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Posts Tagged ‘desires’

I have an issue. I get caught in the comparison trap much too often.  This problem isn’t “Oh I’m better than that person.” I get caught in the trap of evaluating myself to others who I think are better than me.

 

I find myself thinking; Wow, when am I going to be able to run everyday her?  Or why can’t I write like them?  Why can’t I lose the weight or eat like they do?  It’s a ferocious cycle.

 

My spiritual life is no different.  The thoughts in my head go like this, Why can’t I have faith like my husbands?  Why can’t I study the Bible like her? Or He is such prayer warrior.  My prayer life stinks.  That friend is so together and has a strong walk. I’m inconsistent, struggle and don’t seem to have a thirst for God like they do, what’s wrong with me?  I must not be good enough for God.

 

A guest speaker at the church I attend had this to say about comparison, “It will take you down one of two paths – pride or depression.”  For me, 95 percent of the time relating my life to another leads to depression and discouragement. He went on to say our standard should not be those around us, but God is to be our standard.  That makes me feel so much better. Yeah, right. How about you?

 

The truth is we are to be “perfect as our Heavenly is perfect” Matthew 4:28 (NIV 1984).  However, here are on earth it’s not possible because we are in our human, sinful bodies.  But we are to strive toward the goal, by reading the Word, prayer, and through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

There is another thought I need to consider in reference to measuring up to others.  I am a unique person.  You just have to look at my DNA and finger prints to know that.  Therefore, it stands to reason that I will not be like another runner, writer, or home decorator.  I won’t be the same as another mother, wife, or woman.  And most importantly my spiritual walk will not mirror any other person.

 

My prayer life and quiet times will be different.  But it doesn’t mean the way I do things is wrong.  God works differently in my life because I am unique and so are the details of the situations in my life.

 

What about the other things?  My body can’t handle running everyday.  The writing I do comes from a totally different perspective then others and I’m not called to write like others either.  And the spiritual life?  I have to ask myself these questions:

 

Am I growing?

  1. Is my desire to do the things God wants?
  2. Do I read, and talk to God?
  3. Do I desire to improve?

 

The answers to these are a definitely yes.

 

How about you? Do you find that you compare yourself to others, especially in your spiritual walk?  Stop it.  Talk to the Heavenly Father; ask him to show you what pleases Him about your walk.  Pray He’ll give you the strength to change the things that need changing and to stop comparing yourself with others.

 

You are unique, loved and the apple of the Father’s eye.  Celebrate the fact that there is no one like you.

 

Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, with out comparing himself to somebody else.”

Galatians 6:4

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I’ll admit it, I’m an addict.  Chocolate and sweets are one of my struggles that have plagued me over the past few years.  Many times I have asked God to take away the desire for them.  Yet here I am, still struggling with the cravings.

 

My morning quiet times have been focused on the attributes of my Heavenly Father.  The ones that have really have made an impact on me so far are, His sufficiency and sovereignty.

 

God is sufficient within Himself, so therefore He needs no one.  I am not.  God created all things which makes Him the only rightful ruler over all.  He knows me inside and out and the choices I will make, yet He does not force Himself or His ways on me.

 

It dawned on me one morning why He doesn’t magically take the desire away. The reason goes back to the attributes above.  His desire for me is to depend on Him to battle the cravings for me.

 

He also allows me to make the decision to walk away or not.  He has a will and I am created in His image therefore I have a will.    He gave me the ability to make the decisions because they are right and I because I love Him.   He did not create me like a robot to be controlled, and to program every chose I make.

 

I’ve noticed, when I am faced with a temptation there is that still small voice of the Holy Spirit that impresses on my heart to go the other direction.  Many times I give in to my wants but other times it seems easy to go the other way.

 

The times when I could be easily swayed by the fleshy desires are times that I should immediately pray, quote scripture (Christ’s example), or if I’m home, go to Word or on my knees to pray for help.

 

Of course this doesn’t just apply to my chocolate situation but all temptations, habits and hang ups in my life.  I’ve also noticed that if I start gaining ground in one area, another sneaks in to take its place.

 

I have to be vigilant in keeping my mind focused on the Word, and depending on the all sufficient and sovereign God.  If I do, I will make the right choices.

 

How about you?  Are there things in your life that have a hold on you?  Maybe for you it’s exercise,  texting, facebook, hobbie or ___________ ? You fill in the blank.  Give it over to the One who knows you best, allow Him to work in you and help you conquer whatever your blank is.

 

I would also encourage you that there are Christian counselors and groups such as Celebrate Recovery that are available for extra support.  Ask your pastor or google for local support groups.

 

 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

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I started reading a book recommended by our local Christian radio morning show that dealt with removing the excess from our lives.*  What caught my attention was a verse from the gospel of John:

 

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 (KJV)

The author made the point of saying that when she decreased the “stuff” in her life, God was able to come in and increase His work in her.

 

Immediately, the word “worship” came to mind.  The second part of worship is possibly the most important, yet works hand in hand with the first (giving God our very best).  It’s the excess of self, meaning the attitudes and motives of why I do what I do.

 

It is hard to have a wrong motive in doing household chores but, a grumbling attitude can certainly crop up.  Even attending church can bring about a complacent attitude.  For crying out loud, I have been going to church for 43 years.

 

The Israelites lost their “awe” of God and the reason why they were to do things a certain way.  Even the tithe or lack thereof was selfishness.  They wanted to keep the best maybe out of fear of not having enough.

 

I find myself, at times, losing the same “awe” struck wonder in worshiping God. I go because  it’s what I do (habit), not because I have joy to go and worship God with fellow believers.

 

In the book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira saw tons of people selling everything they had for the spread of the gospel.  They thought “Well let’s sell all we have, but they don’t need all of it. We will give most so we can look good but keep some for ourselves.  Besides no one will know.” (Christine’s edition)

 

Problem was God knew, and He wasn’t pleased.  He didn’t care if they kept some, but it was the deceit of their hearts.  They wanted to look like holy people but their hearts were full of pride and lies (the excess of self) that it killed them, literally.

 

As a writer or Bible study facilitator it’s easy for self to increase and become puffed up, if I’m not careful. Even as a parent, comparing myself to others can allow haughtiness to grow.  “I would never let me child to that!” or “My children don’t act that way.  It must be the way I raise them.”

 

There is another side of me that can turn to excess of self and that is affirmation. I have a great need to be affirmed.  Words of affirmation are my “love” language.* But it can also go to the extreme. What once was an outpouring of love from another can quickly turn into pride in my heart.

 

When I take self out of the equation– whether it be desires, or motives–my heart says, “Yes Lord, take control, do what You will.” He becomes more visible to those around me and I become invisible.  My lifestyle of worship will be acceptable to Him.

 

When I decrease (my attitudes, my motives, my desires), God will certainly increase and that is the way it should be.

 

How about you?  What motives and attitudes do you have when doing everyday activities? Work?  Ministry? Or going to a church service?

 

Ask God to show you any hidden motives that are hindering Him working in and through  you. Then ask Him for the strength to get rid of self so others can see Jesus.

 

 

“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him,

But motives are weighted by the LORD.”

Proverbs 16:2 (NIV 1984)

*Jen Hatmaker “7: An Experimetnal Mutiny Against Excess”  

*Gary Chapman “The Five Love Languages”

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