Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Separates a Life of Victory from a Life of Despair?

I may not always understand why things happen the way they do. I am human and I get really discouraged sometimes. Sure, I have my moments of despair. Everyone does. There are two very different types of people, though. Some people live broken lives of utter despair. They are miserable and usually make the people around them feel miserable. Despite having a saving knowledge of Christ, they are beaten down by their circumstances.Yet, there are others who, despite everything that life sends their way, always manage to overcome and come out on the other side with a smile on their faces and an even stronger faith. What is the difference between these two types of people? There is a difference between having weak moments and dwelling on them. We may visit self-pity sometimes, but  we should not live there as one who has no hope. There are some very key things that we must do to affect change in our lives so that we re living the way Christ intended - abundantly. Let's take a look.

First of all, it is essential to understand that it is ok to have emotional moments. I believe with all that is in me that God honors an honest heart. He already knows how you feel, so letting out frustration, pain, or even anger is ok as long as it is not done in destructive ways which lead to sin. Once I have allowed myself an emotional moment, I try to follow certain Scriptural truths. Don't expect to always accomplish these goals perfectly. The goal is to try to have them be the driving force in our lives.

Evaluate whether or not your thoughts are helpful and good. If they are not helpful, take those thoughts captive and actively seek to change them. Phillipians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." and 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." An essential aspect of this truth is to focus on the things we can change rather than the things we can't. 

With the things that we can't change, we must remind ourselves to be patient and trust the Lord with His plan and His timing. He has not failed us yet and has given us no inclination that He ever will. We have no justification in not trusting Him. 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us that "...all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." and He gives us this promise in Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Isn't that a beautiful comfort?

With the things we can change, we must apply ourselves 100% to changing them in such a way as to bring honor to God's Name. In the end, our relationship with Him and to Him is the only thing that the world can't take away. Colossians 3:17 instructs us that "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."

If we strive to consciously do all these things, our situations will become much smaller and manageable in our minds. Also, by glorifying God in our thoughts and actions despite hardship, God has given us this promise in Psalm 37: 3-6:

Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.

In Christ,

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