Have you ever felt like you needed some spiritual healing like what was mentioned in todays devotion? I know I have, in more than ways than one.
In fact, just recently, for several weeks I had been praying desperately for God to speak to me. I had issues to face and problems to deal with, and I just wanted to hear His voice in a subtle way, or in any way actually. I yearned for a a little reassurance that He was still up there, and that He was still seeing little 'ol me down here.
At the end of that trying week, I found myself asking God why He had not shown up yet. (Yes, I actually asked God that, have mercy.) But suddenly, it was as if He opened my spiritual eyes to help me to see that He HAD shown up....He had been speaking to me.... loud and clear....all week long - I had just not been listening.
It all started on a Tuesday, when my morning devotion verse was 2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.
The devotion focused on the fact that we are not born with habits of goodness and faithfulness, but we have to deliberately practice and form them within ourselves, through Christ. It mentioned that we are to use these habits, this common stuff of ordinary daily life to glorify God, and live out the principles of faith. Lastly, it talked about being an optimist, instead of a pessimist, by focusing on adding goodness and wisdom to our hearts.
I thought to myself, "Okay God, so I need to form better habits. I get it. I will try to work on doing that."
I rolled out of bed the next day, got a cup of coffee, and pulled out my morning devotion for that day, which highlighted John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
As I prayed and pondered the meaning of this devotion, I came to understand that it focused on the fact that we are made to illuminate the light of God in ordinary ways. It explained that we are to lay down our lives, and our habits, to Him, and not walk in our own ways every day, even if we are used to our own ways.
Hmmm, still need to work on those habits. Okay God.
The next day, I opened up my devotion and read this verse Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Whoa nelly! Now that is hitting a little too close to home. Me, judge? Never. Absolutely not. Ummmmm, well okay, maybe sometimes. Geeesh, I guess all the time, if Im down right honest.
So after a moment of denial which led to self examination, I began thinking about ways that I may judge people every day. For example, I may think someone needs to discipline their child better, or be more considerate of others, or pay more attention to what their teenager is doing, or strengthen their faith, or practice what they preach, or dress nicer, or eat healthier, or treat me better, or,..... Ill stop there. I could probably go on forever. More mercy please.
I realized that my judging, even in little ways, had become a habit. Whether it was about someone else, or even about myself.
I needed a little spiritual healing from that. I prayed about this, and promised God that I would stop having a measuring rod for other people, and instead hold that rod up to myself.
I even enlisted my children that day to help me recognize when I said something judgemental, and believe me, they were all about joining in with that game. It actually became annoying after a while, but it was eye opening. Sometimes we simply dont realize what comes out of our mouths on a routine basis, until we really start paying attention to ourselves.
The next morning, instead of jumping into my devotion book, I turned on the television for my daily 6:30am dose of Joyce Meyer.
I love my girl Joyce. She always says something that speaks to my heart. I seriously think God gave Joyce a little inside peek at my heart, and tells her what to say every day that is going to speak to me and my situations. Yep, me and Joyce are tight like that. :)
Anyway, Joyces message on this day focused on the battlefield of the mind, and how it is our choice whether or not we allow our thoughts to be negative, or positive. It is our choice whether or not we focus on the lies, fears and doubts that the enemy puts in our hearts and minds. It is our choice whether or not we choose to have a heart full of love and full of Gods thoughts, instead of discouragement, or judgement.
She reiterated how we have to get into the habit of focusing on the thoughts of Christ, and not the thoughts of our own mind, or of the world.
That word habit was starting to get on my nerves!
But in that moment, a little light bulb lit up in my head and I instantly recognized the pattern that had taken place during the week. Everything I read or watched focused on habits, and they all reiiterated our need for spiritual cleaning. Spiritual healing of the heart and mind.
I realized that while I had been caught up in my daily habits, that God had been speaking to me all week long, but I had been blind to His activity, because I was too busy being habitual.
I realized I had taken time to pray to God, but not taken time to listen for His answer.
I realized that I had blown certain circumstances out of proportion in my mind, because I was focusing on all the what ifs......
I realized that as I allowed negative thoughts, judgemental opinions, fears, doubts, insecurities and concerns to cloud my vision, it made it hard for God to get through to my heart.
I realized that I had formed a habit of stinkin thinkin - the devils favorite tool.
That stinkin thinkin had become an obstacle between me and God, because my heart needed some healing.
You know, life really is a battlefield of the mind, like Joyce says. There is always a war raging, led by a mighty and powerful enemy, taking place behind the scenes of our earthly vision. If the enemy can penetrate our minds with despair and negativity, then our lives will surely follow suit.
I have heard it takes 21 days for a habit to form, but that after 21 days, the old habit dissappears and the new habit becomes the norm.
Do you have any habits that need a special healing touch of God? Is your mind controlling your life, or is God controlling your mind? Is it possible that your heart and mind could use a little holy prescription for goodness today?
This change in our habits will soon result in a life that is a shining reflection of a heart and mind transformed for Christ.
A heart that dwells on His love for us, not our own short comings, or those of others.
A heart that is full of the love of God, instead of criticism.
A heart that sees the good in things, instead of the bad.
Are you ready to say out with the old, in with the new? Out with stinking-thinkin, in with Godly thinkin? Not just for a time, but permanently?
Are you ready for a 21 day challenge that will leave you spiritually healed?
I am willing to try - what about you?