Changed from the Inside Out

As I learned to enter God’s rest and walk in His Spirit, I experienced intense withdrawals from my former codependent lifestyle. I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

One moment I would say or do something codependent and the next moment I would step into my new role as a Spirit-led Believer and say or do the opposite. I confused people by this dual personality.

 

Gradually, I decreased in my role as a codependent and Christ increased in me. I learned to say “No” unless God told me to say “Yes.” He taught me to let the job go undone; so others whom God was calling to that role would step up and do it instead of me.

 

I started to see and appreciate the gray hues and tones in life, rather than seeing only black or white. My flexibility increased and my rigid extremes decreased.

 

The demon of perfectionism left my soul and I found joy in the messes of life as I had more time to enjoy other pursuits, which God called me to do. I actually left dishes in the sink and went to bed.

 

God’s Spirit slowly changed my perspective from a carnal, earth-bound outlook to a spiritual, heavenly-minded one. He also healed my wounded soul, traumatized and dysfunctional since childhood and young adulthood ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

 

I released the shame and feelings of defectiveness attached to the wounds of the past and accepted His divine character and the fruit of His Spirit in their place (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for exposing Satan’s lies, which made me believe that I had to earn love by my behavior. Your Agape love opened me up to expect unconditional love from the significant others in my life. The fear, insecurity, defensiveness and over-sensitivity, which plagued my life decreased as I learned to trust You in spite of the untrustworthy people in my life.

 

You taught me the reality of the fact that You work out everything for our good, even the negative experiences in our life, which threaten to choke the very life from our soul (Roman 8:28). You trained me to look for the seed for a miracle in every trial. You are our worthy, benevolent Father and we are completely loved by You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Self-destructive behaviors – driven by frustration, anger and a wounded soul – diminish as we learn to enter God’s rest and bask in His peace and joy, which are our true source of strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

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Don’t Fix the Fix

Born as a person who wants to please, I am devastated when I realize that I often fell short of my goal. I have always striven for perfection in myself in order to find favor with others. After I came to Christ, my housemate shared with me these key verses that taught me not to stress over reaching perfection (Galatians 3:1-3).

It took me another ten years to come to understand the full meaning of this and how to actually let go and let God. The first step was to recognize that I was one of the world’s best Codependents, and that God wanted to set me free from that bondage. It was a revelation to me to realize that I did not have to solve all of the problems of the world and then feel like a martyr because I neglected myself in the process.

We often solve a person’s problems for them, which thwarts the hand of God in their life. We rob them of a blessing and we force God to have to produce another trial for them to overcome in order to strengthen their faith. It has been said, “Do not fix the fix that God has fixed to fixed someone; or God will just have to fix another fix to fix them!” We cause them to needlessly suffer another trial.

The foolish Galatians (3:1-3) were trying to perfect their life after receiving salvation as a free gift. They thought they had to earn their sanctification. God calls us to enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10) and to leave our perfection to Him! We do not earn salvation or sanctification, because it is GOD that is working in us and giving us both the desire and the power to live a holy life (Philippians 2:12-13).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to accept our privileges as Your children and heirs. Christ in us is an ever-present reality that we often ignore. Teach us to tap into the amazing spiritual power that You provide for us, and to walk in Your ways every step of our day. Thank you for becoming a man and paying our sin debt and giving us the victory over both sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Thought for the Day:
Do not fill your day with ceaseless activity, but walk in the power of God’s Spirit and reap both productivity and fulfillment.

Perfect Perfectionism

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day are ideal examples of religious perfectionism (Matthew 5:20). They took the words of the prophets and the law of God and turned them into a formula for success rather than a guide for life. They perfected their outward behavior without having an inner change of heart. They were clean on the outside, but inside they were full of decay and corruption (Mathew 23:27).

They reeked of inner darkness and death, which comes from the flesh. Jesus wanted to create a clean heart in them (Psalm 51:10), and to transform their carnality into perfect spirituality by His Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to do the same thing for us today. He desires to give us His new nature and to mold in us a new, pliable heart instead of the stony one, which is the result of life’s devastation (Ezekiel 36:26).

As God’s Spirit changes our nature to that of Christ, then our behavior changes right along with it (2 Peter 1:4). The more we affirm the work of God’s Spirit in our life, the freer we become from the lies and bondage of Satan and his demons. Our identity no longer derives its strength from our carnal efforts, but from the love, which Christ has for each of us.

We consistently act in accordance with Biblical principles rather than by perfectionistic perceptions of God’s law. We stand in the power of Christ within us, knowing without a doubt that we are children of God, co-heirs with Christ and part of His beloved Body of Authentic Believers (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 12:27). We walk in the victory of Calvary with the assurance of eternal life.

Prayer:
Father God, eternal life starts the moment we acknowledge our sins and surrender our life to You (Mark 1:14-15). Our intimacy with You, Your Son and Your Spirit grows each moment of every day for the rest of our life; as we spend time in prayer, Bible reading, fellowshipping with other Christians and worshipping together as Your Body on earth. Christ did more than forgive our sins, although that is the reason for our praise to Your name; but He also came to accept us into Your eternal family and give us an abundant life in You both now and forever (John 17:3; Ephesians 1:6).

Thought for the Day:
Eternal life is not the duration of our life, but rather the value of our life in Christ.