We pray because we’re Christians and that’s what we’re supposed to do. We take our issues to God and hope that He will give us the wisdom or open some door so we can get the victory over our issues. So why do some prayers get answered and not others? Continue reading
There are times in life when we deliberately fake our feelings and we are able to control our facial expressions and our words because we don’t want our true feelings to be known. It’s a test of discipline and when we succeed we’re happy because we managed to hide our true feelings, which is what we intended. But it’s a very different story when we think we have control over certain feelings, but then our unexpected attitude or reaction gives away secrets that we didn’t even know we had.
We’re taught in this world that it’s a sign of maturity to be able to manipulate our feelings and our attitudes when dealing with people and situations. For example, people who have anger issues are encouraged to attend anger management therapy to learn how to control their anger. Recovering alcoholics are enlisted in counselling classes to learn how to resist temptation. And Christians are taught to memorize Bible scriptures so they won’t stray from the Lord.
But none of this “therapy” will do anyone any good because they have not defeated the enemy in their battle; they have just been taught how to control it. In other words, they’ve surrendered to it and have learned to live with it.
However, Christians are never encouraged to control their feelings and attitudes. We are all told to give them to God and to become more like Him so that our attitudes and our feelings and our opinions become the same as His.
“Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.” … Psalm 25:4
It comes as quite a shock to us when we think that we’ve surrendered something to the Lord and that it’s all behind us, and then during a conversation with someone or an unexpected incident the old buried feeling along with the worldly attitude just bursts forth and reveals the truth. And that truth is that we still have that worldly attitude – aka sinful nature – inside us and that what we thought was gone is still there.
So how do we get passed this? Do we work harder and become more determined than ever to take control over those issues? No, not if we’re a Christian – in fact, it’s just the opposite. Jesus told us to take on HIS yoke and HIS burden and to cast OUR cares onto Him.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” … Matthew 11:29-30
God teaches us to resist the devil and all the temptations that he plants in us by filling ourselves up with His Word and His instruction. The devil, on the other hand, will continue to fight so he can bring out the old attitudes and habits. We cannot win over the devil and we’re told not to even try it on our own merit because we don’t have what it takes to fight him.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” … Ephesians 6:12
We need to study the Bible and get the gospel of Jesus down into our spirit so that we don’t just know the Word in our mind, but so that it’s alive in our heart and we believe it. Then whenever the devil attacks us with this temptation we won’t fall into it; we won’t be caught off guard because our very first reaction will be the same as the Lord’s, and that will send the devil fleeing so that he cannot succeed in bringing us back to our old habits and attitudes.
When we got saved the “old” person or nature that we used to be died and we became “a new creature” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We were forgiven for all of our sins and the sinful nature in us was replaced with God’s Spirit through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. But the devil doesn’t want us to stay saved and so he will continue to bring the temptation of the old habits and attitudes back, and we will never defeat them or him by taking control over them. The only way that we can defeat him is to be filled with the love and the knowledge and the wisdom of God and let His Word be our defense and our offence against the wiles of the devil.
We can’t suppress these feelings and attitudes and then think that we’re okay because they’re still there and the devil is just waiting for the most inopportune time to bring them out. Then when we least expect it, we’ll burst forth with the old attitude and give away secrets that we didn’t know we still had. These surprises can be very painful – and very embarrassing. On the other hand, if we can put our pride aside we’ll realize that we’re still holding on to this part of our old sinful nature that shouldn’t be there, and it’s an opportunity to give it all to God and ask Him to take them from us and to fill us with HIS attitude and with HIS love.
“But love covers all sins.” … Proverbs 10:12
We grow every day when we spend time with the Lord; when we praise Him and study His Word so that we can be more like Him, but we will never grow if we feel in any way that it’s us who is in control of our thoughts, attitudes and feelings. The only control that we have over our own lives is the choice that He’s given to us – we can choose to surrender all and follow Jesus or to surrender to the lusts and desires of this world and of the flesh and follow the world.
It’s our choice, but if we want our attitude to reflect Jesus and not hidden secrets, then we need to be vigilant and choose wisely.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” … Joshua 24:15
It’s not always a peaceful walk when live the Christian life because there are times when the devil uses people to bring us unexpected trials and sorrows. Sometimes the stress we endure isn’t even from the evil darts; sometimes the greater hurt comes from the people who throw them.
Most of us just accept that the world does not like Christians and so we are mentally, emotionally and spiritually able to just ignore those darts when they get thrown at us. We can take the ridicule, the sarcasm and the mocking because we know that it’s really coming from the devil to get at us. In many cases we can shrug it off and when we pray about it, it’s gone.
But the sharpest and most painful darts come from people who we know and love; from our family and friends. We love them and we try to give them some space, yet they continue to create stresses and unkind situations that really upset us. Sometimes we just want to scream and cry because we love them and they don’t respect us for who we are and for the stand that we take for Jesus.
We can’t let these darts get to us. There is a shield that we can use to protect ourselves and we need to use it so that the darts cannot get through to us. Our life depends on it.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7 that we must cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us. This means that we should NOT carry the hurt in our heart, but that we need to pray and ask Jesus to take this hurt from us. He does not want us to agonize over it because the more we think about it, the more the devil plays on our thoughts and turns it into a massive situation. Negative attitudes develop, regretful words are spoken and the devil is filled with glory because he is able to destroy a little part of us.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” … Psalm 57:1
Jesus has given us an instruction in Matthew 5:44 as to what we should do about those who come against us: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
It’s not easy to pray for those who hurt us; many times we’d rather just do something spiteful to them or have it out in a loud shouting match, but that won’t accomplish anything except bring us down to the level of the devil’s game platform. We truly need to get on our face before God and just let it all out. We need to tell Him how we feel and how it hurts – and not because Jesus needs to know. He already knows what’s going on. We do this to get it out of our own system. Then we need to lift the one who has hurt us up to Him and let Jesus deal with them.
On our own merits we have no power at all to come against anyone who the devil is using to hurt us. Only Jesus can give us this victory – and we WILL get the victory when we trust the Lord.
“God is our refuge and strength; A very present help in trouble.” … Psalm 46:1
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we don’t waiver or wander off the path. We need to control our words and our attitude and let Jesus go to work. We need to pray and read the Bible and build up our faith and our trust in God.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” … Hebrews 4:12
We’re told in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
How do we resist the devil when the darts are coming at us and we didn’t even do anything to warrant the situation?
After we’ve given the problem to the Lord, and then prayed for the person to be saved, we need to praise God. We thank Him for His love, for His intervention, for His Spirit who lives in us. We praise Him for being our Savior. We praise Him that His Word is true and we praise Him for being Lord over our life.
The devil cannot be in the presence of our praises. It is the fastest and most sure way of getting him to leave any situation. The Bible says in James 4:8 that praise brings us into the presence of God, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And when God draws near to us, the devil flees as far away as he can.
Our lives need to be a testimony of God’s love and power and not a reflection of our own weakness and sinful attitude. People are always watching us to see how we will react, and often the loved ones who come against us do it to try to break us or else just because they delight in hurting us. Either way, we cannot allow ourselves to be used by the devil. He’ll always try to get to us, but he’ll only win if we let him.
When we come to our Heavenly Father as innocent children and give Him our praises and put our trust in Him, we will always win!
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” … Psalm 19:14
Sometimes in life someone we really love and trust will do something so offensive or hurtful to us that it feels as if a brick had been smacked into our head. We didn’t see it coming; we can’t understand why it happened, but it did. The impact left us with a huge hole in our heart and it seems as if there is nothing that can take away the pain when love hurts us.
We cry non-stop while we try to comfort those around us; perhaps children who are hurting as much as we are and who are looking to us for the answers. But there aren’t any. We can’t see past the tears because our life has been torn apart. We don’t see hope and we focus on our loss.
This is just what the devil wants us to do; cry, focus on the hurt and talk about it all the time so that he can get all the praise and the glory for the hurt that he put on us by making this happen. The more we focus on the hurt, the happier he is because he’s gained a bit of a foothold into the doorway of our soul.
This is NOT how we get the victory over our problems. The Bible says in James 4:7 to “resist the devil and he shall flee from you.” In other words, we need to stop talking about the problem, about what he’s done or what we think the results will be from this hurtful issue. We need to resist the negative talk, the negative thoughts, the negative attitude, and stop talking about the problem.
We need to turn our thoughts around and focus on Jesus. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The confusion, hurt, anger and lack of peace that overtakes us can keep the problem alive if we let it, but if we give it to the Lord, then He takes it from us and gives us peace. Once we have peace, we can begin to think more clearly.
He tells us in Psalms 46:10 to “Be still, and know that I am God“. He wants us to stop trying to figure it out ourselves, and stop worrying about what will happen. Remember that He is God, and that He is the creator of the world and God over the universe – and over the devil. Jesus says in John 16:33 that He has overcome the world. He’s already given us the victory and all we have to do is realize it.
We need to remember that “nothing is impossible to God”, and that “all things are possible to those who believe.” We are able to cry out to the Lord and seek Him and ask for His help and His wisdom so that we can have the victory over the problem. We are able to give the issue to Him and trust Him to take care of it.
We are able to praise Him and thank Him for the victory, and know in our heart that God is on the scene. He hears our prayers and He knows our heart AND He knows what is best for us. The answer may not always be the one we hoped for, but it will be the right one and we will be at rest. God knows our heart and He also knows what caused this person to do what they did. He will speak to them and through our prayers this person will listen, and our own hearts will be filled with forgiveness towards them.
And all we have to do is trust God, that He will “grant us the desires of our heart” because when it comes to love, Jesus is the expert! He knows that at times love hurts, but He has risen above that hurt and He has given us the victory over it. All we have to do is praise Him and thank Him and talk to others about what He is doing for us. And it all begins when we turn our focus away from the problem and on to Him because He loves us and He wants us to trust Him to give us the victory.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” … Romans 8:15