I was at leadership meeting at church and the guy leading the class asked us what God is working on in us. One person said self forgiveness. He said he felt like he was putting expectations on himself that God had not put on him. I have been thinking about that statement all week.
This week was rough. I just have a lot of things going on right now and I felt like I was doing a disservice to God but I couldn’t put my finger on why. It lead me to do a lot of research on condemnation vs conviction, which I will post about next week. I still didn’t feel like I had the answer though. I have been pretty diligent. Usually when I feel this way, I fall into a Netflix of Hulu binge but this time I didn’t. I’m still reading everyday, through the bible in a year plan on YouVerse bible app and having my quiet time. So I asked God, what do you want me to do? What do you expect of me? Just a few days ago.
He gave me the answer today. In Deuteronomy, God says all he wants you do is fear him and do what pleases him. That’s it. Sounds pretty simple. In a way yes, but in a way no. I have been doing a lot of research on what pleases God for quite sometime. There are a lot of things in the bible about what doesn’t please God but I feel like there is less emphasis on what does please him.
I think that is because God doesn’t want us to work ourselves to death in trying to please him. Loving him with all your heart, soul and strength is not an easy task. This is why he gives us grace. Grace to mess up, grace to mistakes. He sees our hearts and our intentions.
He just wants us to do the best we can. I lose sight of this because I have placed expectations on myself that God never did. I never noticed I did that before. I have been trying to grow so fast. I want to be as close to perfect as possible, which really isn’t humble. I want God to know I’m paying attention, that I’m not just being a reader of the word but a doer of the word. James 1:22-24.
Are you being too hard on yourself? Try not to be. Don’t run from God when you feel this way, run towards him. He will always give you answers and typically sooner than you think.
Being the bigger person is hard. I guess that’s why its called bigger person in the first place. The bible says, die to self. That doesn’t mean when its convenient or when you want to, or only when the person is being reasonable. Its never convenient to put your own needs to the side especially when someone is being a jerk. Titus 2:12 says instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live sensibly and godly in the present age. Cussing somebody out or snapping back at them when they say something reckless to us or deciding to not talk to a person because they work our nerves, is not godly. We know this, but sometimes we need a reminder. I know I do. My friend told me to cuss them out and pray for forgiveness later, but that isn’t godly either. I often have to stop and think, what would Jesus do?
Its hard to think of what would Jesus do when the people around you aren’t thinking or acting like Jesus. I’m always try to weigh out my options and rationalize the situation for my ungodly response. I know God also wants us to be genuine in our dealings. Do I do the right thing because its the right thing? Do I not do it because I truly don’t want to? I really don’t know. I can see both sides. Usually I push myself to do the right thing even when I don’t want to because I don’t want to disappoint God. I want him to feel like I am acting out the things that I read in his word. When you know better you do better.
I know you are thinking that there were times when Jesus would get mad, he even flipped tables in the temples court, (Matthew 21:12) but it was godly anger, not anger based in the flesh. I read this blog post at challies.com that talks about righteous anger. Ephesians says get angry but do not let it cause you to sin. What?! How are we supposed do that? What does that even mean? Righteous anger means you are mad about someone actually sinning not about someone making you angry personally.
I heard a girl on a podcast I listen to say that when someone doesn’t treat us in the way we should be treated that it is an opportunity to come to God and pray for that person. The person doesn’t realize what they are doing or the impact of their words and actions. I will talk more about praying for you enemies in a later post, but I will say it does work. I have to remind myself even when its hard that its important to extend a little grace. Its not up to us to decide when we want to be godly or loving to someone. Its easy to love someone when they are treating you right but the life we are called to isn’t always going to be easy. I will tell you it won’t always be like this. There is something to be said about doing the right thing when everyone and everything is screaming at you to do the opposite. I sleep better knowing I made the right decision.
We all fall short, everyday, but the more you do the right thing when you don’t want too, the easier it will become to continue to do the right thing when the choice comes to you again. What would Jesus do? He would extend grace, he would pray for the person, he would correct them in love. He would turn the other cheek every single time, even if he did not want to. The next time you don’t want to be the bigger person, stop and ask yourself, what would Jesus do. Hopefully, that will change your response. If not, you know you can always ask for forgiveness later.
For more information: