Sometimes, life just gets plain hard. You forget to pay a bill on time and get hit with a giant “late fee”. You catch your husband looking at pornography. You teenager lies to you. Your child accidentally drops an entire jog of milk on the kitchen floor. Ugh!
At times like these, it’s easy to feel weighed down. It’s so common for us to give into despair and depression. But instead of conceding defeat, we can regain our spiritual equilibrium by practicing 3 things:
1) Recognize this is a scheme of the enemy to try to steal, kill or destroy your joy (John 10:10 “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy“)
2) Remind your soul of the enemy’s inability against our mighty God (1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.“) *Sometimes I even laugh at Satan’s pitiful attempts to drag me down! I like putting him back in his place!
3) Trust that God will carry you through this challenge and even redeem the circumstances so that something good comes about in the long run. God is an expert at turning lemons into lemonade! (Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”)
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you can expect that God is constantly transforming you to be more like his son Jesus. His Holy Spirit is gently but consistently convicting us of both known sins and subtle sin patterns in our lives, and he’s urging us to turn from those patterns. He’s urging us to choose to be more Christ-like. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory For me, he’s been slowly and gently convicting me and transforming me in the area of subtle self-focus. And I know I’m not alone in this pattern!!
We ALL tend to be subtly self-centered in our relationships. We want and expect others to make us happy, do things our way, commend our wonderful deeds, make us feel valuable, always treat us fairly, make us feel loved, and on and on. However, as we become more mature Christ-followers, God is urging us to be Christ-like in our relationships. He’s asking us to do what’s best for others instead of focusing on how others should treat us better! Take a moment to really absorb what God is saying to us in Philippians 2:3-7 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…
What does this look like in your relationships? How is God asking you to course-correct? It might mean actually confronting a loved one caught in sin and discontinuing a conflict-avoider pattern where you’ve made it easy for that person to stay stuck in a destructive sin. It may mean choosing to reflect Christ around your rude boss by being kind and humble no matter how he treats you. It may mean using a respectful tone with your husband even when he has disappointed you.
Reflecting Christ in every relationship is challenging for sure, but the eternal rewards are worth it, AND, you may very well find when you get to heaven one day that your Christ-like interactions with others impacted people so much that they became true followers of Jesus as well!