Showing posts with label perfection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label perfection. Show all posts

Sunday, June 14, 2020

22. Living Free from Judgment, Part II - "Living in Light" Series

Part II. Freedom from Self-Judgment

Are you too hard on yourself? Have you ever been accused of being a perfectionist? When you make mistakes, do you beat yourself up? Well, if you're anything like me, the above questions ring too true. Sometimes, I am way too hard on myself. I can nitpick every tiny flaw. And when I do make mistakes, I think, what was I thinking?

But here's some good news, when we know the Word of God, we can stop beating ourselves up, raking ourselves over the coals, and constantly feeling like a disappointment - like nothing we ever do is good enough. This bad way of thinking is called condemnation...  

Condemnation is what the devil uses against ourselves, to persecute and judge our every mistake. He constantly finds and points out our faults. He loves to remind us of everything we've done wrong. He wants to keep us trapped in our guilt. He wants us to feel bad all of the time. 

But God wants just the opposite...
When Jesus died on the cross for us, He set us free from condemnation. He took the punishment we deserved and gave us freedom, forgiveness, and His righteousness by believing in Him as our Lord and Savior - we are saved by grace through faith. 

So STOP punishing yourself for all your mistakes, sins, and trespasses. There's a big difference between condemnation that comes from the devil, versus conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Condemnation is what the devil uses to keep us trapped in our sins, but conviction is what God uses to stop sin. When we do make mistakes, and we will, we are to simply confess our sins to God, ask Him for forgiveness, and then ask for God's help to change, to repent. 

Don't get trapped in the devil's cage of condemnation! 

Here are 3 Things We Can Do to Help Us Live Free of Condemnation. 

1. Self-Forgiveness. 
The Bible says God forgives our sins, so why can't we forgive ourselves? Self-forgiveness is essential when it comes to living in freedom. We can forgive ourselves for our past mistakes. This does not mean that we don't learn from our past mistakes and change our ways. But constantly thinking about everything we've ever done wrong, will only pull us down, keeping us trapped in negativity, self-pity, and condemnation.

Joyce Meyer says, "We're not built for guilt." Guilt only puts us into a vicious cycle. When we feel guilty, we're doomed to repeat bad behavior. Because when we constantly punish ourselves, punishment can beat us up over and over again for the same mistake, only adding weight to the first offense. And when we're under the weight of all our mistakes, we can turn to any vice or comforter, which only compounds onto the initial sin. Suddenly we're in a downward spiral, adding sin upon sin.

Unforgiveness only comes from Satan, which leads to constant condemnation, judgment, and punishment. Forgiveness is a gift from God, a gift that we should freely give to anyone and to ourselves.
Remember, the devil wants to punish us and make us feel horrible for all we've done wrong so we will continue to do wrong.

But God wants us to accept His forgiveness through Christ, learn from our mistakes, and with His help, repent. When we forgive ourselves, we can cut loose our bondage to sin and truly change who we are. And with God's help, He will continue to cleanse us from our mistakes and renew us again and again. (1 John 1:9). 

2. Who We Are in Christ. 

When we realize who we are in Christ, we can begin to look at ourselves differently. For believers, since we have accepted Christ, we are clothed in His righteousness. This means when God sees us, He sees us as His loving, faithful children. He looks upon us with love, joy, and acceptance. He knows we will continue to make mistakes, but this in no way makes us horrible, broken, or not good enough. In fact, it's just the opposite. God sees us as good, healed, and more than good enough because of our right standing with Christ.
Okay, ladies... (and some guys too)... this means we really need to stop nit-picking our appearances. When we criticize our outward appearance, it only gives "the world" or the devil the right to do it too. When you constantly ridicule every little "flaw" or "imperfection" you think you might have, you're only listening to the devil. You are not listening to God. God thinks you are beautiful and wonderfully made. Why? Because He made you. Do not give into comparison and jealousy - this too is just another form of condemnation. (This might just have to become its own blog post!) 
Thirdly, the opposite of condemnation leads us to...

3. Self-Love through God.

I used to have a hard time with the entire concept of loving one's self. Thinking, isn't that narcissistic, self-indulgent, pride feeding ego? But when we truly know how much God loves us, it gives us permission to love ourselves in return. We hear John 3:16 all the time, but do we really understand what it means in-depth? It means that God loves us so much, in all our entirety, given all our faults, that He gave His only Son, to rescue us from our imperfection, sin, and death

I emphasize, HIS ONLY SON! God DID NOT have to do this. He could have just called it quits, scorched the earth, wiped us clean off the face of existence, but He gave the MOST PRECIOUS BEING IN ALL EXISTENCE just because He loves us! God gave us His favorite human ever. He made the ultimate sacrifice, putting Jesus through hell and back, because of His profound, deep, and never-ending love for us. 
So the next time you think about insulting yourself, think about how much God loves you and what He did for you. Think about what Jesus went through. When we ridicule, criticize, demean, and condemn ourselves, we are ridiculing and criticizing God's love for us. God doesn't think we're no good. He loves us fully and completely so we should love ourselves fully and completely too. Self-hate, ridicule, and self-punishment, are not what Jesus dies to give us. Learn how to think the way God thinks. Learn how to see yourself as God sees you. 

When we know that God forgives us for our sins, we can forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Even though we're not perfect, but that when we know that we're the righteousness of God in Christ, all that we should really concern ourselves with, is how we appear to God. Loving ourselves is not wrong, for God loves us, so learning how to love ourselves is simply doing what God already does for us. And if God can do this for us given His high standards, we can surely do it for ourselves. 

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!

Feel free to share with your friends & family! Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

20. The Brilliance, Beauty, and Blessings of Obedience - "Living in Light" Series

I usually start my blogs off with a more dower, empathetic introduction, and then gradually build it up to the good news, but this time I'm going to start with the good news first! 

The brilliance of obedience has changed every facet of my life for the better. The beauty of obedience is that I now have a close, personal relationship with God who now talks to me regularly and gives me guidance and inspiration that I have never had nor felt before. The blessings from obedience are multiplying dramatically in my life, as I have never felt this happy before! We've truly been taken care of by God's own hand... it's true what the Bible says, that your cup will runneth over! (Psalms 23:5)

Now, with some backstory. I used to define my own perspective on right and wrong based on my experiences. I actually used to use the phrase, "There's no such thing as right or wrong. There's just good or bad." Wow, I could not have been more wrong. It wasn't until I started seeing things through God's eyes that He has very clear definitions of what right and wrong really are.

When the Holy Spirit came upon me last spring, I couldn't understand the voice in my head that was like a broken record telling me all the things that were wrong with the world. Sometimes, it was so intense that I couldn't sleep. A part of me thought I was losing my mind. It wasn't until I heard Billy Graham speak of the conviction of the Holy Spirit that I fully understood what was happening...

I was being called to walk a narrow path. A path of obedience and full bore repentance. To be a faithful servant of God Most High. And now a year later, all the dramatic changes I have made have only increased my happiness, revived my health, and given me blessings beyond measure.

Let me just say we all have our own path. My path might be narrower than most, but it's not more narrow than some. This is not about comparison. This is not about judgment. Comparison and judgment are dangerous things that only open the door to the devil. Just because I am walking a narrow path doesn't mean I'm any better than anyone else. We all have our own walks in life with God and those paths can change, depending on where we are in life. This is your choice and your personal business. It's entirely up to you.

I also want to say that grace is not done by works. (Galatians 2:16.) There is nothing we can do to replace what Jesus did for us on the cross. We can't earn our way into heaven. It is because of our faith in His righteousness that we are even considered for entry into the kingdom of God.

So even though grace is not done by works, I can say, that repentance and obedience can make your life better here on earth. You can experience life in a whole new way as you become a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). I can say for sure that my happiness has increased, my life has become more beautiful, and blessings keep pouring into my life like they never have before.
Here are 3 easy tips to help you on your own path...

1. Don't Be Obedient Out of a Sense of Obligation. 

Don't think of it as an "I have to obey all the rules" to be pleasing to God. This can lead to resentment, self-judgment, and self-condemnation. Think of it as, "I love God and Jesus so much that I want to live a life of obedience and repentance. Out of love, I want to show God how much I love Him that I want to follow His rules, guidelines, moral standards, knowledge of His will, and His purposes. To show Jesus how much I love Him, I want to exhibit admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity. Because Jesus died for me and took the punishment that I deserve because He loves me, I want to follow His divine guidance according to His word and live up to the highest standard.

In summary, do it out of love for God. (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Did you pick up on me constantly using the phrase, "I want to," versus "I have to"?

This makes obedience so much easier. When we do it out of a place of love, it becomes less difficult. Remember, God is like our real father...

For example, when we're little children, we want to be pleasing to our dad. We want him to be proud of us. We want to obey his rules so he will be happy because when Daddy was happy, we were happy. We don't want to make him upset or angry with us. We just want to feel his love, bring a smile to his face and warmth to his heart.

With God, it is no different. He is our Supreme Father above all fathers. Let's make God happy by showing Him our constant love for Him above all else. This is the 1st and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37). Yep, Jesus said so!

2. Obedience is for Our Benefit, Not to Imprison Us.

I used to think "religion" was a cage. A list of forever long rules that cages us and restrains us. Stops us from having any fun, or makes us feel guilty if we do. That religion is this high standard of perfection that is virtually unattainable. Saying things like, "I'm never going to be as good as Jesus, so what's the point of trying?"

But I've come to realize, Jesus didn't come to bring us religion. He came to bring us a relationship. One where we don't have to be perfect to be acceptable to God because Jesus already fulfilled our perfection by living a life free of sin. Beating ourselves to death with rules and regulations will not give us the life that Jesus died to give us. It is for that purpose, that He came to free us from all the man-made religious laws, obligations and rules that kept us in bondage so now we can live in faith, striving to do our best, because we know God will do the rest. (Galatians 3:23-26)...
So instead of thinking of it as a cage of rules and restraints, think of it as protection...


Protection of our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies. 

To guard ourselves against the evils of this world. 

To turn away from sin which DOES US HARM

To not subject ourselves to the ways of the world which CAN hurt us. 

Because of His love for us, God's terms are designed to keep us safe.

Remember, We have a brilliant Creator who gave us His commandments and terms for our benefit. We may not see the point of everything He asks/tells us to do right away. We may not understand why He asks/tells us to do something. But our faith has to be bigger than our understanding! If we truly do trust God with our entire being, we can obey God because we know for certain, He will work out everything for our good. Everything! (Romans 8:28.)
 3. Strive to Be Like Jesus.

I love the saying, "Perfect makes the practice." Instead of using the old adage, "Practice makes perfect," think of it as Jesus is already perfect, so as far as how God sees us, in Jesus through faith, we are already seen as perfect and righteous. (Romans 3:22).
Remember the popular phrase, What Would Jesus Do? As believers, it is clear that His perfection creates our practice. We must practice being like Him because His high standard is the epitome of how we should act. His perfection can inspire us to live a life as closely aligned with Him as possible. Because that's what it's all about. As true followers, we should live by His example. When Jesus comes to live inside your heart, you'll want to do everything you can to honor Him because you love and appreciate Him. Again, don't think of it as "have to", think of it as want to.

The scriptures say that the law is now written on our hearts. (Romans 2:15). And that we can use the Holy Spirit to discern right from wrong, good from evil. (I do plan on delving deeper into this issue on a future post.) With that being said, I also encourage you to read the Bible that clearly distinguishes right from wrong and good from evil, and explains all of God's preferences on how we are supposed to live. "Let us not lean on our own understanding," but follow the Word of God. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
*One good tip to remember is that when you think the Holy Spirit is truly talking to you, make sure that nothing it says completely contradicts the Word of God. This is how you know for sure that it is the Holy Spirit that's talking to you, and that it is not coming from the enemy, the devil, the adversary.*

We have a brilliant Creator. One that has designed his Word to be the perfect way for us to live our lives. We have a beautiful Father. One that wants us to live a beautiful life, free of the ugliness, sins, and evils of the world. We have a generous God, one that wants to shower us with blessings and provide us with our every need.

When we obey God, it shows Him how much we love and appreciate Him.

Living in God's light, while doing our best to repent and be obedient, can make our lives better, purely, truly, and entirely. Let's try to do our best each and every day. As Revelation says, "Jesus is coming soon!" (Revelation 22:20). Better now, than never!

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!