comparision

 
 

Learning Faith the Heart Way

There is a point in the life of every believer when doubt inevitably creeps in and makes us question the promises of God. I can name quite a few times in my own life when I chose not to believe in His promises. Maybe it was because I didn’t want God to fail me. I wanted something to fall back on in case He fell through. The ability to say “He didn’t really mean that” or “I must have misunderstood him” was a sort of spiritual insurance. In better terms, my “spiritual insurance” was a complete lack of faith and a skewed understanding of the very nature of God, and it was caused by deeply rooted fear in my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”.

Our hearts are prone to doubt, to fear, to wickedness, and to darkness. We know this, and yet we still allow ourselves to be controlled by our heart. We even allow our faith to be controlled by our heart. This manifests itself in many different ways. I’ve mentioned a couple already- doubt and fear, but we also see it through comparison and emotion. You’ve probably experienced all of these in some way. We doubt our salvation or the promises of God. We are afraid to completely surrender everything to God, to follow wherever He leads, or to stake our entire lives on a God we can’t visibly see. We compare our walk with Christ to that of other believers, and rate our spiritual maturity or effectiveness in ministry on how we measure up to someone else. And finally, we base our worship, Bible Study, spiritual strength, or even our salvation on how we feel.

It’s clear our hearts have a lot of influence, and it’s not positive influence either. So how do we change this? What needs to happen? Let’s take a look at 1 John 3:19-20. It says, “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 

“Set our hearts at rest in His presence…” Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who talked so much you couldn’t even comment on what they had to say? I think we come to God like that sometimes. When are hearts aren’t at rest, they are babbling on and on. They are consumed with fear, with doubt, with emotion and focused solely on those things. I wonder if we miss some important things that He wants to say to us when we refuse to quiet our hearts as we come into his presence. We drown out his voice with our worries, instead of resting in Him, instead of trusting that He is in control.

“If our hearts condemn us…” Essentially, this occurs when we believe the lies of the enemy. This is the moment when we come before God doubting our salvation. When we hear that voice saying that we are eternally condemned, even if we are truly saved!

“We know that God is greater than our hearts…” What a wonderful reminder! As powerful and influential as our hearts can seem, they are no match for God. We can set our hearts at rest because we know that he is not only above our hearts, but He is above our thoughts, our circumstances, our lives, and our world.

“And He knows everything…” As it talks about in the beginning of 1 John, God is light and in Him there is no darkness. When he sees our hearts, He sees everything! Too often we imagine deep dark places in our hearts, but there is no such thing. Turn the light on, see your heart as He sees your heart- sin and all. He knows all of you, and He still died for you! He also knows the truth about our salvation. He is truth, and He will reveal the truth to you as you seek after Him.

We must turn our eyes away from our hearts that so desperately want attention and instead fix them upon Jesus. We must come before Him with a heart that is at rest and is ready and willing to hear His voice. We must remind ourselves that He is greater than our hearts and he knows all. That is how we change the influence of our hearts. This is what needs to happen in order to begin to have the kind of faith that moves mountains.

Categories: Bible, comparision, Faith, God, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
 
 

Work in Progress

I’ve had people ask me a lot of challenging questions this week. I’ve gone through many faith-challenging things these last few weeks. I found that through my walk with Christ, I’m able to give things to God more easily. When something comes up that I feel like I don’t know how to handle, I’ve learned to give it to God. It’s still a work in progress. That phrase, “a work in progress”, describes me well. My tennis skills: a work in progress. My gym class tolerance: a work in progress. My faith: a work in progress. Mackenzie: a work in progress. There are many things I need to work on, and many things God needs to work out of me.

I find that people often say “be strong” when you’re faced with hard circumstances, but I’ve found God tells me just the opposite. He tells me that through my weaknesses, he is made strong. Basically, he says “be weak.” When you become weak, you become flexible to God’s schedule as opposed to your own. You’re giving him control, letting him turn something into a masterpiece, instead of trying to make it on your own, without even knowing how. You’re trying to make something perfect out of nothing. Have you ever done pottery before? Imagine an instructor sitting a ball of clay before you and saying, make a flawless teapot. I don’t want to see any cracks, and make sure all the air bubbles our out and make sure you use the spiral method. Oh, and don’t forget to wedge and knead the clay before you hollow it out, also score and slip the pot before adding the handle. Unless you really know how to make pottery, you might be a little lost.

I’ll explain. If there are cracks in the clay you are molding with, it will be hard to shape and falls apart easily. If there are air bubbles in the clay when you fire it in the kiln, your masterpiece will explode. The spiral method of making pottery is difficult and it usually comes out lopsided if the clay “snake” is not rolled out evenly. You wedge and knead clay to get all the air bubbles out so it doesn’t explode in the kiln. You must also hollow out the inside of your pot because you couldn’t use it if you didn’t and also because there is a great chance there are air bubbles in that clay and it will explode in the kiln if you do not knead them out. You score and slip pieces of clay that you want to attach together, because they would not stick otherwise. Slip is a mixture of clay and water that acts as a glue for pieces of pottery. Scoring refers to the process of roughing up the surface area of the two objects that you want to attach, where you want to attach them; scoring is like making scratch marks in the clay with a utensil such as a plastic fork before slipping it and attaching it. If you do something wrong, your masterpiece will either fall apart or explode when you try to complete it.

I wonder how many of us, would have known exactly what to do, without being told any of that information. How many of us could have made perfect, flawless teapots? And yet we treat our lives like a piece of pottery that we know exactly how to mold, which is the biggest lie. Does a pot know how to mold itself? So for God to accomplish his purpose in us, we must first become weak and willing. We are all works in progress. None of us are perfect. I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I look at people who don’t seem to have any problems in their life and wish I were them. Comparing myself to a broken, useless person who God has fixed, isn’t perfection. It’s a broken useless person who God has fixed and given a purpose to. I’ve misunderstood and undoubtedly misplaced perfection. We have God’s full attention. He is intent on making us into something wonderful. We never take the time to notice that our creator is perfect. We never take the time to compare our own lives to his. We are too caught up in comparing ourselves to “perfect” people. Like I said, I’m a work in progress, and only when I become weak, can God turn me into something breath-taking.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.

Categories: beauty, Bible, clay, clay pot, comparision, Corinthians, creations, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, relationships, Self-esteem, Thoughts, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing

To be honest, earwax isn’t the most pleasant thing. Unfortunately, I have gotten to know that really well. A few weeks ago, my ear was clogged up… and wouldn’t unclog. We went to the doctor and, what do you know, a big hunk of earwax was stopping me from hearing things correctly. During that time, I really stopped to think about my spiritual life. Is there anything clogging my spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice? What is the earwax that keeps me from doing what God has planned for me? For any of you who know, it can be kind of cool to hear your own voice after your ear gets stopped up, but eventually it just gets annoying. You try to remove with a Q-tip… nothing. You try all these different things because by now; it’s beyond annoying, it’s maddening.

I went to Disciple Now “D-Now”, a youth retreat at my church, last week. During the icebreaker, my fun fact was that I blogged. Since I said that, I was forced to blog about D-Now. But that’s not the only reason that I brought it up. It really was an awesome weekend that dealt with finding your identity. And as a teen, that can be difficult. You try to find it in so many different things other than God, and soon you’re entangled in a false identity, not at all what God wanted you to be. I will blog along those lines later. What I really struggled with this weekend, wasn’t finding my identity. I knew what my identity was, it was Christ, what I struggled with, was surrendering a few things.

I devoted the weekend to seeking after God’s plan for my life and not my own. I realized that sometimes, living fully for Christ could mean giving up things that you’ve held onto for a long time. Things like your biggest dreams, your firmest hopes, and your obsessions. I can name at least one that this theology struck really hard. I felt like it nearly killed me to give up control of it. I found out something though, once you make God the desire of your heart, things began to change… fast. So fast, it’s like you’re caught up in an amazing whirlwind of his love, his holiness, and his grace. I am completely and utterly in awe of him.

After the youth retreat, I got to talking with my youth pastor and he offered to let me teach a small-group of 6th grade girls this summer. To let you know, no youth lead the small groups, it’s all college students. Teach at church; become an even bolder person in the faith? No way, my life had been planned so drastically different. Last Sunday, my Sunday school teacher offered to have a student teach the class, I was dying to, but before I could say anything, my class members unanimously elected me via the “stare vote”. So I’m teaching now.

I believe it all came from one prayer. I advise you to use these words carefully as they always bring about change as soon as God knows you’re willing. I had been warned, but I honestly thought I could imagine up what God wanted me to do. Take me seriously on this, unless you really want something to happen in your life, which includes all of your dreams falling to pieces in light of God’s supreme plan, don’t pray this prayer.

The prayer: use me, bless me, do whatever you want with my life. I give you all my hopes, all my dreams; I want you to be my heart’s desire. I want to fall in love with you. Take all my plans, and turn them into whatever brings you glory. Here I am, send me.

I finally got the earwax cleaned out of my spiritual ears; and once I did, I heard God loud and clear. What are you waiting for? God wants to do amazing things in and through your life if you’ll just listen. Chances are; you have spiritual earwax. Clean the earwax out of your ears, and give him all your attention. He’s worth every second. And that earwax… toss it in the trash.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, Church, comparision, D-Now, earwax, Faith, finding your identity, God, hearing, identity, life, prayer, purpose, small groups, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, youth retreats | Tags: | 7 Comments
 
 

The Potter

Imagine that you sat at the potter’s wheel and made a clay pot. Okay, so it’s a little lopsided, but it’s your creation, its perfect and it reminds you of yourself. Now imagine that this specially created clay pot could talk. It couldn’t say much at first, it’s a pot, com’on. But through the years as you made other clay pots, it could talk. And this beautiful pot, this perfect clay pot, started comparing herself to all the other pots in the house. She said, “I want that pink pot shape, and I like that color blue better than my own. My rim is too big and I lean too far to the left. I don’t have that kind of voice and my height makes me feel self-conscious. I feel overlooked, like you care about all the other pots more than me. You have so many, why spend time admiring me? What makes me so special? Why was I even created? Is there a purpose for me? What am I going to be used for? Do you even know? Do you even care?”
If your pot said this, your perfect clay pot that you specially designed to remind you of yourself, that you mixed the perfect shade of blue for it, made sure it had the perfect shape; its rim was the perfect size. It leans just far enough to the left to make it look beautiful; it had the best voice you could offer. Its height was the perfect height for the purpose it was designed for and you spend lots of time admiring it. So how does God feel? When you spend time staring in front of the mirror looking and pointing out everything wrong with you. That your nose is too big. That you look too fat. That your ears are too big or your hair is too curly. His perfect creation, saying that he made the wrong choice; you were given what you have been given by mistake. How does he feel? Imagine that you sat at the potter’s wheel and made a clay pot.

Categories: beauty, clay pot, comparision, creations, Faith, God, looks, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, Self-esteem, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

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