We all know that emotions can, and do, get in the way of making Godly or even good decisions. I can’t see however, where the Bible gives the Christian credit, or allowance, for making decisions based on the influence of emotions. How we interact in our relationships should reflect the relationship we have with Jesus, and this will be reflected in how much we listen to and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
More often than not, whenever I have mentored someone in the past, not surprisingly the need to resolve personal attitudes took priority. Not least the issue of not extending grace to others as God has extended grace to us. This appears to me to be a real problem in the Church and in particular to individuals within the Church.
I have learned that what makes it easy for wrong attitudes to control our behaviour is the part that agenda plays in the attitude we adopt when dealing with others.
Agenda determines attitude.
The story of the woman caught in adultery throws some light on this by showing us the difference between two attitudes built on two different agendas. On one hand we have the attitude of the crowd, and on the other, the attitude of Jesus.
The crowd’s agenda was for the woman to be punished. Jesus’ agenda was for the woman to be changed. The crowd’s attitude was harsh by allowing their agenda to dictate their approach to the woman. Their attitude was closed and it blinded them to their own sin and their own need for forgiveness. Jesus’ attitude was compassionate, loving and open to finding a way to God by his grace. John 8:1-11.
It is so so easy to allow our agendas to dictate our responses, attitudes and approach to others because we are either angry, feel used or want to get even.
Jesus’ response was, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast the first stone’.
The woman was guilty and was deserving of punishment, but if we nurture an agenda of love, forgiveness, recociliation and a desire to see Jesus glorified in how we deal with others our attitudes and approach will follow suit.
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
I remember as a child how I would get up before anyone else was awake. I would run downstairs and lift the curtains just to look out for our neighbour who had the most beautiful Alsatian dog. They would go out very early each day to the local park and on their way home, they would pass directly by our house. Each day as they walked by, my neighbour would stop for a few seconds just so I could see the dog, whose name was George by the way. Often, I could hardly sleep. Excited about seeing George in the morning and just spending those few moments looking at him and him barking at me, saying hello style, would be the highlight of my day. I think just the anticipation of waiting for him to come by was more difficult to handle.
In the verse from Proverbs there are two words which speak to me clearly about how and why we should spend time with God. We are to, seek, God, and for it to be done, early.
In the story above it wasn’t my alarm clock that woke me up and encouraged me to get up it was the excitement of seeing something that was very meaningful to me and it engaged my thoughts and attention. The word, early, in this passage has that same flavour. It’s not about the hour of the day so much as it is about the desire to get up and do the things that occupy our heart. In this case its seeking God. This is where these two words work together. If the desire is there then we will seek to be with Him when we can, at the earliest opportunity. Whether that is either in the morning, afternoon or at any other time. This is the heart that God is seeking to share with, our desire to be with him comes out of our love for him not out of some sort of timetable set by personal time limitations.
None of us want to be in relationships where we sense that the other person, ‘fits us in’, to their timetable. That kind of relationship has poor quality and no depth and gives birth to all sorts of side-effects such as insecurity, sense of rejection and dissatisfaction.
I am sure that this is not the kind of relationship that you want with God either. However; to enjoy Him we have to spend time with him: in his word, sitting meditating on Jesus and what he has done and is doing, fellowshipping with him and other members of his body and maybe just enjoying the space he has given us to live in. Try not to be so enthralled with the destination so as to miss the joy of the journey.
It's great to know that God's Grace and faithfulness are new every morning.
We can trust God to walk with us throughout the day and stay by our side while we sleep.
I saw this prayer online and thought how it reflected my heart for God. I thought you might enjoy it too.
The Lord bless your day.
When a person decides to follow Jesus and the Holy Spirit begins his work of renewal and transformation that person does not suddenly become an expert on how to deal with relationships, friendships, life and all the other daily challenges. Nothing about our abilities to function differently happens overnight. The transformation into Christlikeness is something that is nurtured and not something that is switched on.
New believers, and many long-standing Christians too, often struggle with this concept. There is the idea that because Christ by his Spirit lives in us then everything that comes out of us should be, and must be, Christlike. From this place, many mistakenly believe that Jesus has abandoned them because they may have sinned after conversion. They, ‘sense’ that the Holy Spirit has left them. They begin to live an emotionally based gospel relying on feeling and not faith in what God has promised in HIS Word.
We read in 2 Corinthians 3:18, ‘And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.’
I can remember the evening service in which I decided to follow Jesus. I can remember putting up my hand to say, ‘yes’ to God. I can also remember sinning throughout the following week and going back to church to raise my hand, again and again, each time I sinned. This I continued to do until someone took me aside and explained the nature of the Holy Spirit and the transforming work of God’s grace. That I didn’t have to constantly get saved time after time and again and again. I had decided to follow Jesus and although I was going to sin God had made a provision for that in confessing that sin and God forgiving me,
see 1 John1:9.
Another point that I find interesting is that we find it easier to receive God’s Grace than to demonstrate it to others. This is key to our spiritual growth. If someone offends us or falls into sin somehow, we tend to write them off. This not the purpose of God’s grace. The purpose of God’s grace is meant to lead us to repentance.
‘Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
The Greek word used here for repentance is, Metanoeō, which simply means to change, one’s thinking in order to change one’s behaviour. When we are in a position to show God’s grace we are in fact in a position to help someone change their thinking and consequent behaviour.
So, I hope you can see that God is a faithful and patient God who does not beat us into submission to produce perfection. Rather he is a God who by his Spirit gently nurtures our nature to be conformed, fashioned to that of His son Jesus.
Even some of the least valued relationships can have an immense effect on how we navigate our lifestyles.
Do you value your relationships, how do you estimate their value and what diminishes the value of that relationship for you? We tend to give the quality of time and energies to those people we naturally like and are attracted to, but is that God's way? Matthew 5:46.
Is giving to gain really giving? Is loving in order to be loved really loving?
We was so blessed to have Steve bring Rethink into our Home Church in Stoke Sub Hamdon. The teaching was more than just encouraging, it was life-changing, and all Christians need to hear it. All backed up by Scripture! We had a wonderful day, it simply passed too quickly, I know there is so much more. Myself and many of our Home Church are travelling to Locking Church for more this coming Saturday. Thank you Steve for bringing this and for your support and encouragement for Home Church. God bless
When it comes to the renewed mind the importance of good, reliable information, and the way we process it, is absolute key to Godly outcomes.
If Satan is going to encourage Christians to fall into his agendas he is certainly going to warp, twist and influence the quality of information we will use to manage our lives.
The quality of information and how we process it is critical to developing a renewed mind and not conforming to the world's opinions devoid of the wisdom and truth of God.
Steve Howell: born in Birmingham, (ever so long ago), now in Weston super Mare. Walked with God 46 years.