Dec 17 2017

The Problem of Being Good

problem of being good

The Problem of Being Good

//I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. I thought I was a pretty good person. I tried to do well in school. I hadn’t murdered anyone. I wasn’t into “bad” stuff. I was good. When my youth leader introduced me to Christ, I still felt good about myself…mostly.

Then one day, when the Gospel message came again—and I was alone—I didn’t feel so good about myself. With no one around, I knew I wasn’t good compared to God. It was then that I understood that I needed a Savior. I was thirteen.

It’s been a long time since then. Unfortunately, I kept a lot of my “good” thinking with me. I didn’t have a different way of thinking.

I try to do well in life, mostly. And when I “slip up” I have Jesus.

This is a problem.

 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”

Romans 4:7-8 (NASB)

 

Romans 4:7When I come to “Blessed are those…forgiven,” I miss much of the point. If I am to know how fortunate I am, I must sit in a place of true understanding of my sinfulness. Before God, and those who know the true me, I’m not so good. I’m selfish and prideful. I lose my temper, not because of righteousness but because life didn’t go my way.

Being good gets in the way of understanding the unbelievable gift of my salvation.//

Can you relate?

The more we become acquainted with the darkness of our pride and selfishness, the more we will know how blessed we are. We needn’t embellish our story. Instead, we ought to stop reframing ore minimizing our sin as “not as bad as…” or “understandable.” (Am I the only one who does this?)

The real problem with being good is not wanting to face those uncomfortable feelings that come with owning our sin. But if we’re willing to acknowledge our sin to God, three amazing results are ours;

  •  We will experience the cleansing power of God’s forgiveness. See 1 John 1:9
  • We will be transformed to reflect God’s image better as we turn from our definition to God’s definition of good.
  • We will have a heart filled with God’s blessing, knowing the depth of God’s love for us. See Romans 8:37-38.

Do you have a problem with being good?

Seek God to help you understand your sin.

Ask him to reveal the truth about yourself.

And when he points it out, pray the truth about yourself (confess).

Blessing awaits.

What is God revealing to your heart?

 

Five Minute Friday

I’m joining my Five Minute Friday friends with the word different. My five minutes are between the // marks. This will be the last Five Minute Friday post until January 5. Two weeks without FMF will be different.

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Permanent link to this article: http://realinginlife.com/the-problem-of-being-good/

Dec 08 2017

The Only One

The Five Minute Friday Word for today is only. Often, when I think about the word only, I connect it with a diminished self. I’m only a…mom. I’m only an…ok musician. Only means less than in those places. I know it’s not true, but it feels true. But there are times when only stands strong.

Some women in the news took brave steps to be the first, and possibly the only one, to speak the truth about their history and face the unknown response in telling their stories.

My story from my high school, years long, long ago, fills me with pride. I wasn’t the victim. Instead, I was the voice for her. I stood alone, and I’m glad for how I braved the unknown. I’m glad for her, and for me.

The Only One

The Only One

Go.
He stood up on the bus and looked left and right. He announced to everyone his evil plan and wanted everyone to join in with approval. His plan—to handcuff a girl to the bus. He spewed hateful words about her and got the crowd joining in.

I sat partially paralyzed. But my anger was brewing. This was so, so wrong. She was a friend. Even if she weren’t, this was no way to treat another person.

Wasn’t the bus driver going to stop it? Surely the adult driving the bus would do something.

The boy finalized his plan with these words, “Is there anyone here who doesn’t think I should do this.”

I stood up.

Short, little me.

A girl. An angry girl.

“I do.” I stared him down.

“I knew you would,” was all he said. He backed down.

I was the only one who did anything. The only one.

That’s a high school moment I’m proud of.
Stop.

The spectator or the advocate

I’d like to say that my words completely stopped him, but that’s not the case. It often takes more than one person to stop a determined person bent on evil. But stopping evil always starts with someone willing to be the first to stand.

Stories of abuse abound. In the past, there were often people who knew what happened but didn’t do anything. Maybe they were like me and felt paralyzed and simply didn’t know what to do. How many of these women needed the spectator, or in-the-know person, to step up and stand? Each one. Each and every one of them would have had a different story had one person stood with them and for them.

Nothing can change the past, but we each have responsibility for our choices today. May we endeavor to be the advocate for those who are being abused. Let’s move from in-the-know paralyzed to in-the-know advocate.

Lighthouse for Life
One organization working as an advocate is Lighthouse for Life. They are “seeking to take steps against sex trafficking.”

The evil of sex trafficking is happening in our backyards, and we must do all we can to stop it.

What will you do?

  • Will you give to an organization like Lighthouse for Life?
  • Will you pray?
  • Will you be the one, even if you’re the only one, to stand?

Find out more about Lighthouse for Life here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://realinginlife.com/the-only-one/

Dec 01 2017

Near God Safe, Near God Risk

The Five Minute Friday word for today is near.

near God

Near God Safe, Near God Risk

Go.

Safety being near

The crying child comes. She’s been hurt. Her brother is unkind. “Stay near me, my child. For when you are near me, you’ll be safe. He won’t act that way in front of me. The closer to me you are, the more I am able to protect you.”
I’ve said that to my children time and again. This is true with God. When we draw near to him, we find safety. Near to God is near to safety.

Risk of being near

But then again, near to God is risk. Peter left the boat to walk to Jesus. When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he saw the risk before him. Wind and waves all around. The risk is real. He faced it as he drew near to God.

near God Hebrews 4:16

Safety and risk

Near to God brings both safety and risk. The biggest challenge is in trusting his hand of provision while facing challenges. His hand of provision is never lacking, but giving us what we need never trumps his glory or our growing. Pain and suffering, in our souls and on our body is part and parcel of living in this world as a believer. God never promised health, wealth, and prosperity. Instead, he gives us what we need. Near God is risk, but near him is all we need.

Stop.

Under his wing, we build courage to fly

As we draw near to God, he transforms us. We become the people he’s called us to be. And with that comes greater responsibility and challenge. That’s where the risk comes. As little babes in Christ, we don’t face the faith struggles as those who are seasoned in the faith. God calls us to great risk in this life as we follow him.

If you’ve had a few bumps or some major bruises while walking near to Jesus, chances are you’re experiencing the realities of risk. Be encouraged. He has purpose and plan even in the pain. And, as you draw closer still, he will give the just right help in your time of need.

What risk is God calling you to take?

In the comments, if you want, let me know the risk. Will you commit to stepping forward with your risk? If so, let me know that too.

APTAT

As you consider the big faith step you, follow this pattern of prayer. (Taken from John Piper’s walking by faith practical steps)

  • Admit your need. You can’t move forward without his help.
  • Pray for guidance. You need his wisdom for taking the right steps.
  • Trust his promises. What biblical promise from God will you hold in your heart and mind? Search the scripture and say it as a prayer.
  • Act on what God’s call you to do.
  • Thank God for what he’s going to do and, afterward, what he did.

 

 

 

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