Last evening at our worship night, there were guest speakers and dancers from a local church. The one woman spoke freely about how the enemy attempts to distract us. I cannot even remember if she mentioned the usual things like cell phones and worldly ambition because she boldly noted negativity as a distraction … and it was like Jesus added an exclamation point and highlighted her thought, which no doubt was His to begin with.
I confess my job as crossing guard is a challenge. I struggle to welcome all drivers with a Christ-like love when they race through school zones or blatantly disregard my presence in the middle of the road.
I had been journaling about grace.
Lord, help be more gracious
Though my pen was seeking, my heart had not caught up. Before the event began, I found myself complaining to a kind sister who asked how my week had been. There is a fine line between reporting and being negative.
Ever notice that?
My heart was full of lament over drivers who are stubborn, rebellious. I announced I pray for them more than I pray for the children. True statement, but was it necessary?
Pride does not pretty complaining.
During the worship night, communion was offered. Coincidence? I think not.
Lord I ask You to forgive me. I acknowledge the negativity flowing from my heart about others. I ask you to cleanse my heart. Lord, keep me close. Lord, soften those places in me that began to harden, like stale bread.
There is nothing lovely about negativity … or commendable or excellent or worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).
How do we guard against it?
- Acknowledge our negative thoughts and feelings. If we don’t they will bubble up, leaving our attitudes overdone: I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me (Proverbs 8:17).
- Bring all to Him, lay it down, and be free of the burden you have accepted for yourself. Love Jesus, lay it and leave it: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
- After we surrender the negativity and receive His forgiveness, we have a clean slate! “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25).
- Choose to digest spiritual nourishment regularly. It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
- Remember and refresh His light within you. It is not something we strive for, it is something we are given. His light is only positive, gracious, healing, truthful: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
And here’s tonight’s disclaimer. I don’t pretend to have neatly-boxed answers for your spiritual growth.
I do not believe Our Jesus fits in any type of box. It is simply He we need … He who gave His all to be our all.
Right this moment, He is waiting for you to draw near, perhaps nearer than ever before. My prayer is for you to lean in close, knowing and trusting Your Savior and be ever-changed because of Him.
Now that I confessed my negativity, I do feel lighter, thank you Jesus!
How did this post speak to you? I invite you to share here in the comments or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos in this post are from Pixabay.com.
I am linking up with #TellHisStory with my friend and sister Mary Geisen. You can join the link up at http://www.marygeisen.com.
Have a beauty-full night.