Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What do you believe?

I've had my fair share of struggles, things I've prayed endlessly for.  I wouldn't change who I am, those struggles make me who I am today.  It's when you are in the midst of them your perspective changes.   It's so easy to give advice from the outside and say, "Read your bible, press into God, pray, pray and pray!" Necessary things of course, but not as easy to carry them out when burdened during a trial.  I think God has revealed to me that one of the things I need to work on is how I perceive my self during those trials.

In the midst of temptations, right and wrong are most of the time blatantly clear. You know what you need to do, but it takes everything within you to do the right thing.  It's a temptation, and that's clearly what it does, tempts you and tempts you endlessly to do the wrong thing.  It seems no matter how long you fight, the bad side always seems more enticing, easier.  So what do we do? Well, some stay strong, press into God, read the bible, pray, pray, and pray.  Sometimes they have fought hard enough to win the battle and choose what's right.  Other times, the battle is too hard and you give in.

Temporary happiness quickly settles in before you even have time to think.  Once you have failed at standing against your temptation, guilt washes over any happiness you may have felt.  It's a horrible feeling.  You beg for forgiveness, and pray even harder for strength the next time.   I don't know about you but one of the things I do is beat up myself, mentally.  My thoughts are consumed with, "I'm such an idiot, a horrible person, a failure!  How could I have done that? What is wrong with me?" The inward battle of the mind is a scary place.

God has slowly been teaching me how no matter how many times I fail, God never calls me an idiot, a horrible person, a failure, a mistake. God says, "Don't worry, I still love you! Fear not, for I have overcome the world.  We'll try again the next time, you are doing great!" We are God's children, God created us.  He's a very patient God and He loves us way too much, it's who He is.  Besides, I think we put enough pressure on ourselves to last us a life time.

We really have to know who we are in Christ, and what Christ has done in order for us to be that person.  Those mental beatings do us no good, and I believe make it even harder.  We start to believe those things about ourselves, and if we believe that about ourselves we will start to be that person.  It's human nature.  We are a race who lives based on belief.  No matter what you believe.  I've noticed a difference during temptations if I start saying who I am in Christ.  This great class I'm taking at Church helped me understand that.  "I am a saint, God's child, Christ's friend. I am God's temple.  I am a new creation.  I am righteous and holy.  I am chosen and dearly loved by God.  I am an enemy of the devil. I am one of God's living stones and am being built up as a spirit house." These are just a small percentage of the ones presented in the study guide for this class.  (Freedom in Christ by Neil T. Anderson -- or as we like to call it BETA) Every single one is backed up by a bible verse to show you that is how God perceives us.  I think the real question is, how do YOU perceive yourself? Maybe some of those false perceptions need to change.