Monthly Archives: October 2012

Renovation in progress

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Shopping in a mall that is being renovated, is not a pleasant experience. It’s dirty, there’s stuff in the way, some shops you can’t get to, others have plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the shop. I am sure you get the picture. It’s not nice. It’s terrible for a hay fever sufferer! But the end result is nice. The end result is a bigger mall, with shiny tiles, more shops, more restaurants and everything else you need for a pleasant experience.

As Christians, we are a renovation in progress. We are not perfect. We are not holy. We are not without sin. We are annoying at times to the people around us. We irritate people. But in the end, there will be a beautiful bride waiting for the bridegroom to return.

My question to you today is this: which part of you is being renovated? There must be something. If there is nothing, your relationship with God is not what it should be. Harsh words? Not really.

The Bible clearly says that we are not without sin: 1 John 1: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

We also know that God is constantly working on us. 2 Cor 3: 18 in The Message says it so beautifully: And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

See, we gradually become more like God. The more we turn our backs on sin, the more we become like God. The more we deny the things of the flesh, the more we become like God.

What have you been feeling guilty about lately? That feeling of guilt is the Holy Spirit convicting you. Whatever it is, you should stop doing it. It could be anything. One person could be feeling guilty about something, while another has no problem with it. Yes there are certain things that are just wrong for everybody – they are clearly listed in the Bible. But there are many things we face today, that are not mentioned in the Bible. God convicts us through the Holy Spirit to leave certain things behind and to strive for a more intimate relationship with Him.

If you are not battling with anything, you need to get closer to God. You are not without sin – the Bible says so. So there must be some sort of renovation going on in your life. Enjoy the renovation, even though it’s painful at times. The reward is sweet.

No renovation? Start seeking God’s face – you are not where you are suppose to be.

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The Aftermath

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The aftermath of a war of words is not easy to get through. Long after the screaming has ended, there is still a raging war in every heart involved.

One heart battles to decide whether to ask for forgiveness or not. Another battles to decide whether to forgive or not. For both, it’s equally difficult.

Why do we battle to ask for forgiveness? Because we are self righteous. We always think we are right and every other human being is wrong. Getting to the point of admitting our faults takes a lot of spiritual growth. Even when we are ready to admit that we were wrong, we still don’t want to ask for forgiveness. We would rather keep quiet and hope the problem goes away by itself, which never happens.

It’s one of those strange things in life: people avoid God because of the sin in their lives. We are often too ashamed to simple turn back to God and ask His forgiveness. And His forgiveness is guaranteed! If people battle to ask forgiveness from God, it’s no wonder that we don’t want to ask forgiveness from other people. After all, another person’s forgiveness is not guaranteed. The mere possibility that forgiveness could be refused makes us turn away without asking for it. We would rather carry the weight of our guilt than carry the weight of rejection.

Let’s look at the other side of the coin? Why are we so slow to forgive? Once again, we are self righteous. We forget how much in need we are of God’s forgiveness. We forget the things we have done wrong in the past. We forget our own shortcomings and zoom in on the shortcomings of another person instead. But this has far reaching consequences. If God’s forgiveness is guaranteed, who are we to refuse forgiveness? Are we not placing ourselves above God then? Mind blowing question I know. But think about it for a while. God forgives us immediately when we repent. He doesn’t argue with us about what we have done. He doesn’t drag out old forgotten sins into the conversation. He doesn’t carry on and on about how much we have hurt Him. He doesn’t use the situation to get the last stab in. He just forgives us. End of story. Never to think about it again.

Isn’t that what we should do? Isn’t that what we should strive for?

The worst part? If we choose not to forgive like God does, He will deal us the same measure as we deal those who have offended us. I am serious.

Matthew 6:14-15 or if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

If we want to have eternal life, we have to forgive. Without that we won’t make it. It’s not something we can think about. It’s not something we can put off until tomorrow. We have no guarantee that we will still be alive tomorrow. We might not be. And if we die with that unforgiveness, we will not inherit eternal life. It’s time that we weigh it up against each other: holding on to our hurts and unforgiveness on one hand and eternal life on the other hand. Is harboring that hurt really worth it? Is it worth so much that we will give up eternal life for it? Really?

Forgiving is not easy. We will never FEEL like forgiving. We will never be READY to forgive. If we are waiting for that, we will wait forever. To forgive is a decision of the mind. We have to decide to forgive and let it go because we know we have to. Once we have made the right decision, God in His mercy, will help us to really FEEL it. First the mind, then the heart. Not the other way around.

Oh and by the way – just a last warning. To forgive like God means we never think about it again. We don’t bring it up in the next quarrel. It’s over. It’s done with. It’s dealt with. It’s covered by the blood of Jesus. Never to be showcased again.

Prayer: Lord today I make a conscious decision to forgive. Please put the forgiveness in my heart and bring healing to my soul. And when I come into temptation to take the hurt back and become resentful again, please remind me that Jesus died so that I could be free from it all. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Harsh Words

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One person feels offended. Another is listening to the accusations. Soon the listening becomes unbearable and a screaming match starts. Words become like bullets, meant to hurt. Aimed at the heart. A bullet fired can never be reversed back into the barrel of the gun. Words fired at the heart of another can never be reversed into the mouth from where it came. Too late. Sorry is a worthless word. It cannot heal.

King Solomon must have seen this scenario a couple of times in his life. Well, with 3000 women, he probably saw it daily. And with the Godly wisdom he had, he penned the following:

Proverbs 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:28 – The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

Proverbs 18:13 – To answer before listening — that is folly and shame.

Jesus added to it:

Matthews 5:39 – But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

We call ourselves Christians, but we often wage word wars just like the world. Where is the fruit of the Spirit? Where is the self control?

If we want to live Jesus, we have to learn to keep our mouths shut. We should rather apologise even if we don’t think it’s fair. In doing so, we will turn away the anger instead of stirring it up with one word calling forth the next.

Think about this for a moment – that person we called worthless was created in the image of God too. He / she is also a child of the Most High King. How dare we refer to somebody made in the image of Jehovah as worthless, useless, stupid, etc etc? Who do we think we are?

If Jesus stood before us today, what excuse could we possibly offer for our war of words? None.

It’s time for the children of God to start acting the part. Going to church is not enough. Being in some sort of ministry is not enough. We need walk the walk and talk the talk. That means we have to start bearing fruit. The fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22, 23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

May God help us. May God heal the wounds we caused with our words. May God restore what we broke down.