There is a PROCESS, a PROGRESSION, and a PERSEVERANCE that ensues as we hunger and are filled, as we move toward wholeness. We serve a God who is outside of time. When He says to pray that His will would be done ON earth as it IS in heaven, He is asking us to pray for something that already IS to be made known in our here and now. We are asking for heaven to touch earth! We can stand in whatever gap there is in between heaven and earth at the moment, to bring about this connection - that’s how we intercede in prayer!
So how is this type of intercession like our journey of health, wellness, and optimal weight? Well, let me ask you this question: Are you there yet? Have you met your goal? Is there still a “gap” between where you are and where you’re going? If there’s a gap, it can be filled. And the Process, the Progression, and the Perseverance is what fills that gap - taking us from here to there.
The Process is the way that we are to go.
The Progression is the order of our steps.
The Perseverance is the ongoing work of ordering our steps along the way.
Jesus said (John 14:6) “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40). And there are clear promises in the book of Revelation (2:7, 11, 17, 26 and 3:5, 12, 21) for those who overcome - prevail, defeat, beat, conquer, outdo. There is a clear way, order, and persistence necessary for any building, changing, or growing to take place.
Let’s look at the example of pregnancy to shed some light on this concept. If you want to have a baby, there is a clear Process to becoming pregnant, a Progession of development literally below the surface that must take place before the baby can be born, and a Perseverance of waiting 9 months for the completion of that development. When that time is complete, labor begins, and another cycle of Process, Progression, and Perseverance plays out in labor and delivery! This whole cycle has a lot to do with time - the right time, the passing of time, the fullness of time…
In fact, there are three different greek words that refer to time in the bible: chronos, kairos, and pleroo. Chronos is the passing of chronological time. Kairos is an opportune time, the “right time”. I call it The Divine Now! It is a change, a shift that happens, a doorway that we must pass through. Pleroo is the fullness of time. It is the end goal of our chronos and kairos moments. There is a time of waiting and preparing, like being pregnant for 9 months. During that chronos time, there is much growth and change going on below the surface. This time may seem long, but it’s necessary and none of that time is wasted. Then comes kairos - labor and delivery! This may be a very hard time and it’s a clear change, but it’s not the end. We go through many kairos moments before we come to the fullness of time, pleroo.
Like pregnancy, farming is another great example of this cycle of time and growth. A seed must be planted and it remains underground for a long period of time before it even begins to poke up through the surface of the soil. And all that time that it remains below the surface there is much growth and change taking place. And time (chronos) is passing. Eventually the growth is complete and the time (kairos) has come to bring in the harvest. NOW LISTEN CLOSELY. If the kairos moment of bringing in the harvest is neglected, the crop will rot in the field. We can’t get to the fulness (pleroo) - enjoying a meal from the harvest - unless we not only put our hand to the plow to prepare and plant, but also put our hand to the sickle to bring in the harvest!
Are you getting the picture more clearly? Everything (repeat that word out loud 5 times!) takes time. And time has a Process, a Progression, and a Perseverance embedded in it, like the seasons of a year. We don’t change the seasons but we partner with the seasons to do what needs to be done during each season.
So what “needs to be done?” Our part. God does His part, others do their part, we do our part. Read 1 Corinthians 3:5 - 9. It’s an amazing scripture in light of what we’re talking about here! Some plant, some water, but God causes things to grow. BUT (don’t miss it!) - some plant and some water! That is our part! God WILL bring the increase! He WILL cause the seed to grow. But we must partner with Him as fellow workmen with and for God!
Here’s a cool example of how me partner with God:
The word for Judah in Hebrew is “praise” and in Hosea 10:11-12 we read that Judah shall plow or break up the fallow ground. We can “plow” the “ground” in preparation for the “seed” through PRAISE! That’s our wonderful part! Praise breaks up the fallow ground of our heart so that we can be fruitful and multiply. Isn’t that cool?! And it’s just one example of how we partner with God for the Process, Progression, and Perseverance of the harvest in our lives!
Let me leave you with one more example to really drive the point home. Let’s say you hire a personal trainer to help you get strong and fit. You show up for your first session and he says, “Ok. Let’s begin by doing 20 sit ups and then 10 minutes on the treadmill.” You are dumbfounded! “I didn’t hire you to make me do sit ups and run on a treadmill! I hired you to make me strong and fit! I don’t want to do sit ups!” Get it? :) The trainer IS HELPING YOU to become strong and fit through a Process, a Progression, and a Perseverance! But he can’t do it for you, and he didn’t to it to you, but he WILL walk through it with you - if you will let him!
The Holy Spirit is like our personal trainer. Will you hire Him for the job? Will you trust Him to lead you in the right Process and Progression? Will you Persevere with Him while He helps you?
Jesus Himself declared a strong warning (Matthew 24:19, Mark 13:17, Luke 21:23) regarding the end times when He said, “Woe to those who are with child and give suck” during that time. Is there a vision, a goal, a dream, a calling, that He has planted in you? Are you still pregnant? Have you birthed the baby but you’re still nursing that baby? What has God placed in you that is ready to be born and raised up to maturity?
When what He has placed in you comes to maturity, it will be used to feed the nations! To bring many people into relationship with Jesus! Our trials and the Process, Progression, and Perseverance that ensue from those trials, are not only for us. They are to serve the world!
“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said! We are to feed His people but if we’re still “nursing the baby” we are not equipped to feed the nations. It’s time to grow up and come into the fullness (pleroo) of His chronos and kairos.
The “pressure cooker” that believers are in right now is the pressure to grow up into maturity.
The time is NOW! Kairos!
He has prepared us! Chronos!
And we will experience His fullness! Pleroo!
He is using all things to prepare us, His Bride. The chronos preparation is necessary for us to be ready for the divine now, His kairos assignment. And it is ALL leading to the completion and fullness of His eternal redemption that we will partake in at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
God is giving us the land but we still must go into the land and take possession of it.
Whose report will you believe? We shall believe the report of the LORD! AMEN!
We began our time together in prayer - asking the Lord to show us His heart for us, our families, His Body, and this world, and agreeing with Him for His will to be done on earth as it IS in heaven! AMEN!
During my quiet time this morning before the ladies arrived, the Lord led me to this scripture verse in Psalm 107:8-9 that says, “Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” WOW, God! That’s what we’re talking about in our meeting today - Hunger! How did You know?! ;) He’s just cool that way!
That awesome reminder that God does know everything in us and about us, led me to dig deeper and read all of Psalm 107. What emerged was a vivid picture of four distinct groups of people who each had a specific hunger/need. Each group received a divine intervention, troublesome as it was, that led them to cry out to the Lord and ultimately have their true hunger/need satisfied by the only One who can truly satisfy. Read the Psalm, then keep the pages open as we break it down below.
The first three verses are an introduction of sorts, setting the stage for what we as believers are intended to apply from what we’re about to read: “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this - those He redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” That about covers all of us! So what is the “this” we’re supposed to say? It’s very simple: He is GOOD and His love endures forever!
Of course the enemy is trying to make us believe and say what is opposite to the truth. The message he wants to be declared throughout the world is that the Lord is NOT good, and that His love will fail us. That, my friends, as you can see clearly from God’s Word, is the farthest thing from the truth!
So if you get nothing more out of reading this blog, get this: God is GOOD. His love endures FOREVER! Amen!
So with that truth firmly established in our hearts and minds, let us move on to the four groups of people that emerge from the text:
WANDERERS (verses 4-9)
This group of people are lost and empty, homeless, hungry, and thirsty - nearing death. The very things they are suffering, their hunger and thirst, are the very things that drive them to cry out to the Lord. He rescues them from their distress, and leads them straight to safety and gives them a home, satisfying their deep hunger and thirst. He gives them the free gift of salvation! All He desires in response? Thankfulness and praise for His unfailing love and wonderful deeds toward them.
PRISONERS (verses 10-16)
This group is in the pit of darkness! They are suffering from deep despair and miserable bondage. Their rebellion against God’s Word and His wisdom has brought them to this dungeon of bitterness and hard labor. When they fall in the darkness and find no one to rescue them or help them rise again, they cry out to the Lord. Again, the very things that caused such distress for these people are the very things that caused them to hurt enough to cry out to God. His mercy in disguise. When they cried out He saved them, brought them out of their dark prison of gloom, and broke their chains and bonds, forever making them free! The same response is desired from their Rescuer: Give thanks and praise for His unfailing love and wonderful deeds toward them.
FOOLS (verses 17- 22)
This group is similar to the Prisoners in that they rebelled against God. But their rebellion is more than just a rejection of His Word and His wisdom. It is outright sin, acting against His ways, and thus suffering affliction directly caused by their sin. This group of people, in stark contrast to the Wanderers, has completely lost their appetite. Nothing satisfies them anymore. They loathe all food and are starving to death. Like addicts, they have grown tolerant to their addiction. It is not until they see the destruction of their body, mind, and spirit that they realize they are nearly dead and cry out to the Lord. He steps right in and heals them with the power of His Word, snatching them from the very door of death. Oh that they would give thanks and praise for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds toward them! He wants them to tell of His works and sing about it with joy!
SUCCESSFUL / PRIDEFUL (verses 23-32)
This last group is successful in the world and possibly as well in the work of the Kingdom. I believe this group is comprised of believers and non-believers alike. These people are like prideful businessmen on the sea of success - eyewitnesses to the goodness of God and the virtue of His principles at work in all they do. But God does something to “help” this group see that while they feel they are above the despair and suffering of the first three groups of people, they are only one storm away from losing it all. God causes great waves of terror to toss them higher and deeper than they’ve ever gone before. When they see their own weakness, and come to the end of themselves, they cry out to they Lord. He once again rescues from trouble, calming the storm to a peaceful whisper, stilling the waves, and guides them to the safe and truly satisfying harbor of His love. His desire, once more, is for them to praise and thank Him for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds toward them. He ads the call to exalt Him publicly - both in ministry to His people and to the entire world.
Each of these groups of people suffered pain - pain that led them to recognize their true hunger/need. Pain of any sort is a merciful gift of God. Pain alerts us that we are in danger. Without pain, we are unaware of our own immanent destruction. Imagine putting your hand on a hot stove. The pain you feel causes you to immediately jerk your hand from the stove and thus your hand is saved from total destruction. What if you couldn’t feel the pain? You may not realize that your hand was being destroyed until you smelled burning flesh. We often curse God for our sufferings rather than thank Him for the pain that alerts us to take our hand off the stove.
Hunger, like pain, is good because it alerts us to our need SO THAT we can meet our need and not suffer the awful consequences of destruction, despair, and death that will take place in our spirits, hearts, minds, and bodies if we ignore hunger’s warning. Our God is using our very areas of suffering and affliction, our areas of captivity and bondage, to show us our desperate need for deliverance and press us to cry out to the only true source of that deliverance.
Those who have wrestled with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia have misinterpreted hunger pain as a sign of victory. Those who have wrestled with gluttony, binging or overeating in general are often afraid to feel hunger at all, and eat proactively to avoid those hunger pains. Both groups are missing out on the blessing of hunger. Physical hunger is designed to alert us that our body is in need of food. We need to meet our body’s need for fuel and nutrients, not just make the hunger go away.
Similarly, emotional/heart hunger is designed to alert us that our hearts are in need of love, companionship, significance, acceptance…Head hunger (or mental distress) is designed to alert us that our minds are in need of truth, peace, stimulation, God’s Word, information, creativity, knowledge…Spirit hunger is designed to alert us of our need for God - for His unconditional love, His Holy Spirit, salvation, discipleship, mission and calling.
In each area of hunger - Head, Heart, Spirit, Body - are you a Wanderer? A Prisoner? A Fool? Prideful in your Success? Cry out to the Lord! He will meet your deepest hunger and fulfill your true need.
Are you balanced in all four areas of hunger? Remember balance is not compromise. Compromise would leave us with unmet hungers. Balance fills us up in all areas each time we hunger. Balance is like the solid and whole foundation of a house. A trustworthy foundation that can be built upon. Any problem in the walls, roof, or floor of the house are all problems with the foundation. Remember, He desires us to be whole, not full of holes!
In His mercy God often sets up strong boundary lines to produce a solid foundation and to protect us from attacks against that foundation. These boundaries can feel hard at times, but what sometimes seems like the harshness of God is in actuality His mercy! When you read some of the commandments in the old testament you can draw the false conclusion that God is not good. But His strong commandments were intended to protect and keep His people from loss and destruction. His love is depicted in His laws, His truth, as much as it is in His grace. Love is the highest of all joys and the deepest of all sorrows. The capacity for each extreme is the definition of true love. Love is not a happy feeling or emotional euphoria. Love is opening yourself up to the greatest joys and deepest sorrows. That is exactly what our Lord has done for us in loving us with an unfailing love.
Why did God design us to need to eat multiple times a day? Wouldn’t it have been easier if He had made us, like some animals, to only need to eat once a day, or even once a week?! But He didn’t. I believe He wants us to daily, multiple times each day, feel hunger and need to be satisfied. For ultimately we are to hunger and thirst for Him, for His righteousness. He doesn’t want us to be satisfied with anything less than all of Himself. “Good enough” is not part of God’s vocabulary. It’s not that we can never measure up or never please Him fully. It’s that He loves us so much that He is willing to continue to work in us and on us for our good and for the good of those in our lives, who we are called to touch. He wants us to hunger so that we will turn to Him and He can fill us up!
Remember the ferns on my front porch? They’re looking really good! I’ve got the tools in place to water them well and for them to thrive. Last week we noticed in John 15 that while branches that don’t produce fruit are cut off and burned, those that do produce fruit are pruned so that they will produce more fruit. I noticed that even though my ferns are looking really good, they do have some dead leaves that need to be pruned. But to me they are good enough. It’s not that I don’t care about my ferns - I do! It’s just that I don’t care enough to put in the work to take them down from their hangers, pull off the chains, pluck off all the dead branches, rearrange them in their baskets, and re-hang them! It’s not worth it to me - they are good enough. But God isn’t like me with my ferns. He never tires, never grows weary of pruning us. He is overjoyed to see us thrive! He is more than willing to put in the work and time it takes to cause us to be even more fruitful.
With that in mind, look at this scripture in Philippians 3:12-14: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
He has taken hold of you - His prized fern, to prune you and to produce more fruit!
Can you let Him take hold of you?
Are there “dead leaves” in your life that you can allow Him prune and cut away?
Can you forget what is behind and press on toward what is ahead - the prize?
We are His prize and He is our Prize!
Don’t fight against His pruning hand!
What does He want out of all of this pain and hunger? He wants us to CRY OUT TO HIM!
He is waiting to save you, deliver you, heal you, and satisfy you!
Thank Him and praise Him for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds toward you!
YOU are what He wants!
All glory and praise to Our Most High God!
There is never any better place to start anything than at the Beginning - God Himself! Let us never lose sight of Him, knowing that all things are either drawing us closer to Him or pulling us further away. There is no neutral ground!
Let us remember that prayer is our primary connection with our Lord and our best tool for victory in any area of our life! The God of this Universe wants to partner with us, His Bride, for the work of His Kingdom here on earth and for eternity! Amen!
(If you are interested in learning more about prayer and setting aside time to actively pray as the Holy Spirit leads, then check out the Watchmen Prayer section on this blog.)
Remember that there is nothing between us on God’s side the equation of our relationship with HIm. He took care of the sin that separates us through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. So we can now come boldly into His Presence as far as His holiness is concerned. If we are feeling like there is anything between us and God, it’s on our side of the equation! We may have unforgiveness toward another or there may be a sin that is keeping us from bringing our whole heart to Him. God doesn’t need to do anything that He hasn’t already done! It’s we who need to remove the “junk” that clutters our hearts and minds and remember that it’s nothing we’ve done or haven’t done that has given us this glorious unlimited access to the Father! Rejoice! Repent! Receive and Rest in His finished work and unconditional love for you!
Last week we talked about Tools, Hunger, and Strongholds. We will be taking some time over the next few weeks to go deeper into each of these areas. This week we touched on all three elements, but looked closely at the tools in our toolbox. Next week we are going to go deeper into the four areas of hunger - head hunger, heart hunger, spirit hunger, and body hunger.
It’s more than important to differentiate between a stronghold and the Lord Our Stronghold! A stronghold holds us down and keeps us captive. The Lord Our Stronghold holds us up and makes us free! That’s a BIG difference! According to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 a stronghold is anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God - anything that holds us captive through a worldly mind frame or way of thinking. We must take our thoughts captive to the obedience of God or else our thoughts will take us captive to fear, distress, and defeat. If you read Psalm 9:9, 18:2, 27:1, 43:2, 91:2 and 144:2 you will see God Himself as our High Tower, our Fortress, our Stronghold, our Deliverer, our Refuge, our Rock, our Strength, our Buckler, our Light and Salvation, our Goodness, and our Shield!
Sometimes a stronghold can take hold through negative, accusatory, or false-identity words. Have you ever encountered a naysayer? Someone or something that has come in direct opposition to the truth of God’s Word in your life at a specific time? This often happens right after you’ve had some sort of fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit. The enemy wants to keep us distracted and defeated. We must believe the report of the Lord! (Isaiah 53:1)To whom are you going to choose to listen? Who’s voice will you obey?
Some strongholds can actually be broken by words of truth and encouragement. Do you have true encouragers in your life? These people (and sometimes information) will always align themselves with the Word of God. Hold up His Word like a plumb line by which you judge all thoughts, motives, intents, and actions.
Through we will dedicate next week to the topic of hunger, it’s important to highlight a key concept that should be taking root in our hearts: Hunger is a good thing - it is simply a sign of a real need. The goal of the hunger is to identify your real need and then meet it appropriately. But hunger can become an unhealthy thing in two key way.
One way hunger becomes unhealthy is when we try to meet a real hunger in one area of life with a different area of hunger that cannot truly satisfy the real hunger. It can be difficult at first to identify your real need, especially if you’ve become a pro at pushing that particular need deep down inside! For example, father hunger is a big need in the area of heart hunger. If you’ve grown up without a father in your life you will have a hunger in your heart for that relationship. If you’ve learned how to repress, disguise, and ignore that need, you may attempt to meet the father hunger need with a head or body hunger like chocolate cake, or alcohol, or education, or sex. Those things won’t ever meet the actual need and hunger for a father. You may not be able to connect with your father or to have a healthy relationship with him for many reasons. He may be deceased, unwilling, or too unhealthy at the time for you to feel same in the connection. But if you can accurately assess your real need you can get closer to meeting it, and the Lord will make up the difference. You may be able to connect with an older male in your family who is willing to take on the role of father in your life to the best of his ability. Or you may be able to let your Heavenly Father completely fill that role in your life. When we have needs/hungers, we WILL get them met one way or another. It’s how we’re wired. So we want to continue to try to meet the real need with what is really needed.
The other way that hunger can be unhealthy is when we have a stronghold in one of our areas of hunger. The stronghold, the false mind frame, becomes a filter through which we see those true hungers and thus they become corrupt and distorted. Just as we must work to identify our real needs, we must also work to identify strongholds (false beliefs/mind frames) and pull them down with our spiritual weapons, taking them captive to the obedience of Christ! Our greatest fear is that our needs really can’t be met - that God is not sufficient to meet our needs. The truth is that God IS sufficient to meet all of our needs! Every stronghold falls powerless when confronted with the truth of God’s sufficiency in Christ!
How do we handle what seems to be a dichotomy of what "works" and what’s "best"? Do these two things have to be in opposition? Can they work together? Let’s look at it this way: You can have a whole toolbox full of tools and have a project to complete yet still be left staring at the tool box wondering what tools to use! But is there only one right tool for every single job or every single person? No, of course not. It could be a matter of preference or timing or of the specific need. For example, if you’re going to hang a picture on a wall in an older home with lathe and plaster walls you may use the same hammer you would use on drywall, but you would use the hammer in a different way so as not to crack the walls in the older home. If the walls were made of concrete you would use a different tool altogether. Each person has a different feel and so the same tool in different hands makes a difference as well. In that moment, for that person, for their need, the Holy Spirit will lead them to the right tool for the job. Listen and keep listening! The STEPS of a righteous man are ordered of God. (Psalm 37:23) Sometimes He starts us out in a specific direction in order to get us further down the road where the next turn will come into view.
So what tools do we currently have in our toolboxes? We discussed some tools that have been working for us. Here are a few that were mentioned:
*Instead of just cutting something out of your diet, replace it with something better that you like.
ex. Replace oatmeal with greek yogurt for breakfast instead of just giving up eating oatmeal.
*Prepare in advance
ex. Portion your “treats” out ahead of time so you’re not tempted to overindulge.
*Take incremental steps and make incremental exchanges
ex. Move from drinking Mountain Dew to drinking flavored seltzer water to drinking pure water.
*Make decisions ahead of time, don’t wait for the moment of temptation.
ex. Decide you will not be eating anything after 6pm each night.
*Recognize what you do right and not just what you do “wrong.”
ex. Keep a journal of all the positive changes you’re seeing in yourself - spirit, soul, and body.
*Always ask yourself what you REALLY need and then try to meet THAT need the best way you can.
ex. Sometimes you’re thirsty when you feel hungry! Have a nice big glass of water first!
*What you do most of the time matters the most!
ex. If you walk 4 days/week that’s most of the week!
*Use the 2 minute rule - if you can get it done in 2 minutes do it!
ex. Instead of waiting until dishes pile up, clean them after each use.
*Trade out high carb foods for high protein foods.
ex. Use caesar dressing instead of french dressing on salads.
*Pray about EVERYTHING!
ex. Ask Him to reveal your need and give you strength in your weakness.
We do not have a Savior who can’t identify and understand our emotions and feelings. Though He was God, in His body He suffered to the point of near death in the garden of Gethsemane. He told his disciples that he was “exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” (Mathew 26:38) He understands the struggle of living in the flesh and on this earth. Yet for the “joy set before Him” He endured the suffering of the cross. (Hebrews 12:2) WE are the JOY set before Him! He took joy in knowing that His suffering would set us free from sin and death and make the way for us to be one with Him forever!
Certain restrictions that we’ve chosen may actually provide more freedom than no restrictions at all. My older sister once said, “There is freedom within boundaries.” Imagine you are playing baseball on a old mine field. The safe area is marked out clearly with cones and yellow tape. If you stay inside the area that is marked out, you are guaranteed to be safe. Remove the cones and yellow tape and the freedom that was found within the boundaries quickly turns to fear! God, through His Holy Spirit, sets boundaries on our heart and mind - like a watchman on the wall of a great city. We would do well to listen to and adhere to the boundaries He sets for each of us, and rejoice in the freedom found within them!
There is a difference between balance and compromise. Let me ask you a question: Are you whole or full of holes? The balance that God wants to bring is that of a solid foundation, balanced and whole. A foundation full of holes can never support a balanced building. If we want true balance, we need a whole and solid foundation, not a compromising and worldly “balance.”
He wants to teach us only one thing - HIM. Nothing else really matters in and of itself. Everything we go through and experience becomes a living parable that the Holy Spirit can minster through and to different people with different needs in the same place at the same time. This group is about health, wellness, and optimal weight. But what it’s REALLY about is learning more about Our Lord and His love for us through our experiences with health, wellness, and optimal weight. It’s easy to get distracted and caught up in the “how” and lose focus on the “who” and “what” of God Himself.
Distractions and urgent things pull us away from important things. It’s like trying to play a game of tennis with a ball machine. As those balls are hurtling toward you one after another, you go into reaction mode. You feel caught, trapped, and stuck in the same spot - hitting balls! Now imagine stepping off that court. The balls are still coming one after another, but it’s not your responsibility to respond or react to them. You’re on a whole other court - the court of the Holy Spirit!
Let the Holy Spirit fill up your toolbox. Sometimes we want that infomercial promised one-gadget-for-everything tool! But we find that that one tool is only sort of good for everything and not great for anything. God wants us to have a lot of different tools that are each perfect for the job! Sometimes it’s time to change tools and we may go through an adjustment phase. We have grown accustomed to using our old tools and so we often reject the new and improved tools that the Lord wants to give us. We must be willing to grow, change, experiment, practice, and TRY new things! He will be our Mentor, Trainer, Coach to teach us how to use our tools. It’s often during our trials that we’re learning how to use our tools. For example, we won’t know what it is to be disciplined until we have the opportunity to be undisciplined and choose discipline instead.
Can a tool become a crutch? It can if we begin to rely on the tool instead of the Tool-Giver. God wants us to be dependent on Him, leaning on Him for all things in all times and for all reasons. We do not need to become independent, but instead to become God-dependent. Self-Control is a fruit of the Spirit. That means it grows out of our relationship with God and His indwelling in us through His Holy Spirit. Self-Control is not something we can cultivate on our own. That kind of self control falls short and becomes like the tennis game with the ball machine - stressful, exhausting, and pointless!
Remember to PRAY for each other! We can battle alongside one another in prayer to help tear down strongholds and build walls of protection. Ask God to show you how He sees you and others. What are HIS expectations for you? For others in your life? We often place too high expectations on ourselves and others. Let us apply to ourselves and others the same grace that Our Lord applies to us in love. We are called to use whatever gift He's given us to SERVE others, faithfully ADMINISTERING (applying) God's grace in it's various forms! (1 Peter 4:10)
In His Name and by His Grace