Friday, July 13, 2012

fruit of the spirit: self-control.

this week I thought I'd touch on something Chad and I have been learning a little bit about lately. it isn't directly self-control if you are putting a title to it, but I think if you look deep down it has a lot to do with practicing self-control.

basically it is about justice. and grace and forgiveness and what those should all look like according to the Word. he has been reading Culture of Honor, and I just started reading Grace & Forgiveness, and it's funny how complimentary the two are and how unplanned that was on our part. we are learning the difference between what Godly justice looks like and how the world sees justice now and how selfish and turned around we as a people have made it. so I just thought I would share a little part from the book I'm reading.

'We have to trust God to administer justice as He sees fit in His own time. We don't take the matter into our own hands. Instead, we must choose to remain in God's river of grace, remembering how big He is and how loving, kind, and patient He is with us when we fall..
There are many Christians walking around today who wonder to themselves, "Why does everything seem to go wrong in my life? Why is the devil always after me? Why does there seem to be a curse over my life?" They are trying to work out why there doesn't seem to be any protection over their life. In many cases this will be because they have made poor choices in their relationships with others and chosen to "bury" the hurt and bitterness of past offenses instead of forgiving and releasing these to God. By their choices they have made themselves vulnerable to attack. By withholding mercy from others and exercising unforgiveness they have stemmed the flow of God's blessing and protection over their lives, leaving them open to assault from demonic forces. Even if someone does the most terrible thing to you, you must never go back to the justice level. It must be grace, grace, grace. Leave the justice with God. Don't allow your heart to become hurt, bitter and unforgiving. Trust instead in his love, grace, and blessing toward you..
Forgiveness is not an option. If we withhold forgiveness from those who have hurt us, no matter how well justified we feel in doing so, we are creating a barrier that will prevent the grace of God flowing into our life.'

[the italicized parts were things that jumped out at me, they aren't actually like that in the book.]

I realize there are circumstances where something should be done to prevent further injury, whether it be physical or emotional, and the books touch on that. but what they are getting at is that it isn't our job. our job is to forgive and extend grace. because that is what God does, and always has done, for us. so knowing this, we have to trust He will stay true to that and try to give that same gift of grace to others. and that can be so hard when you are the one hurting.

so I tie that in with self-control because it is something we have to learn and practice is this justice-happy world. it does not benefit us to go on talking about our struggles and bash the ones that hurt us. extending grace takes a whole lot of unnecessary stress off of us (longer life!) and helps keep our hearts at peace.

{make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. hebrews 12:14-15}

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

welp, that's it, I guess. this series went so fast! when I really think about it, it has been a while, but this year seems like it is just flying by! I hope you have enjoyed learning along with me. if you missed some of the posts, you can find them all here. also, keep up with the rest of the bloggers in the coming days.

1 comment:

Wayne Northup said...

Good stuff Ali. Help me teach this forgiveness principle at SCC. So proud of you and Chad.

Pastor Wayne