Release from Self-condemnation

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thoughts from Day 4....

It is nearly impossible to discipline the flesh during times of grief, discouragement or despair.

I saw a story on Facebook this morning that went something like this: A Christian was asked by his pastor how he was doing. He replied that he was doing ok, under the circumstances. And the pastor replied, "What is a Christian doing under the circumstances?"  

Well, but how do we keep from being crushed beneath the weight of circumstances God has allowed?
Lord we praise You--though there is darkness, there is also
beauty, and You have us securely in Your hand.  
It isn't wrong to grieve when we have suffered a blow, but we don't want to excuse ourselves from the rigors of self-discipline indefinitely. When we suffer rejection or loss it is normal to withdraw, and God's grace covers us during such times.  But we aren't supposed to live in seclusion or self-medicate through escapism. We aren't supposed to hide from people or circumstances that have caused us pain.

A secret to gaining the necessary courage to remove the boundaries we've placed around our hearts is found in the day 4 reading of One Hundred Days:
          Finding delight in the Lord is the unexpected first step toward obedience.
The only way to praise when we don't feel like it is, to borrow Nike's slogan, just do it!  No matter what is going on in our lives, the Lord is worthy of our praise.  Read from the Psalms.  Sing along with a praise song.  Raise your hands, bow your head, and acknowledge the sovereignty of God.

Going through the motions may feel awkward or even hypocritical when the emotions in our hearts don't match the praise that is on our lips. Very often, though, the feelings do flow in channels of praise once we determine to obey the Lord by giving Him the praise due His name.  And if the emotions do not come, that's ok too.  A child who obeys only when he or she feels like it is a disobedient child.  Finding delight in the Lord is the unexpected first step toward obedience.  

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18

No comments:

Post a Comment