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Tag Archives: loving

Put off, Put on

Most people are surprised to learn that I’m an introvert. But really, I am. I can choose to be extroverted and I recognize the value of that, but on the inside, I’m very introverted. On the other hand, I’m also very opinionated and can be outspoken (no wonder everyone is confused) so this week has been really convicting for me. Keep reading….

My small group is working through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. Which is a great book by the way! I read it in high school but I really don’t remember much from it so this is a good refresher. Last week’s chapter was on having Holiness in Spirit because we all know that you can’t just change outward behavior and be holy. It all begins in our hearts. I was cruising through the chapter when I suddenly hit this line:

“One of the most difficult defilements of spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit is rooted in pride. Because of the “plank” of pride in our own eye we are not capable of dealing with the “speck” of need in someone else.” pg 110

The paragraph goes on but I wrote in my book in large letters: STRUGGLE! I really struggle with a critical spirit! I can be very opinionated (no really?) and quick to point out the flaws in others without regard to their needs. All rooted in pride.

Which brings me to my second punch in the gut for the week. The sermon on Sunday was on Ephesians 4:25-32 and he outlined loving ways of communication. I just wanted to cover up my head and hide. I’m terrible at good communication! It takes me a long time to figure out what I’m actually feeling and by then I think it’s too long to bring it back up but it’s still bugging me and so I sit in silence and brood. Anyone else have this issue? No? Just me? Okay.

Anyway, one of his points really his home with me (ALL of his points were very practical and useful!) He said to ask yourself if YOUR attitude is right before approaching another person AND to ask if this is what the OTHER person needs.

Many times I approach people to get things off my chest. It’s weighing me down, driving me nuts, and so I bring something up (usually from weeks ago because I couldn’t gather my thoughts) so we can talk through it. But maybe that’s just what I selfishly need, not what is most loving towards that person. If it’s not sinful or harmful for our relationship, I should really cover it in love. (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 17:9) SO hard to do when you’ve got a prideful, critical spirit to deal with! But that’s loving my neighbor as myself.

Over all, a pretty convicting and challenging week for this outspoken girl. However, just keeping my negative thoughts to myself isn’t enough. That’s not what the Bible calls us to. God has loftier things in mind for his children. Not only am I to put off my critical self, but I’m to put on gentleness, compassion, and encouragement for others. (Col. 3) It’s not enough to just empty myself of a sinful habit if I’m not also filling my soul with a righteous one.

The beauty of it is that the more I fill myself up with God’s Word and I practically apply what it says, the less negative thoughts even come to mind. What a blessing the Holy Spirit is! Reliance on him is the key to overcoming any sin habit.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in encouragment

 

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Superficial Friendship

If you’re a friend of mine and actually know me, this post is probably going to sound really hypocritical. It’s not something I’m very good at and yet here I am- writing about it. That’s usually the way it goes though. I write about the things I’m learning and being convicted of, not the things I’ve “mastered.” So just know that I really am preaching to the choir right now.

I promise this is my last post on Because He Loves Me, but there is one more point I wanted to pull from that book and share with you all. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while but the way she put it hit me hard.

Have you ever noticed that all humans desire intimacy? Every single person I know WANTS to have deep, meaningful relationships and every single person I know struggles to have them. Personally, I have a really hard time communicating my thoughts and that gets in my way sometimes but other times, it’s my pride. And that’s something I’ve seen a lot. We all want deep relationships and friendships but pull away from the only things that leads to them: transparency and vulnerability. I have tried SO many times to have deep, spiritual conversations with close friends, only to get superficial responses to my questions. But I know that I’ve also been on the other end of that line, doing the same thing to friends. Both leave me frustrated.

So this section in Because He Loves Me really stood out to me:

“As I’ve traveled around the country, speaking at good Bible-believing churches, I’ve discovered that the kind of biblical relationship to which I think the New Testament call us is almost nonexistent. For example, I recently spoke at a conference that was well attended by women who were serious about their faith. They weren’t ‘playing church,’ and they wouldn’t have thought of themselves as tourists. But when I asked for a show of hands of those who were in a biblical relationship with others to whom they regularly confessed sin, expected accountability, and regularly confronted the sins of those same others, only a smattering of hands went up. That’s not to say these dear sisters weren’t eager to follow the Lord. It was just that this kind of relationship, this depth of biblical fellowship, was way beyond their normal practice.
This kind of fellowship I’m enjoining flies right in the face of our American individualism and desire for privacy. We don’t want anyone poking around in our affairs, and we certainly don’t want to be accused of poking about in anyone else’s. This idolatry of privacy and individualism is one of the greatest detriments to sanctification in the church today. God has placed us in a family because we don’t grow very well on our own. It’s still not good to be alone. We need the encouragement, correction, and loving involvement of others who are willing to risk everything for the sake of the beauty of his bride.” pg. 177-178

I’ve been mulling this over for weeks and I still believe she hit the nail right on the head. Have you ever tried to have a confession or accountability time with friends? It can be like PULLING TEETH from a wild dog. It’s probably the fastest way to silence a room of chatty believers.

And it’s because we believe it’s our own private business. But the reality is that our faith is personal, but it’s not private. We DO have a personal relationship with Christ but NOT a private one that is meant to be kept to ourselves.

There is a verse in Proverbs that just keeps popping into my head, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Prov. 18:1 Deep, meaningful fellowship with other believers is vital for spiritual growth. I’m learning this more and more. It takes work and humility but it’s worth it for the glory of God’s kingdom.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in books

 

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