Truthoughts

Introspection and Beyond

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  • May 2013
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Archive for May, 2013

40 Days of Challenge – Day 2 Introspection and Kindness

Posted by truthoughts on May 13, 2013

40 Days of Challenge

Day 2

Introspection and Kindness

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Childhood

Proverbs 9:10 (KJV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Our childhood experiences, especially in the family, greatly affect how we view and respond within our adult relationships. Though the process of maturing in a healthy way, we must peer back and divide the truth from the fiction in regard to our perspective.  As we sift through events in our past, we can begin to replace the poor foundations of our relationship understandings with a more Godly perspective.

For example, when I was 14 years old, through some traumatic events in my life, I became depressed.  Feeling depressed caused me not to want to attend school. As a result, my mom, being a single mother, had a difficult time raising me.  She worked multiple jobs at the time, and when she was home and should have been resting, we were arguing or playing the silence game.  There came a time when she had had enough and decided to contact my father, so I could live with him.

During this phone conversation with my father, he gave me every excuse as to why he could not take me in.   Due to his response to me, I was left feeling rejected and unloved.  This theme of feeling rejected and unloved, repeated many times, in may scenarios through the years, as I am sure multitudes can relate.

The foundation which was built, because of events like these, was held together by all sorts of garbage.  I needed to tear up that destructive foundation, and create a clean, pure, and true foundation.  Through this process, I realized that it was not really about me, that my father did not want me to come and stay with him.  It was rooted in his own insecurities of feeling inadequate to care for me.  My father had never cared for his kids other than a few weekends or summer vacations a year. He enjoyed the “fun dad” image, but was more than ready to let someone else care for the larger issues pertaining to child rearing.  As a child, I could not understand this aspect of his perspective, but as an adult, I can.

I will not lie to you, this is a painful process. It can also be time consuming, depending upon how many and how deep the poorly structured foundations go. However, it is very worth the effort, tears, and time.  One realization which you must accept is that though you may change and grow, those around you may not.  In fact, as discussed in Day 1 “Expectations and Patience“, they will more than likely actively engage you to oppose this change.  The reason why they may react in this manner is because your change places a mirror before them.  This mirror shows them that the strongholds they have allowed to dictate their identity and direction, can be cut and changed.

By our sin nature, we are lazy.  We rely on excuses and blame to prevent us from moving forward.  It is guaranteed that those closest to you will do everything in their power to hold you back.  This is why Scripture tells us that a prophet is not accepted where he is from (Luke 4:24). Those who know you best, and the longest, know your dirt.  They have a hard time seeing a new you and will continually attempt to push you back into the mud with the rest of those wallowing in it; however, you are not a swine, but of royal standing in the Kingdom of Christ.  You do not belong in the mud.  So, before you allow anyone to return you to the mud you were delivered from, remember this:

Matthew 7:6 (KJV) “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

As with human relationships, when originally exposed to the Christian faith, we encounter foundations of fallacy; hence the many denominations.  If you look deeper into every denomination, you will also notice that even within themselves, they do not hold to all of the same doctrines.  With this, you can see that as human relationship foundations must be torn up and relayed, so do the flawed philosophies laid by fallible man. The way to do this is to go straight to the source, God’s Word, to see what is His true and pure foundation of the faith.

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

You may ask, “How can I know if I have created a different god to follow, than the true Jesus?”  If you ask yourself the following questions, take note of your reaction, which will reveal the truth.

(1)  Do you desire to read God’s Word in full, rather than selected verses by others?

(2)  When someone refers to, or quotes Scripture, do you research to see if it is accurate?

(3)  If the verse is not accurate, does this upset you?

(4)  If you are shown Scripture that reveals your preconceived notion of the Lord as inaccurate, are you willing to give up your opinion and conform to His Word accordingly? Or do you feel offended, and reject it with any excuse in order to maintain your identity and lifestyle?

Luke 9:23 (KJV) “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Luke 14:26-27 (KJV) “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Colossians 2:8 (KJV) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Before we continue, I suggest praying to the Lord now to quicken you in His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, discernment, and direction.  Also that He will reveal suppressed memories and foundational errors in a way that brings you the proper perspective, while guiding you to healing, growth, and restoration in your human relationships (past and present), and most importantly, with Him.

Now, with this in mind, attempt to answer the following questions in one sentence: (Note: You may do this as many times for as many situations as you desire, it is encouraged to do so. Also, use human relationship circumstances as well as those pertaining to your relationship with the Lord.)

(1)  In regard to what has been discussed above, what incident comes to mind from your past? Who was there?  When was this incident?  Where were you?

(2)  What happened?  (Literally try to place yourself in this situation, to remember as much as possible)

(3)  What has the Lord revealed to you regarding how you behave in your current relationship(s) as a result of this event?

(4)  What possible perspectives (interpretations) exist pertaining to that event?  (For example: In my story that I shared with you regarding my father, my interpretation at the time was that I was being rejected and was unloved.)

(5)  Write a prayer of release from any unhealthy habits (negative behaviors) in thinking and actions that you have developed as a result of this event.

KINDNESS

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

The action of love is through kindness.  As love reacts through patience, kindness is the forerunner of love.  Kindness is the initial action, patience the reaction.

Proverbs 3:3-4 (KJV) “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”

If you were to narrow the aspects of kindness down to four points, they would be as follows:

(1)  Initiative: Acts of kindness are not prompted by outside sources, but rather spurred on by inward love and compassion.  Kindness takes the first step, regardless of how deserving the recipient may appear.

(2)  Gentleness: Kindness prompts gentleness and tenderness toward others.  Even when faced with difficult situations or personalities, the kindness of love guides us to go out of our way in order to treat others with compassion through gentle speech rather than harsh words and tones.

(3)  Helpfulness: Kindness is an act of being helpful through a servant heart.  Wives seek to be a helpmate to their husbands, unconcerned by their individual rights and standing.  Husbands are moved to understand the needs of their wives, and fulfill them, even if it means putting their own needs aside.

Matthew 20:27 (KJV) “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be yourservant.”

Ephesians 5:25 (KJV) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”

(4)  Willingness: Submitting your willfulness for the sake of another is a very high act of kindness through love.  When you are faced with an argument, instead of causing damage through insisting you are in the right, submit yourselves one to another by taking time to first listen and understand the other person.  By being willing to give of yourself and your own desires for another, you show the greatest act of love.  This is what is meant by the Lord telling us we need to take up our cross daily and follow Him.  Our cross is our old self, desires, wills, dreams, ideas, and the like.  We are to give up ourselves in order to fully follow Him. We see above in Ephesians 5:25, that husbands are to love their wives in this manner, by giving themselves up for their wives.  Both wives and husbands are to follow the ideal of becoming a servant to each other, and by doing so, they become witnesses to each other and those around them of the greatness of God and of His love.

In most circumstances, it is kindness that brings people together for a lifelong commitment toward each other.  Over time, each may begin to take the other for granted, causing kindness to waver.  In Proverbs 31:26, we read that this blessed woman has kindness in her tongue.  When you speak to those around you, are you blessing them with kindness or cursing them?  Despite the actions and reactions of those around you, make the choice today to speak and think toward others with kindness and pure love.  Meet every harsh word with a blessing.  You may see that the blessings spoken in love to a stone heart, can melt the walls seen as solid and indestructible.

Proverbs19:22a (KJV) “The desire of a man is his kindness”

Proverbs 23:7a (KJV) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”

In the same manner, attempt to do at least one generous act of kindness to your spouse or loved one.  In addition to this, do something for God.  You can choose to share His Word with another, or help someone in need to show His love.

At the end of the day,  take a moment to reflect on what you have learned and done.  What did you discover?  Come up with some ideas on how to implement this in your daily life.  You may be surprised at how things begin to change around you for the better.  Even in negative situations, we are told in Scripture the following:

Romans12:20 (KJV) “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head”

References

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*Day 1: Expectations and Patience*

*Day 3: Introspection and Unselfish Love*

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40 Days of Challenge – Day 1 Expectations and Patience

Posted by truthoughts on May 12, 2013

40 Days of Change

Day 1

Expectations and Patience

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1 Corinthians 13:4-8b (KJV) “Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (love) vaunteth (boasts) not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity (love) never faileth”

EXPECTATIONS

Psalm 62:5 (KJV) “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”

Changes:

What small tangible and measurable ways would you expect to see changed in your marriage that would indicate that progress was being made? List three.

Example: (1) I would give my husband [wife] daily praise for the things he [she] has done.

Releases:

What previous expectations for your husband [wife] are you willing to release to God?  List three.

Example:(1) My husband [wife] focuses on me without distraction.

Take note that just as you have preconceived expectations with your spouse, you also have them for your relationship with God.  One area that many struggle with in this regard is in unanswered prayers.  We expect that God is required to answer all of our prayers based on verses such as the following:

John 16:24 (KJV) “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Matthew 21:22 (KJV) “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

However, we neglect other versus such as the following:

James 4:3 (KJV) “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Now, with this understanding, follow the above exercise in the perspective of your relationship with God.  List three signs of tangible change and three expectations you are willing to set aside in order to accept God’s will, whatever it may be.

PATIENCE

Proverbs 14:29 (KJV) “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”

The two pillars that uphold love in all things are founded in “patience” and “kindness”.  Other attributes of love are merely extensions of these two qualities.  These pillars hold love up like a banner, providing a cover for all who take refuge under its shade.

Songs 2:4 (KJV) “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.”

1 Peter 4:8-9 (KJV) “Above all things have fervent (without ceasing) charity (love) among yourselves (each other): for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality (generosity) one to another without grudging.”

Patience can stop and redirect wrongs in the path of love. When you first fall in love, you tend to show much more patience with your loved one than you might years later. What is the difference?  The difference is that in the beginning of a relationship, everything is fresh and new.  Your expectations are heightened by a dream of preconceived notions you have in the hope of love with a “happily ever-after” life.  Once you have been in a relationship with an individual, over time, chances are they have not met at least some of those expectations, and you may become disillusioned and disappointed, whereby creating a resentment list in the back of your mind.  These resentments, whether small or great, cause you to become less and less patient with them.  Eventually, if these issues are not handled, then one small thing may set off a chain reaction of negative activity.

Just as you follow a pattern in your marital relationships, you also follow a similar pattern in your relationship / walk with the Lord.  At times, we may forget that our walk with the Lord is a real, living relationship, susceptible to all the same pitfalls of our imperfections and preconceived expectations.  When our expectations are not met, as described above in regard to answered prayers…we may tend to build up resentments toward God Himself.  We may disguise these resentments in ways to help us not feel guilty about feeling this way toward God, but they may still be there…under the surface.  Just as resentment can cause havoc in our human relationships, the same is true in our heavenly relationship.

I have written a post in regard to how our human relationships are merely examples and training grounds for our relationship with the Lord, found here.

Do you find that when you are treated in a negative way, that you react in accordance to the spirit against you?  If you feel hurt, is your initial reaction to lash out or retaliate in some way?  If so, then patience is an attribute to focus on.  A lack of patience is a visible sign that there is built up pain from somewhere or someone.  Truly, the only one who can fully heal that pain, is the Lord.  However, what if the pain you are feeling is a result of how you perceive something the Lord has done, or not done?  Where are you to go from there?

The answer is that you go to God and His Word.

Mark 9:23-24 (KJV) “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Romans 10:17 (KJV) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Exercise 

List three recent times when you have lost your patience with your spouse, and what you could have done to change the outcome.

Example: (1) You asked your spouse to do something repeatedly and it never got done, so you reacted by bringing up past mistakes, yelling at them, retaliating against something they value, etc.

Now, follow the same exercise in the perspective of your relationship with the Lord.

Example: (1) Something negative occurred perhaps at a church, an organization, with a family member or friend, etc. and you reacted by cursing God or refusing to pray, etc.

Proverbs 15:18 (KJV) “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

From this point forward, attempt to approach your marital relationship, as well as your spiritual relationship with the guidance of the following verse in mind :

1Thessalonians 5:15 (KJV) “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (including God)

This will be a struggle, as our flesh is corrupted by the nature of sin and rebels against pure sacrificial love in action.  This will be a fight in your thoughts, emotions, faith, and actions.  Remember that this life is a battlefield, which is why we must equip ourselves with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18 ) because our advisory is destined to make attempts for our destruction.  The enemy goes after the weakest links in our chain.  He uses those closest to us, to destroy us.  With this in mind, you must guard yourselves and those around you, through prayer and perseverance, in order to overcome the tests and trials you are guaranteed to face.

The nature of this world is to prevent any from conforming to Christ, as that is direct adversity to the enemy.  When you make an effort to move in the direction of Christ, you will be met with equal resistance.  The same is true of any positive changes.

Though this be the case, know that you are called to overcome the world and the ruler of this world.  It is through Christ and His Word (which He is John 1:14), that you are fully equipped for this task.  All you must do is commit to it, despite any pain, fear, rejection, or opposition of any kind.  Set your face like flint, your feet forward, and push through, one step at a time.  At times you may barely take a baby step, while at others, you may run free as the wind.  No matter which you find yourself – at the moment, continue on and you will make progress.

Goal

Make it your goal from this day forward to stay positive. No matter what may come, from your spouse or any other part of your life, resolve to respond in a positive way. If you are unable to do so, remain in silence and pray for patience.  During prayer, focus on thanking the Lord for the good things in your life.  You may feel there is only one good thing, thank Him for it.  If you feel there are no good things in your life, thank the Lord that you have been given this time to make changes, and for what the Lord will do through this commitment you are making now.

Exercise

At the end of the day, ponder over everything that occurred. Write down the times you faced that tested this new resolve you have committed to.  Write down how you chose to react to those tests.  Looking back, is there anything you would like to do differently, if so, what/how? Write this down.

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Pray to the Lord to increase you in the following :

James 1:19 (KJV) “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”

Psalm 5:2-3 (KJV) “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, oh Lord; in the mourning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up”

Proverbs 16:3 (KJV) “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established”

Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”

Ephesians 4:2 (KJV) “With all lowliness (humility) and meekness (gentleness), with longsuffering (patience), forbearing (upholding, sustaining, enduring) one another in love”

**Day 2: Introspection and Kindness**

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