My experiences riding a tandem bike this past summer have parallels to my walk with God. That's what got this started. But it won't always be about tandem riding. "Life is a journey, God is my guide; we travel safely together, side by side." (unknown)
When I went for a walk today, I took pictures of the hearts I saw. I see them a lot, and am very thankful I do. To me, they remind me that God is near. Each one kind of feels like a hug from God, or a smile with a twinkle in His eye.
Occasionally, when I see these hearts, they are upside-down. I usually try to make a point of taking a picture of them right-side up or I rotate the picture.
Recently, when I have been seeing these upside-down hearts, I have been reminded of the upside-down way that God calls believers in Christ to love.
He wants us to love our enemies–to love unconditionally–to love even when the other person is hard to love–to love even if we aren’t getting loved back. The love of a Christ-follower is supposed to be a radical love. We are called to “turn the other cheek” when someone strikes us. Our love is to be patient, kind, not envious, boastful or arrogant. Our love is not to be rude, or insistent on its own way, irritable or resentful. It doesn’t rejoice in wrong-doing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. It is never supposed to end. (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) When someone is unfaithful, true love remains faithful. How’s that for radical, upside-down love!
We are to love like Jesus loves.
A lot of that doesn’t sound a thing like Hollywood would have us believe.
But, it is the kind of love that is needed in this upside-down world in which we live.
And, you know something? Technically, God’s way of loving is really the upside-right way to love! It just seems upside-down when placed beside the kind of love the world propagates.
Here are a few more hearts I saw today:
May God’s love penetrate your heart, enabling you to love in an upside-down way that is actually the upside-right way. ❤
Recently I was reflecting on something my daughter said when she was a little girl. I think her exact words were, “Michael’s not being have”! Immediately we knew she meant “behaving”.
As I recalled that event and her wording this time, I thought through what her understanding must have been back then. It occurred to me that, whenever we would tell her to “behave”, she was hearing “be have”. So, to her, “have” was the thing to be. 🙂
Isn’t it interesting how we can hear something differently than the speaker intended? The speaker has no clue we aren’t hearing them correctly and the hearer has no clue they didn’t hear correctly. That disconnect in communication is responsible for a ton of miscommunication in our world. I imagine it is what causes the majority of issues in our marriages.
Based on what we hear, we make assumptions. Making those assumptions isn’t “wrong”—it’s just our brain’s way of coming to a logical conclusion or solution. (Our brains like to have solutions. Have you ever noticed that? It’s annoying sometimes. But, I digress.)
Wisdom dictates that we don’t bank or act on those assumptions, though, especially when they paint the speaker in a negative light. Instead, exercising humility would be a great next step. Then, we can ask some questions for clarification, to further define what we think we heard.
Sometimes when we hear wrong, it leads to funny phrases to use in our families like “being have”. But other times, it leads to conflicts/wrong conclusions or opinions that could be avoided if only we thought to clarify. (Or, to give grace.)
Humility, inquiry, and grace—those are the best ways to go about “being have” when it comes to communication.
I once had a guy sign cards and notes to me by saying, “Love, Always & All ways…” The first time I read that it really struck me. How clever! Most people just signed notes with, “Love, Always” and left it at that. I don’t think people even gave it all that much thought.
The way he signed it made me think through those words. “Always”—that one is pretty easy. It simply means “forever”–or, at least, “for as long as I live”, or “for as long as we are in relationship together” perhaps. That last one kind of devalues the word, though, IMHO. I guess the guy should have given more thought to the words he used–to realize what he was committing to.
But I digress.
So, “always” is fairly simply defined. A dictionary on Google defines it as, “at all times” and “on all occasions”. It just occurred to me that the last definition there (on all occasions) pretty much includes “all ways” as well.
But what else might “all ways” include? When the guy wrote that, was he thinking of the marriage vows: “for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health…”? Or was he saying he would try to delight me in every way he could think of to delight me? Or maybe he meant with his whole heart, his whole mind, his whole strength and his whole soul. I don’t know what he meant because I never asked him. (At least, I don’t remember ever asking him–so, if he answered me, I have forgotten. LOL! )
But the words have stuck with me and will often come back to mind in various circumstances.
This morning was one of those circumstances. I was challenged in this morning’s church service (on line) to expect to hear from God. During the message, our pastor pointed out the instruction to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, too. (Luke 10:27, as well as other passages)
After the service I was monologuing with God and at the end of my monologue, I said, “I love You”. Immediately the words “always and all ways” came to mind to add on to the end of “I love You”. So, I spoke them, from my heart, and meant them.
The guy who spoke them to me probably meant them at the time, too. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, at least. But…he didn’t stick to them.
By God’s grace, may I always mean them and live them in all ways, for His honor and glory. I know *I* will only stick to them with God’s help; with my eyes on Him.
I wonder if any of you can relate. I have wasted years–decades–being afraid to let my Christian music play too loudly while in my car, or to wear a t-shirt with too bold of a Christian statement on it. My fear has always been that someone might get offended and/or angry with me. I didn’t want to seem like some crazy radical Christian. In my mind, being seen as a crazy, radical Christian would cause me to lose any potential influence.
There are at least two things wrong with that mindset. One of them involved faith; the other involved realizing the whole truth of the matter. And when I realized the whole truth, it radically changed my mindset!
The first thing that was wrong with my mindset was, I was taking control of my reputation instead of letting God handle my reputation. That can be otherwise known as, I was letting my pride get in the way AND I was letting fear rule while lacking faith that God would see to my reputation.
I had thought about all of that before, and sometimes it would bring about a change in me, but it was a roller coaster ride—before too long, I would find myself living in fear and pride again.
Recently, God impressed upon me the whole potential truth of the matter.
It suddenly dawned on me one day that there might be one person, who hears the music or reads the t-shirt, who is wanting/needing to hear from God–who just might need to hear the Christian song that is playing on my stereo and it could make a huge impact in their life. Perhaps the t-shirt I wear will speak the truth to someone who needs to hear it and God could use me to reach that person! Perhaps it would be the first domino that falls, leading them to Christ—or one of the last ones that points the way for them. Or, perhaps the person whose path I cross will be a Christian in need of encouragement. I have no way of knowing whose who!
How many opportunities have passed me by because of my fear and pride? 😦
I am done allowing my fear and pride be possible obstacles to someone hearing about Christ.
Now the focus is off of me and what embarrassment or persecution I might suffer. Instead, it is on the one who might be influenced for Christ because I am willing to let my addiction to Jesus be known.
A side benefit to this new mindset? I am now living in boldness instead of fear. I’m excited to see who God might put in my path–or at least, excited to know that God could very well use my feeble testimony in some wonderful way. I’m also trusting God to take care of my reputation. And, if someone gets hostile towards me, God will give me the grace in the moment to reflect Him in my response as I seek Him in it.
If you have been like me, I hope this will spur you on to freedom like it has me.
How important is living in truth to you? Are you more concerned about what is true over whether you are right or not? Are you open-minded enough to be proven wrong about something? Does fear or pride play into your avoidance of truth? How often do you declare, “Let’s agree to disagree” simply because you don’t want to go through the work of digging for the truth or the embarrassment of being wrong.
Are you one to swallow everything you hear hook, line and sinker? Do you trust your source that much that you see no need to search elsewhere for other opinions or potential facts?
If truth is not paramount to you because you let fear or pride, or whatever else, get in your way, you are extremely vulnerable to being fully duped. And, you exemplify one of my long-time favorite quotes, “There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see.”
Sadly, there seems to be a lot of that going around these days.
An article by Christianity Today came to my attention. It seems to be their attempt to bring unity between opposing views in the Christian community. But all it really seems to do is argue for *their* view, in my opinion. Well—the author’s view, anyway.
Some of the wording is subtly wrong. Like this, for instance: “One camp declares they cannot comprehend how men and women who share their faith could possibly support the incumbent. The other camp wonders how anyone nurtured by the Word could reject the incumbent.” Right there they are causing division. Isn’t it true that both camps would probably say both things? I know which camp I am in and I know I would say both things.
Here’s another example: “each side asserts the other has succumbed to unreason, to prejudice, or to the lust for power or approval”. Those are not the only options. My own thoughts don’t agree with any of that as an option. My thoughts lean more towards misapplication of the Bible or misunderstandings about what the Bible says the government is or is not to be.
Here is the author’s conclusion to what they believe the bottom line issue is: “Underlying the differences between us, I’ve come to believe, is a different vision of the kingdom of God.” They are definitely entitled to their opinion, but I vehemently disagree with it. I’ve already stated what my opinion is, which is, we disagree in the application and/or understanding of biblical instruction.
The author later declares that they got many letters from people who were despairing at articles written previously in this magazine. He sites their reason for their despair by starting with this statement, “With some exceptions, the sentiment generally came from people who were formed in environments where Christianity was, or recently had been, the dominant cultural force.” Our *country* was founded on Christian principles! We got to enjoy living under the headship of godly principles for a couple centuries! Little by little they have been whittled away by godless governing. It’s not their own comfortable bubble, as he implied, that is popping that prompts them to write; it’s the downfall of a nation that they see coming.
Another subtle division is offered here: “The Christian ethic had long been an influence for good, they believed, and as it waned they saw their own freedoms curtailed but also the common good of the community deteriorating.” It seems this author does not believe that Christian ethic has long been an influence for good, so “they believe” had to be thrown in there. I don’t know if this author speaks for the whole party he sides with or if this is just his own belief, but it does seem like he believes he is speaking for the whole.
This statement kills me: “These concerns led them to support a politician who contradicts Christian values in his personal behavior but, they believed, advanced Christian values in the public square.” What politician doesn’t contradict Christian values in his personal behavior??? Does anyone remember Clinton? Some politicians hide their personal life tons better than others, but don’t even try to claim that any politician has been an upstanding Christian in their personal lives. But they are right at the end of that statement—our current president has absolutely done more to advance Christian values in the public square than any other president in my lifetime.
He goes on to say what he sees as the way “members of the Church Regnant” see the kingdom of God. I don’t disagree with his assessment. God gave us freedom–that is His will for people.
Then he says, “There is nothing essentially irrational or immoral in the position stated above. It leads the Church Regnant to place a higher value on the acquisition and use of political power. The Church Regnant views the election starkly as a battle between good and evil.” Again, I agree. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The Bible agrees with that assessment, too.
It seems he wrongly supposes that the division in the conservative Christian world has been precipitated by the last four years of Trumps presidency. (“The two groups are not divided along theological lines, and both would have been considered conservative prior to the Trump movement.”) There has been division in the Christian community over what party to vote for since long before President Trump became our president. And, in my experience, not all those on the opposite side of the fence from me could have been considered “conservative” Christians.
He calls the other group the “Church Remnant”. Here is what he says about them: “Unlike the Church Regnant, the Church Remnant tends to come from places where Christianity is not the reigning cultural or political authority. Of course, these are generalizations, but the Church Remnant trends younger, more diverse, and more urban than the Church Regnant.”
They “come from places where Christianity is not the reigning cultural or political authority”–so, doesn’t that suggest that their views have been skewed by bad influence? “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
“The Church Remnant trends younger”—like that’s a good thing? Does wisdom tend to come with young age or with old age?
He makes a couple of assumptions in this statement: “The kingdom, in this view, is too sacred to be confused with winning elections and passing laws.” 1) he is implying that the people in the other camp don’t see the kingdom of God as sacred 2) he is implying that the Church Regnant is confusing the kingdom of God with winning elections and passing laws. It all actually comes across as saying that the Church Remnant is holier than the Church Regnant–or, at the very least, that their agenda is holier. That’s grievous.
In describing the kingdom as they see it he says, “The kingdom of heaven is among us when we speak the gospel in word and deed, serve the homeless and the refugee, and come alongside our suffering neighbors.” I see the kingdom in that way, too! In fact, I see it so totally that way that I don’t think the government should be doing those things! Isn’t the Church Remnant voting for a government who will do those things for them?
He goes on to say a whole lot of stuff that, again, makes the Church Remnant sound almost like the highest spiritual group to be part of.
Then this: “For this reason, the Church Remnant places a higher priority on the purity of the church than the prosperity of the country.” By implication, he is saying the Church Regnant doesn’t. What an erroneous assumption! And, again, how lofty he makes the Church Remnant sound–subtly getting those who agree with his position to pat themselves on the back.
And, wait, what?: “The Church Remnant would rather the church lose its influence than its integrity, even if the loss of religious liberties were to lead to persecution.” What??? Is it far more important to keep our pride in tact and keep our integrity over keeping our influence??? Why can’t we do both??? We absolutely need to get our churches back on track when it comes to purity as well as influence! In fact, purity is one of the high goals of the Church Regnant! Purity in marriage. Purity in thoughts. Purity in actions. Those are exactly the reasons we fight for a government that will back those things!
Sadly, I don’t think he has a clue as to how divisive this article sounds.
This statement seems contradictory to me: “But if the church loses its integrity and therefore its witness, then the culture around it will suffer.” Isn’t he saying that when the church loses its integrity it also loses its influence? Soooo, the Church Regnant DOES want to keep its influence. It just believes the way to do that is by keeping its integrity. I don’t think the Church Regnant would disagree with that. I know I don’t. But since when does our integrity depend solely on which political candidate we vote for?
This next statement takes the cake: “Indeed, for the Church Remnant, the evangelical embrace of the president has advanced corrosive values in the culture—giving encouragement to narcissism and materialism, greed and lust, racism and sexism—that are just as damaging if not more so than misbegotten policies.” First of all, we aren’t embracing the president—we are embracing the policies he stands for. Second of all, it is NOT any embrace of any president that has advanced corrosive values in the culture. It might have brought them more to the light, but they’ve been there for decades!
He says that the evangelicals’ embrace of the president combined with their failure to criticize the president’s sinful or negative actions “led their (those who wrote in to the magazine) friends to leave the pews and their children to renounce their upbringing.” If that is the case, then those people were not following Christ or teaching their children to follow Christ. It seems they may have been following Christianity, or the preacher, but there is a big difference between following a religious person or belief, and that of following the person of Christ. I see people leaving the pews or their upbringing as the failure of the Shepherds in the churches and parents in the homes. When people have their eyes on Christ alone, it won’t matter what evangelicals embrace or don’t embrace.
He says, “White evangelicals, they felt, had won the election but lost a generation.” Well, the way to win that generation back does not begin with voting for a candidate who opposes the sanctity of life and marriage and gender. The way to win that generation back is to follow hard after Christ, ourselves, and love God, first and foremost, and love others well. Voting for a candidate who will uphold godly values, helps, too.
This statement I agree with: “The disagreement between the Church Regnant and the Church Remnant is less about holding different values than prioritizing them differently.” As I said in the beginning, there is a way to prioritize them biblically. *We* are supposed to be about helping the poor, loving on the hurting, providing help and solutions for those who need it—not the government. The government is supposed to be about keeping us safe. And none of those things have to do with the character of any candidate.
I want to give his next paragraph in its entirety rather than paraphrase it: “Some within the Christianity Today community belong to the Church Regnant and some to the Church Remnant. While I am sympathetic to each side, I belong to the Church Remnant. I say these things not to shame my brothers and sisters who feel otherwise but so that they can understand my heart. I believe the evangelical alignment with the Trump administration has advanced the kingdoms of men but not the kingdom of God. I worry it has damaged the culture and tarnished our witness for generations. Of course, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. But I lament that so many people now look at evangelicals and see Trump instead of Christ, and I fear my children will grow up in a society more hostile to their faith as a result. And I am heartbroken that so many on the margins, in particular African American believers, have been wounded by white evangelical support for the president.”
He made it clear that he is offering his opinion. Kudos. But he makes a statement that comes across as fact. If people look at us and see Trump instead of Christ, then we are NOT letting Christ live through us. It’s as simple as that.
And, ironically, I fear our children will grow up in a society more hostile to their faith as a result of voting in the God-opposing man rather than one who has proven to promote policies in keeping with honoring God. In fact, I fear the government will implement that hostility. The opposing candidate’s media-support has already prepared the ground for such hostility in declaring Amy Coney Coney Barrett’s faith as “dangerous” and “extremist”. Interestingly, both Biden and Barrett call themselves Catholic.
His last statement about African American believers being wounded by white evangelical support of the current president is absolutely false among the African American believers I know who, themselves, have supported this president. I do not know where he is getting his facts from that would cause him to make such a blanket statement. I think any African American people who believe they have been wounded by this president are listening to the wrong news networks and by them, being lied to.
He ends his article with this: “The last radical act in a radically polarized age is to love and understand both sides. 2020 has already left a lot of wreckage in its wake. Reach out to those who disagree with you and demonstrate the love of Christ.”
I agree. But I think he needs to do some more talking to the other side to understand them better. In my opinion, he does not understand the other side. But, I do see attempts here and there in his article to love the other side.
It is not my objective in this blog to bash this author. I know nothing about this man, so my comments are not in any way, shape or form meant to be personal. My main objective in writing this blog is to encourage critical thinking.
It seems that is a lost art in this day and age.
People are being spoon-fed by the media with all kinds of subtleties and assumptions and opinions being stated as fact and swallowing it all hook, line and sinker, rather than looking at these things and critiquing them. I wouldn’t doubt that many are following their favorite news station at the expense of following Christ. They are filling themselves with more world-events content than with the Word of God.
I wonder what would happen if we all fasted from the media for the rest of our lives and pressed more fully into God. Instead of spending hours reading news articles, listening to the news or to podcasts, what would happen if we spent that time with our hearts in surrender to God, asking Him for *His* opinion, guidance and direction and then got into His Word for the answers?
It sure seems to me that we would see Ephesians 4:13, 14 come to life. “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
I wonder if I will one day get to know by experiencing it.
I will include the link to the article I critiqued, so you don’t have to go hunting for it if you’d like to read it for yourself–and so you can see that all quotes are verbatim.
Again, nothing personal, but I have significant disappointment with the article.
Our country is losing its freedoms. Videos like this are getting banned on some sites. Why are *they* afraid to allow free speech? What are they trying to control? Why are they trying to control things? What happens when they want something you don’t want? Will you appreciate their control of things then? Think, Americans!!! Think for yourselves!!!
How very interesting!!! The video I added below has since been removed—censored. Point proven.
It was confusing to me how so many good Christian people could be split over whether to support the Democrat party or the Republican party. It made me wonder who might be seeing things incorrectly. We certainly couldn’t both be “right”.
Each side sees the other side as lying through their teeth, controlling and manipulating! I guess it depends on who you listen to as to what opinion you’ll hold about that. And who knows who is lying or telling the truth as far as media goes? But the media certainly does contribute to shaping our opinions of a person.
I recently read an article by a well-known and respected Christian author who sited our current president’s character as a huge issue. Two things that came to my mind after reading it were: 1) people accused Jesus of having bad character, too 2) depending on which media source you listen to, you can come away with two totally different opinions about his character. And it isn’t just the media who give their opinions of his character–I’ve heard men who read body language as a profession say that this is the most truth-telling president they have seen. I’ve heard them say things like, “he calls it as he sees it”. As in, he doesn’t think one thing and then say another, like most politicians do.
So, the disputes over his character don’t get me anywhere. That left me with just looking at policies–rather than someone else’s opinion of the person himself.
I saw how those on the Democrat side had hearts for people. They didn’t like seeing people hurting. They wanted life to be good and fair for everyone.
But I could see how people on the Republican side were the same!
But they each have very different ideas about how their goals can be achieved.
I’ve voted Republican for as long as I can remember, but the more I heard of Christians I respected totally against the Republican side, the more I wrestled with who was right.
I came to my conclusion in the last couple weeks when I realized something.
God outlines the best ways to do things—and the Bible does not say the government should be taking care of the poor or the hungry or the hurting. Those are things people should be doing for each other.
This is one way some people are doing just that!
More people need to step up to the plate and do things like that!
When it comes to things like abortions, sex changes and marriage, I can still see where soft hearts are engaged. They are trying to make lives easier for people by allowing, and even funding, abortions, supporting sex “orientations”, and gay marriage. They see those people hurting, emotionally, and they want to help.
But it seems they are oblivious to the fact that those things are God’s territory. God gives life and He is the only One with the right to take life away. God is the One Who assigns gender. And God is the One who instituted marriage and defined it as one man and one woman united. When we start making laws that step on God’s territory, we are elevating ourselves above God. We are in essence saying, “God is wrong and I am right.”
When I realized how that is “playing God”, it became crystal clear to me that the Democrat party isn’t anything I want to be a part of.
There are so many other options for women with unwanted pregnancies. If their pregnancy happened during a traumatic event, how does it make sense to put them through another traumatic event to end the pregnancy? Fund counselling for them, if you want to fund something. Find ways to love on them and help them through such a hard trial that carrying that baby to term will be, but don’t burden them with another “evil”.
Same with sex changes. The long-term of such things brings people more grief and heartache than they started with. Allowing them to make such a drastic change is not helpful in the long-term. Find ways to love them well and help them with true help.
As for gay marriages–it’s not a long-term answer, either.
There have likely been some people who have had abortions, or gone through sex changes or are in a gay marriage who “are” happy and content. But generally speaking, those things are not the answers people are looking for and a lot of them end up in a worse place than they were to begin with.
No wonder God designed things the way He did.
Instead of loving people in such near-sighted ways, we need to put on the far-sighted glasses and see how supporting such choices isn’t truly loving them at all. Then we need to find ways to love them through their pain and heartache and show them the way to true happiness and contentment.
Just like we don’t let a heart-broken toddler do things we know will hurt them in the long run, we need to stop encouraging the heart-broken adults to do things that will hurt them in the long run. Instead, let’s hug them and assure them of our love and encourage them to make choices they will one day be so glad they made.
A popular quote I’ve seen circulating in recent weeks is this: “A vote is not a valentine, you aren’t confessing your love for the candidate. It’s a chess move for the world you want to live in.”
I want to live in a world where the government does not think they know better than God; where people are loved long-term; where ALL life is cherished. I certainly can’t say I want our current president for a Valentine, but I do support the policies of the party he represents and I want to live in the kind of world they offer.
Our current president has certainly shown us that he will do what he says he will do.
I’ve had my confidence in my opinions shaken lately. Repeatedly. It isn’t so much that I now think I am wrong–it’s more along the lines of, “I could easily be wrong!”
What lies am I swallowing? What lies are others swallowing? We all base our opinions on what our five senses take in and *how* they take it in. What TV stations do you listen to? Are you absolutely positive they are telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Do you have a bias that causes you to see, hear—sense things differently than I?–Than *my* bias?
What is the truth!???
A question I’ve asked is: How can a people who are controlled by the same Holy Spirit have such differing opinions? The only answer I have been able to come up with so far is: Perhaps we aren’t being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Instead, we are being controlled by our biases and/or the media and/or others.
May God have mercy.
Just a few minutes ago, my opinion of my own self was challenged! I had been thinking that who I was and how I live my life couldn’t be wrong! But this devotional I read makes me wonder: How does my self-assessment measure up against God’s standards? I’m looking forward to reading what this author has to say in the coming days. I think I might learn a thing or two–and they might be hard things to learn.
Here is the devotional:
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self. — Benjamin Franklin
It’s fairly easy to get to know your mate. It’s a whole lot harder to be honest enough to get to know yourself and be humble enough to take responsibility for your flesh.
Carol is a counselor who helped my wife and me turn over a new leaf in our marriage. She has talked to so many people about their flesh that she’s identified numerous flesh patterns. Which ones might describe your natural bent?
Performance flesh: The hard worker. Well-adjusted, aggressive, outgoing, positive, motivated, driven, take charge kind of person. Religious flesh: The “Good Christian.” Passive, nice, sweet, obedient, dutiful, pious, sanctimonious. Superior flesh: The “snob,” outwardly proud, defensive, conceited, know-it-all. They look down on other people because they’re not as bright as they are. Comfort flesh: The laid-back easy-going person, cautious, indecisive, unmotivated, and avoids conflict like the plague. Victim flesh: Negative, complaining, defeated, self-pitying. They are often unforgiving and blaming. Caretaker flesh: The enabler, rescuer, fixer. Often obsessive, nagging, overly responsible, overly protective. Pleaser flesh: The nice guy. Compliant, submissive, compromising, self- neglecting. Has a hard time saying “no” and says “yes” to too much in order to feel accepted. Indulgent flesh: The compulsive person. Obsessive, easily addicted, insatiable, thrill seeker, pleasure seeker. Hostile flesh: The abusive, antisocial person. Angry, domineering, vengeful, quick tempered, hateful. Anything sound familiar? (If not, you probably have religious or superior flesh!)
Holy Spirit, make me honest and humble so I can identify the patterns of my flesh. Lead me in the ways of Your love. Amen.” From Experiencing Life Today/Telling the Truth.
I saw myself in a few of those flesh patterns! I never saw all of those things as “flesh” patterns. And I have a hunch that every single one of us sees ourselves in one or more of those flesh patterns and we think our way of living is not wrong—it’s RIGHT!
I wrote the title wrong on purpose. It seemed fitting. So many of our flesh patterns seem right, just like “w-r-i-t-e” SOUNDS like “right”–but it is the wrong word for that context. Our flesh patterns can seem right, but I think I am about to learn the ways in which they might actually be wrong.
As for my opinions? I’m learning to take them to God more than to others. I’m also trusting God to lead me into all truth, and I will rest in that–waiting on Him to change the opinions I hold which need to be changed. My heart is teachable.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13