By His Grace

Posts Tagged ‘self control

Ever wonder what God really thinks of you?  How often have we said to ourselves, “if people really knew the real me……”?  God knowsfeel ugly the real you.  He knows your thoughts, your desires, your likes and dislikes.  He knows your past.  He knows your future.  God knows your heart!  It is in our hearts that the real you and me exist.  We may be able to say the right things or get people to believe we are one way when we are not.  But God sees our true character, the part of us that no one sees.

“Nothing in all creation can hide from Him.  Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes.  This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.”  (Hebrews 5:13 NLT)

I’ve been in situations before when no one believed me.  No matter how much I argued or tried to convince them I was telling the truth, they still thought I was lying.  This was very frustrating and in a way, I felt hurt.  This was especially true in the beginning of my sobriety.  My family and friends couldn’t trust me or believe anything that I said.  This mistrust was of my own doing, I realized that.  But I took great strength and comfort knowing that God knew the truth.  God knew my heart.   I eventually would answer back saying, “You can choose to believe me or not.  That’s your choice.  But God knows my heart and whether or not I am being truthful.”

God knows the truth about every one of us.  And yet despite all our faults and mistakes, He loves us unconditionally.  We don’t have to put on a front with God or try to convince Him we have changed.  He already knows.  When God chose us to be His children, He already knew what He was getting Himself into.  We are no surprise to Him!

God sees us as His created children.  Gen. 1:27

God sees us as humans who struggle with sin.  Rom. 7:19

God sees us as capable, loving and strong.  2 Tim. 3:7

God sees our thoughts and intentions.  1 Sam. 16:7

God sees us as valuable.  Matt. 6:26,  10:29-31

God sees our potential and possibilities.  Rev. 3:8

There are so many hurting people in this world.  I come into contact with many different kinds of individuals in my daily life.  I have noticed there is a common thread amongst most of them.  This common thread is the fact that these people are lonely.  They feel rejected.  They are broken.  They don’t like themselves and carry much guilt and anger.  If I can uplift them in any way I would tell them they would feel so much better if they could just see themselves as God sees them.  That He loves them and will never abandon them.  That God is with them constantly, even before they open their eyes in the morning, He is there for them.

“….do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

TRUST IN THE LORD

God has pulled me through so many difficult circumstances in my life I can not count. And yet, I still struggle with worry and fear. When a situation comes into my life that is unpleasant, I instantly feel that sicky feeling in my stomach and my heart races. I really don’t like this about myself and this problem is probably what I want to change most about myself today.

My faith in God has certainty strengthened through the years. He has done tremendous works in my life. In hindsight, I see extraordinary circumstances that just seemed to work out for the better without much of my doing. It was most certainly God working good in my life.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Have you ever thought just how busy God is making everything work together for our good? Look at all the mistakes we make. Look at the mess we can make in our lives from sinning. And yet God always comes through for us. Granted, God’s timing is not our timing. Sometimes God works quickly to resolve our problems, and sometimes He works slowly. Very slowly. It is during these slow processes that our faith is tested.

But my issue is with my FIRST response to unpleasant news. I do eventually calm down after a few minutes and start to pray for His help. I ask for comfort and the strength to endure. And I also pray to help me trust Him. The frustrating part is that I DO trust Him! And yet my someday-ahia-b (300x199)first response is fear and worry. I don’t get it. How do I change this about myself? Am I just built this way? God has changed so much about my life and my way of thinking, but this part of me hasn’t changed. I am aware that the difficulties that arise in my life are definitely coming from when I chose to go outside of God’s Will.

Awareness of where my problems start is one thing. I guess that can count for something. But awareness does nothing if not followed by practicing faith in God’s promises and what He says in His Word.

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully”. 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

When I think of someone being “emotional”, I picture in my mind a female crying.  To think of the Holy Spirit as being emotional is a totally different story.  But it’s true, He has emotions.

The Bible tells us that we are capable of grieving the Holy Spirit.  To grieve means a deep mental suffering, usually done alone and in silence.  To mourn is more of an outward display of sorrow but grieving is done inwardly.

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

Grieving is an emotion.  Sorrow is an emotion.  Grieving the Holy Spirit by what we say or do is a big deal.  It’s not like just simply hurting someone’s feelings.

The Holy Spirit can be grieved when:

  • we return to the things from which we should have been set free
  • we don’t forgive others
  • we hold onto bitterness and resentment

The Bible also talks about “quenching” the Holy Spirit.  This means “restricting” the Holy Spirit.  We can restrict the Holy Spirit by not doing the things we are suppose to do.  For example,  instead of thanking God, we are ungrateful and question what God is doing.

What are some of the things the Holy Spirit does for us?

~ He gives us assurance of our salvation.  If we have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit, we won’t feel close to God and may begin doubting our salvation.

~ He teaches us and helps us remember Scripture.

~ He leads us into holiness and moral living.  If the Holy Spirit is restricted then fleshly desires will be more evident.

~ He produces fruit in our lives, such as  love, joy, peace, kindness, etc.  Grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit will produce just the opposite.

~ He reveals the deep things of God to us.

~ He comforts us.

~ He intercedes for us in prayer.

I know when I grieve the Holy Spirit I can feel it.  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s like an aching in the middle of my chest.  The best thing to do is pray and repent of my sins.  And after that, not continue in the very sins I was asking forgiveness for.

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”  1 John 1:9

I want to share with you an experience I had that involves how God empowers us and guides us in our daily life.

Recently, I was promoted to the assistant manager position at my job.  I have only worked there for 2 months and by being quickly promoted, it had me both excited and scared.  My confidence level needs much improvement though.  In fact, I almost didn’t accept the position because I was really psyching myself out.  I was allowing Satan way too much time in my thoughts and almost worked myself into a panic attack.  I was questioning whether God really gave me this job or was it my own will taking over.  Satan had me questioning everything and I was obsessing over it.  I was stressed to say the least.

Most of you know my past and the bad choices I have made in my life.  My struggle with addiction and years of verbal abuse all play a part in how I feel about myself and my abilities.

Yesterday was my first day running the store by myself.  I had a staff of 7 and it was important for me to not only keep everything running smoothly but I also had the strain of having to cut people early due to high labor costs earlier in the week.  We have a couple employees who are “high maintenance”.  You have to constantly watch them and stay on them to do their job.  This alone is very stressful.

As soon as I walked in, there were problems.  Running this store is like a machine.  If all the parts aren’t working properly, it quickly falls apart and it can be difficult to recover.  So if one of the employees is lacking, it affects the whole thing.  Five minutes after I walked in I said softly out loud, “God you have to help me.”

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:31

No matter what problem was put in front of me and needed my attention and/or leadership, I remained calm and focused.  I handled things without getting upset or freaking myself out.  I was able to solve any problems that came up and from what I could tell, customers appeared happy with the service.  The day wasn’t perfect and we did have a few customers who got upset but I was able to resolve any issues and make them happy before they left.

God gets all the credit!

This had nothing to do with me.  God was with me totally and it was all Him.  Our lives can get so busy that we don’t always realize just how much God does for us on a daily basis.  We don’t see just how much God is in control and faithfully loves us and guides us 24 hours at a time.

I encourage all of you to take a few moments today and reflect on how God works in your daily life.  Ask Him to reveal the “little things” that we so often miss.  And remember that by humbling ourselves to Him, He empowers us to do things that we normally couldn’t do if left up to our own will.

Okay. I got a promotion at one of my jobs.  I am really happy about it.  I WANT a leadership role.  My title is Shift Leader.  I like my new manager at the store….and she likes me.  She’s been with the company for many years and she has turned 5 other stores around to be profitable.   She’s tough, but real.   I am straight up with her…..I am being myself.  My REAL self.  No BS.  No lies.  Just me.

I don’t reveal my past.  My screw ups with drugs and alcohol are NOT ME!!!  How do I finally know that?  By Christ.  By God’s Word.  I am NOT MY CHOICES!  I am a child of God who has made bad choices in life.  I face the fact that I have limited my future because of these choices.  I once had an extremely promising career in the corporate world.  I had no degree.  I proved myself.  But I screwed up.  I fell apart after a breakup of my engagement to a man.  I started doing heavy drugs.  It took me ten years to finally find a way out.

That way out is Jesus Christ.

I have used drugs and alcohol for over 20 years, but I was functional…..until the hard dope came along.  Once you start the pipes and needles…..it ALL changes my friends.

Unless you’re a recovering addict or alcoholic, you may not understand what I’m saying and the way I’m saying it.  If you get it, God Bless You!  God has opened yours eyes to something you haven’t experienced.  He has given you the gift of empathy and genuine insight.

The job and doctor thing….

It’s not always wise to tell your past.  If you are a “raw” addict and have no clue to how the real “sober” world works, let me give you some advice.

You get sober.  You stop your destructive ways.  The meetings you go to tell you to be honest.  Brutally honest.  But its not always wise to tell your employer or even your doctor that you are in recovery.  Let me explain….

You can hinder your growth as a person in recovery.  You get labeled.  You may not get hired and you may not get the true medical treatment you need.  This may sound like I’m telling you to lie.  What I’m telling you is to be TRUE TO YOURSELF. If you want to be sober, then you say what you need to keep your life sober.  We are good at lying.  Fellow addicts….be true to yourself.

If you feel in your heart that you need to expose this part of yourself…..in that you need to hear yourself tell it “out loud’…..THEN DO IT.   This is the first step in getting better…..hearing yourself say out loud can be be very, very healing.  And it gives you courage and strength to face “the world of people that don’t use.”

But once we get sober, the REAL US, comes out.  It can be scary.  But I have found that addicts are VERY special people.  They have a heart and drive that regular people don’t have.  Yes we screw up more.

But when we are on track, we can usually out shine just about anybody.

I feel good about the promotion.  I have to be committed.  That concerns me abit.  I’m not the greatest at being consistent.  I use to be….before the stupid heavy drugs.  I don’t trust myself.  I always disappoint myself.

I can do this.

Why do I keep doubting myself?

Maybe from my track record.

Maybe I’m listening to Satan whispering in my ear.

“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world”.

As Believer’s, we obey God because He loves us and know that He wants to help us succeed in this life.   Once we realize how much He loves us, we are motivated to trust in Him.  God provides the power for us to live a godly life.

The proper response to God’s grace is right conduct.

The apostle Paul writes in Titus 2:12,

“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.  We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God.”

I always find it intriguing how Scripture written 2000 years ago can still apply in the crazy world we live in now.  Obviously, men’s (and women’s) hearts back then are in the same shape as our hearts are today.  Our world has definitely evolved since Paul wrote this letter to Titus back in A.D. 63-66, yet we can relate to what Paul is talking about and apply it to our lives here in 2012.

Paul goes on to say in verse 13,

“while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”

There is an excellent payoff to being a Christian and working hard at having self control and right conduct.  That payoff is the “blessed hope” of Christ’s glorious return.  I certainly look forward to it and can’t wait to hear those 3 sounds talked about in 1 Thess 4:16.  We will hear 3 sounds as Christ descends from heaven:

  1. A shout.
  2. The voice of the archangel.
  3. The trumpet of God.

Talk about a grand entrance!  God’s grace is for everyone on earth.  God desires for all people to be saved.

“For the grace of God has been revealed bringing salvation to all people.” (Titus 2:11)

None of us deserve God’s mercy and grace, but it is available to everyone because of what Christ did on the cross.  Having self-control and living a godly life involves daily devotion and committment.

The devil wants us to focus on how little we have grown spiritually.  One of the lies he tells me is, “you should be a lot further along by now Michele.”  It’s a trick to stifle my self-confidence and get me to feel guilty.  When feeling like this, I get upset with myself and I am playing right into the lie.  If I were to keep believing this lie, I become an unproductive follower of Christ.

If we want to have any kind of chance in this evil world, we need to focus instead on how far we have come!  God’s amazing grace gives us the confidence we need to live a godly life, have right conduct and the power and strength we need to accomplish any kind of right behavior.

How did Jesus do it?  Jesus was criticized and insulted but never returned insult for insult.  The witness of Jesus tells us to return evil with good.  Be slow to anger.  Turn the other cheek.

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16)

Where do we draw the line of being insulted by another person and turning the other cheek?  When do we stand up for ourselves?  How many times can we really just turn the other cheek before saying something in our defense?

There is a person in my life that always seems to “get a jab at me” every time we have a conversation.  This is a person that I have hurt from my past actions.  This person has also hurt me.  I have truly forgiven them.  I really have.  I have asked forgiveness for my sharpness and overreaction.  I’m ready to let it go.  I AM capable of forgiveness.  I believe God has blessed me with incredible patience and the ability to forgive.  In my past, I had an ex-boyfriend who grabbed me by my hair, put a gun to my head & shoved me down into an execution type stature.  I even forgave him (and got a permanent restraining order). 

So even though I have hurt this person in my life and it may be justifiable reactions to my past behavior, they still throw an insult at me in a passive aggressive way even though I have changed my life and don’t behave in that manner anymore.  It doesn’t matter how well I am doing.  It doesn’t matter how far I’ve come, I still get that “dig” at least once every time we are around each other.  I get so upset!  I get very defensive.  I get tired of having to stick up for myself.  Yes, I insulted this person last night.  My past was being thrown in my face and in a vulgar manner.  I kept my cool at first, and then I started yelling and verbally did not behave as a Christian nor as a lady.  I asked God to forgive me.  Even though what I said back to them was all true, I did say it in a manner unbecoming.

“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

I’m not going to blame my behavior as “just being human”.  I REALLY want to be able to control my tongue, no matter how terrible I’m being treated.  Will I ever perfect this area in my life?  I sure hope so.  I will just have to keep trying or maybe I just need to choose better friends & end this particular one.


A little about me........my name is Michele and I am a born-again Christian. I was saved as a teenager and graduated from a Christian high school. I am a mother of one son who is the world to me. Despite my upbringing, later in life I fell into a life of self destruction which led me down many dark paths. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and I have a great passion for Christ and His amazing power to heal even the worst cases. I am living proof of the miracle of God's power to change your life and way of thinking. Nothing is impossible with God.

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