Tuesday, July 22, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 9)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. This has been a blessed time discussing Romans 12 and the guidance God gives for us to commit our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ! Today we will be finishing up our study and reflecting on the sacrificial heart of being Christ-like, beginning in verse 17.

15. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. According to God's word, we are to strive to live in harmony with one another. This can be difficult because our sinful nature is always looking out for "self". But scripture tells us to be sympathetic and love others as family. The only way to do this is to ask God to lead us with the compassion and humility of Jesus. We are not to repay evil with evil or insult with insult. That is not how God works. No, we are called to ALWAYS be a blessing to others in His Name and represent Him void of the sin that once consumed us. For now, we are consumed with Jesus. And by following His way, we will be a blessing to others as well as receive blessings from Him beyond all measure.

To sincerely love in our new life, we must be diligent to submit our words and deeds over to the Holy Spirit and keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech. We must make a point to always promote the peace of heaven. This is our pursuit, ladies: love and peace in Jesus Name! When we meet opposition, we are not to fear them or take on vengence against them. No. That is the old man trying to assume God's role. But we are no longer old. We are NEW NEW NEW and set apart in His Name. He will handle all matters for us as we walk prayerfully in faith and obedience.

With the Spirit's guidance, we must always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks about our eternal hope in Christ. And when we do so, we must be gentle and respectful. Sure, we will likely be mocked and ridiculed by the world. We will be unfairly treated and scoffed at for our faith. Why? Because those who reject Jesus will reject us. But our purpose is not to attack the lost who deny Him... our purpose is to glorify God so that more may know Him. So ladies, I encourage you to keep a clear conscience and always choose what is right. This way, those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. No matter what... let's strive to do His good! God is in full control and will take care of us. Obey Him and He will see you through every earthly trial.

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. We are ambassadors of the Savior and representatives of His love. I pray that this study has encouraged you to live fully devoted to His perfect way of life. A new life in Jesus!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, July 21, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 8)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. I have truly enjoyed discussing how we are to commit our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ! Haven't you? This has been a great study that has challenged our motives and focus while reviewing the many important topics that we must adhere to in our Christian walk. Before we finish up (tomorrow), let's pause today and look at verse 16.

12. Live in harmony with one another. I once read a quote from Hudson Taylor that said, "Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards." He meant, do not try to live each day without first praying and meditating in God's word.

As followers of Jesus, we are to regularly study, pray, know and adhere to everything Christ has said. When we deliberately seek after His way - His "melody"... our song becomes His new song and we are able to live our new lives in harmony with one another. What is harmony in the body of Christ? It is a consistent, orderly, and pleasing arrangement of all our parts - a congruity of believers living in Jesus name and in agreement with His new way of life. How wonderful!

13. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us. Because of this, we would be wise to always recognize where our new life and salvation truly comes! For there is none righteous... no, not one. Without Jesus, the only thing we (as humans) can claim for ourselves is sin and death. No person alone is worthy of divine recognition or glory... no one except Jesus! For He is God! He is perfect. He has overcome sin and death so that we may live freely in His Name! So, it stands to reason that the only identity we can boast about is His.

"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 10:17)

This levels the playing field, doesn't it. For in truth, we are ALL of lowly position. We too were once lost. We too needed help beyond our capability. So, it makes sense that as Christ's followers we must be open to associate with those still broken and without. We must be willing to share His hope to those still hopeless. Why? Because we too were once the same... shameful, lowly, despicable, corrupt. We too had no identity. But we have gained Jesus! So, we must be willing to share the saving difference that we now claim in His perfect Name. We are to daily cling to His plan and prove that those who securely live under His authority may find true freedom from sin and death.

Those who receive Jesus as Lord are redeemed and made NEW! This is the good news of God's eternal, living kingdom! Let us be bold to share Jesus with as many people as possible! Let's get over ourselves so that we may climb onto His bandwagon and claim His identity as our own! Let us only sing His beautiful words - His wonderful words of life! A NEW ETERNAL LIFE!

Ladies, my ongoing prayer for DW's ministry is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. We are here to share God's good news and praise the mighty Name of Jesus forever and ever!

I pray that we will each live devoted to His saving message and offer His new way of life always. This is the day to rejoice and be glad in Him!!! This is the day to sing a new song!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, July 20, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 7)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Don't you love how deeply we have been able to study this wonderful passage in Romans 12? Let's jump back in it today and seek His guidance. Our goal: to commit our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ! WOO HOO! Today, we will be looking at verse 15.

11. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. One of the hardest things to do in life is to willingly take the focus off ourselves and selflessly direct our attention onto others for the sake of Christ. Why? Because we like to be the center of attention. We like everything to be about us. However, it is impossible to live a new life of love and devotion toward our neighbor without first establishing an inner attachment and deep affection toward their favor. So, we must be willing to turn over the focus. We must learn to love others and give them our full attention while relating to them as Jesus would relate to us - sacrificially. For without this form of genuine consideration and daily concern for the well-being of others, we would not be able to rejoice with those who rejoice or mourn with those who mourn - all the while giving glory to God and acknowledging Him first.

There should be no division in the body, but its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:25a-26)

Rather than become envious when others receive a blessing, or feel relieved and stay distant when someone else endures hardship, we must learn to empathize with others. We must get up close and personal in situations and lovingly share Jesus' eternal hope in all matters. This is how we learn to relate sincerely (as He would) with one another. This is where our new life in Christ is able to become most evident and most impactful to the world around us. This is where His glory is best exposed through us - when we choose to live in obedience with a teachable spirit that showcases His heart. Rather than feed our old sinful hunger for attention, as Christians, we are newly equipped in Jesus Name to live humbly and submit over our lives to reflect His image... His grace. And what is grace? It is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. And His grace is sufficient. His grace is enough for every earthly experience. His grace is all we need to focus on and share.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Our new life offers us the opportunity to showcase His compassion and care for one another as we live selflessly in His grace. Praise be our God who loves us enough to save us from our sin and give us the freedom to live NEW! Our Savior has indeed blessed us with a hope and secure future. Let us be sure to respectfully share this good news in every moment and praise His Name forever and ever! Amen!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, July 19, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 6)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Today, we are continuing our study in Romans 12:9-31 and committing our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ. This includes our interactions with others. Join me as we look at the new life dynamic that must exist in the Christian's walk. We will be looking at verse 14 today.

10. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. The apostle Paul warned us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Furthermore, Jesus informed us to expect persecution from the world. Why? Because those who hate Him, will indeed hate His followers.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)

Our new life claiming Jesus' way clearly makes us different from those who have not accepted Christ. Our focus is no longer about feeding a selfish hunger for sin and striving to be apart from God. Rather, our focus is about sharing a selfless love for the sake of growing closer to our Master. This distinction separates us from those still lost in the old. It is this very separation that arouses the world's animosity against us. You see, godly love suffocates the existence of sin. Because of this, the dying sinner who foolishly rejects God's new way will aggressively stand in opposition and struggle to excuse and maintain his corruption at all cost.

But as followers of Jesus, we must be able to lovingly look past all hatred directed toward our King and His decrees. We must understand that those who are still lost in the "old" are truly diseased and in need of treatment from The Great Physician. This is why we are to bless those who curse us. We are to understand their need for holy compassion and love. Why? Because they are sick with sin. They are dying and without hope. Irrespective of their selfish actions, we are not to fall back and curse them. No, that is the old way of doing things. That is THEIR way of doing things. But Jesus' way is to bless and not curse. Jesus' way is to bestow upon them His divine favor while teaching them to worship His Father in Heaven. Jesus' way is to offer life rather than death. As His ambassadors, we must be willing to extend this offer to everyone who needs His cure and healing. We must be willing to bravely endure all trials and tests against sinfulness in order to showcase and honor His glorious, restorative throne.

Ladies, it is easy to resent and be hateful toward others who treat us poorly. Sin is always easy. But to be Christ-like means to reject sin and remain calm in all circumstance while responding in kindness in the face of evil opposition. Without question this is a tremendous challenge. But thankfully, we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us and the wonderful example of our Lord to encourage us.

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Our new life offers us the opportunity to showcase His ability to heal and save - even in times of great opposition and despair. Praise be our God who is able to redeem those who were once lost but willing to claim Him as their own! Our new lives are because He is holy and willing to save. Our Savior has indeed blessed us with a hope and future secure in our Father's presence. Let us share this good news and praise His Name forever and ever! Amen!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, July 18, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 5)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Today, we are continuing our study in Romans 12:9-31 and committing our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ. This includes our interactions with one another. Join me as we look at the new life dynamic that must exist in the Christian's walk. We will be looking at verse 13 today.

9. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. As a child, my mother went to great lengths to always encourage me to share with my older brother. Usually it was over something I really didn't want to share. Rather, I wanted to keep it (whatever "it" was) all to myself. But faithfully, Momba would persist in her instruction until I would obey and hand over a portion of whatever I was greedily clinging to. Did I like sharing with my older brother who usually got the better end of the deal? No, not particularly. And once I did share, did I miraculously feel fulfilled and happy? No, not really. I usually felt slighted and gypped out of having more. So, why does God clearly instruct us to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Why does He command us to treat one another with hospitality and generosity? To answer this, we must understand what sharing is and trust the One who can satisfy us fully.

To share means to participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns. As God generously blesses His people individually, He also expects us to share His gifts communally throughout the body of Christ. As believers, we all hold stock, if you will, in His Kingdom. Jesus, in all His goodness, is both ours individually and communally. To hoard His abundance and blessing while moving forward in our new life would clearly be contradictory as it violates the "love your neighbor as yourself" mindset that we know is righteous. Furthermore, to selfishly cling to anything God gives us is to turn our focus off the Giver and onto the gift... which then must be re-labeled as an idol. An idol can be anything too. It can be money, an item, a skill, a talent... it can even be our time. I have found that whatever I am hesitant or unwilling to share with others (especially when there is clearly a need) is exactly the idol that God is calling me to surrender. And until I concede to His call, my new life will never experience the fullness I hope to know in Jesus Name.

In general, money is one of the top contending idols of Christians. Whether it is tithing to a church or ministry, or simply giving funds to a needy person, family or charitable organization - we struggle to give up our dollars. We squirm to finance and support the people and places where God could be glorified most. Why? Because we worked hard for our paycheck and have a family to support. Because it gives us peace of mind to have our own selfish sense of control and security. Because with money we feel we have power. But what power is that? Power to keep us comfortable? Power to keep us safe? Power to keep us ahead? Power to keep us happy? Is our comfort, safety and future fulfillment a testament to a momentary financial status... or God's headship? We must ask ourselves the hard question: Do we trust God enough to lovingly and generously share a portion of everything He has blessed us with? Do we believe He alone is enough to sustain us so that we may live sincerely in communion and love - hating what is evil and clinging to what is good? Think about it. Does your tithe accurately represent your new life? Are you personally willing to sacrifice "more" in order to worship Jesus and give all control over to Him? For where does one's faith really rest secure? Ourselves... or the Savior? And what better way to build up His kingdom than to contribute what we have, so that others may more easily spread the good news and give Him all glory and honor?

The same rule of thumb is true about our time and talents. We must ask ourselves what talents aren't we sharing... what time aren't we contributing in order to advance God's kingdom? Where are these things being used? For our own benefit? For our own selfishness? Every believer has a very important and deliberate role in God's family to live and love as Christ. We all hold a very specific purpose to serve Him by using our personal talents and skills to build up His kingdom. Let's not selfishly fail to share what we have in order to please ourselves. Rather, let's generously give of our time and talents in order to share His love to everyone. Just think what God will do with our willingness!

Ladies, to live like Jesus, we must be willing to sacrifice and be hospitable to one another. Let's come ready to serve where we are capable. Let's be open to meeting needs. Why? Because Christ will indeed fulfill all our needs. We are His followers. Our life is His life. Our love is His love. Nothing we possess on earth is eternal... only Jesus. Never forget that your new life does not include worldly greed and selfishness. Those sins only get in the way of glorifying the King's name. Please know that He will never, ever gyp you. He will never, ever slight you. He wants you to live fully and wishes to bless you beyond measure. So, believe that Christ is able to help you overcome the idols of old and lead you into the new. Let's be willing to give it all to Him. Let's obey and share and enjoy the eternal satisfaction and blessing of Jesus Christ! He is our guide... and His way is divine.

Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." (John 7:16-18)

"Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing." (John 14:10-12)

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Our new life is now, ladies. Let's live every moment trusting His headship. Praise be our God who holds all control and power and glory! Our new lives are secure in His assurance. Our Savior is truly a treasure worth sharing. Let's seek first His kingdom, His righteousness! He is enough.

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34)

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, July 17, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 4)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Today, we are continuing our study on the checklist outlined in Romans 12:9-31 and committing our ways (everyday) to match our new life in Jesus Christ.

6. Be joyful in hope... Hope in earthly terms is usually considered more of a wish. It is an anticipation that something may happen. For example, when a person goes to college they hope they will complete their degree in four years. However, life could easily throw them a curve ball. They could fall ill and miss a semester as they recuperate. They could learn that their major is not what they thought and reconsider their focus thus causing them to start over. They could run out of funds and have to work a year to pay for more schooling. The hope they have to complete their degree in four years is really nothing short of a wishful expectation.

However, hope in biblical terms is this: it is an assured outcome. A confident and definite conclusion of events that will indeed occur. There is no wishing or wondering with God's promises. They are certain. In fact, our biblical hope is drenched in certainty and unchanging truth. As Christians, it is important to keep this hope at the forefront of our lives in order to joyfully proceed forward with our new lives. This is the hope that Jesus gives us. A hope that should shape our attitudes and outlook because of the promise we are assured to receive in His Name. This form of hope cannot be found in another human being or a new drug treatment for cancer. It cannot be seen in a raise or promotion. This form of hope is not about the possibility of good things that may or may not occur while you live on this earth. This hope is eternal. Forever free of doubt. It is an inevitable certainty of peace to those who have believed that Jesus is God and proclaimed Him as Lord of their life.

When Paul spoke of "looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" he was referring to an event that is definitely going to take place. Jesus WILL return to us and rule forever! Amen! Nothing can stop this fact. God has promised it. We can live confidently in that expectation! As such, we must also live lovingly and patiently work though all trials and temporary circumstances here on earth with the certain, eternal perspective and the joy of our promised eternity in His presence.

7. Be patient in affliction... Sometimes God allows difficult situations to occur in our lives so that we can be a witness for Him through our actions and temperaments. Other times, He allows trials for the sanctification of our character. Irrespective of God's reason, it is crucial for us to think beyond our own selfish expectations of how things should be and remember God's promise - that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (See Romans 8:28) Let's face it, when everything is going our way, patience and kindness toward others is easy to produce. But when things rub us wrong... when we are treated unfairly... when we feel taken advantage of, unheard, disregarded, or worse... then it is most difficult to be kind to others and to maintain a patience that mirrors our Savior's love.

Rather, our natural response is usually about justifying our own actions, rights and boundaries. In such circumstances, our instincts default into impatience... causing us to mistrust and become irritable. Then, some of us respond by attacking others merely for the sake of pointing out how right we surely are. Some of us fall into pity parties and question God's protection and plan for our lives by crying out, "Why Me?" Many of us forget that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that should actively be pursued and prayed for as we seek to live like Jesus. Instead we forget His Holy LOVE altogether and focus on what we feel is FAIR for our SELF. We then fall victim to the snares of the devil and accept our own prison of depression, stress, anger, frustration, and pride... all things that are clearly NOT of our Lord. All things that prevent our new life from moving forward.

So, how can we maintain and display patience that is characteristic of Christ? How do we harness this fruit that the Spirit wishes to give us? Let's look in the Bible at the many examples of those whose patience characterized how close their walk was with God. James points us to the prophets “as an example of patience in the face of suffering” (James 5:10). He also refers to Job, whose perseverance was rewarded by what the “Lord finally brought about” (James 5:11). Also, Abraham waited patiently and “received what was promised” (Hebrews 6:15). But above all... Jesus remains our best role model as He always demonstrated a patient endurance: “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). It is such a relief to know that with Jesus as our King, we don't have to be under the bondage of impatience because we are indeed new creatures in Christ! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17) Instead, we can depend upon the Lord’s strength and choose to follow His example - responding kindly, obediently and with a loving heart.

Patience reveals our faith in God’s timing and sovereignty over our lives. Colossians 1:11 tells us that we are strengthened by Him to “great endurance and patience,” while James 1:3-4 encourages us to know that trials are His way of perfecting our patience... Yes, trials! Because of this, we should look at difficult circumstances as blessings and opportunities to further strengthen our patience by resting in God’s perfect will and timing... even in the face of evil men who “succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7). In the end, our patience will be rewarded because the Lord's coming is near (James 5:7-8). “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25).

8. Be faithful in prayer... Paul says in Ephesians, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." So what does a new life of faithful prayer look like? I think it is taking to heart Jesus' own words in John 15:4 when he tells us, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you." I especially love the wording used in the King James translation which says, "Abide in me, and I will abide in you."

Abide in Jesus. Commune with Him. Live with Him in ALL occasions. Worship and pray and communicate... eat, breathe, sleep, exercise, work, play... EVERYTHING in His Name. Let your Spirit rejoice in His presence always. Remain with your Shepherd... ALWAYS! Why? Because apart from being with Christ, we can do nothing.... we are nothing. Our new life is really His life displayed through us. We are his servants always. We are his people. So, we must remain in Him in order to live live live, ladies. The new... the wonderful Savior has come! We are fullest when our hearts are faithful to find Him everyday.

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry, is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Our new life is now. Let's live every moment with the joy He has given. Every second belongs to Him!!!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 3)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Today, let's jump back in and continue to study the checklist outlined in Romans 12:9-31 and commit our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ.

5. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Let me first point out that there is a big difference in maintaining zeal (enthusiastic diligence) and spiritual fervor (earnestness, intensity) in comparison to promoting excessive, irrational fanaticism generated from a particular religious agenda. Our hearts and actions should always be measured against God's Word - not man's opinion or feeling on any issue.

What we say and do should directly reflect Jesus' love to everyone. Paul tells us in Galatians 4:18, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good.” This is the type of zeal and spiritual fervor spoken of in Romans 12:11. We are to ask God for the strength and wisdom to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37)

Yes, this means we are to love God emotionally. But we are also called to love Him with all our will, and with all our intellect. To "feel" deeply is an important aspect of our faith. But even more important, we must choose God's will as our own. We must dedicate our lives to think in accordance and act in alignment with His Word. This is how we serve Him with ALL our heart.

Emotions are not always reliable. Thus our feelings can be swayed by our sinfulness. So, it is critical that we truly know our King well enough to live the way He has ordered. Our new life is attainable when we think, act, honor and sacrifice like our Savior. He is our Shepherd in this walk. His path is the one to follow. His way is the standard.

The increasing frequency of Christians who abuse this particular command is alarming. For although we live in a technologically and scientifically advanced age, we also live in an age of widespread ignorance when it comes to knowing God intimately and reacting biblically to matters of today. As a people, our natural reactions are usually based on sinful desires and selfish emotions. But ladies, it is our responsibility to politically, economically, morally, legally, and scientifically ponder all matters against the truth of scripture and to react with godly passion. What He says matters most. We must study to show ourselves approved unto Him - to receive His blessing as we follow His way. To do any less and "cut corners” by neglecting to do the hard intellectual work of deep biblical study and seek Him in humble prayer is to arrogantly refuse the divine insight and holy wisdom that God graciously has provided to us in His word. Furthermore, to avoid sharing and discussing these eternal truths with others goes directly against the primary objective of our new life in Jesus Christ. The Bible is our Owner's manual. We must read our Owner's words and know Him, follow Him, believe Him in order to move forward.

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry, is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Let's ask God to search our hearts and test our ways on each point we are discussing in this series - especially this most critical topic on spiritual fervor. Let's come ready to choose His way over our own - even if it seems challenging... even if it feels uncomfortable. Our new life is now. Let's live it everyday as He intended and serve the Lord with all our heart!

"This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine!" Join me, ladies and praise the Holy Holy Holy Name above all other names! Live every moment in glory and honor of the One and Only, Jesus! Let's allow Him to come restore our souls and bring us into His path of righteousness. Come, Lord Jesus... come!!!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 2)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Today, let's continue to read through the checklist outlined in Romans 12:9-31 and commit our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ.

Andrew Murray once said, "Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays." I believe this to be true. We represent God in how we treat the individuals He introduces into our lives. So, it would make sense that our response to them should mirror our devotion and honor to Him. Look at the points in verse 10...

3. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourself. His new life includes our deliberately doing good to others, blessing others and praying for others. In fact, Jesus told His disciples the night before His crucifixion, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” (John 13:34). So how did Jesus love? Well, His devotion to us is evident through His self-sacrifice. He gave everything so that we may know God forever. This form of love is one that seeks the very best for another. It is not based on feelings - or even our likes/dislikes. No, it is more about a resolve to put the welfare of another above our own. (Which logically brings us to the next guideline below.) Such devotion for others is impossible in our own strength and clearly why we need a Savior to teach and guide our every step.

4. Honor one another above yourself. When we look at Jesus’ interactions with others, we see that He willingly related with all kinds of people - sinners, tax collectors, Pharisees, Sadducees, Romans, Samaritans, fisherman, women, children. He held no regard to their social status or their respectability in the eyes of men. Rather, Jesus loved all people and honored them as valuable individuals while surrendering His earthly time and energy so that they may have the opportunity to benefit from His holy wisdom. Then, He would restore His soul by retreating away for a short while to fast, pray and meditate on His Father's Word. We must understand that being a Christian is not about ease or comfort. It is about love and sacrifice for the sake of our Father. Because of this, we must know (like Christ knew) that honoring others is not always "fun". In fact, it can feel draining at times. But honor is a certain path to our purpose in life - glorifying God. To be effective, we must also take time to be alone in His word to recharge our batteries and restore our souls. You see, honoring others is only attainable through the power of Christ who gives us strength. With His help, our new life will reflect His character to all we encounter. Here, we are called to love and respect all persons at all times while sharing His message. Please note that honoring another person does not sanction any agreement with sinful practices as an acceptable part of human diversity. On the contrary. Jesus lovingly spoke harsh words to those who opposed God's way. Rather than be concerned over His own popularity, Jesus always shared the truth because it was best. He knew that his audience would either receive His saving words or turn and reject Him forever. As His followers, we must pray for Christ's courage to equally honor others with His message and never hesitate to speak His truth in love - no matter how uncomfortable or how much it may cost us to do so. Lastly, we must never judge another personally. Our job is to lovingly inform them of God's law and Christ's saving solution for sin. The Holy Spirit will use our living testimony to present God's opportunity for others to avoid eternal judgement from sin and enjoy the Father's peaceful presence forever. Because of this, Jesus' gift of salvation is the best news we could ever share, ladies. It trumps our whole lives in importance. His loving way should be our focus always.

"God, the Eternal God, is LOVE. Covet therefore that everlasting gift, that one thing which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage which will be current in the universe when all other coinages of all the nations of the world shall be useless and unhonored." (Henry Drummond)

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry, is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Let's live it, ladies, and share His love to all the world! This is the day! WOO HOO!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, July 14, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 1)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Do you believe that a full and healthy life of service to the Almighty Father is obtainable through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love and strength of Jesus Christ? I do.

Because of this, I thought we should take some time to read through the checklist outlined in Romans 12:9-31. It is a breakdown of how we (as Christians) are called to live and love in Jesus Name. As you know, DW's ministry is all about godly love and encouragement, so I thought it would be good for us to pause and focus on each guideline mentioned within these verses.

You see, I am convinced that God's love must be adopted by His people. We are called to live a very particular way while giving Him all glory and honor. To love God first, we are responsible to follow-through and choose His path in order to enjoy the fullness of His grace and presence. These points in Romans show us how to live properly in our new life in Christ. They are not for a later date or time. They are meant to be followed today... right now. It all starts here - with us turning to Jesus and following His call. This is the day! So, let's no longer conform to the patterns of this world. No, let's embrace the process of transformation, ladies! WOO HOO! How exciting!

Today, I will address the first two points taken from verse 9.

1. Love must be sincere. To be sincere means to be free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness. It means to be genuine, real, unadulterated, unimpaired. (I'm especially considering this word "unimpaired". For how often do we allow Satan's schemes to impair our judgement? How frequently do we impair our spiritual vision with the lusts of this word? And how do these choices impair our ability to love in a godly manner?) As Christians, we are to straightforwardly share God's love with one another and live out what we believe both truthfully and without pretense.

2. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Simply put, evil is the absence of God. And not only is the absence of God immoral, but it is physically and spiritually harmful and can cause injury to us. Why? Because we were created, fashioned, made exclusively to be close to God. We are meant to glorify and relate with Him all the time. To be at our healthiest is to live in communion with our Creator. So, why did God allow evil in the first place? Well, if God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, mankind would be serving God out of obligation and not from our own free choice. If you wished to be loved by someone, would you want it to be out of obligation? Not me. I'd want to know they loved me because they chose to love me - not because they were forced to. Our God loved mankind enough to create us with that same free will to choose or reject Him. He did not want us to live in His presence as “robots” that simply did whatever He wanted them to do because of some divine-ruled “programming.” No, He shows His genuine love for us by allowing evil to exist so that we can serve, and love, and glorify, and enjoy Him by our own free choice. True love supports freedom. Mind you, God still knows in advance who will choose Him - for He is God. But irrespective of His omniscience, He gives all men the opportunity to accept or deny Him as Lord. Yes, God is true goodness. He is morally excellent, virtuous, righteous, holy, reliable, worthy. And whether men acknowledge it or not, His goodness is what we all desire in our life. To hate what is evil and cling to what is good is to cleave to God's way and hate what He hates. As His children, we are to seek and share with others this sincere, godly love while forever pursuing a life adherent to God's law.

I hope that you will think on these things and apply these practices in your new life today. Tomorrow, we will continue this series. Please come with a heart of prayer and make time to meditate over what God's word says throughout this entire passage.

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry, is that we will each love and encourage one another to choose God first and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. He is good, ladies! He is soooo good!

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

God's glory is our priority

Did you know that according to Isaiah 43:7, you and I were created specifically for God's glory? Yes, this is the very reason we were born and what we are to strive for always in our life - to glorify God Almighty. What an awesome thought, huh?

God formed mankind with His own hands... He gave us purpose to tend and care for a planet He customized exclusively for our existence. And He did so with the intent that we would reflect His light while living in acknowledgement of His eternal beauty and splendor. Furthermore, He made us special in His eyes. He always planned on relating with us on the most personal and intimate level. Yes, God made man (in His own image, mind you) to love and honor His Name while showering us with unending blessings beyond measure. What a good and generous God we were made to serve. For the Creator of all things has offered us each the sweetest, most fulfilling life. Yet sadly, many choose to ignore and reject Him. Worse yet, some falsely claim Him, but fail to believe and acknowledge His rule as they live out their life. I wonder, what do you think God will say to those who do not truly believe in Him and follow after His intended plan?

Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:23)

It only stands to reason that when men fail to believe and glorify God, our lives cannot be truly fulfilling. It goes against our creation when we live out of agreement from God's plan and fail to give Him first priority. We become more and more dissatisfied and seek after our own selfish ways in desperation to feed our empty soul. Our sin-infested desires corrupt us from seeing His redeeming light. When this occurs... when our plans do not match God's plan, then we live in biblical disagreement and question His authority - all the while disobediently focusing on ourselves rather than reflecting on His image.

Think about it... what do we, as humans, want in life? In answering this question, do we think about God first? Not according to the evidence of this world. No, we want to be married. We want to be wealthy. We want to be beautiful. We want to be popular. We want to feel balanced. We want to know peace. We want to gain "spiritual" insight. We want to be successful. But do we want these things... these securities... these idols... more than we want God? Do we acknowledge and worship His name in all matters... or do we worry over the delivery of our life's wish list and look outside of Him for answers?

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. (Romans 1:25)

When we seek after idols and walk outside of God's glory our hunger can never be satisfied. Our hearts can never be full. In short, without living each day rejoicing in His light and claiming Him as our own, we will never be content with His love... or satisfied in His timing... or secure in His promises... or in cooperation with His plan.

This is why sinful men so desperately need the grace and wisdom of Jesus to guide them toward His glory... toward whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. For anything that is excellent or praiseworthy originates from God. We must always think about such things in context of Him and not ourselves. We must always praise and glorify Him first and know that He will bring us into restoration and fullness.

God's word says, “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” (1 Chronicles 16:28-29)

According to this passage, there are two direct actions that we must follow in order to glorify God. First, we must always “ascribe” or give honor and reverence to His name. Why? Because there is no other Name that deserves eternal praise and worship... there is no other God. Isaiah 42:8 confirms God's position on this by claiming, "I am the LORD; that is my Name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (Isaiah 42:8)

The second action instructs us to “bring an offering” to God when we come before Him in worship. What offering are we to bring to God to glorify Him? Paul said it perfectly in Romans 12, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Ladies, WE are the offering... our whole self... our whole life. We are to openly and unapologetically glorify God in everything! We are to love Him first with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. All our human faculties, all of our humanness - our hearts, minds, eyes, hands, thoughts, emotions, attitudes... everything that encompasses "us" - must be presented to God. In other words, we are to give up control and turn everything over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar. Whatever we do in word and deed, we are to do ALL for His glory! This is our purpose! This is what every detail of every day we draw breath should point to... God's glory!

Bringing ourselves as an offering to the Lord is not only about listening to and agreeing with Him. We must be bold to follow through with the decision to actually sacrifice ourselves over to Him in obedience. We must follow the commands contained in His Word and do what our great Shepherd has said. We must live how He instructs us to live. Why? Because, "from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children - with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” (Psalm 103:17-18)

Can you give God glory without such devotion and love? Jesus reiterated the idea that glorifying and loving God are one and the same in John 14:15: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) So, how do we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength? We are to give God glory ALWAYS and IN EVERYTHING! Impossible? No! For in Christ, it is possible. In Christ, we can find a new life!

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4)

As Christians we were made to live as “jars of clay.” We are living vessels containing evidence of God's glory and are meant to spotlight His light to those in need of knowing His perfection. His glory is our constant. Because of this, we can only find the very source of all beauty and the assurance of all fullness in Christ Jesus. When we agree to let the Savior be acknowledged and honored, nothing will be lost to us. Everything we desire will be granted to us in His time and for His good purpose. That's the plan.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

I encourage every DW to consider if God's glory is your true priority in all matters. Is He your motivation in every moment or are you seeking something else... something selfish? I pray that we will each ascribe to give ourselves fully to Jesus and honor the only Name worthy of praise. Let's make the Master our only agenda. There is nothing beyond Him to focus on. He is in full control, so let's claim His authority over our lives and rejoice daily in His plan. We were made for His glory. So, today... let's live sacrificially and give Him all glory! This is the day, ladies!

Lord, we obediently offer ourselves to you. We pray that you use our lives to reveal Your majesty. We believe that you are God and all we need to be fully satisfied. May all praise and honor and glory and blessing be Yours forever and ever. No matter what may occur in this world, may we always keep our eyes focused and remain devoted to You and nothing else. Hallelujah to the mighty King of kings... the Light of the world... our good and holy Creator... our Savior, Jesus the Christ!!! Glory... ALL glory to God in the highest! We live to worship YOU! Use us to fulfill your holy purpose... for it is indeed an honor!

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

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)


Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2011 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

snotty nose, vindictive, passive aggressive... redeemed?

Let's face it... women can be down right mean and spiteful. We can venomously allow our disappointment with others to fester deep and grudgingly hold onto unforgiveness for years and years and years. We remember every detail and every person that has ever wronged us, hurt us, gone against us. And whether we like to admit it or not, we use guilt and shame to skillfully and cruelly manipulate our husbands, children, parents, family, friends, etc.

Yes, we can be very passive-aggressive. We are creatures who claim to love, but in reality we are quite skilled at quietly hating and scheming against one another. We are capable of releasing snide nastigrams, sarcastic remarks, and emotional traps to slowly suck the life out of those we wish to influence and break into submission. And if confronted on our methods, we pull out the tally sheet of wrongdoings against our challenger(s) - a list that we have faithfully accumulated over the years in order to defend our rights, to substantiate our dissatisfaction, and to "win" every argument.

The most disturbing thing is we easily justify our behavior... this snotty nose, vindictive, passive aggressiveness. We give ourselves permission to be blinded by our unforgiveness and hatred. But is this behavior Christlike? Are these resentful, selfish jabs and emotional roller coaster rides reflective of Jesus? Clearly not.

Paul tells us in Philippians that, “our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:5) He encourages us to "be imitators of Christ." (Ephesians 5:1) As such, our attitude toward others must not be selfish. We must not be overwhelming, complicated, scheming, or vengeful. For if you look at Jesus' example, He maintained a perfect attitude in every situation. He prayed about everything and worried about nothing. So, we too should live humbly and ask God for guidance about every aspect of our lives - no matter who has wronged us... no matter what disappointments we have seen. We must allow Christ to work out His perfect will in and through us - without our own selfish justifications and interferences getting in the way.

Jesus’ attitude was never to become defensive, discouraged, or depressed. His goal was to always please His Almighty Father rather than to achieve a selfish agenda. In every trial, He demonstrated patience. In the midst of suffering, He was hopeful. When blessings came, He remained humble. And when ridiculed or abused, He made no threats - He did not retaliate in hostility. Instead, "He entrusted His life to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)

Ladies, each time we try to control our circumstances, our future, and the people around us... each time we drag along the burden of unforgiveness and selfishly attempt to manipulate with dramatic displays or venomous attacks, we stifle our spiritual growth. If we are to live as Christ, we must take to heart what God commands in Philippians, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

As Christians, we are no longer in bondage to a passive aggressive lifestyle. We can overcome our troubles and disappointments and be content that the Lord is in control of our well-being. If we claim Jesus as Savior, we are indeed redeemed. We have a new life in His Name. So, come on - let's live it! Embrace His way! Consider His example and speak and treat others as He would - in love and truth. Love your husbands. Love your children. Love your parents. Love one another. Make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus. 19:18a).

Ladies, let us no longer be tempted to use our words and actions to hurt, or confuse, or punish, or manipulate for the sake of our own self-service. No. Let us not live as "weak-willed women, loaded down with sins and swayed by all kinds of evil desires." (2 Timothy 3:6-7) Rather, let us acknowledge the truth of God's word. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." (Proverbs 14:1)

We are to be instruments of God's grace. We are to be mirrors of Christ's image. We are to build up our homes and communities and love as Jesus loves. I encourage you to let go of your anger, hatred, disappointment. Give all control over to the LORD and simply... obediently, choose to love. Stop judging. Stop grudging. Stop nudging others your way. Rather, let the Holy Spirit work as you trust and obey Jesus' way... as you love love love love LOVE.

This is the day to live content. This is the day to rejoice and be glad as we represent the King of kings and Lord of lords in our life! TODAY IS THE DAY!

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:6; 11b-12)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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