Ch. 7 in the book Unglued
Author: Lysa Terkeurst
My favorite line in this chapter:
"God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life? If that's the case, why do I still come unglued?"
I get so frustrated with myself when I repeat the same bad behaviors or struggle with the same character flaws. It's so annoying to constantly have to go to God and say, "God, I am an utter mess, and I keep messing up! Help!"
What brings me comfort is that He knew we would mess up. He knew we needed to come to Him often to repent and confess and start over. He expects that and He STILL loves us. He actually wants us to keep those short accounts with Him. It keeps us humble and it keeps us close to Him.
He doesn't want us to keep failing or to stay stuck or trapped in the same sins but He does want us to be transparent with ourselves and honest, and He does want us to obey Him, so we can move forward and He can continue to show us other areas we need to work on and improve.
Lysa gave a fabulous little list in this chapter that I have to share with you:
Selfishness: I want things my way.
Pride: I see things only from my vantage point.
Impatience: I rush things without proper consideration.
Anger: I let simmering frustrations erupt.
Bitterness: I swallow eruptions and let them fester.
At church we have these geographical groups called Missional Communities or MC's which is very similar to a small group Bible study but much more open to becoming an outreach tool so that others who may not go to church may feel welcome and included. We have been going to our MC for almost 2 years now...we started going pregnant with Micah....and now we are pregnant with baby girl...I feel like I'm always pregnant these days.
Anyway, in our MC we have been reading this book all about "how to change." We all have these things about ourselves that we don't like...whether it be a short fuse, or impatience, or a critical spirit. Whatever it is we all have something we are working on, and each time we get together (twice a month) we share how our "change project" is going.
I love Lysa's point that God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. There is hope. We can change. But change takes time. And thankfully God gives us time. He is patient. He is loving and forgiving. And He's given us a "procedural Manual" aka the Bible. He has equipped us for every good work...we just need to stay close to Him, and trust Him, and know that the more we yield to His will that He is faithful to work in us and change us. Not by our power but by His power in us.
I think it all begins with an obedient spirit. Am I willing to obey right away? When God brings something to my mind do I fix it right then or let it simmer or fester? When the Holy Spirit whispers to me, "Kristi, you need to forgive that person." Do I submit and forgive? When I hear God tell me to calm down and relax do I stop, sit down, and rest in Him or do I explode? It may all be baby steps, but baby, you have to start somewhere.
Step 1: Remember who you are...
Step 2: Redirect your focus to Jesus...
Step 3: Recognize that God's job is not your job...
Step 4: Recite thanks and praises to God...
Step 5: Realize reactions determine reach...
1. Alarmed, I resolve to remember who I am
2. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
3. My job is obedience...God's job is results
4. Shift from attitude to gratitude
5. My reactions determine my reach (Honor God with your actions and reactions)
Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever. --2 Chronicles 20:21