Jesus Is Not My Therapist

(2 Timothy 1:8)  “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”

Love always involves sacrifice.  It is selfless denial in favor of another.  The Lord Jesus Christ loved us enough to suffer our eternal punishment for us on the cross.  When we experience love for God, we are willing to lay down everything, even our own lives for His purpose and His glory.  These “afflictions” are part of experiencing normal Christianity.  When we are truly affected by the gospel in the details of our lives, we realize God’s purpose is not centered on making us “feel good” or we exist for our own well-being.  No, it is when we really live the gospel that our lives counter the cultural trend we see in the pulpits and pews of the Western church:  Jesus is not my therapist.

Therapy can be good and useful when applied in the right conditions with the right information.  But the focus and purpose of God working in our lives is not to accomplish a progression towards self-actualization or building of self-esteem.  God’s focus in His people is not to create a self-centered being that lives a convenient life of faith.  God’s Word assumes the “afflictions of the gospel” is the rule not the exception.  When we forget this and start to perceive Christianity as a means to feeling better about ourselves, we negate the power of God and create a brand of Christianity that no one can take very seriously.  Jesus saved us in every way a person can be saved – spirit, soul, and body.  When His life becomes our life, we are able to line up our self-perception with how God really sees us.  We are able to feel about ourselves the way God feels about us.  We don’t live on the basis of modern psychology but on the need for sustenance from the living Word of God.  Yes, Jesus is not my therapist, He’s my Savior.

Renewed Thought – The Bible is God’s owner’s manual for our mind.

More Than Conquerors

(Romans 8:37)  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

“More than conquerors” is a phrase that comes from the Greek word hupernikaō.  It literally means “super-conquerors.”  The idea is we experience abundant and decisive victory.  But isn’t always how things pan out.  We definitely don’t feel victorious when life seems to be happening to us.  We feel more like a broken down shack barely surviving the beating of a vicious storm.  When you’re surrounded by trouble at work, at home, at school, you wonder, “How can I find this victory?”  As time goes on and the trials continue, you become desperate to experience this victory.

Experiencing victory isn’t necessarily the same as removal from the situation.  Jesus went through beatings and stumbled through the streets of Jerusalem until He arrived at Golgotha.  There He was nailed to the cross and died.  But in His resurrection we see victory over death and Hell.  In order to experience the victory, He had to go through the trouble.

Being “more than a conqueror” isn’t about keeping a “stiff upper lip,” “standing tall,” or “being tough.”  This victory is found in living the resurrected life in spite of circumstances.  We find it in “through him that loved us.”  We live as abundant conquerors when we forgive instead of fight, when we bless instead of curse, when we give instead of take.  We are more than conquerors when we live a supernatural life in the face of death.  We are more than conquerors when our faith is stronger than trust in self.  We are more than conquerors when love becomes the motivation to serve.  Jesus overcame this world and now lives a resurrected life.  He gives us the strength in Him to do it too.

Renewed Thought –
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
–    Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, 1529

God Picks Up The Broken

(Act 4:13)  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

It wasn’t long before this that Peter wept bitterly for denying He knew the Lord (Luke 22:62).  His testimony was ruined as he cursed and swore in front of all those people who wanted to connect him to Jesus (Matthew 26:74).  He hit rock bottom in his relationship with God.  He probably couldn’t even stand to see his own reflection in the mirror.  But here we see a man transformed.  Here is a spiritual leader.  Here is a true follower willing not only to admit He knew the Lord Jesus, he was willing to lay his life on the line for Him.

Every one of us blows our testimony at some point.  We may say things to our spouses, children, friends or parents that we regret.  I’m sure Peter regretted what he said on the night of Jesus’ trial.  But God is in the business of picking up the pieces of broken lives and putting things back together again for His glory.  He can do the same thing for you and me even though we may hate ourselves for what we’ve said in the past.

Peter spent time with the resurrected Lord.  Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Today, we can spend time with the resurrected Lord.  And in Christ, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit.  As we spend time with the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives today, don’t be surprised if those around you marvel and wonder.  Yes, let them see you have been with Jesus.

Renewed Thought – Our relationship with the Lord is about spending time with Him.  Don’t mistake what you do for Him with spending time with Him.