The Judging Spirit of the Self-Will
Judging is a key characteristic of our self-will that is in opposition to God. Here I talk about that spirit, the pervasiveness, vastness of it and what being free means and entails for our lives.
by Rachel 6 Comments
Judging is a key characteristic of our self-will that is in opposition to God. Here I talk about that spirit, the pervasiveness, vastness of it and what being free means and entails for our lives.
by Rachel 4 Comments
I’m discovering when you dive into the issues, fears, bad choices, and unhealthy behaviors of people, the core cause is a lack of inherent value, which comes from a feeling of rejection.
I’m beginning to think this core issue (which has many faces) is the black hole in each one of our souls, which the only remedy is oneness with God.
At birth, Our Creator, the One who matters above all, is disconnected from us because of the sin nature we are born into. In this disconnect, we experience a sense of rejection that breeds a lack of value. (Deep unchanging value comes from God. A fullness and completeness of us comes by being connected to Him.)
However, this gap between God and us isn’t our intended state. We were created to be one with God in a bond of love. But because of our corruption that comes from choosing self over Him, we are rejected. God can’t be united to that which isn’t holy, for He is holy. That self-seeking aspect of us that leads us to follow self verses God is the sin that was passed along through Adam. He chose to follow himself and do what he thought best instead of walk in unity with God. Thus, he severed the bond with God and was cast out of His presence. Because we are all connected, that corrupted state is a part of us.
To our further destruction, we spend our lives trying to fill that void with everything but God. The world, governed by the first one to reject God and go his own way (Lucifer), offers a smorgasbord of lies promising to fill that vast hole. They are empty vanities of how we can gain the value we desperately need to rid ourselves of that feeling of rejection. Relationships, sex, lust, goodness, self-righteousness, the perfect parents, children who love us, success, financial wealth, perfect bodies, power, perfect health, fame, control, and so on.
In trying to fill this void and suppress the feeling of rejection, we develop all kinds of bad habits to “protect” ourselves and gain value. We build walls, lash out to control others, manipulate emotionally, withdraw from others, and become people pleasers. We become slaves to others brokenness as we try to earn approval and acceptance. We stomp on others to make ourselves stronger. We become addicted to substances/things to subdue our feelings. We surround ourselves with people trying to fill the void, yet remain completely alone.
The only way to remedy our state is to be reconciled to the One by which that void was created, God. All those other things can’t accomplish what we desire, because they can’t. God loves us. He wants us to be reconciled back to Him as He showed us through Christ Jesus.
Only through Christ, our eternal forgiveness and reconciliation, is the pathway to God opened. However, Jesus is only the door. To find deliverance from the destruction we created and oneness, we have to journey into gate and into God’s presence. By abiding in God’s presence, (seeking His face to know Him and be one with Him), we are put on a path of healing and restoration for our souls. We experience God and His love. We understand how our ways lead to death and how His lead to life and the fulfillment and satisfaction of our souls. Through this journey, we chose God above all else.
Having spent our lives trying to obtain value from all these other sources, it takes time to develop a relationship with God that is strong enough to trust Him to let go of all these other things. Though they haven’t worked, we hold onto the hope that they do, because the world tells us they do. We have to intimately know God to the extent to be able to truly turn from all that we have held on to, thus turn from self (true repentance) and be deeply rooted to Him, nothing else.
God wants nothing to fill that void but Him because only He can. He created us to be in a bond of love with Him, therefore nothing else will suffice. Anything else is an idol, which is full of empty hope. God is offering Himself to us; we only need to embrace Him in truth and spirit.
In theory, turning from self and embracing God sounds easy. I’ve found it isn’t. The path to oneness with God is narrow and few find it, because the multitude of lies in this world that tells us the contrary. It’s a journey that has to be walked with God one-on-one. No one can do it for us. We can’t do it by listening to others talk about it or talk about God. Others can only point the way. We have to spend time with God like someone we love. Though this process we get to know Him, so we can trust Him and let go of everything we tried to use to fill that void and be united to Him. In giving up the empty hopes, what we lose is the superficial temple we built trying to find our own glory. What we gain is who we were created to be as one united to God.
Dig deep into God. What are those things that you are defining yourself by? Those things you are trying to fill that void with? Seek God to know Him as He is. In time, you will start letting all vanity to embrace the One who can fill you as you desire.
Here is some of the best relationship advice you’ll ever receive …
Song of Solomon 8:4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
This verse has several meanings, and one is it offers some superb relationship advice, don’t push or manipulate love. Don’t try to force a bond of love where it isn’t – something we see happening a lot today.
Simple isn’t it? But, how many of us try to stir or awaken love before it pleases? How many of us know people who do this? With friendships, marriages, children and even with God? People have their plan and drive to accomplish it to their and others detriment. But it’s not about our will, but God’s. He alone knows what is truly best and ultimately most satisfying for us. If we push our will we bring on much more heartache and pain than if we trust and walk in His will for our lives.
Let’s take one example where this pre-awakening occurs, marriage. Marriage is a life long commitment. It’s a decision that has a huge impact on our lives. Yet, many marry for the wrong reasons. Our emotional needs and fears can be very powerful and make it easy to justify and rationalize situations where we would normally have greater discernment. We push our agenda though it isn’t best. We let our emotional need/fear drive our actions. Because of the power of our emotions, we need to put God’s Word first and let it dictate our actions, not our emotions.
Here are a few situations where love is awakened before it pleases.
Ultimately all of these reasons for marriage are based in fear. God’s counsel and wisdom aren’t based on fear, but on love. If fear is driving your decisions and actions – stop and seek God’s deliverance from your fears. Sometimes we have to seek deep within ourselves to discover our true motives, because our ability to rationalize is great. But it’s a search we all need to take.
It’s God’s desire to give us the best, the best for us. We can trust God to intersect our paths with one who is right for us when it’s time. We need to let Him do His job and not push our will, especially this area. It’s one where ill-made decisions have a significant life changing impact. Though a marriage may sedate certain fears like the ones above, it will bring a whole host of other issues when it isn’t right.
Wait for the right union. Sometimes we have to wait because God is preparing us for the relationship and/or preparing our spouse. When we trust God, then all works as it should and when it should. Nothing is impossible for God. Seek His counsel. Wait on His timing. Don’t be the judge of how everything should work out. Let God create in your life what is perfect for you. Listen and follow where He leads. Walk in His footsteps not your own.
When you are ready, and when the other is ready, then it will occur. It isn’t about being perfect and all your issues dealt with – it’s about being ready for you to enter into a marriage. God brings you to a place within your spirit that will set you up for success. God has an infinite number of ways for your path to cross with one who is right for you. Trust Him in the preparation, timing and how it occurs.
Now what, sit around? No, seek God and the rest will follow. When we seek and draw near to God, He works in us according to His good will and pleasure. He moves us into new situations. He guides us down new paths that lead to a new life in Him. There is nothing that God can’t do, but we have to put Him first – that’s His way. He is to be our first love and then all others follow.
If you are married and you feel it was the wrong decision because it was based on fear and/or the wrong motives, what’s done is done. God can still work it out. Nothing is impossible for Him. He can make all things new. He is the Creator. He can create your marriage into one that will satisfy the both of you. But you have to believe and trust that He can do this work. Our faith is everything. If we succumb to the thought that we are forever in a state of hopelessness that is where we will remain. Unbelief is a thief to satisfying marriages. When our mind gets overrun by negativity, then we are headed for a downward spiral by our own doing.
Seek God’s face. Trust in His work. If you find trusting Him difficult then spend time with Him. Trust is the fruit of deep a relationship with Him.
Regardless of the relationship don’t awaken love before it pleases, instead trust and leave that part to the Creator.
Once we truly set out to seek God with all our heart, mind and soul we start to change. We are drawing ever close to the presence of God. More of who God is, is filling our lives. His Spirit is working and molding us inside out. 2 Corinthians 3:18
One area this transformation in our souls becomes apparent is with relationships with non-believers. When we are truly born of God and growing in our new life in Him, these relationships change. It’s more than engaging in different behaviors. It’s more than having a different focus, direction, and mind-set. It’s more than having different values, though all these come into play. There is a divergence occurring on the deepest level of our being.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
At the core, believers and non-believers are dwelling in different places; one in Christ the other not. One is growing in truth and love, the other is not. Only from God comes truth and love. Only by being connected to Him can we truly know these. One is an eternal living being and the other is not.
Though a believer’s love for non-believers grows as they draw near to God, the ability to deeply connect begins to wane. A true believer and a non-believer can’t be truly yoked. Being yoked is connecting to others on a deep level within our souls. We connect when we are in a similar place internally. When we connect at this level, there is a powerful depth and intimacy that is shared. There is a special connection that is made and each life is greatly influenced by the other. Yoking is what we desire in our marriages and our closest friendships. It’s a deep connection between two souls.
Recently, I learned a great lesson in unequal yoking. I have a friend from my days prior to having a relationship with God. I called myself a Christian. I presumed I was saved, but I didn’t seek God. I didn’t walk with Him. During that time in my life though she was a non-believer, we were in a similar place internally and our souls became yoked.
As I started to seek God and His ways, a gap between her and I started to form. Our relationship became strained because I was no longer where I used to be – in that internal place where we so strongly connected. The spiritual battle in our relationship grew. You could feel the underlining tension as the gap widened. My love for her didn’t fade, but my ability to connect with her as I once had did.
For months, I didn’t understand what was happening. I prayed for our friendship. I tried to nurture our connection. I thought it was a phase. Then one day as I was praying for counsel in this relationship, the Holy Spirit cut through the whirlwind in my head as I tried to get my mind around what was happening and impressed upon me the verse above. We were unequally yoked. I can’t be how I once was with her. The love remains, but our deeper connection is gone.
The Holy Spirit simply told me what had already happened and what I knew deep down – our connection as it once existed was gone – the yoke was broken. I needed to accept it for what it was and let go.
The connection between a true believer and non-believer is limited. They are simply in two different places spiritually. It doesn’t mean we can’t have relationships with non-believers. It means that it will only be at a certain level, and should be at a certain level. We shouldn’t be trying to form a “yoke”. We can be very blessed by relationships with all kinds of people of all walks of life. However, when it comes down to connecting with others at the depth of our soul, being yoked, we are to focus on connections with believers. With non-believers we can only connect so much, there will always be a gap as there is between life and death. And what communion has light with darkness?
For your relationships with non-believers, seek God’s will for you and them. Sometimes we have to let go. Sometimes we have to embrace the limitations. Sometimes we have to reconnect at a different level.
A friend from years back showed me a valuable truth this past week . . .
My friend tells me that I’m among her closest friends. For awhile, she’s been texting me saying she wants to talk and catch up (it’s been months since we talked). She says there are few people she will always pick up the phone for, I’m one. However, the phone hasn’t been picked up in a long time. When it comes down to it, she doesn’t make the time to connect – it’s like our friendship is at the bottom of her to-do list – below cleaning the scum off the tub. sigh
We all have the same amount of time. How we spend that time speaks of our priorities. Her actions have been telling me for awhile where our friendship is placed – painfully low. Now if we didn’t talk between visits (she lives in a different state) and both agreed that would be fine. But, it’s saying one thing and doing another that sets me up with false expectations and that is where the disappointment sets in. Expressing how much I mean to her and her desire to talk becomes meaningless when her actions don’t back up her words. It hurts. It feels like she doesn’t care; like our friendship doesn’t really matter.
In addition, in the past couple of years, when we have gotten together, I’m multitasked in with other activities so that she isn’t with me. She has gotten better as I’ve mentioned it to her. She is a bit more engaged during our few hours spent together each year, but her life is one big multitasked distraction-filled conglomeration with our friendship thrown in the pile.
This reflection has been a good reminder for me. We all get busy and distracted, and we can neglect those things that are most important like our relationships. So, how am I treating those I call friend? Those I profess to love? Am I doing and focusing on what is truly most important?
The other day another incident happened where my expectations where let down once again. In the past month, the Holy Spirit has given me good counsel in regards to her and for relationships in general – about expectations, boundaries, balance, but this occurrence bothered me until I wrote this post. God wanted to show me something through it.
The emotion I felt, the hurt, was to give me a peek into God’s heart and share it with you.
Words are meaningless without the action and heart all working in unison. People tell God all the time they love Him, they long to be near to Him, and to be in His presence. But when it comes down to it, they don’t make the time. Other activities and people come first. Our actions and the state of our heart in those actions reveal the truth of what is important to us. For there to be sincerity there has to be an unison of the three; words, action, heart. When we don’t take time to be with Him, or are always distracted or multitasking when we do take time, what does that really say?
Matthew 15:8 These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
God showed me the importance of the connection between our words, actions and heart. It wasn’t to guilt me or anyone else who might read this. He doesn’t guilt His children. Guilt comes from another voice. He was giving me an awareness of our actions and heart and what they reveal, and how they measure up to our words. It was about being real and sincere. It was about what God desires from us, because He loves us. It was about how our relationship with Him is to be as well as our relationship with others.
God desires that we spend time with Him; delight in just being with Him. That’s what you do when you love someone. You want to be near them. It isn’t just when you need something. God desires us to draw near because He is our God, our Friend, our Love.
How am I acting toward God, who calls me His friend, His bride? What is my heart when I’m with Him? What do my actions reveal? Do my words, actions and heart line up? Asking these questions can be very revealing about the true state of our relationship with God.
If you feel these three aren’t adding up, don’t fret, act. God loves you. He longs to be near you. Be real with Him, draw near to Him in truth and spirit. Give your love for Him a chance to grow and develop. Be real about it. If you don’t deeply feel a love for Him, be honest, He knows it anyway. Ask for it. Truth is the starting place to true growth.
Consider how much He loves you and how He wants to make His home in you John 14:23 Draw near to Him in truth. Get to know Him as He is and love will follow until He becomes your first love. Then carry this same awareness to others’ in your life and love them with all sincerity, with a unity of words, actions and heart. But focus on God first. When there is a solid relationship with Him, the rest of your relationships bloom as they should. He comes first.
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.'”
Someone made a comment on my post Fear of God – Beginning of Wisdom about how though I was blessed with a wonderful earthly father, many aren’t. I was asked to address those who haven’t been so fortunate. I don’t necessary think I’m most qualified to address such an issue, but I wanted to honor the request and share with you want I have learned from my friends who have had issues with their fathers. I was thankful for the suggestion because many of my friends fall into the latter category. In fact, this past week as I was visiting my family many conversations came up about the impact of fathers. We talked about the effects of no fathers, fathers who neglected, over protected, who loved. Here are my thoughts . . .
Unfortunately, many men have done a poor job as a father. Like the rest of us they are fallen and far from perfect. But the role they have has such an impact in our lives that their actions effect us more than most. Fatherhood is a great responsibility. It’s a job that reveals a man’s greatest weaknesses and to those he is supposed to love the most. As a result of those weaknesses, some have abandoned, neglected, abused, and overly controlled their children. Among my friends those who didn’t have a good experience with their fathers instead had with a relationship of lack that left them with deep wounds, anger, pain, disoriented paths, and vast voids in their lives.
So if the experience with your father left a huge void or vaults of pain in your life, how can you draw near to a God who says He is your father? How do you know really what that truly means? How can you trust God to be your father, when your only experience of a father was none at all or crappy?
Initially how we view God is related to how we viewed our father. We carry over the framework given to us from our father to God. But this obviously isn’t where we are to stay mentally or emotionally – whether our experience was good or bad – we each need to seek God as He is and if we do He will teach us and show us who He is. He is able to give us what we never had in our earthly relationships, if we seek. John 14:21
Talking to one of my friends about her experience with her dad, she said, it’s true he left a big hole in my soul, but it provided a larger place for God to fill. Because of that lack it pushed me closer to God seeking from Him what I didn’t get from my dad. I have been blessed to know and depend on God in this way.
This is the treasure in broken relationships; God comes into the brokenness in such intimate way. Wounded souls gain a special relationship that is nourishing and rich with God because of the lack they had. They deeply connect with Him in a way they otherwise wouldn’t.
Often it’s the void, in whatever area of our lives that drives us to seek God with passion with our hearts, souls and minds. The wound, the pain, and the emptiness are powerful drivers. God uses these driving forces to turn something deeply painful into something amazingly blessed. Our fathers have a big impact in our lives, how much more our heavenly Father if we let Him in into the depths of our pain and sorrow? It’s about perspective. We can either see our past experiences as a never ending wound in our lives or we can see it as an opportunity to experience the presence of God in a very intimate and personal way. Where do you want to be? Which one are you fostering in your life?
Our earthly fathers, whether good or bad, are to point and drive us to our heavenly Father.
A mistake often made is getting caught up in looking to our earthly fathers to repair the damage they left behind. We aren’t to look to them but God. God is our eternal Father; our earthly fathers are but a vapor Psalm 39:5. We need to be careful not to put too much focus on the temporary because then we neglect the eternal. We are to seek God to complete and fill us, to heal and restore us. As for our earthly fathers we have to abandon the hold they have on us, or we will remain living out our lives in a reaction to theirs. We are called to live in the spirit in the newness of life, not the past. With God’s grace we can. Only God can truly enable us to move forward. Though, I haven’t had to do with my father, I have in other areas. Freedom comes from Him, and He is able to set us free from whatever binds our souls. As long as we look to our earthly fathers to play a part in delivering us from the pain we are looking in the wrong place and often will be greatly disappointed.
You can’t wait on them to change, to apologize, to make good for the damage they did. Because many never will due to blindness to their own lack. The truth is we are fallen. We cause others pain. We damage with our actions and our words. We all fall short. God is offering freedom from that bondage of pain caused by others. It is a process no doubt especially with our fathers, but is a journey that in the end will fill you with gratitude for the earthly father you had because of what it brought to you in your relationship with God. It may be hard to believe, but God loves you more than you know. He wants to give you what you never had if you will open yourself up to Him. He wants to go into the reservoir of that pain and abide, and turn it into rivers of love.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
If you are God’s, you have a new Father, embrace Him.
What do you focus on? What are the default thoughts that fill the spaces of your mind? Is it worrying about the future or reliving the past? Is it about you, a self-focus and self-analytical mindset? Is it about others, their needs, desires, and wishes? Is it a combination?
God has been showing and teaching me about what consumes my thoughts – and for me on top of worrying about the future it was mostly a self-focus, how I am being received by others, what others think of me, what I need to improve, etc. It is hard to admit because it is so selfish, but it is true and that is why God is giving me some powerful lessons in the matter. When I first realized this I assumed I needed to focus more on others. So that is what I prayed for – for God to rewire my brain to attune outward instead of inward.
But this weekend, He showed me that wasn’t His desire either. He wants me to be spirit-focused. To be in the moment, not the past or future, and focused on His spirit’s guidance, not me or anyone else.
Many of our thoughts go through our brain unnoticed. Before God shined His light into this area of my life, I wouldn’t have thought this about me. The Spirit provides a second pair of eyes searching our depths. We start to see ourselves in ways we never have before because we were never able to before.
This attunement is what Jesus exemplified. He had a singular focus which was to do the will of His Father. God called Him at times to attend to others (Luke 4:43) and at times to attend to His needs (Matthew 14:23). But regardless, Jesus was focused on God, His leading and His will. (John 6:38)
This is to be our focus. If we are self-focused or focused on others, we miss out on what God desires of us in the moment. We no longer live for ourselves and what we deem important, but we live for Him. (2 Corinthians 5:15) That means He is the object of our attention. When we tune into Him, He takes care of all of our needs and we are able to love others by giving them what they truly need, not what we think they need.
So what does this mean in a practical sense? It means when we are facing issues or problems we seek His help and wisdom not the world’s. When we are standing in line at the grocery store, we aren’t worrying about something else we are we in tune to the spirit’s prompting to the needs around us. When we are with family members we aren’t focused on us and how we feel or busy trying to please them, but we give ear to the spirit as to what our next word or action might be.
How do we change our mindset, the very way we think that is hardwired in us? We abide in Him, fill our minds with His truth, and ask Him to rewire our minds to tune into Him. Like all things it is His work in us, not ours. It isn’t about efforting a change. It is about yielding to His workmanship, waiting on His perfect work and timing and following wherever He leads.
by Rachel 5 Comments
This past week we got two Ragdolls kittens . . . adorable does not suffice to describe them and any picture doesn’t do them justice.
Now that we are pet owners we have been taping episodes of Dog Whisper. I know they are cats, but Cesar Millian, the Dog whisper, has fantastic insights into animals in general. The other day he delivered another one – animals respond to our energy, period.
Every living thing responds to our energy – plants, animals, and people. The energy we put off is the key to healthy plants, sweet loving pets, and good relationships.
The Bible teaches us this same truth but it instead of energy it describes this soulful projective power as heart. If our heart is hateful, negative, critical, judgmental, resentful, fearful, or anxious that is what people will feel and respond to regardless of what we say or do. If it is full of truth, love, understanding, forgiveness, mercy, peace, and calm that is what others will feel and respond to. People react to what we project from our heart, not so much our words or actions. Therefore, our heart or energy affects the outcome of our interactions.
Consider for a moment the ripple effect of this underlining constant dynamic in our families, our marriages, at work, and with our children. Often the problem in our relationships is what we are communicating when we are just standing there without saying a word.
For example, how many times has someone said or did the right thing but you knew he or she felt negatively about you? People can’t hide their true colors. We may not know exactly what they think but we can sense the hypocrisy of their words and actions. We can’t stand when others do this to us, but yet we do it all the time.
Because the state of our heart affects us and everything around us, it is what matters above all to God. Remember the sum of all commandments? Love God then others. Love comes from the heart. If we are bound by rules and force goodness then we are a negative testimony to the love of God. We actually do more harm than good. We are to love from the heart not wear valentine masks painted in red and pink. And God is the only one to make our love toward others increase and abound. Unfortunately many think it is in their power and duty to manifest love.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you
Christianity is all about love and love flows from the heart. That is why He gives us a new heart. He doesn’t repair the old, but replaces it for one that is a part of Him and capable of giving His pure love grounded in truth. However this heart starts small and needs nourishment in His Word to grow. When it does and we begin to live from the heart of the spirit and not the flesh then that pure love manifests relationships as they were intended to be whether with Him or others.
Our important role is to seek God’s love by abiding in His Word and wait for His work in us. If we don’t seek and ask we don’t receive. If we force it or try to fake it we end up being the worse hypocrites of all – professing God’s love and giving a warped decrepit version of our own.
If we seek God’s love then in time little by little it will consume our lives. It is a process that takes time and there is nothing instant about it from my experience. It takes time to know God and to cultivate a relationship of trust so we can truly surrender our lives. Then we can yield to Him, be filled with Him, and let down our walls to let His love flow through us and out to others.
It is better to admit we are a work in progress than be a counterfeit. Because people feel our hearts, if we try to pretend and neglect to wait on His true love our testimony of who God is destroyed. We end up pushing people away from God instead of toward Him.
Abide in Him and wait for God to truly transform you so that your words and actions come from a place of love. If you want love then spend time with the One who is the source of true love. We need a new thriving heart of Him to experience any true change otherwise we are putting perfume on a stinking corpse. Waiting is hard, but when you begin to see a real difference in your soul your praise will be true and glorifying to God. Then when people experience your love there will be no doubt your love is of God and not you. His love is the most important and best energy we can project.