Nobody’s perfect (part II)

I am part of a team of people starting “HOPE” for Mental Health at Kentwood Community Church.  We are part of Celebrate Recovery founded by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.  This group of courageous people, who admit their imperfections and trust Jesus to deliver them, have been a catalyst to me being able to confess my sins to another trusted person (or small group).  I read my Nobody’s Perfect post from August of 2013 tonight and realized I had promised to get back to you when I had put this into practice.

Much better late than never.

I had told Jesus my sins but telling another person with skin on freed me from most of the grip of satan in my life.  No amount of prayer has freed me as much as telling my sin to another person.  Sin loses power when exposed.

I have known for years that I was “supposed to” confess my sins to another.  But I made excuses and told myself it really didn’t matter.  I lost years of my life to satan’s influence simply because “I know more than God.”

God is not mocked.  I reaped what I sowed.

But I have learned.

Hopefully.

Buyer Beware!

“It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase.  Proverbs 20:14 NIV84

This was me for most of my life.  I would try and get things for less than they were worth and then tell my friends what a great deal I got.  But if Jesus says that we are to treat others (the seller) just as I would want to be treated (if I was the seller) then I need to look again at this Proverb.

If the buyer is boasting about his purchase I assume he felt it was a quality item… Who boasts about buying junk?  If that is true he lied to the buyer when he said it was “no good.”  Why would he do that?  If he did lie it may have been to get the item at a price less than the buyer thought it was worth.  To me that’s stealing.

So, if my assumptions are correct this one short sentence condemns the buyer for being a braggart, a liar and a thief.

Since coming to this realization I have been slowly changing.  I’ve been thinking about the seller’s position when I buy something, and not just my own.  If I am following (obeying) Jesus I believe God will give me all the money I need to fulfill his mission for my life. I’m not going to withhold what someone else deserves because I am afraid of running out of money (scarcity mentality). I will bless them by giving to them freely just as Jesus gives to me freely.  I will see buying something as an opportunity to love the seller and treat them as someone dearly loved by the God Who died for them.

Yet changing is difficult and I have a long way to go.

What do you think about this?  Is the seller worth showing the love of Jesus to?  Will Jesus keep you supplied with the money you need if you are doing what he says?  Do we serve the Almighty God? Or the almighty dollar?

Jesus can make satan’s lies tell the truth

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV84

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

My mental illness doesn’t present itself as voices, either inside or outside my head.  What I contend with are feelings and thoughts.  Painful, hopeless, anxious feelings that sometimes leave me thinking that I should give up.  I call them satan’s fiery darts.  And I used to give in to them.  Then I battled them unsuccessfully.  Now, after thinking about the preceding verse, I ask Jesus to take these thoughts captive and make them tell the truth.

The truth is that Jesus loves us.  He has taken care of everything.  We do not have to perform up to standards for Him to accept us.  He accepts us just as we are.  When we trust Him to save us from the punishment we deserve, we become His children.  Two thousand years ago He took our shame and blame and suffered the punishment for it.  There is nothing else to pay.  He freely gives us His righteousness, Spirit, and life.  There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

The evil one, satan, attacks us when we are weakest, and attacks the weakest part of ourselves.  That’s different for each one of us.  What is a constant though, is that satan’s attacks are lies.  They may contain some parts that are true, but the message that he conveys is always a lie.

Before I had a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus, I thought I was “pretty good”.  I thought I was a Christian, which was a lie of satan (I liked Jesus’ philosophy but I did not know Him personally).  I thought the few sins I had were no big deal, which was a lie of satan (they were not few and they were a huge deal).  Satan had me completely deceived and so satan just kept telling me I was “pretty good”, I kept believing him, and so he didn’t need to do anymore to insure I was going to hell.

But once I surrendered to Jesus satan went on the attack.  I was now a threat to him.  He couldn’t change my new eternal destination (heaven with Jesus) but he could try and stop me from taking anyone with me.  My experience has been that the more closely I follow Jesus, the more I notice satan’s attacks.  And it seems like most of the time those attacks are thoughts and feelings, that is, satan’s fiery darts.

Jesus dealt with satan by appropriately quoting the Word of God, the Bible.  We can too.  Next time, I’ll post some verses that I’ve found helpful.