Have you ever felt a pushback from those to whom you expressed your love? Maybe you experienced negativity or downright resentment in response to your kindness towards them. The closer you try to get, the less receptive they become. In the process, you may wonder what you have done wrong to deserve such maltreatment. In some cases, there was no indication such behavior would transpire in the beginning stages of the relationship. What gives? Unless you actually did something to deserve hostility, don’t take it personally. You are not the problem! You’re up against something powerful that destroys relationships before they can grow to any depth -even if the individual wants the relationship. They can’t help but self-sabotage when things “start getting good.”
Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). If you don’t love yourself in the way God loves you, you will have a very difficult time loving anyone else. You can’t give what you don’t have. For some, this is obvious: people push back love simply because they don’t love themselves, and see no reason anyone else could love them either. They carry a hypothesis that states, “I don’t’ deserve love, so no one could possibly love me.” They work hard at proving their hypothesis, which is where self-sabotage comes to play. By and large, they’re oblivious to their mental and emotional state. One might say, “Yea, but I constantly tell them, ‘I love you.’ I’m always trying to encourage them. Surely they can get it!” Here’s a simple truth: they don’t trust you -they never did! But that’s not your fault. Where did this mistrust come from?
John 10:10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy . . . The enemy seeks to destroy people at the earliest stages of life possible. The earlier he can get to them, the easier it is to keep them from connecting to the love of God our Father, or anyone else’s for that matter. He has ravaged many families. Most of us by now are painfully aware of dysfunctional families all over the globe. Before going further, do remember the devil has been disempowered by the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that means he cannot stop anyone from having a breakthrough when God is involved! God loves redemption and reconciliation. That same Cross and Resurrection proves it.
The reason for the mistrust is the very ones whom they were supposed to be able to trust, broke their trust in a very severe way and/or numerous times. Usually it’s one or both parents, or perhaps, a grandparent, sibling and so on. Any form of affection he or she exhibited required some sort of performance from the child -he or she had to earn love. Unfortunately, many of them could never be or do good enough -they learned they will never be worthy.
Keep in mind when someone experiences something very traumatic, emotional growth often stops at that point. What you may be dealing with is an adult with the emotional makeup of a child. For example, if someone was traumatized at the age of 12, emotionally, he or she is still 12 -even at the age of 20, 30 or older. In front of you is someone who had his or her trust annihilated by someone who was supposed to be trustworthy. The same one who should have protected him or her, may even be the one who inflicted the damage. The fear of losing love, or experiencing the same kind of “love” growing up, is so intense that it won’t allow them to drop their guard. As previously stated, such people never feel worthy of love, so they don’t receive it. In their mind, they’re “damaged goods.”
To make matters worse, a number of them were outright told they were worthless by the ones who were supposed to encourage them. Not only do they reject your love, they reject God’s as well. Their experience with their earthly parent(s) skewed their perception of God our Father’s love.
Patience and longsuffering are required if you’re going to help someone connect with His love and yours. Unconditional love is paramount. Do NOT expect a return on investment (ROI). This requires pure AGAPE (God’s type of love), which takes joy in the recipient for the sake of the recipient alone. Don’t get upset if he or she doesn’t reciprocate your acts of love. You are not looking for affirmation. If you are doing something to gain his or her affection, then your motive isn’t AGAPE-based. It’s definitely okay if they express appreciation and reciprocate, but it cannot be your reason. If it is your motive, you have some issues to contend with. Moreover, you would be reinforcing the concept of performance-based love, and that is no love at all! As it stands, they reject your love because they don’t feel they deserve it.
Until they understand why they feel the way they do, it may be difficult for them to move forward. On the other hand, all things are possible with God. One true-blue encounter with Him, changes everything. When they experience His unconditional love, breakthrough will happen. Be uplifted, Jesus gave you His love (see John 17:26), which means they experience it through you. Ask for wisdom and allow Holy Spirit to lead you in the way you interact with them. The need for patience and longsuffering doesn’t mean it has to take years and years for them to breakthrough. Healing can come quickly. On a side note, emotional healing does not require endless counseling sessions. Why do you suppose there are gifts of healing (see 1 Corinthians 12:9)?
How free are you? Are you still conscious of sin? What rules do you follow in order to feel righteous? What things do you avoid, so you may appear holy? Who is Jesus Christ to you, and what do you believe about His sacrifice?
Yes, these are a bunch of questions thrown at you right off the bat, but they are important. Go back, reread them, and really focus on how you answer them. How you answer reveals what you believe and understand about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of you may discover you’re captive to religious rules, which have no bearing on salvation. You have yet to truly enter into His Rest. In short, you’re following religious dos and don’ts, and it’s wearing you out. Following them is a bondage in itself. There’s no freedom in it; especially, since it is not faith-based. As a result, some might say, “I felt freer as a sinner than I do now as a Christian” -though you may never admit it. It is a pretty strong statement, but how many of you feel that way, if you get honest? Hebrews 4:10For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
The danger of opinions is many of them are not based on truth. In fact, many have no facts to validate their suppositions. Some actually sound good -if you don’t really consider what’s actually being said. It is so important to study the Bible, while allowing Holy Spirit to teach us; otherwise, one may blindly follow every wind of doctrine (opinion), and fall into religious bondage. It’s one thing look righteous, but it’s quite another to actually be righteous.
How do you become righteous; what rules do you follow? Being righteous has nothing to do with what you do, but is strictly based on the righteousness of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. As we know from Ephesians 2:8-10, our works are the result of who we are in Christ Jesus, which is by grace through faith. We are not doing anything to become righteous; we became God’s masterpiece, and do good works as a result (read the passage). So, if our righteousness is strictly found in Jesus, why would any of us strive to become righteous? It’s a sure-fire way to become religious. In the book of Galatians, we find there were believers who started out in the Spirit, but wound up trying to perfect themselves by the flesh (see Galatians 3:1-14).
Let’s briefly address sin. Be sure to study this out for yourself in greater detail, especially if you haven’t before. By receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have access to the New Man created in righteousness and true holiness (see Ephesians 4:24). At this point, sin no longer has dominion over us -over you (see Romans 6:1-23). Moreover, we should no longer have consciousness of sin (see Hebrews 10:1-22). By walking in love, we fulfill the Law. We’re not trying to avoid sin and hurting people, which is based on “Thou shalt not.” Instead, by focusing on loving God and people, sin and hurting others never becomes a consideration. Galatians 5:16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. You do not have to sin, nor do you have to try to avoid it; it’s already in you to do what’s right in the sight of God. In short, because of your new nature, you will not actively seek to sin. 1 John 3:9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Do you desire to chase sin or please God? People have been known to blow it from time to time, and maybe this describes you as well. As a believer, was it ever in your heart to seek after sin? Of course, not. If you sincerely set out to willfully sin, you wouldn’t care, much less be reading this. Did you find yourself convicted by Holy Spirit anytime you thought, said or did something contrary to God’s nature? If you did, then you haven’t gone beyond repentance as some Scripture talks about (see 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Hebrews 10:26-39).
Clearly, freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything you want, especially as it pertains to the flesh. You are free to follow God and serve Him; to love Him and others well. You’re not only free from bondage, you’re free to be who God created you to be. Our sin was dealt with at the Cross. You don’t have to gain victory over it; it’s already done in Christ Jesus. Focus on loving God and people, and you will enjoy freedom in the truest sense.
People yearn for change in society, their cities and communities. Even in the Church, there’s an anticipation for the next “Great Revival” to change the landscape of the world. But how do you define revival? Are you referring to an awakening in which lost souls come to Jesus in droves? Perhaps it means dead churches coming to life and becoming vibrant once again -if they were vibrant to begin with. Does the word revival then mean resuscitation; bringing back to life? Or merely a period of renewed interest in God that lasts for a season and then goes dormant. Of course we know from history there were movements in which whole segments of society were transformed. People witnessed signs, wonders and people getting saved by the bucket loads. There was the Welsh Revival and Azusa Street to name a couple. Believers talk wistfully of those moments and the desire for the Church to be filled with power. But it comes across as if they’re waiting for someone else to light the fuse. They’re watching for it, but they’re not engaged; they’re not in the game.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). This implies to a degree that nothing is going to happen as long as we’re spectators watching or waiting for an event. Such an anticipated movement requires one thing: you and me agreeing with God, rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. The first order of that work is to believe. John 6:29This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent. Without believing God, nothing is going to happen. Waiting on others to believe and then acting on that belief before any of us begins, will only prolong the wait. What is your part in the scheme of things? How interested are you, really? One thing to consider is any movement of God always began with individuals. They spent time on their knees and faces before God -lots of time! Initially, there didn’t appear to be much happening because everything was being accomplished in the prayer closet. Believers had personal revivals. They repented of their backslidings. They invited Jesus to actually be their Lord. They allowed Holy Spirit’s sanctifying power and process to completely engulf them. They were baptized with Holy Spirit and fire -the chaff was burned up. No more status quo! These revivalists knew they could not wait on someone else to strike the match; they had to do it. Those droves of people came by prayer and fasting. Again, all in alignment with God. They invited Holy Spirit to draw men, women and children to Jesus. They influenced those around them. One by one they began, and then suddenly it blew up. The movements appeared to come out of nowhere, but there was much work done in the Secret Place, long before the ground began to shake.
Colossians 2:9-10For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power. We have everything we need within us. We don’t need to go chasing here and there to find it. We don’t need special funding. We have Him! It boils down to this: are you caught up in the things of the world, or are you Kingdom minded? What are you waiting for?
Do you speak out of both sides of your mouth? Many Christians do without realizing it. On one side they claim victory in Jesus Christ: “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). On the other side, they talk about their shortcomings and failures. You do understand you get to keep what you fight for, don’t you? Clearly, there’s a need for the renewing of the our mind; otherwise, most of us wouldn’t say half the stuff we do. With Holy Spirit’s help, it may be a good idea to take inventory of the things you constantly say. Then compare them to the Word of God. You may be surprised how inconsistent some of the things are with Scripture.
This brings us to another consideration: what are the sources of information you rely on? There are many so called experts who site so called facts. Have you ever been amused by statements some have made, which turned out to be false? How interesting it is when some new study reveals something is bad for you; and then years later, another new study totally contradicts it. And yet, if we simply listen to Holy Spirit, we can do the right things while leaving the wrong things alone. This may not seem like a big deal until you realize you’ve come to believe something false. Your life is greatly impacted by your beliefs. Some of these so called studies can cause you to believe untruths which hamper your faith. Yes, there are valid studies, many of which actually reveal the veracity of the Bible. But consider Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
The wisdom of man never supersedes God’s wisdom. And yet, many focus more on human opinion than His. Some cling to some self-help guru’s supposed insights, and neglect God’s Word altogether. Sure, we can gain a lot of knowledge from one another, but keep in mind that which is worthy of holding onto conforms to the Word of God; or at a minimum, does not contradict it. The majority of those in the various self-help spaces have good intentions, and many are very helpful. That being said, good intentions don’t necessarily make what they disseminate correct.
Nothing critical intended here, but consider some examples of these things. Some say, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” or “Once an addict, always an addict.” If you fight for your “disease,” you get to keep it. For a non-believer, these statements may have some validity, but how do these align with what Jesus said? “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). What does Scripture say about who you are? 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. So, which is it: are you stuck in your former lifestyle, or are you free in Jesus Christ? What do you actually believe? Having a true encounter with the Lord changes everything! Many have testified of being set free from bondage to numerous things by a single moment with Jesus. John 8:32If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Abiding in the truth conforms our thinking to His, and that changes everything!
How many are limiting themselves, even making themselves old before their time? “I can’t!” “I’m getting too old for this!” Yes, the time will come when our bodies will completely fail. We’re all appointed to die; but until then, stand on the Word. Isaiah 40:31But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Look at this statement about Moses: “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force (vigor) abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Moses remained strong and vigorous until the day he died, and we have a better Covenant. To be sure, he was God’s anointed, but aren’t you as well? If you’re in Jesus, you’ve been anointed. Look it up, it’s in the Bible. Of course, how we steward ourselves affects our quality of life. If you fight for old age, you can get it faster if you like.
What are you fighting for? If you want rejection and loneliness, you can have it. If you want a “bad memory,” it’s yours for the asking. Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. On a side note concerning memory: on one level, it’s more about the memory being trained or untrained. Unless something traumatic happens to the brain, there’s no such thing as a bad memory. As believers, we have Holy Spirit to bring things to remembrance. Should you ever say, “I have a bad memory,” or “I’m bad with remembering names,” think again. Consider a new thought! These are just a few examples to get the ball rolling. Do the inventory. What are you fighting to keep?