A Fight Among Friends

Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you.” (Proverbs 2:11)

I made a friend. Seems we’ve known each other all my life. She speaks my heart language—at least one of them. She encourages me to do things that bring me comfort, and she provides me with bursts of confidence to tune out other voices and just go for what I want. When I’m with her, I feel invincible, and she makes me forget the unpleasant challenges I face.

The only problem is that she poisons my walk with God.

Her name is Compromise, and she’s not my friend at all. She tells me what I want to hear instead of what I need to hear. We’ve been friends all my life, but she only comes around when I’m at my weakest. She speaks the soothing, familiar language of my first love (ME) and drowns out the voice of my other First Love sometimes demoted to second place. Her voice speaks only of pleasure, and her skill at rationalizing is epic. When I’m with her, I lose track of time and hardly notice the decay. Life with her is exciting until it’s time to pay the consequences.

How do I win the battle with Compromise? I can’t handle her by myself. No, she’s too skilled a liar, and I must call in reinforcements: Discernment and Truth. They are a powerful tag-team! Discernment knocks out the lying teeth of Compromise revealing the deception I can’t see on the surface. She saves lots of heartache if I give her a chance. Then comes Truth. She tells it like it is but Compromise, though toothless, still wants to argue. No matter! The voice of God rings louder and clearer, calling my name and reminding me this fight was fixed at Calvary; I need only collect the winnings by choosing to obey what is right.

This fight is not easy, but with the help of Discernment and Truth, we are more than winners. Here’s to giving Compromise, our not-a-friend friend, a daily black eye!

Do You!

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

I was talking to a young adult a while back when the subject of snowflakes came up. He asked if I really believed every snowflake was different from any other. When I said I did, he said he couldn’t wrap his head around that. The conversation then shifted to the uniqueness of people. “There never has been another you in the world and there never will be again.” I said, “Think of all the people born and died since the beginning of time. DNA is God’s way of proving He’s never made a copy.” His silence showed how staggered he was at this thought.

It staggers me too, but it also encourages me. I love that God made each of us unique. This frees us from the foolish task of trying to be somebody else. The intelligent design of Our Creator has given us a vast forest of uniqueness to explore and to share with the world! When I look at you, I see beauty, creativity, uniqueness, and glory worth knowing. Do you see it too? Don’t hide it and please don’t cheapen it by mimicking what you think is more admirable in somebody else. You are His masterpiece, and Your Designer is most glorified when you do you!

Prayer of a Rat-Race Renegade Come Home

Dear Jesus,

I am so done. The treadmill of this world with all of its expectations is going at a speed I am incapable of mastering. It has made me tired, and I’m getting off today.

What’s that You say? Your yoke is easy, your burden is light (Matthew 11:30)? Oh, that sounds so good. No, I haven’t forgotten this is no invitation to an easy life, (Matthew 16:24) but anything is better than the demanding, dragging, sleep-stealing, merciless driving, competitive life I’ve been living. It made promises it never kept; always extending the pay-off to another day or year. It’s so unlike You, Lord, Who made me promises impossible not to keep (Numbers 23:19).

Yes, please give me some of that peace you patented (John 14:27). I’ll soak in that tub brimming with the identity you say I already have as your child (Colossians 2:10). Thank you that I don’t have to sweat for it it because you already bled for it.

Toss me that tailor-made purpose You designed to fit only me. You paid a precious price for it, (Ephesians 1:7) and I’ll wear it with joy, Lord. I never fit anything the world stuffed me into anyway.

I’m feeling better already. The lightness is so refreshing, Jesus. I love you for it! I anticipate many moments relishing the thought of You rejoicing over me with singing ( Zephaniah 3:17). I am giddy about our future. It’s going to be fun to ignore and refuse to dance to anybody else’s tune but Yours. I’m sorry I lost my way, but I’m back now. Shine through me, use me, and show the world what You can do in a renegade come home.

Your Third Eye

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sara’s womb was also dead. Yet He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ” Romans 4:19-21

My heartbeat speeds up every time I read the passage above.

Everyone one loves a story where the underdog triumphs over incredible odds. I have noticed that overcomers use their two natural eyes to look at the bare naked facts. They don’t dabble in denial and tell themselves they don’t see what is staring back at them. But while they view the facts with their natural eyes, they also have a third eye, the eye of faith.

Do you have three eyes?

People call us crazy, pie-in-the sky Pollyanna’s because of our third eye. They think we are not living in reality. But we are more realistic than the pessimists because we know once God has said a thing, it is as real as if it already happened. We remember that God sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. Humanly speaking, it’s like seeing yourself as a baby in one room (that’s the past), your present age in the next room, and you living in what God has promised just one door down. Because God cannot lie, what He has promised has already happened. You’re just not in that room yet.

What has God promised that you are tempted to doubt? Resist the temptation to look at your present circumstances only with your natural eyes.

Maybe your third eye is getting blurry? Is your faith faltering? Verse 19 says that Abraham was strengthened in his faith. Where did his faith find its strength? In the power of God! You don’t have to muster up faith if it’s faith in God because God’s promises are backed up by who He is!

If your third eye is getting blurry, you may be looking too long at the circumstance and not enough at the One who is greater than your circumstance.

Maybe the exercise below can strengthen your third eye if it is growing weak.

Put your name in place of Abraham’s and your circumstance in place of his and see what happens!

Without weakening in her faith, (your name) faced the fact that (insert your facts here). Yet she did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in her faith…being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.

Talk About It: Share what your third eye sees that is just one door down. Or what promise has God made that has already been fulfilled? It may encourage the rest of us who are still waiting.

A Tongue’s Tale

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

I was having an ordinary moment with a family member the other day when he alerted me I’d crossed a line. The rebuke was so gentle that the sting mirrored it. I hadn’t meant to hurt or offend, and I rushed to say so. “I know you didn’t,” was the loving reply. I offered an apology, and his gracious acceptance gave the incident a peaceful burial.

Upon reflection, two thoughts have sprung from those few uncomfortable moments.

First, sometimes it’s not what we say, but how we say it that’s wrong. Frustration or anger have a way of turning the most benign words into weapons. I thought back to a few other things I’d said in recent days that I could have delivered with more sensitivity. (Forgive me, Lord.)

Second, oftentimes people don’t tell us that we’ve hurt them, but it doesn’t mean we’re not guilty. Sometimes only the Holy Spirit makes us aware of what we’ve done. I’ve tried to duck the conviction because no one actually said anything, but no, I can’t use that as an excuse. If ever my words could have had a gentler expression, to that degree I am guilty of harshness to the delicate and unseen part of the recipient’s emotions. It is not the way of Christ, and I want to be like Him.

If this is your heart’s desire too, may we pray this together:

Dear God, make my mouth an instrument of love, not of hurt. I ask that Your Spirit change my heart so that gentleness flows from my lips. Let meekness control my tongue so that it takes the time to construct the best words to say in the best way. Amen!