Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Definition of Insanity

What you are about to read is a letter that is written as if it were to a dear, old friend who is going through hard times. This friend is a Christian (as far as I know), but life circumstances have gotten her down and she may have stopped doing the things that will bring her strength and victory. It's a friend I was once close to, but haven't seen in awhile. If this sounds like it could be written to you, please feel free to put your name in the blank.

Dear ___________,

I am really sorry you are going through so much right now. I have been where you are with depression and anxiety and things going wrong all around me...more times than I care to count.

I agree, you may need to be on medication right now to help you through this, BUT here is the kicker, until you do certain things (will explain as I go) this will be your reaction every single time life gets this way (I know "our" personality types) and believe me there will always be something going on that afflicts us and conflicts us. 

You have been there for me in times of trouble, dear friend, so now it is my turn to be there for you. I know I may tell you things you already know, but if you are like me I need many reminders. And who knows, maybe I'll say something that neither one of us thought of before. =)

Things have been bad for you and me, in different ways, for a long time. In all reality, life is hard and will continue to be hard as long as we live...ESPECIALLY, if we are Christians. Satan wants US to fail. When he can defeat a child of God that gives him great satisfaction and pleasure! Everything contrary to God’s character that we allow into our lives, satan can use in the battle against us (I'll explain this too).

Since I don't get to see you very often, I don't know where you stand spiritually, right now. I know you took a heavy hit when that person hurt you and I know you have some very stressful circumstances with family and work. I know you have claimed Christ as your Savior and attend what seems to be a good church. But, I must ask -- have you been faithful in going? Have you been reading your Bible? Have you been making time to be alone in prayer with God? If you have not, then you have ZERO power against the forces of satan. No matter how strong a person perceives themselves to be, they are no match for the prince of the powers of the air. This world IS his domain right now (it won't be always, praise God). He is more intelligent and cunning than any human on the face of the earth.

Just because a person has made a profession of faith and calls themselves Christian, does not mean they will be immune from suffering. The sooner we children of God, nail this down and know it, the better off we will be! It helps us to realize that we will ALWAYS need to be fit for battle. Just as athletes exercise every day to become stronger and faster, a child of God must exercise our faith, our trust, and our walk with God on a daily basis. If we do not, satan WILL be stronger.

Job was considered as perfect as a human being can get, yet he suffered more anguish than you and I put together. In everything he went through he still handled himself in a way that pleased God. He was able to do this, not just because God was his Helper and Comforter at the time, but because for years prior to this he had walked with God, not just sometimes or oftentimes, but at all times. He didn't just walk with God daily; he walked with Him minute by minute. He didn't take one step into a new day that he didn't first talk to God about. Job had a closer relationship with God than he did his own wife and children, although you can tell by the sacrifices he offered to God on behalf of his family that he loved them dearly and he was faithful in doing this year after year.

Because of Job's walk with God, he didn't harbor bad feelings toward anyone, he didn't stress over life not going his way, and he didn't give into his fears of things that may lie ahead. He simply trusted God like he always had. Letting God handle every one of his day to day stresses had become like breathing to Job; it came naturally, without even thinking about it. So, when the storms came, he was well prepared.

So, if we have not been living as Job, we cannot expect to react like Job. Then what are we to do?

Not necessarily in this order, but first, we must get our eyes off others. There are people who seem to go through life without a worry or a care. We can’t focus on them or it will drive us crazy. There can be many reasons for this and only God knows what that reason is. The person could be walking with God like Job did and this is a season of God’s blessings in their lives OR they might be a Christian who has chosen pleasure over God, so satan is not concerned with them because they pose no threat to him, actually they may be helping his cause, OR the worst case scenario, this person may be lost and God knows they will never come to Him, so in His mercy, He may be allowing them to have the only heaven they will ever know. But, whatever the reason, we are not to focus on what we perceive to be good fortune for another person because, as you can see, it may not be good fortune at all. We can only focus on our own walk with God, and when we do, God may show us why someone else has it better, but then again He may not. We have to be ready to accept what He chooses to reveal as well as what He chooses not to reveal. Either way, we are to trust Him…period. He knows what He is doing.   
Second, realize that hard times are allowed in our lives for several reasons, 1) We are lost and God knows this trial will bring us to Him, 2) We belong to God, but we’ve allowed sin in our life and we are not walking with Him as we did before, so He is using this trial to bring us back into fellowship with Him, 3) He needs to teach us a new lesson -- such as needing to learn patience or how to be meek. God WILL continue to allow this trial until we learn it, 4) We have been walking with God, but we have gotten stagnant in our growth, so He allows an even greater trial to bring us to a higher plain of existence of service and communion with Him. 

If you will notice, God was in control in every single one of the scenarios listed above. Not one single situation was out of His control. Yes, satan was involved and was the attacker in these situations, but satan was under God’s complete authority. He is not allowed to touch one hair on our heads that God is not aware of. So, when we are in the midst of trials and tribulations…stop, think, and ask. Why has God allowed this trouble to come upon me? Is there something I need to stop, change, or do? If you want to know, ask Him. No other person can see your heart. He is the only One who can give you answers. And I believe God wants us to ask. He will either show us or cause us to look within ourselves. BUT, I caution you here, if and when we are made aware of the problem, we must not falter. We must do what is required immediately. If we need to forgive someone, we must forgive -- if we are mad at God, we must repent – if we lack trust in God, we must confess, etc., etc. If we take time to think about it, we give place to the devil to distract us and then God will have to allow the trial to come upon you again. This will happen over and over again...until we GET IT! 

For the lost, God will not always strive with them. If they block Him out enough times they may seal their own fate. God already knows who will come to Him. But, if we are His child, He will continue to work on us until Jesus comes. A good parent will teach their children from the time they are babes all the way up until they are grown and even then will still try to impart wisdom (for the parent is older and has been through more things). If a good parent does this, then how much more will our heavenly Father do for us to help us grow?  He loves us and wants "His" very best for us.

Thirdly, we may have to be willing to let go of certain things. When we grip tightly to things that do not please God, we will be unable to open our hands to receive the good gifts a Father desires to give to His child. We have to “let go” of control of our lives and let God have the reins. We may have to let go of feelings – feelings of anger toward those who have hurt us and an unforgiving spirit, our fears of the unknown, our jealousy of others, our judgmental attitudes, etc. OR we may have to let go of an idea, or a person, a job, a lifestyle, a recreation, or even a dream that is not in God’s will for our lives.

The definition of insanity: We keep doing the same things the same way over and over again, while expecting a different outcome. I would say we all have been insane at some point in our lives and some of us have been insane for years! No wonder God uses the analogy of sheep to describe us. Sometimes, we are just plain dumb. We keep doing things OUR way over and over again and just because we are His child, we feel He should allow us to have our way and then make it all turn out okay. God WILL NOT reward wrong actions, reactions, or attitudes. He wants us to STOP the insanity. He wants us to realize that if OUR way is not working, for heaven’s sake, try His! He loves us! He proved that through the sacrifice of His own Son! He wants to give us wonderful, spiritual blessings, but He cannot because we are acting like brats by wanting to be in control. The child cannot be in control. The child is not wise enough or knowledgeable enough to know what is best! And I tell you what, you cannot butt heads with God and win! He will always have the upper hand, albeit, sometimes a firm hand, but He prefers not. He wants to give us “good” and "pleasant" things...always...just like a good Father would.

Dear friend, I have said all these things not only for you, but for myself. I am a dumb sheep. I am a bratty child at times, but thank God He still loves me and He still loves you. He so longs for us to mature because the more mature we become in Him the more He will bless us and the more He will reveal to us, but sometimes He has to hold back because we are too immature to handle it. Just as the prodigal child squandered his inheritance, so would we, if He let us.

There are a lot things here to think about already, but I will end this with something I wrote to a another dear friend who asked for prayer because she feels like she is in a battle too. I hope it will be a help to you as well. Here it is:

I know from experience what I am about to say...When we are in a spiritual battle (all of our life here on earth will be), satan will pull out all the stops. He will try to cause us to stop praying. He will try to cause us to stop reading God's Word. He will try to cause us to stop thinking about all the times God has been there for us before. And he will try to stop us from clinging to our Lord's hand during the storm. Satan knows that in these is where our true strength lies. So, I pray that you will continue to cling to all these things that satan will try to stop and that God will give you strength to keep your head above the flood waters of this storm. What satan fails to see every time is that with each storm we go through God brings us out on the other side a stronger warrior than we were before and that our love deepens for the One whose hand upheld us.

I love you friend! Keep the faith!

The Princess Warrior

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Copyright © 2009 The Princess Warrior Ministries. All articles are copyrighted on the date they are posted, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright and web address. Other uses require written permission. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are taken from the King James Bible.

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