Friday, May 27, 2016

Taking The Steps

Once we begin to see ourselves as eternal spirits housed within temporary flesh and we start to recognize some of the forces the flesh puts on us, we can begin to make decisions that free us from the bondage it would put us in.

So many modern-day Christians--in an effort to make sure they stay true to the Reformation idea that we can do nothing to earn our salvation, which, from what I can discern, is a reaction to abuses related to buying and/or earning our salvation, and is another topic for another time--are scared of talking about "my part" in salvation. Lest any of my readers forget, I do believe God is ever working in me to accomplish His good will. I do not think I am out here on my own bringing myself to salvation. That's ridiculous and impossible.

But back to the forces we feel and the decisions we must make...

One of the first forces I recognized was related to my sense of worth. I would be interacting with people in one way or another and the thought would come to mind, "You are not as talented as she," or "You are not as smart, as pretty, as organized or as successful..." I would feel that sinking-heart feeling, that depressing sensation that I was less valuable.

What do we, as Christians walking after the spirit, do with thoughts like that?

Well, first of all, I immediately recognize that those thoughts are self-focused. They are not about focusing on the eternal welfare of others--a Christian concept we followers of Jesus want to have flowing from our hearts. When I speak of "self-focus," my mind immediately makes a connection with the flesh. The flesh, in its independence, has no thought for anything or anyone but itself.

So, I see those thoughts as the flesh putting its force on the real me. The real me, my eternal spirit--given over to the will of my Maker--wants to focus on others and their eternal good. I therefore ask myself, "What does my Maker say about my worth?"

Oh, what joy! He says I don't have to be the best pianist, the prettiest female, the smartest human, the most organized or successful. He says if I will just place myself in His hands, He will make of me something useful and beautiful.

So, I dismiss the thoughts of how I compare to others. I dwell on His view of me. It's powerful reality! It's "if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!"

That's how this understanding works in my moment-by-moment living. Once I embrace God's perspective and refuse to accept the flesh's viewpoint, I can then seek His approval, pray for wisdom as to how He wants to use me, and focus on the eternal welfare of others as I go about doing whatever I understand to be His will for me at the moment.

Does this mean that my flesh will never suggest that old depressing thought again? Of course not. However, the longer I live and the more I embrace God's perspective, the less those kinds of suggestions affect me negatively.

I pray this helps at least someone who reads!

Have a wonderful weekend.