Saturday, January 17, 2009

Courage and Blind Spots - Jan 17

If there was one characteristic that you could ask for and receive in abundance, what would it be? For me, the answer is courage. Think of all the positive attributes you'd want to have. Resiliency. Even tempered. A quiet confidence. The assurance that you are loved and are capable of giving love. Every single one of these attributes begins with courage.

Now think of all the negative attributes none of us want yet still possess: Fear - not really sheer mortal terror necessarily, more like a perpetual feeling of your heart being in your throat. The insecurity of feeling unlovable or an unwillingness to reciprocate for fear of rejection. On and on the list goes. What's causing that sense of fear and rejection? Let's look at Psalm 139:23-24:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Why Do We Consistently Miss Out On Life?

There are likely two reasons for this. Number one, we have unconfessed sin in our lives. This is usually some sordid action or harsh word that we refuse to deal with. Most Christians if they're honest will have taken that immediate step. But what if the problem runs deeper?

Why The Constant Sense of Foreboding?

Are you growing in your walk with Jesus Christ? So many miss out on God's blessings because of our spiritual and emotional immaturity. Take a look at the above scripture and let's ask ourselves a hard question: How well do I know myself? Have I done a recent personal inventory of my life? If so, am I going to like what I see? We carry around too much emotional baggage that we need to jettison before God can begin the healing process.

How Well Does God Know Us?

Lets look at some earlier verses of Psalm 139:

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

The psalmist (David) explicitly states that God knows everything about us. There is nothing hidden from Him. For many, that's a pretty intimidating prospect. But should it be? That is, are we willing to surrender our innermost thoughts that are causing us to stumble? What good is it to have personal truths revealed to us if we continually deny Him?

Radical Surgery Required!

Imagine you had a cataract. How difficult it is to see out of that eye! When we disobey His sovereign will, we begin to accumulate various blind spots - chinks in the armor if you will. The decision to endlessly defer or blame others and/or circumstance is the easy way out. But, if we are willing to submit to God's perfect and redeeming will, He will expose that vulnerability and take corrective action.

A Personal Testimony

Sometime in the latter months of 2008 (I can't remember when exactly), God revealed something that was causing me a great deal of anguish. The problem was I felt wholly inadequate before women. I knew that I loved women, that much was sure. So it wasn't a question of my orientation, it was a problem of feeling emasculated. I was a coward before women! This hit me like a bolt out of the blue! The remedy to this solution was clear: Stop being a chickenshit and get on with it. I was to stop worrying about whether I was good enough or not. True enough, some women would still turn me away. But by no means did that include all women. How great a relief that a loving God would reveal this to me! That I could love freely and receive love in return from a woman was a glorious revelation. I was released from a negative thought pattern that was literally crushing me. I became a better man and a better Christian that very day.

Have Courage and Receive Eternal Salvation

God doesn't want us to just exist, he wants us to thrive. So many of us exist like cows in the field exist. Let me put it to you in plain and simple terms: You will never become the man (or woman) you've always wanted to be unless you covet the mind and heart of God. Happiness is not something you find, it is something you stumble upon when you look for holiness. Self-examination by its very nature is a difficult process. But until we begin to do so, there will be no peace or fulfillment. Jesus is still in the business of freeing the captives. So long as we remain bitter and resentful we remain in bondage. Stop the self-abasement and recrimination. Free yourself from negative thought patterns that are keeping you down. Receive the pardon that Jesus won on the cross for you and learn what it means to have joy unspeakable.

Johnny Cash

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