Week 1: DAY 4
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Life is Out of Control
Ponder: Yesterday, we pondered that our thoughts can often contribute to the sense of life being very much out of control. We looked at the Lord wanting to transform our thoughts (Romans 12:2) and that He desires to capture our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5). The consistent habit of crying out to Him, being thankful in all things, praising Him even when we do not "feel" like it, reading and meditating on His Word, reaching out to someone else for prayer; these are all vital components towards freedom. This is not easy when you are in a low place but it is a part of taking up our cross and following Jesus (Luke 9:23). The negative thoughts may need to be put to death and different, more fruitful thoughts put in their place.
Action: It is important to recognize that our negative thought patterns come from somewhere. Today we are going to focus on the impact of desire. For example: I wake up in the morning, my mood is not good for whatever reason, possibly a headache, a late night, it doesn't matter. My thoughts could go like this; "why do I feel so bad this am? this is going to ruin my day, I can't stand this, I won't have the strength to do all I want to do, this lock down is really getting me down, I can't even see my friends, I need my friends, God, why? I might as well use, and try to feel better. Oh why did I do that?"
Where is the desire in all of this? I just want to feel good and have the energy to do all I want to do when I want to do it. I don't want any restrictions on my life. I desire the freedom to go and see whomever I want to, whenever I want to. My mood and thought life is so often dependent on whether my desires are met in a particular time frame in a particular way.
Do you not know that when you came to Christ you belong to Christ? "But now you belong to Christ Jesus. At one time you were far away from God. Now you have been brought close to Him. Christ did this for you when He gave His blood on the cross." Ephesians 2:13
Our desires need to be firmly given over to God. They belong to Him. That is freedom.
Imagine the above thoughts going like this: "I do feel bad this am. Help me Lord not allow this to spiral me today. Help me to be thankful for another day and rely on your strength and presence as I walk through the day. Yes, we are in lock down, help me reach out to a friend today, yes in a different way. Please help me stand firm and not give in to the temptation that is so very strong when I am alone. I praise You because You are my God, my Lord, my ever present help in time of need".
Reach for your Bible. Find out about God's desires. What He wants you to know. The Psalms are an amazing place to start. Paul's letters: Ephesians and Colossians show you who you are and what Christ has done for you.
Prayer: Lord, I have so many of my own desires. Make me willing to lay them down to follow You in the everyday things of life. Help me to grow in who You desire me to be and the desires You have for me. Let me begin today afresh in You. Amen
Challenge: Spend a few minutes writing down some desires you have, asking God to reveal any hidden ones you may have. Then take some time to hand them over to God; "not my will but yours be done." This might be painful and you may want to do this with someone else present.