Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Voices--Part 2

So...about those “voices”......

Regardless of where you believe they come from—Satan, self loathing, guilt, the echo of people from your life or thing is for certain. Those voices are not from God!

God does not use harsh words of condemnation, nor words of confusion, to get our attention. Areas of sin from your past that you have repented from...when you received God’s forgiveness concerning them, they were tossed into the sea of forgetfulness, remember? He will not be bringing them back to your face (or ear).

Satan can and does plant fears, lies, etc. in our thoughts at times, so some of the voices could be him trying to throw you off track. To encourage you to walk down that defeated path once again.

Often times, the live voices from our past and present from others around us are the catalyst for these “inner” voices. Maybe you could never please your parents. Perhaps you made some poor, sinful choices and someone (or two) won’t let you forget. I don’t know. But you do. Ask God if some of these “voices” in your head stem from them.

Most other times, I think that we just know ourselves well enough that when we sit down and honestly look at our life and our choices we so easily see where we “fall short” that we take the proverbial stick and begin to beat ourselves once again with it. This is where I typically lounge.

“I should be further ahead in my Christian walk than I am!”

“Why am I not more disciplined than I am?”

“I am 39 years old! What great things have I done for the Kingdom?”

“God...please work in my children’s lives despite my shortcomings.”

And more...

A lot of these comments, questions can be legitimate ones. But sometimes we can be a bit tough on ourselves.

My wonderful husband is always telling me that. I will break down crying about how I am failing to be the helpmeet that he needs and the mother and home educator that the children need and the godly light of testimony for God that I want to be...and on and on. He waits patiently for me to finish and then he simply says, “Robin, I think that you are doing a terrific job. You are a wonderful wife and mother. The kids and I couldn’t ask for more....”

Instead of appreciating these kind, loving words I treat them as rags and toss them to the floor. I don’t believe them, or know too well what else is true of me—I can be undisciplined, short-tempered, selfish, lazy, crabby, gluttonness, inconsistent, discontented, and act “put upon”.

I can choose to surf the internet in the morning, wasting most of my morning Bible time with the Father, and then be frustrated when Nate wakes up 10 minutes after I begin my study. I can be so focused on my projects that I fail to check on homeschooling work as often as I should. I can think about all that is sitting on my desk needing my attention, throw my hands up in despair and go in search of chocolate without even attempting to get a little bit done—just feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Yes...I know me too well to believe what my husband has to say.

Hmmm...could it be that he also knows me well enough to know my heart. He knows what I do get accomplished. Those things that I start with good intentions but life "hiccups" and I don’t get everything finished. Since he has known me for 25 years now (WOW!) he also knows how much I do seek after God and how He has grown and guided me in that time. He remembers a much more wretched woman than he is married to today. :)

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3

How much better off I would be if I learned to appropriate His grace every day when those voices began to speak. Those voices always tell me what I am doing wrong or what I am not doing—and how that is wrong? God wants me to stop trying so hard and seek Him and His grace. Deliverance from the voices comes as I cease striving in my flesh and cast myself in dependence upon Him. His grace is always sufficient.

Yes, I will never “be” all that I want to be, nor accomplish “all” that I would like to. I will never “get” to the place of perfection here on earth (which is disappointing to a recovering perfectionist like myself :). But...if I am “set(ting) my heart to seek God...” 2 Chronicles 19:3 I need to learn to let go of accomplished, end results anyway, because they are not all going to happen. And some that do will take time to develop. Walking in defeat and discouragement are certainly NOT going to be helpful.

What “walk” will be helpful...

“ filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience, joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9b-12

That is a very meaty passage, isn’t it. I’ll have to tear into that one soon and I’ll share what I find.

In the meantime, know that the word used for “knowledge” here is “real knowledge”.

Remember those voices that I shared in the last post that are wanting to bring “confusion” to our walk? Whether we agree or disagree with differing theological positions, other various beliefs, etc.? This is when we need to really cry out to God for direction and guidance. We need to go to His word and humbly beseech Him for truth—that “real knowledge”. I believe some things will remain difficult to discern, but don’t allow them to be divisive.

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18

At the same time, don’t allow them to paralyze you in your own walk either. Seek God, seek the wise counsel of your husband, pray together about it and walk confidently (but not arrogantly) before the Lord in how He directs your hearts.

“Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ...standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27

The Bible teaches us to “give thanks” for all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18). So that got me to can I be grateful for these voices?

First off, when I step away and look at them honestly, they show me that I really am succeeding in this journey with God. Not on my own accord, or course, but still I am seeing victory. The questions that the voices ask or statements that they make wouldn’t mean much if I didn’t care, didn’t think the subject matter important enough to be bothered by them in the first place.

Secondly, I am grateful in knowing there is a place to go when these voices become too much for me. To the feet of my Lord and Savior. His death on the cross covers all of my sins—from yesterday, today and the ones I’ll make tomorrow. I need not walk in defeat nor beat myself up over daily “failures”.

Last of all, they remind me how I need to return my thoughts to God again and after day...morning after morning...moment after moment and ask for His grace. His grace which is sufficient for all my short-comings (and I am going to fall short in all those areas that are important to me) and brings power in my weaknesses. Letting the Spirit continue the work within me instead of me wearing myself out in the “trying”. You’s that “letting the Spirit perfect” verse again (Galatians 3:3).

So...I guess “the voices” aren’t all bad after all. I just need to remember where to keep them—in my open hands, lifted to the Father seated in the throne room, and let Him work whatever would bring Him glory in the offering. If those voices can bring Him glory and be used of Him for my good in the process, then I say...bring ‘em on!

~Click here for the original post "The Voices"~