Breaking Free: Love's Hidden Enemy
Love's Hidden Enemy
Dr. Charles Stanley
1 Corinthians 13:9-13
The apostle Paul wrote that he once reasoned like a child, but he had now put childish ways behind him (1 Cor. 13:11). He was referring to the spiritual maturity process, whereby a believer's self-centered ideas are replaced by a healthier perspective.
But maturation is just that—a process—so some immature thinking may linger with the Christian. Based on our childhood experiences, we may wrongly believe . . .
• Lie #1—God's love for us depends on how good we are. We act as if our behavior can positively or negatively impact His affection for us. But Scripture tells us that the Lord's love is constant; it never varies.
• Lie #2—Acceptance by others has to do with performance, not who we are. With this mindset, we constantly try to please other people. But we can rest in the truth that God has adopted every believer into His family; we are fully accepted.
• Lie #3—Our security rests in social status, material things, or some other worldly prize. This leads to anxiety and manipulation as we attempt to acquire what we lack. The truth is, we'll experience peace when we realize Christ is our true source of security.
These erroneous ideas represent a "hidden enemy of love," because godly affection can't flourish with immature attitudes. We must replace such beliefs with biblical truth.
Paul calls us to move toward maturity in our thinking and behavior. Clinging to immature ways can interfere with our sense of peace, security, and joy. But knowing the truth about God's acceptance and recognizing that our security is in Him alone will lead to relationships characterized by His love.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
Amish House on a beautiful morning.
Flickr photo by: Cindy Seigle
He is Waiting for You
"Now as they went on their way, He entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home" (Luke 10:38, NIV).
Friend To Friend
Balance always requires a fierce and ruthless examination of priorities. Our true priorities are not mere lists of activities completed or goals set, but candid reflections of our heart desires. What we deem important receives the most time, energy, attention and resources. The importance of right and balanced priorities is illustrated by the life of Martha.
Jesus knew that He was always welcome in the home of Martha. Scripture tells us that Jesus "had no place to lay His head" but He often came to this home when He needed to rest or get away from the demanding crowds. At the age of thirty, the Son of God left His natural home and there is no record of His ever returning to live there. He often went to Bethany, to the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and even spent His final week on earth there. Jesus didn't have to wonder if He was welcome in this home or if Martha was "ready" for His presence. He knew she was. Can He say the same about us? Do we have the heart of a seeker, one who lives each day aware of God's presence, His plan and His priorities?
Seeking God begins with recognizing who He is and then inviting Him into our life as Lord and Savior. If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all. For some of us, the problem is not that we lack a personal relationship with God. Our problem is that we are not "making room" for that relationship. Balance comes when we yield to His plan in the everyday moments of life.
One summer, our family went to Pennsylvania where we visited Amish country. I have always been fascinated by the Amish people and enjoyed every minute spent in their beautiful and carefully ordered world. As our visit came to an end I wanted to buy a souvenir to remind me of the peaceful days we had spent there, but everything I picked up was too expensive. Being a committed shopper, I was not about to let that stop me. We travelled up and down the small hidden back roads of each community, looking for the Amish products known only to a few and to those relentless shoppers who were willing to persevere. I was beginning to lose hope when I spotted the small, white sign posted on the fence of a quaint and absolutely perfect house. "Amish Crafts" it said. This was it!
As we climbed out of the car, a sense of peace settled around us like an old familiar blanket. Our voices immediately dropped to a whisper as we tiptoed up the narrow stone path and gently opened the screen door. When we stepped onto the porch filled with beautiful Amish crafts, a woman came out of the house, welcomed us with a beautiful smile and introduced herself as Mary. She invited us to browse and let her know if we needed any help. I have to admit that I was almost rude in my pathetic attempts to catch a glimpse of her home through the porch windows. Reading my mind, she graciously offered, "Would you like to come in and look around?" I thought she'd never ask!
Mary's home revealed a world very different from mine and an uncommonly simplistic lifestyle I desperately longed to experience. The house was sparsely furnished with only the necessities but Mary described her life and daily routine with words like "calm, uncomplicated, peaceful and serene." When I asked why she had chosen such a lifestyle she sweetly responded with words of wisdom I will never forget, "I have discovered that when my life and my heart get too crowded there is not enough room for God." Exactly!
An unbalanced life is too crowded for God. It is so easy to relegate our spirituality to religious activity when all He really wants is to spend time with us. When the tears fall, He wants to wipe them away, collecting each one so that He can pour them back into our lives as a refreshing rain of restoration. God longs for us to forever run into His arms, sharing every hurt and rejoicing in every victory. The Father yearns to wrap His strong arms around us, bringing the peace and balance we so desperately need.
Instead, we often relinquish control of our life to unworthy demands dictated by a world that operates in "urgent" gear. We forget what is really important. The important rarely barges in while the urgent is always an offensive intruder. The important waits patiently while the urgent demands its own way, creating bedlam and imbalance. Certainly, there are times when the important is also urgent - but we must learn to discern between the two. We wrongly conclude that a busy life is automatically a productive life and think that a full schedule will surely produce a full heart.
I have great news! He loves who you are more than He loves what you do. Seek Him today. Make room for Him. He is waiting.
Father, I am too busy and sometimes I feel like my life is spinning out of control. I'm tired of the imbalance I see in the way I live. Help me learn how to establish priorities that please You and reflect Your plan for me. I commit to spending time with You each day, seeking Your wisdom and direction. I love You, Lord.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Are you ready to evaluate your life according to God's priorities? Set aside time today to spend with Him. Grab your journal and record the truths He gives you about how to balance your life.
Ask God to let you see your life through His eyes. Be willing to change what needs to be changed in order to invest your time wisely.
Determine the top five life priorities of your life - right now. Take a deep breath and brutally examine your calendar and checkbook to see where you spend most of your time and resources. We can give lip service to what we think our priorities should be but until our daily schedule reflects those priorities, we are only "playing at life."
More From The Girlfriends
Choose to keep the commitments you have made today for one month. So much of the Christian walk is wrapped up in the word "choice." A choice is a deliberate action and purposeful decision. We can choose where and how we spend our time.
It's not too late to enroll in Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, and have access to all of 2011 studies. The current topic is How to Handle Hurt. We will experience pain and hurt but we can learn how to handle the hurt in a way that honors God and assures a life of victory.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725,
Matthews, NC 28106
Fayston Elementary Art: Vintage Circus Posters
The Truth Shall Make You Free
Pastor Adrian Rogers
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Have you ever been to a circus and seen an elephant chained to a stake in the ground? Why doesn't he break free? Because as a young elephant he was tied to a tree. And try as he might, he couldn't break free. Now the thought that he cannot break free is ingrained.
How true that is of you and me who have ingrained thought patterns in our lives. We say, "I am chained to this habit and I can't break free." Or we say, "I'm not good enough." All kinds of lies keep us in bondage, but real truth is what God says, not what we think.
Are there any strongholds in your life that keep you chained to the past? Write down these verses and memorize them.
2 Corinthians 10:4
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;"
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Now break free from the lies of the past as you tell yourself the truth!
For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit www.lwf.org.
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Tuesday, February 15, 2011