James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Monday, November 21, 2016

Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence

Those who spend their time looking for the faults in others usually make no time to correct their own. –Art Janak

As we journey along the narrow gate, we begin to realize that God wants to do a healing work in us. Our job is to surrender to the work of our Savior.

For many years, I focused on other's issues and avoided my own.  I would focus on what was wrong with them, instead of what was wrong with me. I found it too painful to fix myself, so I did the opposite.

I've learned this is referred to as being co-dependent and was a result of being raised in a home affected by alcoholism. For many years I received my worth from fixing and trying to control others.  I was only happy when everyone agreed to live the way I wanted them to live, believed like me and acted as I acted.  I had a hard time just accepting people for who they were, and I had a hard time allowing them just to be who they were at that very moment in time and space.

Praise God, through recovery work and deliverance counseling I am free.  Today I can now daily reflect on my behavior and remember I've been set free from this unhealthy way of relating to others.

I've had to learn that everyone has their perception of a situation and that even if I am a hundred percent sure I am speaking truth, only God can reveal it to them. You may be the one God uses, to tell the truth (in love of course), but they may not immediately receive what you have to say, you may have been a seed planter.

We need to use discernment and pray through all situations in our lives. This is what it means to be lead by the Holy Spirit.  We need to realize we can't bully anyone into anything.  It will do more harm than good. We must be Holy Spirit lead people in all our affairs.

We can't fix ourselves or others; only God can heal us. Controlling co-dependent behavior is nothing but judgment and a distraction from working on our own "stuff" that needs fixing. Before we can worry about other people's "stuff" we need to look at our own with humble hearts.

 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

In this proverb "guard your heart" means not just to guard what goes into your heart but also what goes out of it.  This whole chapter in Proverbs is talking about using good judgment and wisdom in your affairs. The King James Bible says: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

The definition of diligence is; careful and persistent work or effort.  Working on our hearts can be draining and hard work but to love like Jesus, we must take on this task.

Chances are what most annoys us about others is possibly an issue in ourselves.  There may be a hidden fear that we might become like that the person or that you are already like them.

I once dated a guy who was a raging narcissist, and God used this person to show me my self-absorbed behavior. Once I was honest with myself that I was moving in that same sort of spirit as well, I was then set free.

We need to look within our own heart before judging someone else and then ask God to show us what's going on. Be honest with ourselves.  We should never be so bold to judge someone or tell them what they say or do is wrong, without looking at our own life first.

Jesus talked about the same thing in Mathew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

God may also use these situations to show us an insecurity. The truth is if you know your worth in Christ,  you don't need to control what others say, do or believe. If you know your worth comes only from God and you are listening to the Holy Spirit, then you will be able just to let go, pray and surrender every person and situation up to God. Lay it at His feet and trust God's power to work in every situation.

There is three ways to look at the concerns of our lives.  There is:

  • Your Business

  • Their Business

  • God's Business

We sometimes focus too much on the latter two and not our own. We have to be careful to keep our noses in our own business.  We need to clean up our sandboxes first and let God and others take care of their own.

As you journey along the narrow path today ask yourselves these questions: How are you doing at minding your own business and not focusing on what's going on with everyone else? Are you more focused on others behavior then your own?  Have you judged when you could have shown love? Are you getting your worth from trying to fix people? Do you need everyone to agree with you to feel validated? 

God bless you on your journey as you ponder these things in your heart today!  ~Laura Sterling~ narrowgatetraveller.com

Prayer: Lord God, we praise you for your great love for us and thank you that because you first loved us, we can love others well. May we diligently seek to do your will each day. Help us to always examine our motives Lord. Show us clearly when we have overstepped our boundaries and taken to fixing others instead of dealing with our lives first. May our worth come only from you Lord and not from people or things in our lives. Thank you for showing us what we need to be set free from anything that hinders us from following you and for healing and delivering us completely. Thank you - loving Father. Amen!