You know those times in life where what comes naturally turns out to be a real disaster? I bumped into one of those this last week. Too much pressure from life squeezed out the ugly in me. God revealed a place in my life that doesn’t look at all like Jesus. It is a place that I’ve asked Him to do a mighty work in my life and to change my heart.
I said what I wanted to say, what I FELT needed to be said. It wasn’t speaking the truth with love. It was harmful to my loved one. And to top it all off, I did so in the presence of others. I sinned against my husband. I sinned against God. My actions were shameful. Lesson learned.
And as God always does, He follows up the wrong with a reminder from His Word. I was listening to a sermon on the radio and one of the points of the sermon struck my heart like a lightning bolt.
Criticism is really self-glorification.
Ouch and wow. New perspective. New heart. I don’t even remember what the sermon was about or what scripture was being used. I just know that God used this preacher to reach me. His perspective changed mine. And in similar fashion, God let me hear that sermon twice in one day! Just to drive the point home. Sometimes I’m hard headed.
I don’t want to be that person – the critical mother, the critical wife, the critical friend. I’ve been working with God to change this aspect of my nature. Trying to be mindful and to replace criticism with encouragement. But when life presses down on me, criticism still comes out.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15 ESV)
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.(Romans 7:18 ESV)
It is only God at work in me, through the great power of the Holy Spirit that I am able to bring glory to Him. This is why I need to be filled by the Holy Spirit each day. Otherwise I am not fit to be around other people! God’s great grace and mercy for me leave me speechless.
Taking an honest look at ourselves reveals that all of us need Him. When we realize who we are and who He is, we can’t help but want to follow Him and be like Him. He loves us and I for one love Him; Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5 ESV)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)
All is grace.
I hope that when life presses down on you that rather than saying what you want to say, you’ll put on kindness, humility, meekness and patience. When we fail to do so, God has the love and patience to offer us forgiveness.
Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness and for Your word. Help me to change my heart and to be more like Jesus. Amen.
Be encouraged. Press on.