Where is Your Medicine?

Proverbs 28:26,“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”

Can you remember the last time your heart got you in trouble? I can! In fact, just last night my husband and I got into an argument. The argument ended with him telling me to leave him alone and me letting him fall asleep on the couch and literally leaving him alone there.

I was alone in bed half the night.

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but we NEVER do that. We always go to bed together. The next morning, we both felt terrible.  It seems that when I follow the desires of my heart in the moment, I am hurting myself and those around me.

It’s incredible, really, what we can fool ourselves into thinking when we follow the foolish desires of our hearts. Especially when we are fearful of the discomfort that comes from looking in the mirror.

I wanted so badly to blame someone else for my sins. I felt unloved, unwanted, ashamed and guilty. But, surely, none of that could be my fault, because let’s be honest here, no one truly wants to take blame.

We are all victims, right?

That is what I thought until a couple of years ago. I blamed my self-disgust completely on my husband’s struggle with pornography. Hear me, his sin DID do a number on us. On our marriage, him, me and numerous other areas. But, THAT sin did not CAUSE my sin.

Ouch.

His sin was from HIS heart and my sin, well, that was from MY heart. My sins were in place before I even met my husband. We were both following our foolish hearts.

My feelings of insecurity stem from not connecting with God fully in my heart. My feelings of guilt stem from not allowing myself to be forgiven fully in my heart. My feelings of shame stem from not letting God shine his light in some areas of my heart. My feelings of being unloved stem from not fully realizing the price God ALREADY paid.

MY SIN. Not my husband’s. Not anybody else’s. Mine.

I know that all of you are struggling in life somewhere right now. I am here to encourage you, that you are not alone in those struggles. EVERYONE struggles. Look around. Our entire culture brings about struggle.

The standards of the world put insane expectations on us. I mean, women especially. (Not that men don’t have expectations!) We are expected to look like Barbie, cook and clean like Susie homemaker, perform like porn stars, be successful in our careers and be Pinterest-worthy mothers! That is ludicrous. No one can measure up to all of that AND not sin somewhere along the way.

The standards that the world puts on us begin to define who we are if we let them. Trust me, don’t let this world define you.

Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things above, not earthly things.”

When you set your mind on earthly things, your thought life never ceases to tell you how you have horribly failed in this life!

Guess what? A sinful thought life leads to a sinful way of life.

Your thought life is the first step. The initial sin.

When you continually allow yourself to think sinful thoughts, eventually you are going to act on them. Or medicate them.

I know so many people who go through life medicating all the sadness, guilt, shame, inadequacy that they allow to brew in their thought life.

What thoughts are you allowing to hang around?

Are you medicating? with Alcohol? Sex? Shopping? Gossip? Anger? Resentment? Jealousy? Food?

BUT LISTEN: There is GREAT news! Your sin is not the end of your story. Jesus can be your medicine.

The truth is, God didn’t create you to be so stuck in your mud that you can’t move. You are not destined to sin! Romans 6:14 says “…sin shall not have dominion over you.”

God’s standards, unlike the world’s standards will set you free! God created you to live life to absolute fullest that is possible.

But here’s the thing, you simply cannot live in darkness and stand up in your full potential from God.

I was reading an article the other day called 7 Truths to Help You Triumph Over Sin by Michael L. Jacobson and he brought about this simple but life altering question about sin. Do you believe that sin is inevitable or do you believe that sin conquerable?

God says that, with him, we are more than conquerors. MORE than CONQUERORS. We have the choice.

Do you want to continue down the path of self-destruction or do you want to begin to walk wisely and be delivered?

Are you ready to look in the mirror and face YOUR sins? That is the first step. You no longer need to play a victim. Listen, God already gave us what we need to conquer sin. We have his AUTHORITY. He keeps us upright. We just need to step in the ring.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For the spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Pray. Step up.

I encourage you to this week to sit down and dig deep into your thought life. Where are you sinning? WRITE down those sins. All of them. Pray and ask God to forgive every single one of them. Let me be clear here: in asking for forgiveness of these sins, you are not creating your salvation. Jesus already did that. He died on the cross for our sins. Asking for forgiveness of these sins allows you to find closure there. It allows you to find freedom there.

Lastly, start to recognize the triggers that cause you to stumble in your thought life. Recognizing these triggers allows you to take back your thoughts. Once you can recognize and capture the sinful thoughts (guilt, shame, jealousy, etc.) replace them with Biblical truths.

Stop the lies and build the truths.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

It takes time. There is no overnight fix. Work at it. Work at it because you are worth it. Work at it because you do not have to play a victim. Work at it because you are worthy. Not only in my eyes, but in our Creator’s.

He loves you. He cares about how you are living. He wants you to listen to his word, not YOUR heart.

Let him help you break free from these chains.

Let him be your medicine.

Being Relevant in Babylon

Joey-Kikke-Greece-Painting

There is no doubt that our current country is very similar to that of ancient Babylon. Everywhere you look there are different opportunities to overindulge, advocate for sin and be instantly gratified beyond what you should be. It seems that our country puts a whole lot of emphasis on sin and whole lot less on everything else. What I mean to say is that sin, all different types, is placed on a pedestal instead of knocked to the ground. Now, this causes some concerns.

A friend of mine and I have been studying the book of Daniel with the Bible study by Beth Moore. We have only gotten through a couple of weeks, but they have been very thought-provoking weeks! (I highly recommend this study, you can purchase the entire kit for a small group from this link: Beth Moore Daniel Study ) One of the very first things that we learned in the study is that Daniel was one of very many that were taken from their home and brought to Babylon. Now, I am unsure of how many the “very many” consisted of, but it is very clear that only four of these people remained named in the story today: Daniel, Meshach, Abednego and Shadrach. Why? What made these four people different from all the other boys that were taken and brought to Babylon? The answer is simple. They did not put sin on a pedestal. They chose not to defile themselves. Even in a world that was completely tempting, completely open to them, everything available that they could have wanted, they chose God. Don’t get me wrong here, I am a dirty sinner. Always have been and, unfortunately, always will be. That is not what I am getting at here. What this story brought to mind is that those four men became relevant in Babylon without having to give into the culture around them. This is the idea that I have been struggling with.

We all sin. Jesus died for those sins. We are all loved. We are called to love God. We are called to love one another. There is no question to me about that. The question is simply, even though we are called to love one another, where is the line between loving and enabling? Between loving and assimilating to the culture around us? Between loving and becoming irrelevant? I know that there will be the “but we are told to love, period.” Yes, absolutely. Love, not enable. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you are going to allow them to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want because it makes them happy or feel good. For example, Let’s say a man and a woman get married. They love each other. They want to see the other person happy. However, just because those are the truths, it doesn’t mean that the husband would allow the wife to sleep with other men because that made her happy. Chances are, there would be arguments, dysfunction and eventually divorce. Love is not enabling; love is not advocating for sin. Jesus met a woman at a well, a pretty well-known story. In short, he forgave her of her sins and she was extremely excited about this. She ran into the city and told everyone about Jesus.  Jesus did not say to her “Hey, I love, go ahead and keep sinning”. No. He told her to sin no more because he loved her. 

Listen, we can not be relevant in our Babylon if we continually advocate and condone the sin around us. We can love one another without being a stumbling block to those around us. I recently listened to a message from Andy Stanley. The series is called Happy (you can listen to the whole series here: www.happyseries.org). In the last message of the series, he spoke of the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What hit me the most was his reiteration of what the Bible says about the fruit of the spirit. “Against these things, there is no law”. That is awesome, my friends. We can love one another by striving to have the fruit of the spirit. We can love one another by loving God first. He will give us the discernment; the boundary line not to cross. He will show us how to love without assimilating to the culture we live in. When we love God first, we become relevant in our Babylon.

How do you remain relevant in your Babylon? How do you love?

 

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