You’ve taken the steps to be a Christian (click here for last week’s article on the journey from spiritual death to eternal life), but you worry you’re missing something. You wonder why you feel more aligned with the label “sinner” than the status of “righteous man/woman.” You’re even feeling like you’re just not as good as some of the other Christians you know. Why is this and what can you do?
Reason (any of the following may apply to you)
- You struggle with shame (the sense that something is wrong with you)
- You dwell on your failures more than on His faithfulness
- You live in a performance-driven world
- You haven’t been a Christian long enough to have experienced significant seasons of purification
Commit to daily (maybe sometimes hourly or minute-by-minute) remembrance of what is true.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
1. Last week you were encouraged to read Ephesians 2:1-10 daily. Now you’re challenged to memorize verses 5-10 in your translation of choice. Hiding these Words in your heart will remind you:
- You were at your absolute worst when He resurrected you with Him
- You have citizenship in heaven with the Savior of the world
- One of His constant activities is to show you grace
- You didn’t have to lift a finger to make any of this happen
- There is good assigned to you now – all you have to do is receive it and live it out faithfully – by His doing
2. Become convinced that your feelings of inadequacy are just that – feelings. Not fact. If you experience the Spirit of the Savior living in you, then you’re plenty good enough. In fact, having Him in you is the key to being and becoming the most good anyone can be. When you doubt this, see number 3. And repeat as needed. The Holy Spirit will enable you.
3. Be aware when shame, the enemy, the world, and/or your raw nature are messing with your thoughts and feelings about who you are. That’s when you know it’s time to recalibrate yourself to the truth (such as Ephesians 2:1-10): Christian, you’re a masterpiece!
You’ve heard the promise that God will satisfy all your needs, that He is enough, and that He’s all you need (Is. 58:11; 2 Cor. 9:8, 12:9; Phil. 4:19). But you may not know what to do with that promise. After all, God’s not going to cook your meals for you or be there in person to do all the fun things with you that a bestie or spouse does.
The key to appreciating this Biblical promise is found in how you view God. The Bible is full of evidence that He has and will continue to meet your needs in a variety of ways through a variety of people and circumstances (Acts 2:45; 17:25; 24:23; 27:3; 28:10). But if you forget this and expect your needs to be met where you think they should be, you will be disappointed.
Keeping Room Tips: If you’re having trouble feeling like your needs are being met:
1. On a piece of paper, write a Heading: My God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
2. Then make a column listing General Needs that Jesus has already met for you, such as:
- Won the greatest battle ever for me– 1 Cor. 15:55
- Took care of my salvation – Jn. 3:16
- Left me a royal inheritance – 1 Sam. 2:8
- Made me His child and friend – Ps. 8:4, Gal. 4:7
- Guaranteed that I would never be without Him – Deut. 31:8
- Offered to raise and grow me – Ps. 68:5
- Recorded and felt every pain I’ve ever experienced – Ps. 56:8
- Prepared me to be productive – 2 Cor. 9:8
3. Then make a column listing Personal Needs that He continues to meet for you:
- Example, He sends someone to give me affection
- Example, He provides someone to employ me
- Example, He places me in an uncomfortable situation to help me know it’s time to change
- Example, He allows a challenging circumstance to help me become stronger
- Example, He surrounds me with heightened awareness of His presence so I won’t feel lonely
- Example, He assigns a doctor who listens to me
- Example, He helps me see my weaknesses so I can get help
- Example, He develops gifts and abilities in me so that I can be effective
- Example, He gives me the honor of meeting someone else’s needs
4. At the bottom of your paper, make a list of Confessions of times when you had a faulty view of your needs because you were expecting someone or something else other than the Lord to fully meet them:
- Example, the times I have worshiped the one I thought was meeting my needs, instead of the One who truly is.
- Example, the times I felt hurt because someone didn’t meet my needs like I thought they should. (Realizing my expectations prevented me from looking to God as the One to take care of my needs, in the way He deems is best.)
5. Place this document where you can see it and be reminded every day that He is constantly meeting your needs.
6. Regularly add to your list the variety of ways that the Lord is meeting your needs through circumstances and people.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Mt. 6:8)
The words of Jeremiah 29:11 are so familiar that you might be tempted to rush past the significance of them: God knows the plans He has for you. That means that God made certain plans for you. But it can be so tempting to take matters into your own hands, especially when His plans don’t seem to be coming into reality quickly enough. As one teen described it recently, “I need to remind myself that His plan for me isn’t going to slip away just because I don’t see it yet.”
Keeping Room Tips:
Ask God to give you patience and trust in the stability and timing of His overall plan for you. (Ps. 73:23-24; Jer. 29:11-13; Hab. 2:3)
Ask God to help you be satisfied in the individual He made you to be, along with the plan He custom made for you. (Ps. 139:13-16; Is. 49:1b; Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:26-38; Eph. 2:10)
Ask God to help you see and have interest in all the small detailed plans He has for you now, while you wait for more to be revealed later. (Ps. 16:11; Ps. 118:24; Ps. 139:16; Jer. 29:11-13)
Ask God to help you resist the temptation to try to make your plans happen, and help you to instead focus on Him and serving others while He makes His plans happen. (Ps. 25:3; Mt. 11:29; Mt. 22:37; Mt. 26:39)
Ask God to give you relationships with others who will objectively help you discover what His plans are for you. (Mt. 1:19-23; Acts 9:10-19; 1 Tim. 1:18)
Ask God to help you understand and endure all the hard parts that He incorporates into His plans for you. (Gen. 50:20; Job 1:21; Dan. 1:3; Rom. 5:3-4; Rom. 8:18; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 12:9)
Ask God to help you believe that He will make His good plans happen. (Ps. 138:8; Prov. 3:5-6; Prov. 16:9; Is. 55:11; Jer. 29:14; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 1:11)
Psalm 91 is popular with those who are longing for God’s great protection because this beautiful Psalm provides comfort and promises to the reader in need.
However, this Psalm isn’t meant to be a magic formula for someone to just pick up, read, and expect that all of a sudden everything will be ok. Unfortunately, there are some who have drifted away from God because they didn’t see quick results when they breezed through this Psalm or another, or when they said a short prayer hoping God would swoop in and save the day.
If you can relate to this tendency to look for God’s quick and easy rescue, there’s something missing and it’s you.
For example, in Psalm 91, you are promised that He will be your shield. But you have to get behind The Shield if you want it to actually protect you.
Keeping Room Tips:
1) Get behind Him with your heart and mind. Press yourself so close to The Shield that there’s no space between you and Him. Since He promises to shield you all day long (Duet. 33:12), look at Him, think about Him, and talk to Him all day long (Jn 15:9; Thess. 5:17; Js. 4:8). May you be pressed up close to The Shield so consistently that you eventually take its shape – looking and functioning more like Him (Phil. 2:2, 5; Phil. 3:10; 1 Jn. 3:2).
2) Get behind Him with your actions. Get behind what He stands for and what He requires. All His ways are perfect, fair, good, right, loving, and faithful (Dt. 32:4; 1 Sam. 12:23b; Ps. 25:10), so commit to respect, obey, and follow His commands. Then, when you take up The Shield to pray and trust in Psalm 91 (Eph. 6:16), He will recognize the one standing behind Him (Mt. 25:12).
Because you are a Believer, the Holy Spirit resides in your heart. And while you know that, how well do you know Him? (Jn. 14:17) Go deeper to get to know the Holy Spirit better, and you’ll be amazed at how adventurous, creative, and exhilarating your faith will become.
Keeping Room Tips:
*Let the Holy Spirit be the next Person you are determined to get to know better. “For He lives with you and will be in you.” (Jn. 14:17b). Think back to another time in your life when you wanted to get to know someone. You spent time with them and asked them questions. The Holy Spirit is not some mystical wind that blows on a whim; He is a legitimate member of the Godhead. To know God includes knowing His Holy Spirit. (see Jn. 15:26)
*Understand how the Holy Spirit frees you. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18) Let the magnitude of this verse sink in and relax your soul in a way that it’s never felt before. If you walk in step with the Holy Spirit instead of being led by your human nature, you won’t have to work so hard to do the right thing, or you won’t have to work so hard to pretend that you don’t care about doing the right thing. Rather, the right things will be done through you. (Gal. 5:16-25)
*Understand how the Holy Spirit counsels you. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit…will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jn. 14:26b). You don’t have to be worried about what might happen if you tune in to the Holy Spirit; He will make you feel so glad you did. He will give you wisdom and insight beyond your intellectual means (Dan. 5:11), produce fruit in you (Gal. 5:22), provide you with the words to say (Mk. 13:11), reveal God’s specific plan to you (Luke 2:26) and enable you to see Jesus (Acts 7:55). And when you are feeling weak, weary, or pathetic, surrendering to the Holy Spirit provides you with His power to overcome sin and be guided into holiness. (Gal. 5:24)
*Understand how the Holy Spirit brings you life. “The Spirit gives life.” (Jn. 6:63). By the Holy Spirit you will actually be more true to yourself than you’ve ever been. The same Spirit who gave you eternal life (Jn. 3:6; Rom. 8:11; Titus 3:5) will distribute gifts to you according to His Will (Heb. 2:4). Through the Holy Spirit you’ll grasp your great mission of making disciples (Mt. 28:19; Acts 1:8), you’ll be taught everything you need to know to live your life (Jn. 14:26), He’ll guide you into all Truth (Jn 16:13), energize you (Col. 1:29), give you your own flock to oversee (Acts 20:28), and enable you to do great things for them (Jn. 14:12). Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18b) and see how you come to life.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of THE HOLY SPIRIT! (Rom. 15:13)
You’ve heard the story a thousand times: Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, who died and rose to save you. But, if anything was ever considered “epic” and worth a renewed wonder, this one act of righteousness would be it (Rom. 5:18). Determine to comprehend more and more what this Savior did for you, and you will be amazed at how going deeper makes you more loving.
Keeping Room Tips:
*Figure out what personally brings you a fresh awareness of the significance of what Jesus did on the cross. Is it intellectual and historical connection? Make your next book a challenging theology book from the 1800’s. Is it by studying fulfilled prophecy? Read Isaiah 53 and/or listen to Louie Giglio’s powerful sermon on Isaiah 53, “Stop and Stare” (click here to view). Will something artistic do it best? Update your playlist with new songs that focus specifically on Jesus. Draw or paint the Passion of Christ. Then hang your masterpieces in your dining room to help foster powerful dinnertime discussion. Will it be through something active? Next time you go biking, running, camping, or as you play sports, become mindful of those around you or in the homes you run past, and pray that their souls would long to go deep too. Pairing these kinds of activities with your Bible reading helps give life application of God’s Word for you on a daily basis.
*Change the way you serve others. When you catch yourself complaining, dreading, or avoiding, remember how Jesus served others. Serving is an opportunity to become more like Jesus, to build a deep, meaningful relationship with Him, and to bond with the one you are serving. Such connections through serving have significant spiritual impact.
*Cleanse your heart. What “affections” in your heart are more important to you than spending time with Jesus? No matter how hard it is, pick one “affection” that you could replace with Jesus. Ask Him to help you put this distraction outside of your heart. For the next month, replace the time you were spending with that “affection” with spending time going deeper with Jesus through His Word. Track the changes you notice in your life.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. (Is. 43:12)