

Thank God we are not obligated or slaves to our feelings of the past. There are things deeper than feelings' such as mentioned in the Bible. We are responsible to God first, our actions second (in relation to others and ourselves) and so...may we trust the Lord, give Him our memories, give Him our feelings, and focus on the truth whether reflected also in our memories, or just reveled to us in the present...Thank God for His Guidance, His liberty, and setting us free by His truth! God free us from any attachments whether to the world, things, people, feelings, memories, that would keep us from you, or Your will! It's always the choice - between the 'good' and the 'bad', and the 'good' and the 'best'. We are yours! let's make the moment count, as we place the future in Your hands.

You belong to Jesus. He comes before everything. You can be free from whatever is hindering you from living to your fullest, whether it's memories: of past mistakes, relationships, or actions, - You don't have to live in the past, You can live in today. Make your future by living today in Christ's Liberty.