I know this interrupts our reading of Galatians but I thought it might help us to remember to “ask the right questions” and to refocus our thinking during everyday stresses. This is from a lesson I taught to a ladies home Bible class several years ago. We’ll go back to Galatians in the next blog. Hope this helps us all.
Psalm 94:11 “The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.”
Spiritual drought is like a fading flower in contrast to soaring like an eagle. Which state are you in at the moment?
How we think and understand doctrine is vital to our spiritual experiences.
“We need to realize that the New Testament does not provide a precise and exact answer to every problem we happen to be confronting. Christians seem to think that it should supply an immediate answer but the New Testament doesn’t claim to do that; it provides general principles that will cover any problem that can ever be settled…..How prone we are to confuse the ornate and outward things with the spiritual. You never find the writers of the Epistles merely administering comfort. The New Testament pays us a great compliment by giving us its comfort in terms of doctrine…It all seem very strange to our modern ears, to those who desire immediate and direct comfort. But this is the very glory of the New Testament; it gives us doctrine, it regards us as intelligent human beings. It says, ‘Stand on your feet for a moment. Here is doctrine. Work it out for yourself.’ …It is not a direct comfort, but an indirect comfort.” ML-J p. 36-37, The Miracle of Grace, Baker House, 1986.
This implies you need the skill of finding principles and working out their applications to your specific circumstances. It is a thinking matter.
Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts.”
Tell God your worries about “what if” and “if only.”
Don’t let your weaknesses drag you down; they just show off God’s grace.
Catch yourself thinking wrongly. Identify that wrong thought such as “I’m in this fix with no one to help me.” “The Lord has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me!” “Will He really deliver me from this wicked husband, or my besetting sin, or this addiction?” Acknowledge thoughts like this as sin.
Focus thinking on remembering doctrines like providence, sovereignty, election, compassion, redemption…
Remember promises like “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “I have called you mine. I have set my love upon you.” “I will strengthen you.” “I will redeem you.” Think about His character: He is all-powerful but everlastingly compassionate. He is faithful, never turning from His covenant. Focus on these instead of how you feel right now during troubled times.
Call to mind examples from Bible lives and history: Esther was strengthened to risk her life for God’s people. Abigail was rescued from a wicked husband. If God can forgive David and promise His sure mercies to him, he will forgive me and be merciful to me. God chastened Judah for their idolatry, but He never withdrew His love or His promise to be their friend. Jesus loved you enough to have his body torn apart for you.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to stir you to believe and to produce joy, peace, comfort, repentance, endurance…Wait patiently for your heart to be “strangely warmed.”
Some reminders from Isaiah:
Is. 52:6, 10, 15: God will triumph in the end.
Is. 53: He will provide a Redeemer in Jesus Christ.
Is. 54:8-10: He will be kind forever.
Is. 55:2-4: He has personal concern and interest in individuals, calling them to faith.
Is. 56:6-7: You won’t be left out; he is inclusive with his offer of salvation.
Is. 57:15: God is majestic in sovereignty, holiness, and compassion.
In the midst of my anxious thoughts…..
Psalm 94:19: “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”