So it is now past the midyear. And those New Year’s resolutions have all fallen to the wayside. But now is good time as any to get back on the saddle and try again.
“The moralistic, therapeutic deism passing for Christianity in many of the churches these young adults grew up in includes talk about Jesus and about being good and avoiding bad—especially about feeling good about oneself—and God factored into all of that, but the gospel message simply wasn’t there. What I found was that for a great many young twentysomethings and “thirtysomethings, the gospel had been merely assumed, not taught or proclaimed as central. It hadn’t been explicit.4
This assumption has historical precedent. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture and in chronicles of church history. Consider these words from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
Paul is reminding the Christians of the gospel. He’s saying, “Don’t forget it! You were saved by it, will be sustained by it, and are currently standing in it.”
For some reason—namely, our depravity—we have a tendency to think that the cross saves us from past “sin, but after we are saved, we have to take over and clean ourselves up. This sort of thinking is devastating to the soul. We call this the “assumed gospel,” and it flourishes when well-meaning teachers, leaders, and preachers set out to see lives first and foremost conformed to a pattern of behavior (religion) and not transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power (gospel).”
Excerpt From: Chandler, Matthew. “The Explicit Gospel.” Crossway.
This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 9:23, 24 NLT)
People tend to admire four qualities in others: human wisdom, power (strength), kindness, and riches. But God puts a higher priority on knowing him personally and living a life that reflects his justice and righteousness. What do you want people to admire most about you?
A Sole Mates Board for lost socks missing their mate. This was my 15 month old’s gift to her momma for Mother’s Day.
We have such a hard time keeping track of my daughter’s socks now we have a place for the random sock until its match is found.
Mini clothes pins
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a NIV)
We all respond to hidden wounds in different ways. Some people act out. Other people get angry all the time. Others self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Still others try to escape the pain by moving from relationship to relationship.
Yet the worst possible response to hidden wounds in your life is to just clam up. It’s like taking a soda bottle and shaking it up. One day, you’ll just pop!
You’ll never get over your hidden wounds until you face your feelings straight on by talking to God about them.
Bottling up your hidden wounds will wear you out. The Bible says this in Psalm 32:3: “When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long” (NCV). If you use up all of your emotional energy on the past, you’ll have little left for today. You then spend so much of your time on your regret and resentment — thinking about how you’ll get even with the person who has hurt you — that you’re out of energy for what matters in the here and now.
God has an answer for your pain. It starts with confession. You’ve got to admit your pain. Everything else is, in one way or another, a fruitless attempt to forget what ails you. You need to admit your pain to:
- - God
- - Yourself
- - One other person you trust.
Many people want to move past their pain by admitting it to God and themselves and skipping the third part of the equation. Good luck! It’ll never work. Admitting your pain to others is absolutely essential. You won’t get well on your own. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16a NIV).
You don’t need to confess to a pastor, a priest, or a therapist to obey James 5:16 (though you can). You need a friend.
Open up about your hidden pain to someone. Tell him or her what hurts. As you do that and confess to God and yourselves, you just might find that long-lost energy you’ve been dreaming about.
Because revealing is the beginning of healing.
Talk It Over
- - What secret from your past are you having trouble letting go?
- - Why is it so scary to be open with God about a painful memory? Why is it so difficult to be open with ourselves about a painful memory? Why is it so hard to be open with others about a painful memory?
- - Who can you open up with about pain in your past?
“On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.” (Ephesians 6:15 NCV)
Conflict makes you an easy target for Satan’s attacks. It doesn’t matter if your conflict is with God, other people, or even yourself; it will open the door for Satan to tear you apart.
You’ll become a pushover for his plans. It’ll open up every area of your life to Satan’s attacks.
You don’t want that. It’s why the doomsday scenario for many countries is facing wars on multiple fronts. If you’re fighting yourself, others, or God, you can’t fight against what Satan is doing in the world. You can’t fight a multi-front war effectively. You were never meant to do so.
All levels of conflict leave your flailing for support and searching for a firm footing, as if you’re being sucked into quicksand.
That’s why Paul urges believers, “On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong” (Ephesians 6:15 NCV).
Roman soldiers had hobnails on the bottom of their shoes. These little nails helped them get a better grip with their shoes, like cleats for football players. Without them, soldiers would slip and slide in battle. They wouldn’t be able to hold their ground.
Without putting on the “peace that comes from the Good News,” you too will slip and slide your way through life. Paul is writing about three different aspects of peace: with yourself, with others, and with God. It’s called reconciliation, and you need it in all areas of your life. If you wake up each morning at peace with yourself, God, and others, you’ll find yourself on strong footing. You’ll be able to stand strong against the attacks of Satan.
Satan tries to attack your peace through worry. We can worry about anything. We can worry about our future. We can worry about finances. We can worry about relationships. Often, we worry about what others think of us. When we worry, it means some area of relational peace is out of whack. In fact, most of the time it means we’re out of whack in each of those areas.
And it means you’re shoeless — and not letting the peace of God’s Word take control.
The Bible says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165 NLT). In other words, the more I love and obey the Bible, the less I’m offended by what others say. The more I love God’s Word, the less I’m offended by what happens to me. The more I love God’s Word, the less my walk with God will be disturbed.
Choose to believe what God’s Word says about you, about others, and, most importantly, about God.
Choose to believe because obeying God’s Word brings you peace. Choose to believe because Jesus did. Choose to believe because what God’s Word says about you and the world around you is true.
Talk It Over
- What’s your biggest worry right now?
- What does God’s Word say about what you’re worrying about?
- How can you trust God to help you with what you’re worried about?
- What relationships in your life need to be healed?