Are you going round in circles?
Regular columnist Ruth Tong explains that there should be more to our faith than going round in circles.
How often have you heard the word 'freedom' in Christian circles, then felt inadequate because you felt far from free? The things we need to be freed from may seem obvious at first - drinks, drugs and rock ‘n’ rock - but their categorisation can be a distraction to subtler forms of bondage.
You see, the Devil isn't stupid, he knows that if you scaffold a lie onto a truth so that it becomes a half truth, a plausible thing, it is made more believable. The Devil is and always will be a liar, a con-artist... who wants to hold us back from our God-destined purpose. Conversely Jesus is the truth: He is in the business of disentangling the mess sin has hurt us with, bringing liberty and movement.
However, we need to understand that this ‘being changed from glory to glory’ is a process which takes time and effort. Psychology shows us part of the learning process is through repetition and improving each time. Think of a toddler learning to walk - they fall down, they get up - and each time, with encouragement, they improve. There will be a time for this sort of rhythm in our walk, but there will also be times when we find ourselves dealing with issues we thought we’d nailed.
With regard to this I’ve found it useful to ask "what do I find myself revisiting that shrinks my spirit". Fear, discouragement or frustration can squash me but how about you - do you find yourself grappling with things you thought you’d overcome?
God's been showing me how the enemy can keep us going round in circles so we have a sense of movement but actually go nowhere. Self-pity for example, can keep us in a place of Martha-hood where our inverted pride is fed as other’s applaud our sacrifice. This makes us self-focused and obscures our view of all the other wonderful blessings in our lives.
Likewise, we can think we’ve got over an offence only to have a trigger-flick and all the past emotions come flooding back. Perhaps God allows us to revisit these areas of weakness for a good reason... I think it is part of His process for victory so we can learn, get straight and grow. May I highlight two keys to growth and protection from ‘another fine mess’?
Firstly, identify what it is that keeps coming back to bite you on the bum and write it down and stick it in your bible. Once a problem is named we have the power of clarity and so prayer is more effective. Secondly, change your response - if you go into a hole and hide, choose to respond differently; get up, get out, go and be with people.
Let's not keep going round in circles responding in ways we know from past experience don’t work - let's take a different approach in partnership with the Holy Spirit - Take His hand, hear His voice saying “This is the way - walk in it and be free.”
The “merry-go-round” image is courtesy of Rene Cerney via http://www.freeimages.com/
Ruth Tong is the Coordinator of Women’s Ministries at Eternity Downham Market, and is the author of ‘Love Drops from Heaven’. Ruth regularly blogs at ruthtong.com/blog
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