Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ready, Set, Go!

Day 84

Ready, Set, Go!

…all God’s servants in the Old Testament counted upon the omnipotence of God doing impossibilities. And this God lives today, and this God is the God of every child of His.[i]
Andrew Murray

~~~

T
he Biblical account of Jehoshaphat’s victory over a vast army contains the elements necessary for any endeavor, and that includes our efforts to become obedient, abiding, children of God. 

An admission of helplessness:  "For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (2 Chronicles 20:12).

A reminder: "Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's’" (2 Chronicles 20:15).  

Instructions: "Tomorrow go down against them..." (2 Chronicles 20:16).

Assurance: "You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you" (2 Chronicles 20:17).  

The importance of praise:  "And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed"  (2 Chronicles 20:22).  

Pray:  Father, I admit I am helpless to save myself from my own sinfulness. You have saved me from a death sentence by dying in my place, now show me how to live a life that is resurrected with You, not bound by the flesh, but obedient to the Holy Spirit's guidance. Please keep me from fear and discouragement, prepare my mind with readiness, set my heart upon You, and help me to go quickly as I run the good race and fight the good fight.[ii] Thank You for Your presence with me, and thank You for fighting for me. I praise Your Name!  Amen.

~~~

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Hebrews 12:12-13



[i] Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender, public domain
[ii] 2 Timothy 4:7

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Release Fear of Failure

Day 83
Release Fear of Failure

There are multitudes of Christians who come to this point: “I cannot”; and then think God never expected them to do what they cannot do…Fall down and learn that when you are utterly helpless, God will come to work in you not only to will, but also to do.[i]
Andrew Murray

~~~

I
n the seventh chapter of the book of Judges, the Lord tells Joshua he should not take his army of 32,000 men to fight against the Midianites. God wants the Israelites to give full credit for the victory to Him and not to the vast size of their army. The army is finally culled to just 300 soldiers, who, with God's awesome power on their side, rout the enemy. 

We don’t have to be afraid of our own weakness, because God is strong. We may fail, but God will not. We may sin, but He will forgive. And although we may feel trapped by how we look on the outside, God reads our hearts. We can release the sense of dismay that our increasing sense of inadequacy brings, because we aren’t placing trust in our own ability to succeed, but in God’s ability to liberate. 

The journey has been long and we may wonder whether—even if God opens the door to our prison cells—we will have the strength to exit the confines that time and suffering have built. But we can be assured that the Lord does not only open the way before us, He will carry us to freedom. “I have made, and I will bear; I will carry, and I will save” (Isaiah 46:4b). 

We must pray to accept God’s help when it is offered, in the ways it is offered, and for willingness to be strengthened in the ways He would strengthen us. We are not working to be admired for how we look, but to be strengthened so we can serve. We need to be stronger, but instead we seek to polish the appearance of competence rather than giving ourselves willingly to the disciplines that would build true strength. 

“Having it all together” provides an outward appearance of prowess—remember the illustrations of the whitewashed wall and the cup that is clean on the outside but filthy within[ii]—but true strength is gained through a conditioning program that may leave the outward appearance unkempt until the final chapter. Lack of humility will cause a person to direct his/her efforts to the outward appearance, which drains energy from attention to the portions that do not show. A clean surface cannot bring cleansing to the heart, but when the heart is cleansed we are purified from within, and this cleanliness becomes apparent through our actions and words. No permanent change occurs apart from this inward cleansing that occurs in God’s time and not our own, in His way and not our own. We can only follow His lead; we cannot make our own way. 

The success or failure of any mission depends upon the leader who plans strategies and issues orders to those under his command. What a blessed relief to submit in obedience to a Captain who has never lost a mission. Following hard after Jesus releases fear of failure, because we are depending upon Him and not ourselves.

Pray:  Lord, I release to You my determination to make my own success. I release to You fear of what people will think if Your path takes me through ways the world doesn’t understand. I trust You to be my advocate and vindicator in the eyes of my fellow human beings. Help me to care most of all about what You think of me, strengthen me to carry the loads You want me to bear, and grant me wisdom to release burdens You never intended me to carry. I entrust my past, present, and future into Your hands, amen. 

~~~

I will go before you
    and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
    and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
Isaiah 45:2-3


[i] Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender, public domain 
[ii] Matthew 23:7, Acts 23:3