April 11, 2018
One of the schemes evil spirits employ is to deceive people into believing that mistreating themselves is somehow spiritual. Have you ever encountered this in others? Or maybe you see this behavior in yourself? Many of these baffled believers are convinced that they please God when they think of themselves as losers, lowlifes or sinners.
These believers have lost sight of Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:29: “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” So it is about time we learn how to tenderly care for ourselves, because Jesus wants us to have a great life—spirit, soul and body.
When you live in anything less than righteousness, peace and joy, you are not experiencing everything that our Lord paid for. Jesus put it this way: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
It is so important that you don’t get the thief and the Lord mixed up!
Conviction vs. Condemnation
The devil often finds an open door to condemn us when we do something wrong. The Lord convicts us when we sin. The difference between condemnation and conviction may seem subtle, but it can be deadly. Condemnation says, “You lied, therefore you are a liar. You got drunk, therefore you must be an alcoholic.” Condemnation tries to convince us that our bad action is the fruit of being a bad person.
On the other hand, conviction says, “You are way too awesome to act like that.” Conviction reminds us of our God-given identity and calls us to act like a son or daughter of God and not a sinner.
If we listen to the devil, he will convince us that we are bad people who deserve punishment. It is impossible to experience real joy while believing we are evil. Remember, when Jesus died on the cross for us, He changed our nature and we became part of the Royal Family.
Jesus became our advocate or lawyer, and it is important that we never talk to the devil without our attorney present. We also should not do for the devil what he cannot do for himself. He cannot touch us; he can only talk to us. So when we self-destruct, we are doing for the devil what he cannot do for himself.
Talking to Yourself
We are not sinners, but saints, and we must remind ourselves of our family status. But what does this practically look like? One of the ways you can nourish your new nature is to talk to yourself regarding what God thinks about you. Whether you are young or old, male or female, introverted or extroverted, you have more conversations with yourself than you have with anyone else in the world.
If you add to that the fact that we tend to trust ourselves more than anyone else, what do you think happens when you speak negatively, punish or talk down to yourself? I will tell you what happens—you destroy your own confidence, kill your self-esteem and ultimately end up in the boneyard of depression, hopelessness and fear.
On the other hand, when you take the Word and the thoughts of God and begin to speak them into your new man, you’ll start to experience the fruit of the Spirit in the depths of your very being. Peace starts saturating your mind, joy infiltrates your soul and the life of God is released into your mortal body.
Lessons from Joshua
One of the greatest examples of this principle is hidden in the life of the Old Testament character Joshua. In the most challenging season of his life, he learned one of the most important lessons of his life. As I describe the circumstances, see if you can relate to his situation.
God had just told Joshua that Moses, his leader and personal hero, was dead. To make matters even more challenging, the Lord also informed him that the divine mission Moses failed to fulfill was now being assigned to him! Joshua must have felt alone, scared, discouraged and overwhelmed. In the face of all that, God gave him these instructions:
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6–9)
3 Keys to Success
Notice how God gave Joshua the secret of controlling his emotions and guaranteeing his victory. There are three keys here that God said would determine his success.
- First, the Law of God was to be in his mouth.
- Next, he was to meditate on it day and night.
- And finally, he was to do all that he was talking about and meditating on. It is interesting that the word meditate in this passage actually means to utter, muse, ponder, declare and even sing over yourself! In other words, God instructed Joshua to do more than just think about the His Law; He actually commanded Joshua to talk, declare, muse and sing to himself about God’s Word.
Verbalize What God Says About You
Like Joshua, when we come into an intense and challenging season in our lives, it often takes more than the simple memorizing of Scripture to keep us out of discouragement, depression, panic and fear. Something powerful happens when we verbalize what God thinks and says about us.
Even the world has discovered this secret. If you read most self-help books, you will often find a chapter on speaking kindly to yourself. Psychologists call this principle positive self-talk. They realize that verbalizing affirming and encouraging words over ourselves helps build confidence and self-esteem. But how much more powerful this principle is when instead of just declaring good stuff to ourselves, we repeat what God is saying about us!
How do you practically treat yourself kindly? How do you partner with conviction instead of condemnation? I’d love to hear your thoughts, testimonies, and comments below!
Topics: All TopicsFreedomIdentity