Tag Archive | Romans 8:1

Tempted to despair in this New Year?

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Tonight 2016 comes to a close and tomorrow 2017 starts out anew and fresh!

Yet, in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings, despair has the potential to overshadow such optimism.

How does this happen?

It’s quite simple, actually! But, oh, so powerful!

It’s a matter of focus.

   Despair consistently and predictably acts like a magnet, attracting thoughts of self. The force of this pull is powerful. One self-focused thought after another bombards our thinking, and the downward progression begins.

When our thoughts reflect less of what we are learning during our study of the Bible or what God’s Spirit communicates to us in prayer then a downward progression is set in place, p 46 3rd Edition FD 

   In the past, I fell victim to this force time after time! With each thought, I became more confused as to what Truth was. I felt justified in my thinking and condemned all at the same time. Depression was the outcome!

   Recently, that all too familiar pull of despair, began to invade my thoughts. And in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings of the New Year, I felt myself tempted to surrender to its force.

   But I was reminded of those dark days prior to learning about how to counter the attack of fiery dart thinking. I now was living in freedom from that bondage and I was determined not to go there again!

   I knew what my plan of action must be. I knew that God’s Word contained the answers to resist the temptation to despair. Therefore, I began making a conscious effort to replace the lies that attempted to rule my thinking with the Truth thoughts below.

To fight the lies that God doesn’t hear me.

Psalm 34:17-18

To fight the lie that there is no hope.

2 Corinthians 4:8

To fight the lie that my weakness is too great.

2 Corinthians 12:9

To fight the lie that I am all to blame.

Romans 8:1

To fight the lie that God will not act on my behalf.

Psalm 37:3-6

   Once again Satan came at me with lies that in the past had prevailed over me. But not this time. Not since God taught me the Truths that would displace those lies!

 

Taking the easy road of condemnation!

   A few days ago I came across a book entitled, God in My Unbelief by J. W. Stevenson. ( a book written by a Scottish minister that portrays what it is like to be a Christian in a community) Prior to this discovery, I had been struggling with over focusing on condemning thoughts towards myself and toward others.

   Lately, I have come to realize that condemnation whether it’s of ourselves or others, is a fiery dart that, if not brought under control, tends to eat away at our self esteem and our relationship with others. Condemnation tempts us to think thoughts that pull us down, that cause us to not think well of ourselves, that focus too much on our troubles. Condemnation creates thoughts of confusion about what we should do, thoughts that worry too much about our future well being. We become suspect that others are condemning us, and on and on it goes.

   Temptation to think condemning thoughts toward others seems to be a constant fiery dart to resist. Condemnation fed by our sinful nature prevents us from trying to  understand others. We don’t want to see their need and our need of God’s forgiveness as equal. It will tempt us to see those who we feel are condemning us as the enemy; instead of seeing Satan as the enemy. 

I have gleaned from this book such thoughts as:

It is easier to condemn than understand.

We draw the mercy of God when we had known our need to be the same as the need of him whom we condemn.

Over focusing on the condemning thoughts towards myself and others, keeps me from truly seeing the Cross. 

   The Truth thought that God would direct our attention to so that we could resist the fiery darts of condemnation is: Romans 8:1,”Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,…”  HCSB

   Concerning myself, I hear God asking me this question when the fiery darts of condemnation harass me,

“Why are you condemning yourself? I don’t condemn you!”

   And the same question is asked when the fiery darts of condemnation toward others assail me,

“Why are you condemning them? I don’t condemn them!”

   Can you imagine the bondage we place ourselves in when we allow the fiery darts of condemnation of ourselves and others rule our thinking?

   Can you imagine the freedom we would know if we would focus on Romans 8:1?

   What if we were to accept ourselves in Christ and believe that Christ makes us worthy?

   What if we were to understand that God brings conviction so that we can be restored and made more like Christ? 

What if we were to see other’s need to be rescued by God on the same plane as our need to be rescued by God?

What if we were to love others and accept them the way they are and leave it to God to convict them of their sin. (Even when we feel their sin is against us!)

Finally, let us understand the difference between condemnation and conviction.

Satan condemns with the intention of destroying us.

God convicts us of our sin with the intention of restoring us to Himself. 

The 3 R’s of Fighting Fiery Darts – Revised Plan!

On January 6, 2014, I wrote this post and titled it, The 4 R’s of Fighting Fiery Darts!  Since then I have revised it and following is that revision.  I do hope you are reading my blogs on fiery darts along with my book.  Someday maybe I will expand that book, to include some of these thoughts that have come to me as I have written these posts. It’s something I’m praying about!

As I have been using this format to pray against fiery darts, I have felt impressed to eliminate one of the steps.  The one titled, “repeat”!  Actually I began to see it wasn’t necessary, sort of redundant.  I really do believe this new 3 step plan is more concise.  

1. RECOGNIZE!

So how do we recognize fiery darts? Examine the effect the “suspicious thought” has on you.  Does it produce confusion, fear, doubt, anger, inferiority, indecisiveness, jealously, or selfishness, for example?  quote from p.33 FD

In other words does it produce condemnation? Do those thoughts leave you feeling worthless, uncertain or burdened with unconsolable grief? That’s the work of condemnation, my dear friend.  How do I know that? Read this verse: Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (NIV)

Conviction brings restoration.  Jesus has come to bring forgiveness and restoration.  Condemnation will not produce abundant life; conviction certainly does. John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (KJV)

2. REJECT

As soon as you determine that the suspicious thought is a fiery dart, then reject it.  Remember, by allowing it to remain, the poison of the fiery dart begins seeping into your mind influencing the formation of negative attitudes and actions.

As Barney Fife puts it so eloquently, “Nip it, Nip it, Nip it!” (In the bud, before it takes root!)

3. REPLACE

Wield the power found in initially repeating Isaiah 54:17 immediately, “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper…” (NASB), so as to prevent the fiery dart thought from imbedding itself into your mind.

Finally, replace the fiery dart thought with a verse or thought of the type mentioned in the following verse. Philippines 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

I hope this revision serves you well.  And may the fiery darts formed against you not prevail!

God bless!

Condemnation vs Conviction!

So, how do you tell the difference?

I dealt with that question briefly in Chapter Five of my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

So how do we recognize fiery darts? Examine the effect the “suspicious thought” has on you.  Does it produce confusion, fear, doubt, anger, inferiority, indecisiveness, jealously, or selfishness, for example?  It would be wise to consider where such thoughts could lead.   For example, thoughts of self-sufficiency can lead to a decreased dependency on God.  Thoughts of jealously could lead to revengeful actions.  I’m sure you get the point.  These thoughts are designed for your destruction.  Knowing that sin will certainly proceed from thoughts of this nature, Satan’s plan to destroy us is set in motion. Therefore, if the thought’s natural end is sin, then it is obvious Satan’s fiery darts have been influencing your thinking. p. 33-34

Once I began this study which developed into my book, I gained insight early on into the obvious difference between the two.  Negative thinking when examined using the approach described in the above insert, exposed some types of fiery darts rather easily

But as my skills improved in identifying these rather obvious fiery darts, the more subtle ones began proving to be more difficult. The fiery darts that were getting to me, usually came in the form of self-condemnation.  

I was caught off guard by the fiery darts that would attack me during my prayer time or when contemplating a prayerful thought!

Perhaps I would be pondering a problem or an issue I might be having with another person. Before I realized it thoughts of a self-condemning nature would invade my mind and take over my thinking.  I could not see clearly  how I should deal with the issue or problem I might be pondering because my mind was being diverted by the fiery darts of self-condemnation. 

Consider this:

Satan continues to confuse us as to what is truth and what is a lie. I realized by his taking a bit of truth and wrapping it around a lie, Satan had masterfully manipulated me into considering the corrupted truth and my sensitivity toward the lie lessened with every temptation. p. 20

Do you see how I was being manipulated?

The self-condemning thoughts contained truth about myself.  Therefore, how could I ignore them? Slowly my focus was being diverted from seeking answers on how to deal with the issues or problems I might be having with someone else, to the point that I lost any clarity or insight on how to deal with the problem. It seemed every time I attempted to seek these type of answers, the fiery darts of self-condemnation thwarted my success. 

Keep in mind that conviction brings restoration, a fiery dart brings condemnation. p. 79

Making sense yet?

My own condemnation blinded me from see God’s solutions.

There is a powerful verse that I would like to share with you that is proving to liberate me from this entrapment of self-condemnation.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8:1 NIV

When I am prayerfully seeking answers on how to deal with an issue or problem I might be having with another person, I remember the verse above.  I try hard to remember that God desires for me to receive the answers I am seeking and that condemning me won’t accomplish that.  He has always been able to gently and lovingly convict me of my sin in a non-critical manner and without putting me on the defensive.  I respond to loving conviction and am lifted up; condemnation, on the other hand, only drags me down. 

And therein lies the difference!

Sin is greater than Grace?

Yesterday, a young lady sang a song (who has by the way a voice gifted by God. a natural innocently beautiful voice) during our morning worship service entitled:

Grace will always be greater than sin!

This special music performed by this young lady (who was masterfully accompanied by our choir) reminded us that grace always wins out over sin.  So does Romans 5:20,

 Romans 5:20, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

But I’m sure you have noticed a discrepancy in the title of my post and the title of the song! Well, this is a blog that deals with fiery darts so hang in there with me while I elucidate! (Okay, I could have said ‘explain’ but where’s the fun in that!)

As my young friend sang her heart out, my mind began pondering the duel between grace and sin in my own life.  My mind turns against me often in self-condemning thoughts (or should I say fiery darts!) And even though I believe that Grace is always greater than sin, sometimes my mind’s thoughts reveal the opposite–that sin is greater than grace!  That’s the fault of my focus.

Now let me clarify something here.

Yes, I wrestle with self-condemning thoughts BUT they do not rule me because I do not focus on them.  A deliberate effort has to be made to focus on Christ instead. Since my Heavenly Father unveiled the Enemy’s plan of attack in the use of fiery darts, I’ve grown in my skill to focus on Christ.

Once Satan’s intentions were exposed and the tactics he was so skillfully using to produce such defeat in my life were revealed, then my instruction on how to counter these attacks began in earnest.  p.3, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.

You see, my dear readers, those negative thoughts, fiery darts, or self-condemning thoughts use to send me spiraling downward.  And excerpt from p. 15 of my book illustrates this.

What we think determines how we feel and what we feel influences our actions.  A negative action is often the result of negative thinking.  Understandably, if Satan can negatively influence our thinking then temptations to act negatively will be harder for us to resist. 

My plan is to apply what I have recently learned (yep, you keep learning as long as you are alive, right?) from the verse Philippines 4:8:

Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such thing.

Since negative thoughts pop into my mind so speedily (I mean they are usually the first to arrive), I have learned that the most practical means of slamming the door in their faces is to create an uncomfortable greeting for them the moment they arrive.  That’s where Philippines 4:8 comes in.  For I am learning that if I fill my head with the kind of thoughts this verse refers to, then the self-condemning thoughts don’t really want to hang around.

Philippines 4:8 leads to the next step in fighting fiery darts which is taken from p. 79 in my book.

Afterword

Here are five simple steps to keep in mind when you are faced with a fiery dart:

 1.   Examine the negative thought.

 2.   Ask yourself this question:  What is the purpose of this thought?

 3.  Acknowledge it as a fiery dart, if the purpose is to pull you down in any way.  Then, personalize this prayer based on Isaiah 54:17, “May this weapon formed against me not prevail.” (Keep in mind that conviction brings restoration, a fiery dart brings condemnation.)

 4.  Search your concordance for a Scripture that addresses that issue, after determining the TRUTH you need to combat the lie of the fiery dart.

 5.  Call upon the TRUTH of the Scripture from Step 4, every time you are tempted with the fiery dart.  

Now I’ve come full circle.

Focusing on the fiery darts, (self-condemning or negative thoughts) more than you do on on the TRUTHS that contradict those thoughts is a sin and will result in stealing your joy. (We are thinking thoughts that attribute more power to sin than grace; so be careful here.)

Focusing on God’s TRUTHS instead will fill your mind with hopeful thoughts.  Knowing that His grace is always sufficient and is always greater than our sins, pulls us out of the mire those fiery darts have condemned us to, and the light of God’s grace fills us with hope.

Here’s the wrap up!

Some happy thoughts that I’m focusing on at present  (Philip. 4:8, remember) is that God does not ignore my needs,

Philip. 4:19, He supplies ALL of them

and that He doesn’t condemn me

Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

Romans 8:28, AND that all things work together for my good, 

AND (drum roll…….)

His Grace is ALWAYS greater than sin!