Not I, But Christ

“Lord, bend that proud and stiffnecked “I,”
Help me to bow the neck and die,
Beholding Him on Calvary,
Who bowed His Head for me.”

The following are some of the features and manifestations of the self-life. The Holy Spirit alone can interpret and apply this to your individual case. As you read, examine yourself in the very presence of God. Are you ever conscious of:

A secret spirit of pride-an exalted feeling in view of your success or position; because of your good training or appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities. An important, independent spirit?

Love of human praise; a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation; a swelling out of self when you have had a free time in speaking or praying?

The stirrings of anger or impatience, which, worst of all, you call nervousness or holy indignation; a touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when disapproved of or contradicted; a desire to throw sharp, heated flings at another?

Self-will; a stubborn, unteachable spirit; an arguing, talkative spirit; harsh, sarcastic expression; an unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored?

Carnal fear; a man-fearing spirit; a shrinking from reproach and duty; reasoning around your cross; a shrinking from doing your whole duty by those of wealth or position; a fearfulness that someone will offend and drive some prominent person away; a compromising spirit?

A jealous disposition, a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart; an unpleasant sensation in view of the great prosperity and success of another; a disposition to speak of the faults and failings, rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself?

A dishonest, deceitful disposition; the evading and covering of the truth; the covering up of your real faults; leaving a better impression of yourself than is strictly true; false humility; exaggeration; straining the truth?

Unbelief; a spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition; lack of quietness and confidence in God; lack of faith and trust in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or at the dispensations of Divine Providence; an overanxious feeling whether everything will come out all right?

Formality and deadness; lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference?

Selfishness; love of ease; love of money?

These are some of the traits which generally indicate carnality in the heart. By prayer, hold your heart open to the searchlight of God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me” (Psalms 139:23-24).

The Holy Spirit will enable you, by confession and faith, to bring your “self-life” to the death (Romans 8:12-13). Do not patch over, but go to the bottom. It alone will pay.

Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord,
Oh, to be lost in Thee;
Oh, that it might be no more I,
But Christ that lives in me.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

~ Poem by Roy Hession author of ‘The Calvary Road’

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Copyright © Christian Communicators Worldwide Unknown.
Permission granted for reproduction in exact form. All other uses require written permission.
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Speaking Heart to Heart: Communication Breakdown

One of the most common things that couples say to me is, “My wife and I just can’t seem to have a normal conversation anymore with each other. Our words seem so superficial and only about the facts of the day. We just never get to those heart-to-heart times of fellowship we used to have before we got married.” Have you ever thought or said these words? If you have, then this article is for you.

Why does conversation seem to turn in this superficial direction within a marriage?  Once you understand why the communication has deteriorated between you, then you will see how to change it.

Why does communication deteriorate over time?

1. Holding resentment from past unresolved conflicts. This is one of the most common and obvious reasons why communication deteriorates in a relationship. If a prior conflict is not fully resolved, the heart becomes closed and the walls will go up and communication will shut down. This is why Solomon told his son, A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.” (Prov. 18:19). If you have been fortifying your heart with bars, you have unresolved issues. If you want the superficiality to be removed then you must identify and deal with these conflicts.

2. Hardening your heart. When you refuse to resolve your conflicts, a hardened heart will always be the natural result. Why is this true? Paul equated hardness of heart with an unwillingness to repent of your sin. He warned the Romans that, “because of your “hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5). If you are hard-hearted today, there will not be any heart-to-heart fellowship between you. It is an impossibility!

3. Allowing pride to control you.When pride controls your heart, you will relate to each other in one of two ways. First, you can be verbally harsh, authoritarian, and speak to your spouse with a superior attitude. Or secondly, pride can also make you indifferent to your mate’s requests to talk, and cause you to be unwilling to confess your own faults. These attitudes will only result in the walls being fortified between you. Remember, By pride comes nothing but strife” (Prov. 13:10). Pride is the death-nail to heart-to-heart fellowship.

4. An unwillingness to talk. When one or both of you stops being willing to talk, your hearts only grow harder, and the walls are strengthened (Acts 7:57). This refusal to talk things through is another sign of the pride and hardness of your hearts. You are, in reality, moving further backwards and not forward in your relationship.

5. Dominating the conversation. If you dominate a conversation by the number of words you use, to attempt to overpower your mate’s point of view, this will only further drive you apart. You should never think that you “will be heard” by the number of words you use (Matt. 6:7). If you say the same thing over and over again but just in different ways, and you don’t allow your spouse to respond, nothing will get accomplished. This again only reveals more pride within your heart.

6. Trying to control and force. When one or both spouses attempt to dominate the conversation, this is a controlling and forcing technique that only assures there will not be a true heart-to-heart conversation. Trying to control a person or a conversation is not love! Controlling behavior is also another form of pride.

7. Not being a good listener.Listening is a vital part of good communication. But, do you want to be heard more than you want to listen? Do you interrupt your spouse and not allow them to complete their thought before you begin your rebuttal? Solomon declared this behavior as folly. He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). The word folly means stupid or to be without wisdom. This unwise practice will guarantee that there will be no heart-to-heart fellowship.

8. Lying and deceitfulness. When there is dishonesty between two people there will be no trust. Lying to one another is a rejection of your marital oneness with each other. Paul said, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25). If Paul taught this truth concerning Christians in general, how much more would it hinder your marital oneness (Gen. 2:24)? Lying and deceitfulness calls into question your entire relationship together.

9. Harsh and condemning words. Harsh words are like small knife wounds or razor blade cuts that slowly drain the life out of your love relationship. David said of his enemies who constantly pursued him, “Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully”(Ps. 52:2). When harsh and condemning words are allowed to thrive in a relationship, they will bring destruction to every marriage. Be assured, there will be no heart-to-heart conversation within this marriage!

10. You don’t want to reveal anything that might be used against you in the next conflict. If you are afraid to be honest about what you are thinking, feeling, or what you have done, there can be no real intimacy in your conversations. This kind of fear will shut down any real heart-to-heart discussion, because there is no trust. If you are afraid to open your heart to your spouse, it reveals that there are several basic needs missing in your marriage.

11. Not spending time together. Sometimes the distance grows between a couple not because they have a major communication problem, but simply because they just don’t spend much one-on-one time together. When you don’t take the time to date each other, pray with one another, or recreate together, the closeness and friendship between you will die. Before you were married, as you dated, you spent plenty of one-on-one time together, which is why the communication was so much better. Don’t allow all of the distractions of life to keep you from the one person you are to be one flesh with.

These are just a few of the hindrances to heart-to-heart communication. If you recognize yourself in any of the above issues, you must realize that this is the reason the communication has deteriorated in your marriage. I would suggest asking God to forgive you, and then turning to your spouse and doing the same. Then take the steps in the next few paragraphs.

How to change the way you communicate, and get back to heart-to-heart fellowship.

1. You need to confront the problem. Many times, when couples struggle and they sense the distance growing between them, they beat around the bush with their mate, and don’t specifically address the problem. This is a major mistake. When this happens the problem only gets worse. If your car was running roughly or wouldn’t start, you wouldn’t just hope that the engine trouble would resolve itself. You would take the car into the mechanic to get the problem resolved. If you chose not to do this, one morning you would go out to start your car, and it wouldn’t run. So, don’t let the lack of heart-to-heart fellowship in your marriage get any worse. Resolve to talk to your spouse about it today.

How should you bring up this problem with your mate? Choose a weekend day, when you and your mate are not tired, and there are no distractions. Find a time when you can be alone, with the children playing outside, or at a friend’s house. Ask your spouse to sit down to talk, and express that you believe that you are drifting apart. Express your love and desire to change things between you. Don’t blame your spouse, but express that both of you are at fault, and that both of you need to make some changes. Go through the following steps.

2. Reconcile past issues. If you regularly fight about specific issues with your spouse, or you have past issues that have never been resolved, make a list of these conflicts and begin a discussion about how you can resolve them. Without a truly reconciled relationship with your spouse, your communication will never be heart-to-heart. Unresolved conflicts are what caused you to drift away from each other, and resolving them is the first step back. To help, I have two worksheets that would be very helpful for you to begin the process. Go to www.covenantkeepers.org and click on “Articles” and then “Worksheets” and print “How to Resolve Conflicts” and “How to Solve Conflicts.” Work through these together with your spouse to begin the reconciliation process.

Jesus made it absolutely clear that resolving conflicts with anyone was one of His top priorities. He said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (Matt. 18:15). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus also said, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24). So, if you have resentment toward your mate, or you know your spouse is upset with you, you have the responsibility to go to them and try to reconcile the issue. Keep talking and praying until it is resolved. When you take this step, you are removing one of the greatest impediments to having a heart-to-heart relationship again.

3. Admit your communication failures. Humility concerning your faults and your communicative abilities, is absolutely essential to opening up a new and deeper fellowship with your spouse. God has explained in many places throughout the Scripture that if you want revival and awakening in your souls, you must humble yourself. God spoke through Isaiah the Prophet and said, “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones’” (Isa. 57:15). Jesus spoke heart-to-heart with anyone who would listen to Him, and He was “gentle and lowly at heart” (Matt. 11:29). Humility is a fundamental key to this entire process.

Go back and look at the list of communication failures that I gave at the beginning of this article and consider if any of these are yours. Do you do any of these behaviors? If you do, turn from these today!

4. Be vulnerable. How does vulnerability affect your ability to communicate with your spouse? It reveals your willingness to be honest and open with your mate. Vulnerability allows you to admit your faults, ask forgiveness, and listen to your wife or husband’s thoughts, and speak heart-to-heart. This is why Jesus taught His disciples to, “First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). What is Jesus encouraging in this verse? He wanted His disciple’s to be honest with themselves about their own sins before they ever tried to tell others about their faults. Honesty with yourself is an absolute necessity if you want to become vulnerable with your mate.

King David revealed his own vulnerability throughout the Psalms. What an example for all of us to follow. He could talk about his failures and sins, his fears, his personal struggles, and his hopes (Ps. 51:3; Ps. 34:4; Ps. 119:81; Ps. 42:5). But the question is, will you be vulnerable like this with your mate? If you won’t, then don’t expect your spouse to be vulnerable with you. If you want heart-to-heart communication with your mate, then vulnerability is essential!

5. Vulnerability also requires that you walk in humility. The essence of vulnerability is humility. You know your own struggles and faults; therefore, you are not quick to judge your spouse for his or her faults. You can admit your needs before your mate. You can give and receive encouragement and correction from your spouse. Note how open Paul the Apostle was with the elders of the church of Ephesus. He said to them, “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews” (Acts 20:18-19). Can you talk about your struggles with your spouse? If your husband or wife has some helpful encouragement or correction, will you listen to it and not get angry?

Humility also enables a mutual submissiveness with your mate that further enables this openness and vulnerability. Peter clearly commanded this kind of fellowship with others when he said, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is the key to this submissive attitude that can listen to the other. In addition, without this vulnerability and humility, you will forfeit the great grace God wants to bestow upon your marriage relationship.

6. Choose your words carefully. One of the most critical requirements for heart-to-heart fellowship with your spouse will be the words that you choose to use. As Solomon said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). The word soft in this verse means tender or gentle words. The word harsh means to speak offensive and hurtful words. So, which takes place with your spouse on a regular basis, tender and gentle words, or offensive and hurtful ones?

Only you have the ability to choose how you will speak with your mate. You are the only one who can change the words you speak. Don’t blame-shift and excuse your own responsibility by saying, “I wouldn’t talk the way I do, if he or she didn’t come off so harsh toward me.” Being honest with yourself is vital in changing this part of your communication. You have the choice as to how you will respond! God has made it clear what He wants, He said, “choose what pleases Me” (Is. 56:4). This is your responsibility!

You can say things several different ways if you choose. When your spouse fails to do what you have asked them to do, you can say, “This is the fifth time I’ve told you that this bothers me. What is your problem? Are you deaf, or are you just dumb?” Or, you can say, “Honey did you forget about this or that issue? This is really important to me.” Then explain the reason why this issue is so important to you. Which response would create a conflict, and which would help you get to a solution? The answer is obvious!

7. Become a better listener. In most marriages one person is more verbal that the other. The person who is more verbal usually dominates the conversations which hinders the less verbal person from taking. Consequently, the less verbal spouse begins to believe their mate does not value their thoughts and opinions. This causes the less verbal person to retreat and not share equally, which destroys the ability to have a heart-to-heart fellowship together. This is why James taught the church, “My beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”(James 1:19).

How can you change this imbalance? It is just a choice. The more verbal spouse must learn to use less words, and the less verbal person needs to use more words. For couples that just can’t seem to do it, I recommend using a kitchen timer. Set it for one minute, and say whatever you need to say. Then reset it for your spouse, and allow them to talk without interruption. This ensures equal time. Eventually people learn to discipline themselves to give this equal time to each other. Remember, you can’t have heart-to-heart talks when only one person is allowed to talk.

8. It takes two to tango. The tango is the most intimate dance that two people can enjoy. Each must move and step in a precise manner, or the couple will step all over each other, or fall to the floor. My point is that communication is like the tango. Both partners must participate and work together to enable heart-to-heart fellowship. It can’t be done alone. You need a willing heart, and your spouse also must be willing. You both must deal with your own personal faults, and you both must choose to be vulnerable with one another. Each of you must listen and give equal time to the other to respond.

Therefore, I encourage you to respond to the Lord in your personal life, and allow Him to work within you to change the way you communicate. Focus on getting to the place of heart-to-heart communication with each other. It will take work, but the work will bring the rewarding relationship you desire.

All of the steps I have just outlined in this article must be obeyed by both partners. It can’t be done by just one spouse alone. One of you must choose to start to speak heart-to-heart with the other. Trust that God will soften your spouse to respond. Remember, not even God Himself with all His power and authority, can by Himself fix the relationship with mankind. Ultimately, reconciliation requires men to respond to Him in repentance. This is why Jesus commanded those who heard Him to, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). So, I am asking you to repent of your side of the problem as it relates to communication, and humble yourself before God and your spouse. You take the step to start the conversation. You won’t regret it!

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** By COVENANT KEEPERS © 2021 / Photo by Ashley Williams

10 Things to Do While You’re Single

Contrary to what some people think, being single is not a curse.

The time you spend single – which may be a temporary life stage, or could be your whole life – is actually a gift, if you treat it as such. It gives you the opportunity to do some things that would become more difficult after marriage, and properly prepare for marriage – if that is your goal.

So how do you get the most out of your singleness?

  1. Use time wisely.
    You’ll never have more free time than you do right now, as a single person. If you’re tired of hearing that over and over from married people, it’s because it’s true. They’re all speaking from experience. So how will you use this time? (1 Timothy 4:12)
  2. Go somewhere difficult.
    You can always travel, but you can’t always travel anywhere. Marriage, kids, and even older age can make many trips more difficult and complicated. But right now, you can travel pretty much anywhere that your car or an airline will take you. So see the world. Go somewhere that needs Jesus and share Him there. (Romans 10:15)
  3. Work to learn, not just to earn.
    Having things like a family and a mortgage do cost money, requiring a reliable income and somewhat limiting your job options. If you’re single and relatively young, you can prepare for that now by learning the skills you’ll need to get the job you really want. Look for a job that will actually pay you to learn those skills – it may not pay much, but that’s OK, because you only have one mouth to feed. (Proverbs 22:29)
  4. Get to know the Bible.
    Continuing on the “learning” topic, the best time to learn your Bible is now. Again, you’ll never have more time to study, and you’ll never have more years to benefit from learning it and putting it into practice. There’s no better “skill” to learn than to know how to navigate and utilize the Word of God. You’ll learn who God is and what He desires for you, and be able to give Godly counsel to others when they are in need. (2 Timothy 3:16)
  5. Pursue purity.
    One of the greatest gifts you can give your future spouse is to limit the amount of baggage and bad habits you bring into the marriage. And there is no better time than now to learn how to be faithful in a relationship. If you practice blindly following your sexual urges, you’ll develop the habit of always following your sexual urges – even if they lead you outside your future marriage. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
  6. Pray for your future spouse.
    Pray how? Well, you can start by praying this list for them. Pray that they would be using their singleness well and preparing for marriage. Pray that they would know God and walk faithfully with Him. Pray that you both would trust His timing and not get derailed by “shortcuts.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  7. Join a church and serve there.
    This seems like a no-brainer, but I had to put it in the list because for some crazy reason singles seem slow to join and get involved at a church. I don’t get it. If you’re a Christian and part of the body of Christ, you’re not meant to live outside the body – it would be like your pancreas trying to survive outside your own body. God made you to be alive in His church. So find some imperfect church that teaches the Bible and join there. Come under the elders’ authority. Serve and give there. Share your talents there so that you might experience life as it was given to you to experience. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  8. Get a roommate.
    Nothing will prepare you for marriage better than having a really dysfunctional roommate. I’m serious. Some single people say “I like living by myself.” Well, then you are going to HATE marriage. I’d practice living with roommates now. Work through conflict with them. Practice communicating well with them. (In case you think I am talking about someone of the opposite sex: I am not. Read this.) (Proverbs 27:17)
  9. Build healthy habits.
    Taking care of your body gets more and more difficult. At some point in life your metabolism slams on the brakes, but your eating habits and exercise habits continue as before. So train them well now. Scripture says your body is a temple. It doesn’t need to be a chiseled temple that you stare at in the mirror, but it should remain a healthy temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  10. Look for a spouse.
    Disregard this one if you don’t want to be married. If you do, however, you can be sure that a spouse will not fall through the ceiling into your lap. (If they did, go back to number 4.) To find a spouse, you need to be where future spouses are – see also number 7. (Proverbs 18:22)

What’s the best way you’ve spent your single years?

Consider taking a summer or a year to invest in missions.

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** This article is by [The Porch Dallas] website. / Photo by Andre Futardo at Pexels

What Hinders Communication in Relationships

Communication is one of the most basic skills needed to establish and maintain any human relationship. In marriage it is especially important that a couple master this ability. Whenever you find a successful marriage, you will always find two people who have become skilled at communication. Likewise, wherever you find a failed marriage, a communication breakdown is always one of the root problems. Therefore, it is essential that you learn how to become a better communicator. Let’s look at some basic issues that hinder good communication.

 1. Check your attitudes. Your attitude is critical to being an effective communicator and is the basis for what you say and do. Without the correct attitude, your words will always come out wrong. You may be totally right in all that you say, but it’s the way you say it that many times turns your mate off. Let’s look at some of the attitudes I am referring to.

Do you have an arrogant or superior attitude when you talk with your mate, communicating that you are always right and that he or she knows nothing? Do you become indignant and refuse to listen when your spouse questions your actions or motives? Have you ever thought, “Who does he think he is to ask me that?” 

The Scriptures teach that this attitude of heart is very destructive to your relationships. Solomon said, “He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife…” (Prov. 28:25). Is this attitude the cause of strife in your marital communication? If so, consider Paul’s counsel, “To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:2). Humility is the attitude of heart that keeps you from speaking evil of anyone or to anyone, and enables a gentle spirit to communicate effectively. Your home needs this attitude. 

Another sinful attitude that destroys communication is deep-seated resentment or bitterness, which is like poison to your life and marriage. The Apostle Peter noticed this attitude when he spoke to Simon the sorcerer. Simon had become envious and bitter at the success of the disciples’ ministry. When Simon asked for similar abilities, Peter said to him, “…You are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23). If you have a bitter and resentful attitude, your spouse will pick this up as soon as you begin to speak. Your tone of voice reveals the poison of unforgiveness inside. Jesus said, “If you have anything against anyone, forgive him…” (Mark 11:25). A heart of forgiveness will be your only remedy for this poison.

Indifference or apathy greatly hinder progress as well. Jesus described this attitude in the parable of the marriage feast; He invited many, yet “they made light of it and went their ways…” (Matt. 22:5). This is the same attitude that many experience when their mates try to talk or spend time together. Indifference becomes apparent when you say “not now” or you simply change the subject. When you make light of your mate’s request to talk or spend time together, you are communicating to your spouse that he or she is not really that important to you. Every time you indifferently turn your husband or wife away, it will cause discouragement and a greater distance between you.

Of course, not every time is an opportune time to talk. If you have to postpone a conversation or time together, make sure you communicate your sincere interest and willingness to spend the time it takes to build the relationship. Then, be sure you are the one to initiate the next conversation over that same subject. 

Can you recognize any of these attitudes in your heart? If you do, be assured that they will hinder effective communication. The Bible describes each of these attitudes as sinful and requires you to put them off. 

2. Check your words. Once you have examined your attitudes or the way you talk, now considerwhat you say. What kind of words do you use? 

Do you use harsh words? Do you possess the skill to cut and slash your spouse verbally in the midst of an argument? If so, you may win the argument and be daily destroying your relationship. Solomon said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). David also said the tongue can be like “a sharp razor” that can cut and wound a person very deeply (Ps. 52:2). Is this what your tongue is like?

Harsh, condemning words are incredibly destructive. Think how you feel when a person condemns or belittles you. Doesn’t it drive you away from that individual and make you want to retreat? If you speak this way to your spouse you will see the same results. Paul specifically commanded husbands, “… love your wives and do not be harsh with them”(Col. 3:19). Likewise, this command could be equally given to wives. Clearly then, the husband-wife relationship cannot thrive with the use of harsh words.

Another class of words that must be avoided involves lying or deceitfulness, which slowly undermine your entire relationship. If you are deceitful and tell only half the story or a doctored version that makes you look good, sooner or later your spouse will catch on. Trust is fundamental to your entire relationship, but lies and half-truths will eventually undermine your credibility. Any amount of lying to your spouse is like taking an ax to the bottom of your own boat, it will ultimately sink the ship. 

If you struggle with lying or deceitfulness, pray what David did, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Ps. 120:2). Do what Paul commanded; “Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25). As a married couple, you are members one of another in every sense of the word; you are one flesh. Don’t lie to one another. 

Similarly, exaggeration works to destroy effective communication. Are you an exaggerator? Do you hear yourself say these words, “you always do this”, or “you never do what I ask?” The words alwaysnever, or every time are like gasoline on the fire of an argument. These words will cause an explosion of anger because your spouse can always think of one time he or she did do what you say never occurs. The only solution to exaggeration is “…speaking the truth in love…”(Eph. 4:15). The truth may be that your spouse many times does this or that, as opposed to always or never

As we strive to speak the truth, let us remember to speak the truth in love, for certain words of truth can also greatly hinder your communication. I am referring to the true statements about your spouse’s past failures which you bring up to use as ammunition during a conflict. These words cut deep, specifically because they are true, but they are words that should never be used to win an argument. If you have forgiven your spouse for a past failure, then it should be off-limits. Why? Because God talks about your sins this way: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 8:12). The word remember means “to hold in a mental grasp or to recollect so that it may be used at a later time to punish.” God declares here that once He forgives, He chooses not to remember your sins and will never use them to condemn you; we must forgive in the same manner. Therefore, speak the truth about the present issue only.

Finally, foul language also tears down good communication. I have discovered that many couples swear and call one another names in the midst of an argument. If this occurs in your home, understand that these words will not be easily forgotten because they demean your spouse and signify your lack of love and respect. Once you have said these words, you can’t take them back. This is why Paul said, “…you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8). He also said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). Don’t tear your loved one down, but build him or her up when you speak. Ask God to put that check in your mind before you open your mouth. Pray as David did, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my mouth” (Ps. 141:3). God will answer this prayer.   

3. Check your actions. The specific actions you take while you interact will either enhance or hinder your ability to effectively communicate. Let’s look at some of these actions.

Are you a good listener, or are you quick to interrupt when your spouse is talking? This disrespectful action will greatly frustrate your mate and tends to stir up anger. James said you must be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). When you interrupt, it means you are thinking of how you want to respond instead of really listening, and this hinders meaningful and enjoyable conversation with your mate. 

A related action to interrupting is sentence-finishing. This occurs when your spouse takes a pause to think about what he or she is about to say, and you help your mate out by finishing the sentence. Such behavior, is again, extremely frustrating and reveals that you are not listening or trying to understand. It indicates that you have already pre-judged his or her thoughts and declares that you think you know what your spouse is about to say.   Solomon said, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). Rather, allow your spouse to fully complete the sentence, then respond. This will demonstrate you care and are truly listening in order to understand.   

Explosive anger is another pitfall and is often only used to control a conversation. Sometimes people use anger to simply manipulate the other party into doing what is desired. This person knows that his or her spouse will cower and retreat in the argument once the rage appears. Yet, this ploy is very foolish because you may seemingly win the argument, but in the end you risk losing relationship and intimacy with your spouse in the process. 

However, there are times when anger is not a ploy used to control another. Sometimes an individual just has no control of the emotions that rage inside, due to a lack of desire or understanding as to how to control them. Such a person is simply out of control. Irrational anger is what drove the religious people of Jesus’ day to attempt to throw Him over the cliff at Nazareth. These religious people were simply out of control. Luke says the people were “filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city…that they might throw Him down over the cliff”(Luke 4:28, 29). If you have explosive anger that is not dealt with, deep and intimate communication will be impossible. No one ever wants to communicate the deepest things of their heart with someone who is raging out of control in an angry fit. Remember, “…the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Your wrath and anger can never produce something good or righteous in your marriage relationship. What you need to do is get some specific counseling from your pastor regarding how to control your anger. The sooner you take this action, the sooner you will learn how to communicate effectively.   

Third, beware of blame shifting. This is usually done when your spouse points out one of your faults and you quickly cover yourself by shifting the blame to your mate or to another. This is what Adam and Eve did when they were first confronted by God for their sin. Adam said that it was, “…the woman You gave to be with me, she gave me to of the tree, and I ate”. Eve also shifted the blame to Satan, “…the serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12, 13). Neither Adam nor Eve would take responsibility for his or her own actions. Adam in one breath blamed God for giving him this woman and blamed his wife for giving him the fruit. Eve in essence replied, “The devil made me do it.” What solves this problem? Simply take responsibility for your own actions. Blame shifting is the result of pride and dishonesty. You know what you have done and your spouse does too, so why not admit it? Without you personally taking responsibility for what you’ve done, all you will do is play the blame game which only delays progress to a solution. This is a game that no one will win.

The last action that hinders good communication is the unwillingness to confess your faults during or after an argument. This is a problem that results from that same attitude of pride, and to resolve it the Apostle James suggests, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord…Do not speak evil one of another…Confess your faults one to another…” (James 4:10.11; 5:16). God requires you to humbly and honestly look at your own actions and not shift the blame. When either husband or wife takes this action of first confessing personal faults, it usually softens the other to do the same, and communication is restored.

But, you may ask, “How do I change all these sinful attitudes, words, and actions?” Take heart, there is a way! 

What helps build your ability to communicate?

Let’s look at some of the most important ways to build your ability to communicate.

1. Establish intimacy with God and find His help for change. Here is where you get the power to change in the areas where you have been failing. When God is at work filling you with His love and teaching you His Word, you can’t help but have something to talk about. Establishing this intimacy with God will inspire the most important communication between you, the sharing of spiritual things. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they went everywhere sharing Christ. When they were commanded not to speak anymore in His name their response was, “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). God was at work in their lives and they had to share it with someone. David experienced the same drive to communicate what God was doing in his life. He said, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul” (Ps. 66:16). What is the Lord doing in your life? Are you sharing that with your mate? The kind of relationship you have with the Lord, will naturally translate into your relationship with others and especially with your spouse. Your relationship and communion with Christ is where real communication with your mate begins.

If you are not walking with Christ at this time and have never made a personal commitment to Him, this is the primary reason why you are struggling in marriage and in your ability to communicate. He can dramatically change your entire life, but you will never experience it without a personal relationship with Him. You can start this relationship by simply acknowledging your sin to Him in prayer, asking Him to forgive you and come into your life. If you really want to change, He can help you do it. Take a moment right now to communicate with Him in prayer, and ask Him to come into your life. You won’t be disappointed! 

If you are a Christian, you can also be greatly hindered in your ability to effectively communicate by simply having sporadic devotions or no devotions at all. This is because when you are spiritually dry, you will have no power or joy to communicate with others. Let me illustrate. Think of the times when you have struggled spiritually and you have seen another Christian in a store, what did you do? Did you run up to this individual with an overwhelming desire to fellowship, or did you turn and walk another way so you wouldn’t have to talk to him? The answer is obvious, you don’t want to talk to another person when you are discouraged or depressed; it’s the last thing you want to do. When you aren’t growing spiritually the same thing will happen at home. You won’t have any desire to communicate with your spouse either. You will naturally retreat from communication with your partner.

Therefore, return to the Lord and ask Him for His help. Renew your relationship with Him, then the desire, power, and love you need to communicate with your spouse will begin to flow again.

2. Acknowledge your faults. This will take some brutal honesty in your own heart. Stop now and look back over your attitudes, words, and actions. Where have you been failing in your communication with your mate? You must first acknowledge your faults if you desire to see anything change.

Next, go and acknowledge these faults to your spouse, asking his or her forgiveness. Tell your mate that you truly want to change in these areas. Your spouse will probably be amazed that you would honestly confess to these things without being forced to do so. When you take this action, your ability to communicate will take a dramatic step forward. Acknowledging and reconciling your faults with your spouse is half the battle.

3. Spend time together. Once you have dealt with your failures in your attitudes, words, and actions, and have sought God for His power and help, you need to take the opportunity to communicate. Do you set specific time aside to communicate? You did this before you were married. You talked on the phone every chance you could. You went out on dates and would talk about everything and anything for hours. Do you remember how romantic and how much fun it was to talk? This is what must happen again. How? 

You need to start dating the one you love on a regular basis. Why not call your spouse and set something up today? Then tomorrow, make a special effort to call your spouse again just to say, “I love you.” Talk to your husband or wife about your upcoming date and your anticipation of being together. You may also try turning the T.V. off and sitting after dinner just to talk over your day. Take a bike ride or a walk together. You need to regularly set time aside to just be together because failure to do so is one of the fundamental reasons why many couples slowly drift apart. Other things soon take priority over being together, then slowly and imperceptibly the distance begins to grow. You can stop this drifting, but it takes constant vigilance to keep time together as a high priority.

Solomon and his wife had the right idea. The Shulamite requested of her husband, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away…Let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your countenance is lovely” (Song of Solomon 2:10,14).

Do you want the kind of romantic relationship Solomon and his wife had? Then, take the same action that they did, and you will afford yourself the best opportunity for real communication and romance. Is the voice of your spouse still sweet? It can be, if you will again make the same effort you did before you were married. Your spouse is worth the time and the effort!

4. Encouragement and praise. If you desire to build good communication with your spouse, try this strategy. Each time you are together look for something that he or she has done well, and praise him or her for it. If you encourage the actions which are godly, loving, and responsible, you will build your mate up and build your overall communication. 

This is what the Scripture teaches us to do. Paul says we must, “…Exhort one another daily…”(Heb. 3:13). Speak the words that, “…build others up…” (Eph. 4:29 NIV). Solomon declared that, “…A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). This encouragement could again be equally given to women to praise their husbands. But, the question is, do you do this? One day Jesus Christ will say to you, “…Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matt. 25:21). If Jesus considered these words important to say, shouldn’t you do the same? Praise and encouragement is an acknowledgment of your love and appreciation, which naturally builds a person up. 

How often do you say an encouraging word, or a “well done?” Your mate must do something right, responsible, or loving each day. Look for these things and then tell your spouse that you appreciate them. If harsh and critical words destroy your communication, think of what praise and appreciation will do. Take the time to talk and to spend time together. Be gracious with your words, and encourage instead of being harsh and critical; it will build your communication more than you could ever imagine.

Remember, “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious…” (Ecc. 10:12) Therefore be wise. Go and give a word of praise and encouragement to your loved one today!

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**By Covenant Keepers / Photo by Polina Zimmerman at Pexels

Broken: The Heart God Revives

All of us come across others’ who say things so well that there is simply nothing left to add. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth created just such a piece in the form of a bookmark which you can download here, from her series Brokenness: The Heart God Revives

Broken: The Heart God Revives (Bookmark) By Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

The Bookmark

Proud people focus on the failures of others.
Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.

Proud people have a critical, fault-finding spirit; they look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope.
Broken people are compassionate; they can forgive much because they know how much  they have been forgiven. 

Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.
Broken people esteem all others better than themselves. 

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.
Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others. 

Proud people have to prove that they are right.
Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right. 

Proud people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit.
Broken people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit. 

Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation.
Broken people are self-denying. 

Proud people desire to be served.
Broken people are motivated to serve others. 

Proud people desire to be a success.
Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success. 

Proud people desire self-advancement.
Broken people desire to promote others. 

Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.
Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would  use them at all. 

Proud people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked.
Broken people are eager for others to get the credit; they rejoice when others are lifted  up. 

Proud people have a subconscious feeling, “This ministry/church is privileged to have me and my gifts”; they think of what they can do for God.
Broken people’s heart attitude is, “I don’t deserve to have a part in any ministry”; they  know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their  broken lives. 

Proud people feel confident in how much they know.
Broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn. 

Proud people are self-conscious.
Broken people are not concerned with self at all. 

Proud people keep others at arms’ length.
Broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving  intimately. 

Proud people are quick to blame others.
Broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a  situation. 

Proud people are unapproachable or defensive when criticized.
Broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit. 

Proud people are concerned with being respectable, with what others think; they work to protect their own image and reputation.
Broken people are concerned with being real; what matters to them is not what others  think but what God knows; they are willing to die to their own reputation. 

Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual need with others.
Broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs. 

Proud people want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; their instinct is to cover up.
Broken people, once broken, don’t care who knows or who finds out; they are willing to be  exposed because they have nothing to lose. 

Proud people have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you please forgive me?”
Broken people are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary. 

Proud people tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin.
Broken people are able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin. 

Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin.
Broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin. 

Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught.
Broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, evidenced in the fact that they  forsake that sin. 

Proud people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship.
Broken people take the initiative to be reconciled when there is misunderstanding or  conflict in relationships; they race to the cross; they see if they can get there first, no  matter how wrong the other may have been. 

Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor.
Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for  His mercy. 

Proud people are blind to their true heart condition.
Broken people walk in the light. 

Proud people don’t think they have anything to repent of.
Broken people realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance. 

Proud people don’t think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does.
Broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.

—————-

**Article by Searching4Wisdom @ Biblical Perspectives on Narcissism.com / Photo by Pixabay

35 Signs of A General and Spiritual Narcissist aka The Jezebel Spirit

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

A narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which a person has an inflated sense of self or importance. This disorder can cause challenges in all areas of life—at work, at home, in your health, and in your relationships. A narcissist is often characterized by behaviours of grandiosity. One of the root causes of narcissism is pride and wanting to exalt oneself above others, more on pride here. “Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride.” Quote by DC Robertsson.

It may be easy to spot narcissistic behaviour in someone else, but it can be more difficult to identify that same behaviour within oneself. When we’re looking inward, we often sugar coat our behaviour or deny it altogether.

If you are a narcissist, you might not think anything is wrong with you. That would be an expected response. It can be an insult to a fragile self-esteem to admit your need for treatment, but we want to encourage you to first admit there’s a problem, then seek the Lord in prayer for spiritual healing, as the Lord Jesus is also known as the Great Physician, the healer and restorer of all things. You can also seek assistance from a trusted Christian counsellor. This will help you find other ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth without these damaging behaviours.

It’s sad to say, but not everyone who claims to be Christian is really a follower of Christ. Many are simply pursuing their own agendas, be it money, fame, or power. These false disciples come in many shapes and forms, but perhaps none is more dangerous as the Spiritual Narcissist. A Spiritual Narcissist is someone who uses the Gospel to build themselves up while they tear others down. If left unchecked, their actions can inflict devastating harm on both Christians and non-Christians alike.

35 Narcissistic Traits

If a number of the narcissistic traits listed below are present in your life, we would encourage to reach out first to the Lord and /or a licensed Christian counsellor.

1. You ignore people’s boundaries

You might not feel like other people’s boundaries apply to you or that it’s not a big deal if you cross them. In fact, you may get a kick out of crossing them and getting a reaction out of the individual. On the other hand, you might not even notice another person’s boundaries or pick up on social cues that something is not acceptable.

When someone communicates a boundary with you, you may be shocked and feel a need for them to explain why you have to follow it and why it applies to you rather than simply respecting the boundary.

2. You feel superior to other people

You might look down on other people and feel like you are far superior to them in intelligence, looks, talent, and more. This superiority typically exceeds narcissists actual abilities or talents and is a defence mechanism meant to protect them from feeling vulnerable or putting a dent in their self-esteem.

3. You suffer from extreme perfectionism

You might suffer from extreme perfectionism and get enraged when you or others don’t perform according to your standards.

4. You have an excessive need for constant validation and attention

If you’re not getting attention or validation from other people, you may feel discouraged, unloved, and depressed. You might be incapable of validating yourself or feeling worthwhile without others telling you so.

5. You blame and shame others and never accept responsibility

If another person makes a mistake, you may intentionally shame them in an effort to damage their self-worth (lest they think they’re better than you). When you make a mistake, you also likely never accept responsibility and pass the blame on to someone else.

6. You get pleasure from putting other people down or causing them harm 

You might take pleasure in making people cry or hurting their feelings, giving you a sense of power to have such an impact on that person. It may also make you feel a sense of control.

7. You lack empathy and compassion

You may scoff at someone’s misfortune or fail to feel sympathy for someone who is ill. If someone in your life dies, you may feel very little emotion and lack compassion for those who are experiencing a loss.

8. You have a sense of entitlement

You may begrudge the world and think that people owe you. You might think you deserve more than you’ve gotten out of life or that you deserve a better job, higher pay check, better partner, or more expensive car. You may look to the luxuries of the world and believe you have a right to them.

9. You are arrogant and conceited

Paradoxically, underneath it all, narcissists often have very fragile self-esteem and are hypersensitive. But, narcissists are often at the same time extremely arrogant and conceited. You may believe no one would refuse you, find you unattractive or unqualified, or not choose you for a promotion, partner, project, etc.

10. You exaggerate your skills, talents, and achievements

You may over-exaggerate your abilities or what you’ve achieved in life and truly believe that you are at the top-level when it’s very apparent to others that you’re not. When you and someone else tell a story about the same experience but there are glaring differences and inconsistencies.

11. You are preoccupied with success, power, outward appearances, or status symbols

You may be preoccupied with achieving power through money, authority, position, or leadership. You could be obsessed with obtaining status symbols such as a large home, sports car, “trophy wife or husband,” vacation home, yacht, country club membership, and more.

You might be so focused on your appearance that you spend hours obsessing over what you eat, working out, or undergoing plastic surgery. You might also demand a partner do the same, too.

12. You constantly feel underappreciated or undervalued

If you fail to receive the recognition, thanks, or applause you feel you deserve you might feel underappreciated or undervalued. Even if you do receive it, but not to the level or degree you believe you should, you may still feel this way. You might constantly think people are taking advantage of you or do not understand how lucky they are to have you in their life.

13. You are self-righteous

You may believe you do everything right and never make mistakes. You might believe that you follow all of God’s rules or obey the ten commandments and because of this, you are holier than other people.

14. You think everyone else is ignorant

You may think that everyone else is stupid or less knowledgeable than you. You may expect them to mess-up, not know what you know, or need your help if they’re going to succeed.

15. You like to control others and get them to do your bidding

You may get a power high from getting others to do your bidding or manipulating them into doing so without them knowing it. You might like to control when a partner can do something and how often. You might also go out of your way to try to control your environment and mitigate risk to your ego.

16. You despise talking about feelings or emotions

Narcissists often struggle controlling their emotions and change the subject any time feelings or emotions are brought up. They may refuse to “go there,” change the topic or huff at the idea of needing to be “sensitive or talk about that kind of thing.”

17. You don’t listen, you just wait to talk

If you’re a narcissist, you may dominate conversations. When someone else is talking, you might not be listening, but rather just waiting to talk or occupying your mind thinking about all that you’re going to say and the points you’re going to make.

18. You are unfaithful in relationships

You might get a kick out of seducing others or getting them to do things they’d never do for you. You might feel an insatiable need to ensure other people are still attracted to you and even hold that over a partner’s head, warning him or her that if he or she isn’t on his or her best behaviour, you can always get someone else.

19. You often have people end relationships with you in less than six months

If you find that individuals regularly break up with you once they’ve got time to know you and all comment on similar behaviours as a reason why you might be a narcissist.

Often times in a relationship, it takes a while for the relationship to reach a level of comfort where an individual starts letting their guard down and showing their true character. If partners have repeatedly brought up troublesome behaviours and left you because of it, you may have some narcissistic behaviours.

20. You are a serial dater or seducer

Since narcissists get their validation from other people, you might be a serial dater or serial seducer, getting your sense of worth from how many people say “yes” to you or find you charming or attractive.

21. You are hypersensitive to slights

If you’re a narcissist, you might be incredibly sensitive to slights or criticism. These slights and critiques can be highly damaging to a fragile ego and may cause extreme rage or depression.

22. You demand special favours and compliance

You may constantly demand special favours from people around you or demand extreme compliance from a partner or children. If you don’t receive those favours or compliance, you might become extremely agitated and aggressive. You will never consider that you might have asked too much, but that the individuals don’t understand your worth, value, or entitlement.

23. You struggle to deal with stress and adapting to change

Because narcissists like to control their external environment and other people, they can struggle to adapt to change or stress, which naturally make a person feel out of control.

24. You get aggressively angry when you don’t get what you want

If you don’t get what you want, you may blow up or fly into a rage that includes threatening others, breaking things, causing violence, and more.

25. You get unusually depressed or upset when you fall short or fail

You may beat yourself up (or physically punish yourself) for not achieving a certain result, making a bad decision, or failing at a goal.

Below are 10 warning signs that you may be dealing with a Spiritual Narcissist:

1. They Constantly Reference their own Achievements

The Spiritual Narcissist loves to self-promote. For them, every conversation is an opportunity to share just how superior they are to the average believer. They typically go about this by listing off their own achievements. You’ll hear them talk incessantly about their upcoming book, their latest blog post, sermon series, missions work, or that time they led someone to Christ. Scripture tells us not seek our own glory and to let our work stand on its own (Proverbs 27:2), but the Spiritual Narcissist will flaunt anything they believe might bring them praise.

The best way for Christians to counter this display is to follow the example of Micah 6:8, live justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with the LORD your God.

2. They Invade Conversations

The Spiritual Narcissist craves control, and their highest authority is always their own self-reference. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to invade the personal or private conversations of others. They’ll often do this under the guise of “helping” or “correcting” fellow Christians, but they have no real interest in two-way dialogue. You’ll notice they also have a way of injecting their own opinions into situations, and are the first voice their complaints about recent events in the Church. The Bible warns that such people create division among believers and serve only their own appetites (Romans 16:17-18, Psalms 36:1-4).

There’s no good way to speak with Spiritual Narcissists (Proverbs 26:4-5), the best response Christians can make is stand their ground and refuse to be bullied.

3. They Twist Scripture

Someone once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires”. In the same way, a Spiritual Narcissist uses scripture as a tool for their purpose instead of God’s. They approach the Bible with a closed mind, memorizing only a handful of useful verses that will justify their behaviour. Anything else, particularly scripture that conflicts with their actions, gets ignored. Like the men of Jude 1:4, they should not to be trusted.

The best defence Christians have against this kind of faulty theology is to simply read the Bible. The more familiar we become with God’s work, the more familiar we become with God.

4. They Profess Love, but Never Show It

Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Spiritual Narcissist is to see if their works match their words. Many will claim they have nothing but love and compassion in their hearts for those they rebuke, but their actions prove otherwise. Matthew 7 teaches us that we can judge a prophet by the fruit of his labours, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” So, what kind of harvest do they bring to God’s table? Division? Disdain? Cruelty?

Love is more than words, love is action. That’s what separates the true Christian from the Spiritual Narcissist.

5. They Talk, but They Don’t Listen

Listening can be a powerful tool for Christians. Listening builds trust, creates empathy, and fosters understanding among individuals. James 1:19 even urges believers to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. The Spiritual Narcissist, by contrast, is quick to speak, quick to take offense, and incapable of listening. They enjoy being the loudest one in the room, and the idea of deferring to someone else galls them.

A true Christian listens to others, even when they might not agree with them. Listening requires that we be selfless, which is the one thing a Spiritual Narcissist can never be.

6. They Live in Echo Chambers

In 1 Kings 22Jehoshaphat king of Judah and Ahab king of Israel join forces to wage war against a neighbouring adversary. However, before they depart Jehoshaphat decides to inquire upon the Lord for guidance. Four hundred prophets’ parade in front of the kings proclaiming victory is at hand, but Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced. When asked whether there is still a disciple of the Lord they can speak with, Ahab reluctantly admits,

“There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”    

Like Ahab, the Spiritual Narcissist lives in their own personal echo chamber. They surround themselves with individuals who will always affirm their existing preconceptions or opinions. Don’t make the same mistake. A wise Christian knows the right answer isn’t always the popular one.

7. They Refuse to Acknowledge Their Mistakes 

No one likes admitting they were wrong. It’s a humbling (and let’s be honest, sometimes embarrassing) experience, but accepting responsibility for your mistakes is the first step towards real maturity. Naturally, the Spiritual Narcissist will have none of it. Even when confronted with insurmountable evidence, the Spiritual Narcissist will continue to defend their actions as right. For them, it’s not about the greater good, it’s about protecting their self-image.     

Humility is a precious gift. It allows us to learn from our mistakes, recognize our faults, and grow into better people because of it. Take some advice from Philippians 3:13, accept what you’ve done wrong and strive to live for what comes ahead!

9. They Lead by Force, Not Example

A Spiritual Narcissist makes for the worst kind of leader. They’re petty, uncompromising, spiteful, and controlling. Heaven help the ministry which falls under their stewardship. By comparison, great leaders have always inspired their followers by example. They correct others without humiliating them, mentor those who need growth, and weigh their words carefully before speaking.

Take David, who despite his faults, showed humility and wisdom for God’s anointed rulers (1 Samuel 24). What about Peter? He spent his life testifying to Christ’s resurrection and building bridges of fellowship between strangers (Acts 10). Unlike the Spiritual Narcissist, a true leader knows their duty is to serve, not be served.

10. They Ultimately Put God Second

An expert in the law once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His reply,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” – Matthew 22:37-40

Many Christians know this verse by heart, but the meaning behind Christ’s words goes much farther than we realize. Not only is Jesus calling believers to love God with all their heart, he’s telling them our faithfulness is affirmed by our love for our neighbours. To put it simply: we can only love God if we’re unselfish. A Spiritual Narcissist will always put God second. Whether it’s by neglecting Christ’s commands, or how they treat their neighbours, pride will always make a person spiritually toxic. Don’t let yourself miss out on God’s amazing plan by being a Spiritual Narcissist.

Some More Bible Examples and Verses

Bible examples of people with one of the variant types of narcissism from covert, overt / grandiose, somatic, sexual, malignant, cerebral and spiritual: Diotrephes, Cain, Laban, Jezebel, King Ahab, Haman, Potiphar’s wife, King Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, Delilah, King Herod, Diotrophes, Ananias & Sapphira, King Sennacherib, The people of Sodom, Herodias, King Ahasuerus, Adonijah, Absalom, Judas, the Pharisees and Satan the devil.

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 amp)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!” (2 Corinthians 11:13-21)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 1-3)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Christian Counselling to Overcome Narcissistic Traits

If you recognize these narcissistic traits in yourself, getting treatment can help you overcome your internal and external conflicts for a more enjoyable life and better relationships. Reach out to God in prayer for healing (sometimes deliverance is needed) and us, for Christian counselling to overcome narcissism. You were created in the image of God for the purpose of bringing Him glory. Perhaps you are currently in a season in which you do not feel that you are bringing glory to God. Maybe you are even questioning whether you were made in His image. Many people reach a point in their lives when they feel stuck. They want to move forward, but they feel powerless and don’t know where to turn. Using biblical principles, warmth, and patience, I will work with you to seek lasting, positive change that will help you reflect God’s image and bring Him glory.

Side Note: We are all sinners saved by grace, and we all need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. May the Lord help us to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and give us much grace, discernment and wisdom in these last days.

**How to have a relationship with God : The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

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**By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC at Bothell Christian Counselling & Ryan Duncan at Crosswalk.com / Photo by Lilartsy at Pexels

Invisible Barriers to Healing

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

God provides healing as part of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. But what do you do when you don’t see the healing manifest in the physical realm? Derek Prince discloses six common barriers to healing—and how to overcome them. The notes below are from the sermon here: Invisible Barriers to Healing

Common Barriers To Receiving Healing

A. Ignorance (Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6)

B. Unbelief (Hebrews 3:12–13)

Prayer: “Oh, God, I come to You in Jesus’ Name, and I confess my sin of unbelief. I do not try to excuse it. I am responsible for it. I am sorry for it. I ask You to forgive me and to deliver me from it and impart to me Your faith. I want to declare: I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus Christ His Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit, and I believe in the Bible—the true, authoritative Word of God. I believe, Lord Jesus, what you said, “God’s Word is the truth.” Amen.”

C. Unconfessed sin (Proverbs 28:13) [Ask God to reveal any areas of unconfessed sin]

Prayer: “Oh, God, I acknowledge I am sorry. Forgive me, cleanse me in the blood of Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me, God. I receive your forgiveness. Now, God, because You have forgiven me, I forgive myself.”

D. Resentment and unforgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25)

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, I ask You now in Jesus’ Name to speak to my heart and show me areas of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness and make me willing to forgive. If there has been any resentment in my heart—any unforgiveness, any bitterness— I renounce it now. I lay it down. If anyone has ever harmed me or wronged me, I forgive them now, as I would have God forgive me. Lord, I forgive them in Your Name, and I believe You forgive me. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ Name.”

E. Occult involvement (Exodus 23:24–26):

1. Fortune-telling

2. Ouija board

3. Horoscopes

4. Superstition

5. Rock music

6. Drugs, etc.

Prayer: “Lord, if I have ever been involved in the occult, even ignorantly, whatever it was, I confess it as a sin and I renounce it. I ask You to forgive me and I commit myself now that never again will I be involved in those things. Forgive me, Lord, and release me from their influence. Right now. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”

F. Freemasonry (Exodus 23:32):

1. False religious system

2. Royal Arch Degree – The god Jabulon (Ja = Jehovah, bul = Baal, on = Osiris). This is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

3. One example: Woman with baby, six weeks old, that would not take nourishment (girl’s father was a Freemason). Baby took three full bottles after curse broken.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, I want to serve You and love You. If there is in my life (or in my family) a curse of Freemasonry or any other cult, I ask You to release me and forgive me and break its power over me right now. In Jesus’ Name.”

G. Effects of a curse over a family:

1. Mental and emotional breakdown

2. Repeated and chronic sicknesses (especially hereditary)

3. Repeated miscarriages or female problems, barrenness, etc.

4. Breakdown of marriage and family alienation

5. Continuing financial insufficiency

6. Accident prone

7. Suicides or unnatural deaths

Prayer: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, that on the cross You were made a curse that I might be redeemed from the curse and enter into the blessing. And because of what You did, Lord Jesus, in Your precious Name I release myself from every curse over me and my family and I claim the blessing that You purchased for me with Your blood. Thank you, Lord Jesus.”

H. Evil spirits associated with sickness (Luke 4:40–41).

Direct cause of sickness:

1. Spirits of infirmity, crippling, pain

2. Curvature of the spine

3. Spirit of death (Look on dark side of things, morbidity, dressing darkly)

Prayer: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” (Ps. 118:17) I. Ministry to the sick (Mark 16:18) After prayer, keep your plug in.

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**Courtesy of Derek Prince Ministries

** The spiritual warfare prayer

**How to have a relationship with God and be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

Self Worth And Self Esteem

 

“Our identity in Christ is part of accepting His gift of eternal life through faith.”

Often we put our self-worth in the type of clothes that we wear, the type of car that we drive, our accomplishments, our financial status, our relationship status, our talents, our appearance, etc. If you do this you will end up feeling broken and depressed. You will feel like you’re in shackles until you realise that Christ has set you free. Yes Christ has saved us from sin, but He has also saved us from the brokenness of having the world’s mindset.

Don’t let sin take away your joy. Don’t let the world take away your joy. The world will not take away your joy if your joy doesn’t come from the world. Allow it to come from the perfect merit of Christ.

Christ is the answer to all self-worth issues that may arise in your life. You are more to God than you can ever imagine!

Quotes

  • “Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me.”
  • “If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.”
  • “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”
  • “Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth even if they don’t.”
  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

God created man in His own image. 

As a result of the fall we are all broken. God’s image has been perverted by sin. Through the first Adam the image of God was tarnished. Through the second Adam Jesus Christ believers have been redeemed. Adam’s disobedience resulted in brokenness. Christ’s perfection results in restoration. The gospel reveals your value. You are to die for! Christ bore our sins on the cross.

Though we struggle at times due to the effects of the fall. Through Christ we are being renewed daily. We were once a people plagued by that broken image, but through Christ we are being transformed to the perfect image of our Creator. For those struggling with self-esteem we must pray for the Lord to continue to conform us into His image. This takes our focus off of self and puts it on the Lord. We were made for God not the world.

The world says we need this, we need this, we need this. No! We were made for Him, we were made in His image, and we were made for His will. We have a purpose. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! It’s amazing that we get to be image bearers of a glorious God! The world teaches that we need to work on ourselves and that is the problem. How can the problem be the solution?

We don’t have the answers and all of these man made solutions are temporary, but the Lord is eternal! It’s either you create a temporary identity for yourself or you can choose the everlasting identity for yourself that is found and secure in Christ.

1. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

2. Romans 5:11-12 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.

3. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

4. Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

5. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You’re so loved and beautiful beyond imagination!

The world will never comprehend. Even you will never comprehend the great love that God has for you! That is why we must look to Him. You are not in the world for nothing. Your life is not meaningless. Before creation God created you for Himself. He wants you to experience His love, He wants to spend time with you, He wants to tell you the special things of His heart. He never intended for you to look for confidence in yourself.

God says, “I’m going to be your confidence.” It is important on our walk of faith that we get alone with God so we can allow God to work in us and through us. Before the world was created God looked forward to you. He anticipated to have time with you and to reveal Himself to you. He waited in anticipation!

The Bible tells us that God’s heart beats faster and faster for you. Christians are the bride of Christ. Christ is the bridegroom. On a bridegroom’s wedding night all it takes is one look at his bride and his heart beats faster and faster for the love of his life.

Now imagine the love of Christ! Our love grows dull, but the love of Christ never wavers.

Before creation the Lord had many plans for you. He wanted to share His love with you so you would love Him more, He wanted to remove your doubts, your feelings of worthlessness, your feelings of hopelessness, and more. We have to get alone with God!

We struggle with so many things, but the one thing we need we neglect! 

We choose things that never wanted us, that want to alter us, and that never satisfy us over a God who died to be with us! We choose them over a God that says you are wonderfully made. Before the world looked at you and said you are not good enough God said I want him/her. He/she is going to be my treasure.

6. Ephesians 1:4-6 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

7. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

8. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9. John 15:15-16 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

10. Song of Solomon 4:9 “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, With a single strand of your necklace.”

You don’t need to prove to anyone how valuable you are.

The cross speaks louder than your words, your doubts, your accomplishments, and your possessions. The Creator of the Universe died for you on the cross! Jesus shed His blood. Don’t you understand that the simple fact that you are alive right now shows that He knows you and He loves you? God has not forsaken you. He hears you! You feel forsaken, but on the cross Jesus felt forsaken. He has been in your position and He knows how to comfort you.

You are not your past mistakes, you are not your past sins. You have been redeemed by the blood. Keep on pressing on. God is working through your struggles. He knows! God knew you and I were going to be messy. God isn’t frustrated with you so take that out of your head. God hasn’t abandoned you. God’s love is not based on your performance. God’s mercy is not dependent on you. Christ has become our righteousness. He did what you and I could never do.

You were bought with the precious blood of Christ. Not only has God chosen you, not only has God saved you, but God is working in your struggles to make you more like Christ. Don’t let things like sin discourage you. You were bought with the blood of Christ. Now press on. Keep on fighting! Don’t give up. Go to the Lord, confess your sins, and press on! God is not done working yet! If you could have saved yourself by your performance, then you would have never needed a Savior! Jesus is our only claim.

He thought about you when He died on the cross! He saw you living in sin and He said I want him. “I’m dying for him!” You must be so valuable that the Creator would come down from His throne, live the life you couldn’t live, suffer for you, die for you, and rise again for you. He was forsaken so you could be forgiven. Even if you tried to run away from Him you would never be able to get away from Him!

His love would catch you, cover you, and bring you back! His love is going to keep you to the end. He sees every tear, He knows your name, He knows the number of hairs on your head, He knows your faults, He knows every detail about you. Hold on to Christ.

11. 1 Corinthians 6:20 You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

12. Romans 8:32-35 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

13. Luke 12:7 In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

14. Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

15. Isaiah 43:4 Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.

This world teaches us to focus on self and that is the problem.

It’s all about self-help. Even in Christian bookstores you will find popular books titled “5 Steps For The New You!” We can’t fix ourselves. Until you realize you were not created for yourself you will always struggle with self-esteem issues. The world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s all about Him!

Rather than looking to the world to patch up spiritual wounds which it can never do, we should look to God to change our heart. When you take the focus off of self and put all of your focus on Christ you will be so consumed in His love. You will be so busy in loving Him that you will lose the doubt and the feeling of rejection.

You will genuinely love yourself. We always tell people to trust in the Lord, but we forget to tell people that it’s hard to trust in Him when we are not focused on Him. We need to work on our humility. Make that your goal. Think less of yourself and think more of Him.

16. Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

17. Philippians 2:3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

18. Isaiah 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

The world has us comparing ourselves to each other.

This is hurting us. We are not to be like the world. We are to be like Christ. Everyone wants to be like someone. The person who you compare yourself to is comparing himself/herself to someone else. It’s meaningless and it will make you weary. It’s time to say enough is enough.

When you compare yourself to the world you allow Satan to plant seeds of doubt, insecurity, rejection, loneliness, etc. Nothing in this world will satisfy. Find satisfaction and joy in Christ which remains forever. You can’t try to substitute the joy found in Christ. All other joy is only temporary.

19. Ecclesiastes 4:4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbours. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind.

20. Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things  through Him who strengthens me.

21. 2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

Setbacks bring down our self-esteem.

Throughout life we make expectations for ourselves. I do it all the time in my mind. I expect to accomplish this at this time. I expect this to be a certain way. I don’t expect setbacks or roadblocks, but sometimes we need a reality check. We are not to trust in our expectations. We are to trust in the Lord because when our expectations prove to be unfaithful we know that the Lord is faithful. We trust our future with our Almighty Father.

Proverbs 3 tells us to not trust in our thoughts. Expectations are dangerous because once you don’t meet your expectations you start to struggle in different areas. You start to struggle with your identity in Christ. You become disappointed in who you are. You start to lose the love of God. “God doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t hear my prayers. I am not fit to do this.”

Maybe you struggle with self-esteem and self-worth because you have encountered a few setbacks. I’ve been there before so I know how it feels. Satan starts spreading lies. “You’re worthless, God has too much to worry about, you’re not one of His special people, you’re not smart enough.”

We have to understand. We don’t need a title. We don’t need to be big and be well known. God loves us! Sometimes setbacks are because the love of God is so great. He is working in broken people and He is making diamonds out of us. Don’t trust in your setbacks. Allow God to work everything out. You can trust in Him. Pray for more joy in Him.

22. Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

23. Isaiah 43:18-19 Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.

24. Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Read Psalms

One thing about my church that I love is that church members take turns reading different chapters in Psalms. Whatever you are struggling with whether it is self-worth, anxiety, fear, etc. take the time to read different Psalms especially Psalm 34. I love that chapter. Psalms will help you with putting your confidence back in the Lord instead of yourself. God hears you! Trust Him even when you see no changes in your situation.

25. Psalm 34:3-7 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

We all struggle with self-worth to some degree. However, the more we learn to take the focus off of self and put it on Christ, the more we realize where our true identity lies. God’s love is so profound it’s difficult to understand. Leonard Ravenhill once said, “it’s not about how much you have to give to Him. It’s about how much He has to give to you.”

God bless!

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**By Fritz Chery at Bible Reasons / Picture by Amine M’Siouri at pexels

Comparison Is The Thief of Joy

 

One of the fastest ways of discouraging yourself and getting trapped by the sin of envy is when you compare yourself to others. God has a specific plan for you and you won’t accomplish that plan by looking at others. 

Count your blessings and not the blessings of someone else. Let God control your life and give Satan no opportunity to discourage you from the purpose God has for you. Know that all you need is Christ. Set your mind at peace by focusing on the Lord.

This is another way to build unity, by not looking to see if I’m better than the next person, spiritually, intellectually or with anything else the Lord has blessed me with.

“Don’t compare yourself to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.”

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

What does the Bible say? Bible verses to Help in Comparing yourselves to others:

Galatians 6:4-5 Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.  Assume your own responsibility.

2 Corinthians 10:12 We wouldn’t put ourselves in the same class with or compare ourselves to those who are bold enough to make their own recommendations. Certainly, when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves, they show how foolish they are.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.  That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

All it does is lead to envy

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Proverbs 14:30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

1 Corinthians 3:3 For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

Set apart from the world

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

“1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

We don’t live for people

Philippians 2:3 Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.

Galatians 1:10 Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?

Give God your all

Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind and with all your strength.’

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be content

1 Timothy 6:6-8 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Psalm 23:1 A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

Be grateful in all situations.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.

Psalm 136:1-2 Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his mercy endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods because his mercy endures forever.

Compare yourself to Christ instead so you can be more like Him. 

2 Corinthians 10:17 As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

That way you can live out God’s will for your life.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 138:8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life–for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Advice

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Reminder

Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

 

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By Fritz Chery at Bible Reasons / Picture Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

Comfort During Troubled Times

 

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

In a time such as this, worry and stress can creep in and overwhelm us if we allow them too. But standing on the promises of God and resting in Him can bring peace of mind. Here are some Bible verses to help comfort and reassure you of God’s divine love and sovereignty over this world. Jesus tells us that we will face troubles and hardships in life, but we can have peace knowing he has already overcome the world. May these words of the Bible serve as reminders for you. As you read these Bible verses pray and call out to God to heal your mind and heart. Reach out to others around you to uphold you in prayer also, don’t suffer in silence. May the Lord meet you at your point of need and bring healing and restoration, whether it be spiritually, physically or mentally.

PEACE 

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2) 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14) 

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) 

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11) 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22) 

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11) 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) 

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15) 

SLEEP 

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 3:24-26) 

“Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2) 

ANXIETY AND STRESS 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) 

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:25-32) 

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” (Philippians 4:13-14

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:6-7) 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) 

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10) 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:27-28) 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8) 

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22) 

 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) 

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4) 

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” (Psalm 34:14-15) 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

**LINK to the audio version of these Bible verses

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By Lori McPherson

**Picture courtesy of Harvard University