Earlier this last week doing our weekly bible study I asked this question to my girlfriends, “Do you find it easier to believe the promises of God for others than yourself?” They all raised their hands. It shocked me that it was unanimous. I think it is safe to say that most of us find it easier to believe in the truth and power of God more for other people than for ourselves. But this is not the design and pattern God wants us to live by. He wants a deep and close personal relationship with each of us. So why is this and how do you shift it?
With my background as a competitive swimmer for 15 years it was often easier to see the good in the performances of others more so than in my own. I could see the good more in other’s performances because I was not there feeling every falter, slip, or mistake that I could feel in my own races. Not only that, but past mistakes or poor practices lingered in my mind whereas for others they were nonexistent. Outside of the pool and in our lives it’s much the same. Our own flaws, mistakes, sins are all too familiar making it difficult to see the good. This closeness and intimacy with our flaws creates a mental clutter that makes it difficult to see (not with our eyes, but when our eyes our closed) the future and destiny God has for us. The residual impact is that the truth and power of God’s word is a challenge to accept as our own. Mental clutter is best understood by the phrase “we are too close to a situation to see it clearly.” It is a picture of what our minds look like even as we desire to grow in our relationships with God. This clutter in our minds and hearts results in making it difficult to personalize the scandalous grace and love of God. But it is so vital to clear this out so we can openly receive the truth of God’s word in our lives. It is God’s intent because then we are free to experience what it means to live life abundantly (John 10:10).
How do we do this spring cleaning of our minds and really accept the overwhelmingly good gifts, grace and love from our heavenly father? After my conversation with my girlfriends I simply asked God for some perspective on this. He is always faithful to answer if we slow down to ask, and quite down to listen. He answered while I was in the shower (Yes the shower… that is where I’m the most distraction free and listen my best to His voice. Maybe I should shower more). Here is what I heard “It is much easier for you to believe for others my promises because you see others more like how I see you. You don’t see all their flaws, mistakes, and history because you don’t know it. You see them as they are now. I take it a step further seeing you and others not as you are now but as my original creation. When I look at you I see the purity of Jesus. No sin. No condemnation. Just Love. Begin to see yourself more like that and you’ll begin to see yourself as I created you. You will find as you let go of your past, you stop disqualifying yourself from my promises.”
As I processed this the simplicity of God’s truth hit me over the head. In His word God says “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12. So that means I need to learn to disconnect from my past just like I am disconnected from another human. I recalled a favorite quote from Pastor Steven Furtick that is in his book Crash the Chatterbox, “Don’t judge your behind the scenes for everyone else’s highlight reel.” It is time as a family of believers in the house of God we help and encourage each other to take off the old (for it has passed away), and put on Christ. Which is love. Which means we have to genuinely love ourselves first.
To claim the word of God for ourselves as personal promises we have to:
1) Stop replaying the “bloopers” of the past. It is done finished and if God chooses to forget it we should too. Remember to God it never made the final cut!
2) Recognize God as our 24/7 on call Helper. God is always there with us to help us cut off the old (thoughts, words, behaviors). We however must allow him to help us. He is a gentleman and as we have freewill we have to ask for help and make room for Him to move by putting Him first in our lives.
3) Play on repeat The Truth. The word of God when rehearsed (or in scripture terms mediated) is able to snuff out the nagging chatter of the past, the enemy’s shouts and our memories. They will turn from shouts into white noise you barely even notice the more you choose the word of God over the voices of the enemy.
Clothing has a way to identify our status in society. In God’s eyes what we “put on” is referring to what choices we make in our thought life. We choose what we put on in our minds by what we hear and that is very important because, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). That is why scripture says it is up to us to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5. We get the power of choice, but as we submit to God the voices of the enemy must flee, and the weight of the past is removed.
For the truth and power of God in our lives to shine brightly and draw others to us I believe it is time each of us put more care into what our thoughts “put on” every morning than what we put on our bodies. Why don’t you try dressing up in truth and love today? That my friend like any good fitting pair of jeans is something you simply can’t do without and makes you look good!