Thursday, May 10, 2012
I mentioned last time the marriage conference my husband and I attended in May. Loved it. We didn't need more than just a tune up since we're doing great, but I did take some things away from the weekend which apply to all of life and not just those of us in wedded bliss.
Anger. The above passage tells us three things pretty clearly about it. One, we WILL get angry. It's a part of the human condition and a valid emotion. I'm not saying the responses to anger are the best, but we'll get into that a bit. :-) Two, there is a WAY to deal with our anger which is Godly. And three, anger can be a foothold of the enemy. You know how I feel about giving the enemy ANY power over me or mine.
The statement which caught my attention at the conference was this...we get angry when our expectations aren't met. Think about this for a second. It really boils anger down to a very basic pattern in our lives. We THINK a situation should go a certain way and it doesn't. POW! Anger. Someone pulls out in front of us on the road. We get angry because we expect them to be courteous in their driving habits. Why, I have no idea....my husband says I have an idiot magnet attached to my forehead. Our kids do something we've told them not to do. Anger. Our spouse doesn't treat us the way we think we should be treated. Anger. Someone in our family says or does something to hurt us. Anger if we're not careful. Read Luke 6:26-36. Powerful stuff.
Scripture tells us in Ephesians 4:29-32 "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." NASU
"...according to the need of the moment..." WHY? "...so that it will give grace to those who hear." Wow. Moment by moment we are to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit as to get a hold on the anger which will come. Scripture doesn't tell us not to get angry. It says pretty clearly it's going to happen. We have to chose to walk in an abiding relationship with Christ so closely as to have Him give us each moment's words for any given situation. Abide or abiding means "continuing in a permanent state". Our life is to be lived wrapped up in the sanctification of Christ which He has given us. We are to be living and breathing Him in order to make it through this world which is not our home.
The rest of those verses are extremely important as well. We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Ouch. I wonder how often I do that and don't even realize it. Goes back to Psalm 139:23-24 where we ask, each day, for Him to show us our hurtful ways so we can change.
Put aside all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice. Not just acknowledge them, but put them aside. Get rid of them. Do not dwell on them and let them fester in your heart. Where that nastiness is, less of Christ is able to be.
Now for the kicker..."BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it until the day of His return...Christians eat their own. Within our families there are hurts which we just won't let go. We treasure these things like jewels, hoarding them in our hearts and holding them against each other in accounts. So and so said THIS to me and I'm just not going to forgive that. Excuse me? Where in Scripture do you have that right? Seems to me we are to be letting it ALL go for the sake of living a righteous life in Christ. Hmmm. Whether you forgive that person or not, Christ DIED for that forgiveness. It's given by Him freely. They may not take it, but it's there. Do we live like that? Is forgiveness just waiting for the fallible humans in our lives to make a mistake or is judgment and anger waiting to beat them over the heads with what they've done? Who does that look like? Certainly not Christ.
I said last time that I'm striving to be an encourager. Take heart in these words from Christ in His Word. Learn from them and know the peace of His blameless life. Walk hand in hand with Him and know what it is to fear NO evil which might try to come your way. Give up the destructive forces of anger and allow such a love for others to fill you that you overflow with it! BE like Christ as we are called. Some want Utopia. This is how we get it. :-)
Monday, August 18, 2008
When people will disappear. Those who have known and claimed Jesus Christ as their Savior will be gone. Poof. Just like that. In light of my post the other day, I felt like I needed to mention something.
You can figure out which one Jesus is; liar, lunatic or Lord. You can decide He's one of the first two. But when the day comes that MILLIONS of people disappear, remember this. It didn't just "happen". It wasn't some random alien that snatched us all away. It was the return of my Lord and Savior for me and those who have called upon His name for the forgiveness of their sins.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Do you believe the Man, Jesus, lived? If so, what do you believe He was? Think about it for a bit then come back and finish reading once you've got it in your mind what you believe.
You see, many people believe Jesus lived on the earth and died during the time of the Bible. That they don't dispute and history has many facts and artifacts stating it. Now, if He lived, He could only have been one of three things: a liar, a lunatic or the Lord.
Some believe He was a prophet or a wise man. Okay, it's something I believe in part. But if you believe He was a prophet or wise man, how can you say He wasn't the Lord? You can't say He was wise/prophetic, believe SOME of what He said/claimed and throw out the rest. Either He's real or He's a liar. Otherwise, He's not the One deciding what's truth, you are. You only take what you WANT to believe about Him and leave the rest as lies. If I hear a pastor tell me something I know is an outright lie, he has lost all credibility in my eyes. None of what he says is of value to me anymore. So, how can something Christ said have value if you don't believe all of it? Liar, lunatic...
Some believe He was just mad, stark raving crazy. Okay. Claiming to be the Messiah could be considered on the off side of things. If you believe this, it's your choice. Some of what He said, though, came to pass. Many things are documented as having happened. Not quite the ravings of a lunatic. And, again, if you believe anything He said, you can't claim He's a lunatic without being intellectually dishonest. Hypocricy isn't a pretty trait. Liar, lunatic or Lord...
It all boils down to this: if you believe Christ lived, that even some of what He said was true, then He has to be what He claimed. The Son of God. The Lamb of God Who died for our sins. You can't believe some of it and throw out the rest without being untrue to yourself. We humans can't even make the right decisions all the time so how can we trust ourselves to filter something as big as Christ correctly? Especially when there is so much evidence out there that Christ lived, He died and He is still working in the lives of those who believe in Him? Just the name of Christ can break bondages, heal, and calm. Ever wonder why no one curses the name of Buddha? It's only God and Christ which are taken in vain. Why? Just something to ponder.
I don't know where so many of the people I love stand on the issue of faith in Jesus Christ. Dear friends, people I've known most or all of my life. I've watched as their lives go down painful paths. I've prayed and cried. I can't change things for them. I can't make the decisions for them. But I can pray. I can tell them what I know to be Truth. Jesus Christ LIVED. He died on the cross to cover the payment of sin so that I can live FREELY. With joy and peace. Things I long for my loved ones to find.
There will come a time that we all stand before Him to account for our lives. My prayer is for everyone to know Him as Lord before it's too late.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Okay, first things first. Husbands, I do NOT suggest you show this to your wives with a, "SEE, God says it!" attitude. Make sure you are doing YOUR role in the marriage before you take that on.
Christian wives, listen up. And those who want to be wives someday. (If you are not a Christian, this won't make any sense to you, but you still might get something out of it. ) I have some things to say that you probably won't like. Oh well. God says it, He tells me to write it and so I do. Take it up with Him if you don't like it. See how far you get.
If you'd like to read a FASCINATING survey of 400 men, go to the website below *. You can become a member for free in order to read the survey. But for this particular blog I'm going to use one question they asked:
Here's a head's up, ladies. You are in direct DISOBEDIENCE to God if you are not subject to your husband. What does subject mean?
A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden"
YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE. YOU are not the one who gets to call the shots. YOU are not the one who gets to make all the decisions. YOU are NOT to rule OVER your husband. You are NOT the one GOD has put in control.
So, some of you are saying, "But he's not doing it!" Or, "He doesn't do it the right way." Or, "He's too lazy to do it."
Listen VERY carefully. IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO FIX HIM!!!!!!!! Ladies, if I could shout this to you, I would. It is GOD'S job to fix your husband. GET OUT OF HIS WAY! He WILL run you over if He has to. It is NOT a pretty sight. For the sake of your marriage, your children and YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST, give him to GOD. Did you realize that disrespecting your husband as the head of your household is keeping you from being closer to Christ??? It's sin and sin separates us from the love of God. It's that simple.
The Holy Spirit is the ONLY One who can change hearts. You, dear ladies, are NOT Him. Say it out loud...I'M NOT GOD.
The survey results tell me something. They tell me one of the biggest reasons WHY marriages are dying. I know so many marriages where the wife is the head of the household. She is the one who manipulates things to get her own way. She is the one who whines or nags or cries about what she wants until the husband gives in. Now, the husband has a role in all of this which is addressed in Scripture pretty strongly. Being a woman, it is not my place to take that one on. Maybe my hubby will. ;-)
Women, if you are nagging your husband you are WRONG in the sight of God. If you are manipulating your husband to get your way, you are WRONG. If you are not letting HIM be the one in charge, you are wrong. You are ALSO wrong if you tear him down in front of others. You are wrong to say negative things about him to your children which tear him down in their precious little eyes. Snide remarks count here! You are WRONG to use those same beautiful children against your husband, ESPECIALLY to get your way. You are wrong to try to be the one who rules the roost.
God says in Genesis 3:16, "Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you." NASU
Desire here has several meanings. In this context, it means:
1. desire, longing, craving
2. of beast to devour
This is the SAME usage of the original Greek word in this Scripture: Genesis 4:7
Do you GET it? Your wanting to have your way is SIN wanting to have ITS way in your marriage. You are letting SIN and satan have your marriage. You are ALLOWING sin to take over. You are not allowing your husband to be in control and therefore are getting in the way of GOD! Who do you THINK is going to win THAT battle? Let me tell you...it's not YOU.
Is it easy? Not by a long shot. No battle against sin is. Thanks to Eve, this is something EVERY wife deals with in one form or another. But is it something we HAVE to battle against for our marriages.
Let me give you a few things you can do to start the process.
1. GET ON YOUR KNEES BEFORE GOD - nothing gets us more prepared for being under our husband's authority than being under God's first and foremost. He called us to it, ladies. He will get us through it. During that time on your knees PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND. Pray for a softened heart if you have a critical spirit. Pray for your husband to desire God's will for your lives. Pray for your husband to long for God first and foremost.
2. GIVE HIM A COMPLIMENT - TELL that man you love how proud of him you are, and let your kids hear you say it. I can pretty much guarantee you will see a huge smile on his face. If you see him get a confused look, then you know you have a LOT of work to do in building that man up! You've done some damage and you better work on fixing it!
3. SUPPORT HIS DECISIONS - even if you don't agree with them. You two are not the same person. You are both individuals, BUT respecting him and being subject to him means you follow what HE says not what you want. We do that with God and our lives work out MUCH better for it. This doesn't mean you keep your opinions to yourself. God doesn't tell us to be a doormat. BUT He wants us to respect the authority structure He's given us. I am free to tell my husband I disagree with him on something. Sometimes I give him a perspective which he didn't think of himself. That may change his mind. Other times his mind is set and that's fine. I've voiced my opinion and I trust God enough that He'll take care of me. I trust my husband as well, that he loves me as Christ loves the church. Again, that gets into the husband's role in all of this. :-) If you don't trust God oryour husband then you have MUCH deeper issues to work on!
4. LOVE HIM THE WAY CHRIST WOULD - that means ALL of him. Not just the things you LIKE about him. Christ loved your husband enough the way he is to die for him. Your husband is the man you promised God you would love forever. That means something to God and it should mean something to you. DON'T TRY TO CHANGE HIM. If you want to destroy a marriage fast, go ahead and think you can change that man. You don't have the power. Give it up and let God. He's MUCH better at it.
There is so much to this. I wish I could sit down with all of you and explain just how crucial it is to get this right.
For those who are in abusive relationships...my heart breaks for you. Know that God sees you and loves you more than you can imagine. That is not the kind of relationship I'm discussing here. That's another situation entirely.
If you want to be divorced, keep doing things the way you've been doing them. Allow your own desire for control to keep you from the fulfilling life and marriage God wants for you. If you want an abundant marriage full of joy and happiness, do it God's way. It's more than worth the fight. I know. :-) I have one of those great marriages and I wish it for all of you.
*Survey used from the book, "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn The professional survey was designed with the guidance of Chuck Cowan of Analytic Focus (www.analyticfocus.com), the former chief of survey design at the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey was conducted by Decision Analyst (www.decisionanalyst.com) and was designed to deliver a random, representative, national sample of 400 men (the sample size suggested by Chuck Cowan) who were heterosexual, lived within the U.S., and were between the ages of 21 and 75. (copied from website http://www.4-womenonly.com/home.aspx) I HIGHLY recommend it and it's companion book, "For Men Only" written by the same author and her husband Jeff.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Okay, I'm reading in my Beth Moore Bible study (Living Beyond Yourself - Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit) today and come across something that just reinforced my understanding of life beginning at conception. See where this might get sticky for some?
The lesson is on humilty. Elizabeth's life of humility was lived out in front of John (who became John the Baptist and was spoken of, by Christ, as great among men.
"Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
So, in the passage where Scripture tells us Elizabeth will have the child John, we see this phrase in the New American Standard Version: Luke 1:15
"...and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb."
Now, in order to understand why this particular version is necessary, I have to tell you that there is concesus among Bible scholars as to this NAS version being the most accurate translation of the original languages. If you read this verse in the NIV, you find that it says "from birth". A much different meaning for what God revealed to me. The NIV is known for being a paraphrased translation.
If we, as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ NEVER died prior to His death on the cross then we HAVE to believe that life begins at conception! Otherwise, when He left heaven to be planted in Mary's womb, there was a time when He was not "living". He was not in heaven. We are told He gave UP His place in heaven to become fully Man for the forgiveness of our sins. SO, either He was in heaven until some time after the conception of Him in Mary's womb (which we do NOT have told to us in the Scriptures) OR life begins at conception!
I know many of you are saying, "Yeah, that's what I've always believed. What's the big deal?" The big deal is that we have Scriptural backing FOR that belief in the form of our Lord and Savior! Also, for those who may have thought there was some time after the egg is fertilized in which life happens, we don't have any basis for that according to our belief in Christ.
There may be women reading this blog who have had abortions. My heart aches for you. I cannot imagine the pain. I CAN imagine, and have felt, the forgiveness of our loving Savior. Open your heart to Him and allow that pain to be healed in His mighty compassion for you. I am not intending to make that pain more difficult. I cannot keep silent about the things God gives me, though.
I hope this makes sense. I'm writing it as quickly as I can type! The excitement overwhelmed me and, frankly, I HAD to get it out. My poor hubby got a phone call from me a few minutes ago and he probably thought I was going slightly nuts. :-) Well, more nuts than I already am! :-)
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
January was pretty quiet while we awaited the birth of our third child. The pregnancy was complicated, but his arrival couldn't have been easier unless someone else had done it for me! On the doctor's end of things, the two vessel cord was wrapped around my little guy's throat AND had a knot in it. This is one child who was supposed to be born. He's gorgeous and no ill effects from his birth, praise God.
Then, about a month after he was born, we went to his pediatrician with some concerns about his spitting up. I asked for prayers from the group of prayer warriors God has gathered (if you'd like to join that worldwide group, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org) for wisdom in knowing what was up with the little one. One of my friends emailed back that it sounded like what her grandson had gone through. Something called pyloric stenosis. Do a google search to find out about it if you're curious. We saw the pediatrician at 1:45 PM, by 4 PM we had a bed at the hospital and at 10:30 PM my one month old was undergoing emergency surgery. That next month was spent trying to get his little system back on track, but again we had to praise God for His wisdom and mercy.
That takes us to the end of April/beginning of May. Mother's Day was approaching. I had gotten my card ready to send to my mom. At 2 AM my phone rang. It was my sister-in-law telling me my brother had shot himself. Many things I've prepared for in my life. That's not one of them. For the next few hours details emerged and the family rallied. The day I flew up to PA would have been my brother's 44th birthday. Consolation came only in knowing that my brother was saved prior to the mental illnesses that caused his paranoia. Watching my five year old nephew try to understand where his daddy was broke my heart. Holding my siblings/mother/father, seeing the shell of my brother. My mother telling me she should NOT have to bury a child. Sights and sounds I'll never forget as long as I live.
June begins the season of having my children home from school. Five hours a week of therapy for my daughter took up a majority of my time, as well as desperately trying to get my youngest on a schedule. It really was hard with him for some reason and my lack of sleep, frustration and plain exhaustion really took a toll.
During this time, December to July, a contract for our company was in the process of being worked out. Things got to the point of putting signatures on the pages and then...silence on the other end. Nothing. God is God and we figured He brought us the opportunity and He'd be the One to deal with it.
July started work on my annual writers' conference. Normally I would have been working on it from January of February, but life got in the way. So, I came in really late and played catch up. My oldest brother underwent testing for a heart condition. He's only 47.
August brought the possiblity of my oldest sister having very late stage cancer of the ovaries. A few weeks of testing and whatnot before surgery in early September. They found NOTHING, praise God.
And now, my own medical issues come back around. The fibroid which grew during my pregnancy has not shrunk. I'll be having a hysterectomy on November 2nd to remove it and my uterus.
During all of this time, there were issues with my other two kids, issues with the youngest attatching to his daddy or ANYONE else besides me. My mom going through more tests for diabetes and cholesterol, having surgery on her arteries to get rid of blockages, siblings coming back into the fold.
What does all this mean? Many might say it's been a year of attacks. Many would consider this year a horrible one without any sign of hope. Many would be wrong.
You see, this year has made me cement who I believe God is. I know He's God. I know He's the Creator and in charge of everything, but did I BELIEVE He had the best plan for me? Did I truly trust His will for my life to be better than I could ask or imagine? Could my faith stand up to a year of trials and tribulations without faltering?
Yes, it could and did. I either believe God is God or I don't. I either believe He loves me more than His own life, or I don't. Either He is LORD or He's not. Either this is HIS world and all that's in it, or it's not. There is no lukewarm, there is no gray. It's very black and white. God made me put my beliefs on the line this year and I believe I've heard, "Well done, " a time or two. Has it been perfect? Not by any stretch. But I know that I'm closer now to my Daddy than I've ever been before. His still, small Voice is all I want to hear.
I'll never go through all my Savior did. I'll never have to sacrifice myself and take on the wrath of God to save the lives of such undeserving people. What little I have to deal with on this side of heaven is worth the glimpses of glory He's shown me. And I'm not going to let anything, no trials nor tribulations, take that from me.
Without Him, I am nothing. He is my everything. Is He yours?
Oh, and that contract? It got signed about a month ago. :-)
Monday, December 11, 2006
One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He remembered those who had lied about him back when he had a job. About those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.
Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the One he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed:
"Lord, You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for You, and I happily obeyed. Today, You have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don't know how. It is not fair, Lord. I didn't deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn't have to forgive. As perfect as Your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don't know how to forgive. My anger is so deep, Lord, I fear I may not hear You, but I pray that You teach me to do this one thing I cannot do. Teach me to forgive."
As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt.
He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.
He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man's tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.
"Have you ever told a lie?" He asked.
The man answered, "Yes, Lord."
"Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?"
The man answered, "Yes. Lord." And the man sobbed more and more.
"Have you ever taken something from work that wasn't yours?" Jesus
And the man answered, "Yes, Lord."
"Have you ever sworn, using my Father's name in vain?"
The man, crying harder, answered, "Yes, Lord."
As Jesus asked many more times, "Have you ever…?" The man's crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer, "Yes, Lord."
Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.
Jesus said, "I didn't deserve this either, but I forgive you."
I do not know who the author of the above was, but it illustrates what I'm about to say.
"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."
Forgiveness isn't primarily for the person who sinned against you. It is for YOU. Bitter roots will spring up when we harbor unforgivenss. The rot of such is a stink in our Savior's nostrils and a slap on His bleeding face as He stares down at us from the Cross. How can we, who have given nothing for the grace which we received, dare to tell the One Who died such a horrid death, that WE won't forgive someone?? Christ didn't die to cover just the sins of those who accept Him. He died for ALL sin. Everything. It's our choice as to whether we acknowledge and embrace that forgiveness. It's still there, whether people accept it or not.
"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions."
WHENEVER...any time you come before the throne of God you should be making sure your heart is pure, without malice or anger or slander or envy or any of those things He's trying to take from our lives. There is NOTHING He wants more than pure lives from us. But we have to rid ourselves of those hateful ways we cling to. Otherwise, the enemy lives through us and causes immeasurable damage.
"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, "I repent,' forgive him."
I've had people use this Scripture to tell me they don't have to forgive unless the person asks for it and repents. Who made you God? Last time I looked, it was Christ on the Cross saying, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." He didn't ask for repentance before He died. Otherwise, all of us who live today would be up the creek! We couldn't ask anything 2000+ years ago as He hung on the tree. If Christ is our example, then we have to follow ALL He says and does. He forgave for HIS HEART'S purity. Not because we asked for it.
I have had many people hurt me in my life. Most of them have no idea I'm aware of some of what they've done. As a youth leader, I can't tell you the pain some of my kids inflicted on me. I cried mroe times in those six years than I think I ever have. But you know what? Not one of those kids, now adults and having kids of their own, knows I forgave them. They never asked me to. But CHRIST did. I still have relationships with them. Who would it hurt if I didn't forgive them? Me, mostly. Them? Sure! They know they can come to me any time without judgment or me throwing back in their faces all the times they were wrong. How would THAT show them Christ lived out in my life?
"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, "I repent,' forgive him."
Again, what is Christ's example? Forgiveness without question. It's for our sakes, and for our relationship with Him, that we forgive. The side benefit of obeying His words to "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." Hard to do if you're harboring unforgiveness in your heart.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
"But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes."
Why would anyone want to give the enemy an advantage??? For those who, like me, are on the front lines of spiritual warfare, our very souls cry out for the enemy to be vanquished. Why would we allow anything in our lives to be used for the other side?? Especially when we have control over it???
There are some who will take this and go looking through the Scriptures to find counter quotes. At least it will get you in the Word. The time is short. We are to be living as if His return is any moment. I refuse to allow the enemy to steal any of the reward Christ has in store for me, by walking in disobedience and getting rid of those things in my life which are not of Him. Those things which shackle me, bind me, hold me back. They make my heart heavy and my days burdensome. Nothing like the easy yoke He calls me to.
Are you weighed down? Do you find the joy is gone? Are you constantly finding the faults in others? Do you tend to be someone others want to be around because you exude the joy of the Lord and His grace? If not, search your heart and allow Christ to renew it.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
"If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Against such things there is NO law. Live in them and be one who shows who Christ is in how you live. Be different from the world. It takes work like no other, but the rewards are so unbelievably sweet.