We Are Free
The other day I was listening to a sermon by our Pastor and she was talking about the how even though things may be lawful, they are not expedient. She was giving an example of her experience with drinking alcohol. It got me thinking about things in my own life. What is lawful but not expedient for me? God immediately brought to my mind debt! Now, I know everyone knows Kasey and I are the FPU guru’s at our church. We love everything about what FPU teaches people. God has used FPU to change our lives, to take us and many others out of the bondage we were in debt to, having more stuff, pretending we had more than we did, and depending on our money for security.
2 Timothy 2:26 Then they will come to their sense an escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him do do whatever he wants.
Oh yes, security! I have always thought having more money, meant more security. I thought actually during the process of getting out of debt I would have more issues with security but it was actually once we were out of debt, that God has been working on my heart even more. Being out of debt has allowed us to make some changes in work for Kasey and allowing him to stay home with the kids. Nobody has to get up at 6 am anymore to get out the door to daycare, what a blessing! But with this has come a tighter budget for us thus a little more insecurity for me. Kasey is working on building a business so he can work from home and still take care of the kids. But again, with this comes insecurity of what is next. I have really been struggling with focusing on this instead of what God is doing in this. Focusing on the money as the security and not God and how He is my security and will provide. Ugh! I thought I had already dealt with this. God said you have but on a much more superficial level. Now, I am calling you deeper. Do you really trust me, Jenn?
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer.
Don’t Look Back
The other part of this is the debt issue. What God has brought me out of I don’t ever want to return to. I have had many well meaning friends and family members try to convince me debt is not all bad. Having a credit card is not bad! Well for you, who can control it, go right ahead. But for me who was in bondage to this thing, I don’t want anything to do with it! I heard a Pastor one time talk about the thing God has brought you out of bondage to. He said why do people want to try and get as close to that thing as possible without giving into it. For me, I want to stay as far away as possible so there is not temptation, no chance of returning to it.
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, as a fool repeats his foolishness!
No thank you!
What can we take from these lessons?
- Don’t put your convictions on others and respect the convictions in their life
- Focus on God for your security and stop looking at your circumstances
- Stop trying to do it all on our own that’s why God gave us the Holy Spirit
- Stay as far away as we can from that thing we were in bondage to
This Christian life is hard. It’s not for the faint of heart. When Jesus said come and die to self He was not kidding. Being a bible based Christian in this world today is difficult. Fighting against the norms of everyday life and preparing ourselves for the decisions we make today and how they will effect our future can be overwhelming. If you’re anything like me I tend to overthink, over reflect, overly examine myself and every situation I am facing. I am prone to over think how my decisions, my words, my actions are going to affect others. This is an area God continues to work in my own life.
In addition, what makes this more difficult is the knowledge of knowing what God expects of me because I know his word. I believe His word to be true and that truth applies to EVERY area of my life not just the areas I pick and choose to be the easiest. That is where this gets more difficult in this world. Same days it’s overwhelming to me. It’s overwhelming because of the emotions which come along with it, the fact that my choosing Jesus will cost me relationships, it could cost me approval, it could cost me security, it could cost me EVERYTHING. But Jesus didn’t say this life would be full of pleasure, in fact in John 16:33 Jesus tells us that here on earth we will experience trials and sorrows but to take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world. 2 Timothy 3:12, Indeed, all who delight in pursuing righteousness and are determined to live godly live in Christ Jesus will be hunted and persecuted (because of their faith).
The other part of this is those expectations. Those things we know we should be doing but we are not. The expectations are something that seem so unachievable. The fact is that I cannot achieve perfection no matter how hard I try. That is exactly why Jesus came to reconcile a perfect God to imperfect man. But at the same time, this doesn’t give me license to ignore the things God clearly expects of me as Christian. Clearly ignoring these expectations once I know is disobedience and rebellion.
The Good News
In all of this there is good news, God did not tell me I had to do this all of my own. I was raised to work hard, if you want anything done, you must put in the work and achieve it on your won. It’s a daily battle I fight. The fight to not go about things alone. Not to accomplish things in my own strength. Because when we do things on our own strength, who gets the glory? Surely, God does not get the glory. Until I accepted Jesus Christ, I don’t think I even thought about that. It didn’t even factor into my decisions. Praise God that he sent a helper, the Holy Spirit to help me and guide me. The only way to survive is with the Holy Spirit, guiding every thought, every action and every decision. The only way to live and survive this Christian life is to not do it alone.
It’s not just about Sports
Based on the title, you might think this blog was going to be some analogy regarding sports. Honestly, I don’t really watch many sports anymore but I did play plenty of them growing up and if you were a team or player that could score points, you would win ball games!!! A great quarterback, point guard, or hitter would make all the difference. But why did they make the difference? They were on the offensive team, aggressively going after (in this case points) the goal. They would not have succeeded if they just sat back and waited for things to happen to them. The attitude of the offensive team was something different and shouldn’t we as Christian’s also be different? Shouldn’t we be like the great quarterbacks and point guards, going after the things of God? Shouldn’t we be uncommon?
All of this has become so obvious to me as I have been reading through the book of 1 Samuel. For those who don’t know, this is the story where Samuel appoints Saul King after Israel demands it. David then is anointed by the Prophet Samuel because Saul fell out of favor with God for his disobedience. David is then brought into the King’s court to serve Saul. Ultimately, we come to the point where Saul and his army all are intimidated and go in to a defensive mode as they see the Goliath and the Philistine Army. David on the other goes on the offense, not being intimidated, not getting defensive but stepping up and going after Goliath. What comes blatantly obvious at this point, is the difference in attitude of David and Saul.
3 Things you can do to develop a good Offense
3 things stuck out to me as to why David was able to defeat Goliath.
David remembered the power of God in his life and appropriated it to every situation in his life. David remembered what God had delivered him from and the times God saved him.
1 Samuel 17:37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bears. He will deliver me from the hand this Philistine”.
Psalm 77:11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember you r wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your might works.
David knew the name of God was the most powerful weapon he could use, more powerful than any man made weapon.
1 Samuel 17:45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
David knew the battle was the Lord’s. The fight was the Lord’s and not ours to control. David knew if he was going to succeed, God would have to be in control and he would have to let go.
1 Samuel 17:47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does no save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.
We can all relate this story in some way. Maybe you are David already. Maybe, like most, you are thinking I am like Saul sitting back on the defense waiting for that big giant Goliath to attack. Yes, sometimes good defenses win games but mostly it is those with a good offense that win the game. Today, my challenge to you as well as myself, is to be uncommon, step out and go after those things and areas of your life you are not winning in. Apply these things above and watch the Goliath’s in your life fall.
As we embark on this next few weeks of the election season and everyone in the world is stating their position, I want to challenge you to reflect and consider what is your position in your own personal growth in Christ. Our political position is all well and good but personally, my political position has not ever changed my world. Position is a verb and can be defined as putting or arranging (something or someone) in a particular place or way. It requires some ACTION on you and I’s part. We cannot just sit back, not show up for Church AND be IN Church, not read our bible, not spend time with Gods people and expect growth. It’s like planting a seed in a garden and never watering it, allowing sunlight get to it, never taking care of the dirt the seed sits in. We all know what would happen, the seed would just stay a seed and never grow into the plant it was meant to be!!
Matthew 13:2323 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
1 Peter 2:2 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Often times, we look at where others are spiritually and compare ourselves to them. We want to be in the same place they are but we forget how many years they have spent positioning themselves to grow. First of all, God only desires for us to compare ourselves to Him and not to others. Secondly, we want the fruit but we don’t want to do the work to get the fruit.
Luke 10:2 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.
If you are reading this and feeling God’s conviction, confess it and turn away from it. If this is you, there is still time to change and position yourself for growth. I am going to share with you some of the things that have worked for me.
- Go to church and BE IN CHURCH!!! I know I am going to step on some toes here but it is important to be at service on time, be in worship and listen to the sermon. I cannot tell you how many times during worship or the sermon, God has convicted me of something. Sometimes expectedly but often times totally unexpected. It is through hearing the word of God that the direction of my life has been changed.
- Read your Bible daily!!! It is our daily bread. Again, you must place yourself in a position to have time to read your bible. Are you staying up late and then to tired to get up ready it before your work day starts? Is it not a priority? Is spending time with your kids and their activities taking priority over reading your bible? Is keeping your house clean a priority over reading your bible? Is your hobbies or own personal activities above reading your bible? Is keeping up on social media, the news, current political events taking priority over reading your bible? These are just a few of the top things that have interfered over the years with me positioning myself for growth.
- Fellowship with other Christians!!! This is important on so many levels. Not only do you receive friendship here but also encouragement, accountability, and prayer. Being in fellowship has again positioned me for growth. I can think of so many times and ways that others have convicted me of wrong thinking or doing, encouraged me to step out in faith where I didn’t feel qualified or equipped, held me be accountable to changes in my life, challenged me in my walk of faith. Where would I be today, if I chose not to be in relationship with these people because of fear.
All of this requires ACTION on your part!!! God will provide for you if you just POSITION yourself for growth!!