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.
Christian parents, I would urge you to seriously considered the message of my book,Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, especially where it concerns your adolescent/s. As parents, we need to prepare our adolescent/s to live in a world that will do everything within its power to turn them away from the things of God. Negative thinking, or fiery darts, will seek to control their minds, and as adolescents they are most vulnerable.
Considering that our sin nature will always be struggling with our Christ-like nature, we need to equip our adolescent/s with the Truths thoughts they will need to overcome those temptations. You are going to discover those Truths, as you prayerfully considered the Truths of Scripture.
How we parent our adolescents in large measure determines the outcome of how our adolescents will fare as they face such temptations. As parents we should be encouraged for God, our Heavenly Father, has given us a pattern for parenting in the way He loves (parents) us, (His children)!
So, Consider this:
God (our Father) does not condemn us or punish us out of anger (His children) when we go wrong. No, He brings us under His loving hand of conviction which is designed to bring about healing in our lives. Why? Because He delights in us and wants what is best for us. He corrects in love; not in anger.
For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12
God loves us because we are His. Therefore, we don’t have to work to earn His love and acceptance. We have faith in that. We trust in God’s love because we know He sacrificed His only Son for our sakes. His is a sacrificial love. We feel loved and accepted just the way we are for that’s how God loves us. When we grasp that sacrificial, faithful, everlasting love we feel whole and complete.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Because we are complete in God, we have no need to seek another human being’s love to complete us. We know true love because we learned it from our Heavenly Father, therefore when we encounter someone who expresses a love for us that falls short of the love that we have been taught to value, then we will not be persuaded to settle for something less.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9
We have no need to look at others and compare ourselves to them. We feel good about ourselves because we are secure in God’s love for us. We trust God and will follow wherever He leads because we trust the wonderful plans He has for us. No one or no thing in this life has more to offer, therefore we are less vulnerable to Satan’s victimization via fiery darts.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a futures. Jeremiah 29:11
The best thing we can do for our adolescents, therefore, is to parent them the way God parents us!
Because my missionary mom’s blog: http://missionarysmom.wordpress.com is a direct application of how to defeat the fiery dart of fear, I have reposted it here. So if you read one, you have read them both. But realizing not all of my readers following both blogs, for their benefit this post will be found in both blogs.
Today, I am dealing with a lot of temptations in the form of fiery darts. You know, negative thinking! Thoughts, that tempt me to fear for my dear ones living far away! So far, because of God’s marvelous grace and love, and because I have been counseled and tutored by the Holy Spirit on how to resist such temptations, fear and worry are being held at bay!
Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, is a book of the lessons God taught me on how to resist negative thinking. You can order your copy by clicking on the following link:
Because of recent news reports, the enemy has upped the pressure in tempting me to succumb to the fiery darts of worry and fear for my loved ones. Therefore, I am faced with a choice–give into the fear and worry, or resist them. I choose to resist them, of course! The plan of action is that every time these fiery darts of fear and worry attempt to gain entrance into my mind, I call on the power of God’s Word to turn them away.
Of course, this is not easy! The temptations are powerful! Therefore, I do what I’ve been trained to do:
1-Recognize the thoughts of fear and worry for the fiery darts they are
2-Resist them by calling upon God’s strength
3-Replace the fiery dart thoughts, with God’s Truth Thoughts from God’s Words
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
No weapon that is formed against (my loved ones) will prosper. Isaiah 54:17 (my words in parenthesis)
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. Isaiah 26:33
Do not withhold your mercy from (them), LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect (them). Psalm 40:11 NIV (my words in parenthesis)
And you know, before I got finished writing this blog, I got a word from my loved ones that they are all okay. Things are tense there but they are okay!
We can face them as individuals or as a group. Sometimes they loom so large we fear we will be overwhelmed by them. Then again, our perspective regarding how we approach problems can be so skewed by fiery dart thinking (negative thinking, remember) that we choose a downward path, oblivous to the upward path already laid out by God for our good.
Here’s God’s plan!
Problems are meant to work out for our benefit!
Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We are meant to rise above our problems; not sink under the weight of them!
Romans 8:37, No, in all these things (problems) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Problems are designed to supply what might be lacking in our spiritual makeup
James 1:2-3, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anthing.
There’s more but this is enough to make my point!
Typically, problems create more problems. Listen to anyone or group absorbed in a problem and what do you hear? One negative statement after another. It’s seems those involved have an opinion on what caused the problem and will rehearse their negative opinion with anyone who will listen.
I have seen the progression fiery dart thinking sets in motion. When problems occur the temptation we succumb to is to set our eyes upon the problem and think of nothing else. The darkness produced by such negativity grows with the intention to completly obliterate the Light of God’s solutions.
I know what that is like. I have been there. It’s a no win situation. Not until, that is, you turn your gaze and ear to Jesus and begin following His instructions.
It’s likely He will open your eyes to the fact that while He has good plans for you, Satan does not.
John 10:10, A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.
He might even ask us this question: Whose plan are you cooperating with?
If we are maintaining a negative perspective regarding the problems with which we are faced, the answer to this question is obvious.
However, I do not believe that we intentionally choose to cooperate more with Satan’s plan than we do God’s. I do believe that we have been deceived with fiery dart thoughts that have blinded us to God’s plan. Which is why I write this post–to reveal Satan’s plan.
Start speaking Truth to the problem–using the verses like the ones I have offered in this post. When a thought forms in your mind regarding the problem, ask yourself this question:
Is it a fiery dart thought or a Truth thought?
Only proceed if your words will speak Truth. Then set back and watch the glory of God at work in your obedience and pour out more blessings that you can imagine. Malachi 3:10 backs this up.
If you don’t like any of the candidates, then don’t vote.
If we don’t feel strongly (it’s a matter of conviction) about fulfilling our responsibility as citizens of this great country of ours by voting, then we can easily be persuaded (or should I so manipulated) to solve our dilemma by simply not voting. If ‘Me’ is the center of our focus, instead of what is good for America, then we will strive to do whatever makes us happy. If we aren’t happy with the candidates who are running, then not voting appears to be the solution to us.
Replace the above reasoning (fiery dart) with the Truth Thought below:
The video I mentioned reminds us that we should, in cases like this, vote the better choice. And remember, if Christians get registered and vote, due to our vast numbers, our combined voices will eventually become so loud that the type of candidates we would want to vote for will get into the running.
As some of you may know, I write another blog about being a parent of a foreign missionary, giving a transparent view of what that’s like. This post gives some insight as to what I’ve learned about fiery darts as it applies to being the mom of a missionary.
All 9 of my treasures!
Every time I see a picture of my 20 month old grandson or hear his voice when his daddy calls me, I get blasted with a huge onslaught of fiery darts such as:
-my grandson doesn’t know me
-the memories I am making with my grandchildren here always exclude him
-he has no memory of our time together (when he was 3 & 4 months)
-I miss out on the milestones of his development; first steps, crawling, first words, first tooth
-I can’t hug him, or hold him, or play with him, or rock him to sleep
How on earth do I find a way to get through my days burdened with these thoughts?
The main thing I do is to RESIST these thoughts. Yes, they are true but what good does it do to dwell on them? I don’t particularly enjoy being miserable but if I allow these fiery dart thoughts to rule my thinking then miserable I would be.
What do I do instead?
I recognize them for the fiery darts they are.
I reject them. (I don’t allow myself to dwell on such thoughts)
I replace these thoughts with truth thoughts.
-Thanking God for the time I got to visit him where I held him, sang to him, and lavished as much attention on him as I could.
-Looking forward to future visits with him for he will be 2+ and might even be able to remember me some.
-Resting in the peace that God will give us a special attachment for each other.
-Being content to share in his life though packages from home, and whatever media source God provides.
-Thanking God for the relationship I have with his parents knowing they will be deliberate about making sure my grandson will know me.
But the main thing is to accept and be at peace with the call of God on his parent’s life, and giving them all the love and support they deserve. Philippines 4:6-7 is my stabilizing force in all of this:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.-
Negative thoughts came first; from that came this!
Our little cartoon girl certainly would have been drawn quite differently if someone was trying to illustrate the result of positive thinking, don’t you think? !
What we think determines how we feel and what we feel influences out actions. A negative action is often the result of negative thinking!p. 15 Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.
As I watch the destructive force being poured out upon people (Christian and nonChristian alike) via fiery darts, I am almost tempted to despair. (But I don’t give into that because I RECOGNIZE it is a fiery dart.)
For those of you who have a copy of my book and who read this blog, fiery darts have been exposed and you now possess the knowledge of how you have been (hopefully, it’s a past tense thing with you) manipulated.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t bothered with fiery darts anymore, does it? Nope, not at all, if anything the attacks come more frequently now! Well, that has certainly been the case with me.
A real life example of a fiery dart attack!
There I stood in confrontation with a person whom I love and cherish. I had made a mistake and because of the stress that laid heavily upon this person their reaction to my mistake was blown totally out of proportion and negative thoughts (fiery darts, you see) fueled some very negative words as a result.
At first, my response was to sincerely apologize (I was trying hard to respond, not react for I was keenly aware of the stress involved). But as the tension escalated, I soon realized that a sincere apology wasn’t going to suffice. After repeated attempts to apologize failed, I soon found myself bombarded mentally with fiery darts and I was struggling to stay afloat. After all, I wrote a book about this very thing, I should know how to handle the onslaught (the fiery darts within my own mind), right? !
Then, at a critical moment during our negative discourse, my confrontation partner spoke a “truth thought” that served to overpower the fiery darts swirling through my mind. Therefore, the tension slowly subsided and clarity with understanding prevailed. This confrontation ended on a positive note and the relationship between us was strengthened.
1) Because we RECOGNIZED the fiery darts with which both of us were being attacked.
2)We struggled to REJECT them, (not an easy task I can assure you, but we did it. Power of God’s grace, you know)
3)Finally by REPLACING the fiery darts with truth thoughts we overpowered their negativity and peace prevailed.
Refer to my blog post on The 3 R’s of Fighting Fiery Darts from which the above was derived: http://wp.me/p1ZA1r-9p
This my friend, is how you conquer the fiery dart of worry!
I am just a worrier. It’s the way I was made. I can’t help it!
The next time you make that statement or hear someone else make that statement, I hope you will refer to my blog posts. You see, worry is a major fiery dart! Worry will create all sorts of turmoil within your mind. That turmoil will make you vulnerable and a prime target for fiery darts that will undermine your trust and faith in God.
If you ever have any thoughts like the ones I opened with in this post, then plant your feet firmly in God’s Word and
1 – Recognize those thoughts for the fiery darts that they are
2 – Reject them outright for dear readers they are nothing but lies
3 – Replace them with Truth thoughts (go to your computer and type in the phrase “verses about worry” for there you will find a bunch of them. God has a lot to say about worrying) but I highly recommend,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:67 (NIV)
Now that you have had the opportunity to read my last two posts illustrating, through personal testimony, why I see God as my logistics coordinator, I hope I have given you food for thought that will deflect all those fiery darts that tempt you to worry. He will prove to you, as He does for me over and over again, that He can be trusted to work all things out for my good (ooh, sounds like Romans 8:28 doesn’t it!) That, my dear readers is a liberated way to live!