Having accepted Christ at an early age and living my young adult life in sin and loss of fellowship with Him, I am acquainted with divided loyalty and a deceitful heart. A believer living in unconfessed, habitual sin, I hated the sin I loved and constantly wondered if the God I repeatedly apologized to even knew me. My will to fulfill my own desires was my “main thing”. And my desire to live according to the will of God was a distant second.
I have given much thought to things in my life that need constant prayer, meditation and contemplation in the Word of God. Several years ago, as I was preparing to apply to Bible college and seminary, the Holy Spirit began convicting me of “problem areas” in my Christian walk.
Now, these “problem areas” are familiar to us all. And you might use different terms, but the idea is to identify them, and pray about them daily. And so, I’ve identified four broad “problem areas” that I pray about daily. Why four? Only because four is easy to remember. The four things that “tug” at my heart, my “problem areas”, are my attitude, my ego, my focus, and my assurance.
I first seek to manage my attitude, praying for the Holy Spirit to teach me how to treat others, not according to how they treat me, but with the love of Christ. I can only manage my attitude by focusing on Christ and His Word.
ATTITUDE I seek to manage my attitude, praying for the Holy Spirit to teach me how to treat others, not according to how they treat me, but with the love of Christ. I can only manage my attitude by focusing on Christ and His Word.
12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. [Matthew 7:12]
Secondly, I ask the Lord to squash any egotistical, proud leanings that I might display. I can only manage my ego and my pride by focusing on Christ and His Word.
EGO AND PRIDE I ask the Lord to squash any egotistical, proud leanings that I might display. I can only manage my ego and my pride by focusing on Christ and His Word.
2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom. [Proverbs 11:2 ]
I next endeavor to stay focused on the main thing, which is the Word of God. I have found that intentionally reconciling every thought, word, and deed with Scripture helps me make Godly decisions in the natural and the spiritual. I can only maintain correct focus by keeping Christ and His Word the “main thing” in my life.
FOCUS I try to stay focused on the “main thing”, which is the Word of God. I have found that intentionally reconciling every thought, word, and deed with Scripture helps me make Godly decisions in the natural and the spiritual. I can only maintain correct focus by keeping Christ and His Word the “main thing” in my life.
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2]
The final thing that tugs at my heart, but much less so these days, is assurance. I have found that, by truly making Christ and His Word the “main thing”, assurance is not an issue for me like it was.
ASSURANCE Confidence in God’s sure promise of eternal security for the believer is in keeping His commandments.
19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. [1 John 3: 19-24]
None of these “problem areas” are manageable without the Holy Spirit. God, through the Holy Spirit, has and continues to keep me despite my faults. And it is, through recognizing, confessing, and repenting of these faults, acknowledging Him in all things, and making every effort to keep Him and His Word central in my life, that He gives me (and us all) the victory over them one day at a time. My fellow believers pray for me, as I’ll be praying for you!
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, [and] being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5-11]
Do you know that God loves you?