Week 4 Obey and Submit
Do not choose poverty when the Lord would provide wealth; do not forfeit blessing because of the parameter shifts it requires. You may find that the familiarity of self-condemnation seems safer and even preferable to the blessings God would freely give. Thus God's children often choose slavery over freedom.
part from the Lord, it is our natural tendency to judge one another based on how we look and how much we accomplish, and it is our ongoing challenge as children of God to be more concerned about His opinion of us than what other people think. This is much easier said than done because we live in the world and are influenced by its standards. It is tragic that we often impose the harshest edicts upon those we love out of a terrible need to protect them from rejection, and thus we create for them the situation we fear. We suffer the most from wounds inflicted by those we love.
My own father inadvertently made me feel condemned for being a chubby little girl because he was anxious to protect me from the world’s rejection. He sought to correct my failings before I could encounter hurtful words or actions from other people, with the unfortunate side effect being that I felt rejected by him. The self-condemnation that grew out of this aspect of our relationship became a strange way of holding onto my dad, who really did love me more than his own life. Sometimes that which is familiar seems preferable to change, even positive change.
As a teenager, I was slender nearly to the point of underweight, but never felt comfortable with myself. I felt unacceptable, and as an adult found myself parroting my father’s words about his own struggle with feeling overweight: “I have to get my act together.” I had a constant, frustrated hope that sometime in the future I would finally get my life under control. This ongoing struggle was a familiar, lifelong way of thinking that had to be confessed and released to the Lord
Today I’ve shared a little of my story. Yours may be similar, or it may differ substantially. Blessedly, the freedom path God provides isn’t about us at all, it is about Jesus Christ, His suffering, death, and the resurrection that bought freedom from condemnation for people like you and me, who do not deserve it. Self-condemnation is dangerous because it blocks true repentance of sin. So long as we fear judgment from other human beings and condemn ourselves for breaking rules we impose upon ourselves, we will never repent of disobeying God’s rule. We become our own judge and jury when we fail to submit to the Lord’s rule for our lives: Love God most of all, and other people as ourselves.[i]
Let’s proclaim this: I choose freedom from self-condemnation. I choose the Lord's perfect will for my life. I choose obedience to His rule and freedom from rules not of Him. I choose life.
Pray: Lord, please free me from the familiarity of self-condemnation. I try to punish myself because I’m afraid of the consequences of my sin; I’m afraid of the action You, as my Holy Parent, might take. Father, deliver me from the sin of choosing self-condemnation over repentance. Grant me repentance, in Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.
Deuteronomy 30:15 NLT