Necessity of Boundaries: 5 Ways to Develop Boundaries

Necessity of Boundaries: 5 Ways to Develop Boundaries

boundaries.newlife

No one has perfect boundaries. At times we all take on what’s not ours, or don’t take on what is ours. God has provided help in repairing and developing our broken boundary-setting abilities. Just as we need to exercise and work with an atrophied leg after it comes out of its cast, setting appropriate boundaries is an ability we must learn. Here are some ways to develop boundaries:

1. Ask God to help you become a truth-teller, even of hard truths. Proverbs 10:18 tells us ‘He who conceals hatred has lying lips.’ Often, people with shaky boundaries may feel resentful about the supposed power of others over them, not realizing they have surrendered that power to them. When people with shaky boundaries begin to feel like they don’t have choices, they will also feel angry and resentful. Often the first step to reclaiming their ‘brand’ is to admit the anger to themselves, God, and others.

2. Find people who celebrate your separateness. ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another’ (Proverbs 27:17). Separateness helps relationships. It isn’t possible to learn to develop boundaries in isolation with unsupportive people. When we try, we repeat our original boundary injury. That is, we find ourselves in a controlling relationship with an unsupportive person and attempt to set a limit on the relationship. The person rejects it, and we find ourselves alone. Most of us would choose being in a bad relationship rather than no relationship. We need to find maturing, caring people who will respect our boundaries just as much as they love our attachment.

3. Practice disagreement. Truth telling always involves differing opinions. You can’t find out who you really are without first knowing who you aren’t. A sign that you’re beginning to set boundaries is that you will rock some boats. There’s most likely a problem if no one ever reacts negatively to you.

Jesus said, ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets’ (Luke 6:26). It’s a disconcerting thought that for us to recover spiritually, some people will probably get upset with us! Yet these are usually people who have a difficult time relating to adults with boundaries of their own.

4. Take responsibility for your mistakes. People with boundary problems sometimes see themselves as out of control of their lives. They feel helpless to change their own problems and others’ treatment of them. This can lead to a blaming or rationalizing attitude. ‘If I can’t control my life, then my problems aren’t my fault,’ might go the thinking. Taking stewardship over your life means learning to admit when your problems are the result of your irresponsibility rather than finding excuses. People who ‘own’ their problems tend to mature much faster than those who excuse or transfer blame. The excuser has nothing to fix, and consequently, no opportunity to grow.

5. Learn to respect others’ separateness. One indication of a boundary deficit is an inability to live with the ‘no’ of another.

I once worked with a couple that experienced this problem. Every time the wife disagreed with the husband, he would head toward the door exclaiming. ‘That’s it! ‘the marriage isn’t going to work out.’ Panicked, she would chase after him and apologize for the ‘sin’ of having an opinion. When we learn to accept another’s boundaries, we are saying, in effect, ‘If you don’t give me what I want, God and I will find another way to get my need met.’ It keeps the other person out of a position of indispensability, which is actually a form of idolatry. If our need to be understood, listened to, or loved can’t or won’t be met by the person we’d like, we are to find someone else to help meet that need. That’s why there is a multiplicity of believers in the Body of Christ: when one friend is busy, we are to call on another. This allows us to support the boundary-setting freedom of others in the way we’d like to. If we want others to accept our freedom, we must respect theirs.

Excerpted from “Hiding From Love” by John Townsend

Honor

God expects us to honor age:  Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom. Job 32:7

And he specifically instructs us to honor our parents:

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16

So what are some practical ways that you can show honor to the adult figures in your life?

1. Write a letter. Tell your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or another elderly person in your life how they have blessed and impacted you.

A letter is sometimes better than a call as the person can look back on your words and be honored again and again.

2. Make a list. One family made a list for their father and mother’s 60th birthdays, including 60 reasons why they loved and appreciated them. Mom’s list included gratitude for making their lunches, taking care of them when they were sick, and for her amazing multitasking qualities. Dad’s list includes thankfulness for his service in the war, for passing on a love for music, and for his financial faithfulness. This is a great project to include kids and grandkids (sometimes the grandkids have some of the best ideas.)

3. Teach your kids about the importance of age. Who gets served first for dinner in your house? In Asian cultures, the elderly are served first. Find little ways to teach your kids about the importance of respecting age.

4. Visit a nursing home with your kids. Far too often, elderly people are considered a burden. Ask the staff at a nearby nursing home if there is anyone in particular who could use some love and encouragement. ‘Adopt’ this person by bringing them cards, treats, by singing for them, or by simply listening to him or her.

5. Address disrespect in your home. A disrespectful tone or disrespectful actions should never be tolerated in your home. Dads especially need to communicate to their kids that mom is always to be addressed with respect and that he too must be addressed respectfully. If you notice a general lack of respect in your home, call the family together and discuss it. An un-teachable child, one who thinks he knows more than his mom or dad, is headed for a world of pain and disappointment. Encourage your kids today to show respect to all of the adults in their lives. (Note, sometimes disrespect in little ones is excused as ‘shyness.’ Make it clear to you children that when you are with them, they are safe, and you expect them to always answer an adult who says hello or asks them a question. Explain to them that you understand their tendency to be shy, but shyness is never a valid excuse for being rude).

For more on this subject please see our New Life Devotionals and Bibles. Also, if you are struggling to honor someone in your life due to some real hurt, we’d love to help. Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Horton's Character

From the book Being God’s Man by Standing Firm Under Pressure by Steve Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Todd Wendorff

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king,

‘O, Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’ (Daniel 3:16-18).

No one likes to stand out if it means being ridiculed. So what do we do? We blend in; we go with the flow; we don’t rock the boat. Majority opinion prevails most of the time, and democracy has trained us to swallow the results of elections when more than 50 percent of the vote carries. Thankfully, no one posts our photo on the six o’ clock news and announces that we voted against the majority. We aren’t branded a dissenter, either and therefore the threat of a political assassination never enters our mind. But Daniel and his three friends faced such perils in Babylon.

That empire was not a democracy; it was a monarchy. Votes were not cast; rather, edicts and decrees flowed from the king’s mouth right into the law books. And why not? The king was considered divine and could rule as he wished. For loyal subjects, life could change on a dime. Noncompliance to the king’s edicts meant being branded a dissenter, which resulted in a one-way ticket to the brick furnaces. No questions asked, no two hundred dollars for passing ‘Go,’ and certainly no appeals. Once a law was written, it was a done deal. Break the law, feel the pain.

Times may change, but God’s men and women face trials of courage in every age. Nero blamed the Christians for the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, and the slaughter that followed would have been a media bonanza. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, stood strongly for
Christianity (which didn’t blend well with a master-race theology), and he was hanged from the gallows. In China today, being a committed Christian means being branded a counter-revolutionary. Christians constantly risk persecution or imprisonment, or they might even disappear.

Most believers in the Western world may never face this kind of test of their Christian commitment. But that doesn’t diminish the temptation to blend in, to not ruffle feathers, to go with the flow–living as God’s men and women, but incognito.

We have opportunities in our culture to stand out and stand up for our faith, to go against the grain, and we have thousands of choices in our lifetime to bring praise and glory to our Savior and Redeemer.

The question is: Will we choose to stand out? Or will we just get on board with the crowd and play it safe.

Set these three goals before you and pray God will help
you with them:

  • Reject the demands of men if it means sinning against God
  • Remember that God allows trials in your life to reveal His power
  • Allow God to use your trials to reveal Himself to others.

You made him [man] a little lower than the heavenly
beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
Psalm 84:11

For more help on this subject, please see: Being God’s Man’by standing firm under pressure.

A Lesson in Thanks

Steve Arterburn

Giving thanks is good for our souls.

Still, we all have the question: How can I give thanks in all circumstances?

The answer is: Only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Immediately after commanding the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances Paul says, “Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) You need the fire of the Holy Spirit in your soul if you are ever going to be able to give thanks in all circumstances. Perhaps we can learn this valuable lesson from a great man who went before us.

Abraham Lincoln’s life was marked with pain and
difficulty.

When he was nine, his mother died.

Though he loved books, he received little formal education.

His sister died in childbirth.

At age twenty-four he was left badly in debt when a store he invested in failed.

When he was twenty-five the woman he loved caught fever and died–he suffered deep depression.

Three years later he proposed to another woman and she turned him down.

At thirty-four he lost the nomination for U.S. Congress–one of many elections that he would lose.

Only one of his four sons lived to adulthood–one died just short of age four, one at age 11, one at 18.

Lincoln faced great obstacles and suffered deep depression. He would be remembered as one of the greatest presidents for his courage in ending slavery. And we owe to him gratitude
for his great Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Lincoln was not a man who grieved without hope. He knew the absolute necessity of giving thanks in all times. Consider these words’share them with your family this Thanksgiving:

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and  harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed,

Done at the city of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth

Abraham Lincoln

For more insight on this topic see New Life Perspective: A Thankful Heart.

Set Self Aside

Excerpted from the book 21 Days to a Great Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Have you ever found it difficult to make needed changes in
yourself for the good of your marriage? 
Today you’ll meet that obstacle in person: it’s you!  We know, because we battle ‘self’ in our own
marriages.  So let’s take ‘self’ to the
mat together.

Remember the days before you were married?  Remember the freedom of doing whatever you
wanted, whenever you wanted?  You
answered only to yourself, and that was pretty much it.

Then you fell in love. 
All of a sudden you had to say no to yourself with respect to freedoms,
choices, and preferences that you enjoyed in your previous life.  You had to consider someone else’s feelings
and desires, which can be a painful way of life.

This way of life is called self-denial.  Simply put, self-denial is the practice
of postponing, or even giving up, activities and attitudes that block love and
connection.
  In great marriages,
self-denial is a daily way of living, relating, and thinking.  And it’s one of the most important keys to
love.

 

What Self-Denial Looks Like

A loving and well-thought out attitude of self-denial will
mean giving up things like these:

The comfort of detachment.  Love requires the effort of making an
emotional connection, even when you least feel like it.  It’s very natural to disconnect when you’re
stressed, tired, or upset with your spouse, and at times you do need ‘me’
time.  But more often, you need to deny
yourself the choice of withdrawing from the relationship.  Getting out of your comfort zone and
connecting on the relationship’s terms, not your own, helps generate love and
close feelings.

Your dreams and desires.  At times, one partner will need to postpone a good dream or
legitimate desire for the sake of connection. 
For example, a wife might delay developing her career while she raises
the kids.  Or a husband might live in a
city that is not best for his career, but best for the marriage and family.

The right to demand fairness.  When both partners insist on playing fair,
they enter into legalistic, loveless emptiness.  Give more than you receive in your love life, and deny yourself the
demand of fairness.  Don’t get put out
if you end up going to the basketball game with him more than he goes to the
symphony with you.  Love gives up
keeping score in order to gain connection and compassion.

Saying whatever you want.  Learn to deny the strong urge to say to your mate exactly what
you feel when you feel it.  Partners
hurt each other deeply when they assume carte blanche to say anything to each
other.  Instead, first ask yourself,
‘How would I feel if he said that to me?’ 
This sort of approach also includes denying yourself the privilege of
confronting every little thing your mate does. 
As Proverbs 19:11 says, ‘A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his
glory to overlook an offense.’

Self-denial is like the economic laws of saving and
investing money: Those people who can be patient and wait will always reap the
greatest payoffs in the long run.

 

For more help see all of our books and CDs on Marriage.

Also, join one of our marriage groups at our next New Life Weekend!

A New Year of Truth

Excerpted from the book Healing is a Choice by Steve Arterburn

You’ve heard the phrase ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ This year I hope you will pitch some old lies that have been keeping you from healing and growing as God intends all of his son’s and daughters to do. I pray you will replace these lies with the choices necessary to live in God’s transforming truth. It won’t be easy. But it will be so much better than living a lie.

LIE: “All I need to heal is God and me.”

CHOICE 1. The choice to connect your life.
TRUTH: So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

LIE: “Real Christians should have a real peace in all circumstances.”

CHOICE 2. The choice to feel your life.

TRUTH: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6,7

LIE: “It does no good to look back or look inside.”

CHOICE 3. The choice to investigate your life in search of truth.

TRUTH: Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40

LIE: “Time heals all wounds.”

CHOICE 4. The choice to heal your future.

TRUTH: For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

LIE: “I can figure this out for myself.”

CHOICE 5. The choice to help your life.

TRUTH: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5

LIE: “If I act like there is no problem it will finally go away.”

CHOICE 6. The choice to embrace your life.

TRUTH: Arise from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you – rise to a new life! Shine, be radiant with the glory of the Lord, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! Isaiah 60:1

LIE: “Forgiveness is only for those who deserve it or earn it.”

CHOICE 7. The choice to experience forgiveness throughout your life.

TRUTH: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

LIE: “I must protect myself from any more pain.”
CHOICE 8. The choice to risk your life.
TRUTH: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

LIE: “Until I am completely healed and strong there is no place for me to serve God.”
CHOICE 9. The choice to serve others in your life.
TRUTH: Each of us should please his neighbor for his good to build him up. Romans 15:2

LIE: “There is no hope for me.”

CHOICE 10. The choice to persevere throughout your life.
TRUTH: And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ , after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

Are you ready to start anew? To make these life-transforming choices based on God’s truth? We’d love to help.
Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE to find a counselor or coach in your area. And please prayerfully consider joining us at our next New Life Weekend.

Your Identity

New Life Ministries

 

Saint Augustine is without
doubt one of the most, if not the most, important thinkers in the history of
Christianity.  Yet before Augustine
became a Christian in his early thirties, he was, by his own estimation, a restless
wanderer who had made a shambles of his life. 
Aware of his inner sense of emptiness, Augustine looked to the popular
philosophies of his day to answer his deepest questions about the world and
himself.  Aching with loneliness, he
looked to illicit sex to meet his need for intimacy.  And possessed of towering intellectual gifts, he pursued career
advancement to provide him with a sense of power and purpose.

 

To be sure, his brilliance and
eloquence had taken him all the way from the small town in North Africa where
he was born to the magnificent Italian city of Milan’in that day, the center of
political power for the Western Roman Empire’where his job was to use those
skills to promote the Empire’s prominent people and their plans.  In order to solidify his standing, and his
potential for continued upward mobility in that society, he secured an
engagement for marriage to a young girl from a local family of great
wealth.  The problem, however, was that
Augustine was currently in a fifteen-year-long, out-of-wedlock relationship
with his concubine, who, to make matters even worse, was the mother of his
teenage son.  But this woman had become
an obstacle to Augustine’s career, so he sent her broke and brokenhearted back
to her native North Africa.  And because
the young girl to whom he was engaged was not yet old enough to marry him,
Augustine got himself yet another lover in the meantime’someone who he thought
could provide a ‘quick fix’ by driving away his lust, loneliness, and pain.

 

This was the situation
Augustine found himself in at the age of thirty-two.  Yet at that time, while going about the duties of his ostensibly
important and successful life, Augustine happened upon someone who, in God’s
providence, would help change the course of his life.  Ironically, that person was a lowly beggar, happily asking
passers by for coins.  Augustine was
undone.  Not by the beggar’s poverty,
and not by his request for money, but by
his mere happiness
.  Augustine
wondered how this beggar could possibly be happy in his impoverished state.  But more importantly, the beggar’s happiness
powerfully brought home to Augustine the fact that, though he had much going
for him by the world’s standards, he was internally confused, lonely, wounded,
and miserable!  He had set out to find
his identity in sex, money, knowledge, and power, but those things had not
delivered; they had instead shown themselves to be impotent and empty.  Looking back on this encounter years later
as a spiritually mature Christian, Augustine prayed: ‘I aspired to honours, money,
[socially advantageous] marriage, and you [God] laughed at me.  In those ambitions I suffered the bitterest
difficulties; that was by your mercy.’

 

Thankfully, the older,
spiritually-wiser Augustine came to realize that his youthful quest to
understand his identity was not wrong, but rather wrong-headed, or better,
wrong-hearted.  You see, a person’s core
identity is not something he or she manufactures; nor is it something
determined by the world.  Instead, a
person’s core identity comes from having been created in the image of God by
God himself.  And though that identity
has been marred by sin, it can be restored by Jesus Christ, who saves sinners
and graciously reconciles them to the One who made them, defines them, and thus
holds the key to the real fulfillment and satisfaction.  By God’s grace, Augustine came to realize
that he had been on a fool’s errand, and that God had used the severe mercy of
a chronically broken, restless heart to give Augustine ears for the
gospel. 

 

Augustine once prayed, ‘Our
heart is restless, until it finds rest in you.’  This prayer described not only the truth of Augustine’s own life,
but a fundamental truth for all human beings. 
We are made by God for God.  And
that means that we will never be fulfilled until we are at peace with him. 

 

I encourage you to spend some
time reflecting on this brief but profound prayer.  How do Augustine’s words describe your past, or perhaps your
present situation?  How do these words
speak to the problems and decisions that you are currently facing, and the
course that you believe your future should take?

 

        

For more help see please join us at our next New Life Weekend.
Also, see our New Life Devotionals and Bibles.

Animals or Image Bearers?

And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1:24-28).

Most Bible scholars and theologians do not equate the image of God with any one human attribute. To be sure, the image of God is evident in that humans are intelligent, rational beings, capable of complex thought and self-awareness, and of amazing ingenuity. We are also highly emotional creatures, at our best capable of great love, compassion, altruism, sympathy, and even empathy. Moreover, we are moral agents; again, at our best we know that right and wrong are realities, and that beauty is more desirable than ugliness. We are also the world’s only ‘language animals,’ able to communicate with each other with stunning precision and depth, but more importantly, able to understand and respond to God’s address (thus humans are ‘response-able’ creatures). All these attributes should be taken into consideration when pondering what it means that humans bear the image of God.

As this text from Genesis makes clear, however, the chief byproducts of being made in God’s image are dignity and dominion. That is to say, as God’s representatives, or vice-regents on earth, we are to exhibit responsible stewardship over his creation, cultivating and consuming the garden that is the world—including the animals within it—with a dignity that befits our exalted creaturely status, that reflects our Creator’s character, and that enhances his glory.

But as the biblical account of our origin fades from the collective memory, or at least from the collective worldview of Western civilization—having been replaced either explicitly or implicitly in the minds of many by Darwinian evolutionary theory—that civilization becomes increasingly
less civilized. That is because evolutionary theory denies both the human status of being responsible subjects under God, as well as the human status of being dignified stewards over animals. For the Bible acknowledges a ‘solidarity of the sixth day’ between humans and animals, whereas  evolutionary theory effectively removes any such distinction, equating rather than relating humans and animals. Is it any wonder, then, that the history of the twentieth-century Western world betrays the two-fold phenomenon of exalting animals and degrading humans? Can you not see such a process at work by considering radical animal-rights activists such as PETA, oppressive political systems such as those under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, and popular agendas in American culture such as the sexual revolution, abortion on demand, and euthanasia?

My friends, the biblical worldview elevates humanity by affirming human responsibility, human dignity, and most of all, human life itself! Sadly, if you’ll look seriously and honestly at the recent history and present predicament of the Western world, I think you’ll find that alternatives to the biblical worldview have served to dehumanize humanity, and render civilization less civilized.

For more help on this subject see: Being Christian

Before and After

Steve Arterburn

Therefore, if anyone is in
Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
(2
Corinthians 5:17)

When you trust in Christ you
become a new creation.  You no longer
live under the power of sin.  Now, you
have a new heart, inclined to love God and follow him.  A heart that is able to recognize and stand
against sin.  The song below I’m Not
Who I Was
is a moving picture of the change that happens when one trusts in
Christ. 

And yet, though we are changed
to our very core, we still struggle don’t we? 
We long to say I’m not who I was about many more areas in our life. 

Strange Steps Toward Healing

I don’t know of anyone who would not prefer healing or transformation to
be instant and easy.  All of us like the
quick fix and instant solution.  We live
in a fast-paced world, and we want the pace of transformation to keep up.  We would like God to pronounce us healed so
we could just get on with our lives.  We
say to God and ourselves that if this one problem would just go away, we could
change our attitude.  If that is what
you are waiting for, you are probably wasting your time.  All of us want it that way, but it seldom
happens that way.

God’s ways are not our ways.  His
ways transcend human reasoning, and we will not know why God chose certain
things to happen the way they happened until we land in heaven’if we land
there.  We’ve come to believe that God
wants us to be instantly healed, and sometimes we demand it, but that is
usually not the case.  God rarely
provides an instant fix to our problems because it does little to change our
hearts or grow our characters.

I don’t know you, but I know God has given you favor.  God loves you so much He wants the best for
you.  He also wants to know if you want
what is best for you.  Do you want the
best so much that you’re willing to give up what is comfortable and predictable
but is anything other than God’s best. 
In some strange way God stands before you or within you asking if you
want to be well (see the story of the paralytic in John chapter 5).  He asks if you are willing to give up your
old ways for His ways.  I hope your
answer is going be yes. 

 

Brandon Heath – I’m Not Who I Was Lyrics

I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I’m not who I was
I used to be mad at you
A little on the hurt side too
But I’m not who I was

I found my way around
To forgiving you
Some time ago
But I never got to tell you so

I found us in a photograph
I saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I’m not who I was
You were there, you were right above me
And I wonder if you ever loved me
Just for who I was

When the pain came back again
Like a bitter friend
It was all that I could do
To keep myself from blaming you

I reckon it’s a funny thing
I figured out I can sing
Now I’m not who I was
I write about love and such
Maybe ’cause I want it so much
I’m not who I was

I was thinking maybe I
I should let you know
I am not the same
But I never did forget your name
Hello

Well the thing I find most amazing
In amazing grace
Is the chance to give it out
Maybe that’s what love is all about

I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I’m not who I was

 

For more help please see our Healing is a Choice resources.

Also, please join us at our next New Life Weekend!

Cheerful Giving

Excperted from the book Being Christian by Steve Arterburn and John Shore


It really is better to give than to receive. That’s a fact. Not
particularly natural or easy for us to believe, but a fact it is. Giving is fantastic.
There is nothing else like it to cleanse your soul, to lighten your load, to
right you with God and all of his creation.

Giving away what could benefit you so that instead it benefits another
is just about the highest order of behavior available to anyone. And because
selfless giving is so perfectly reflective of the healthy, holy order of life,
it automatically brings to the giver the very best life has to offer: the
blessed, divine joy that comes from willfully rising above the selfish,
ego-driven, ‘me first’ nastiness that so constantly and subtly undermines the
quality of the human experience.

You were made to give.

It only feels like you were made to get, to take, to hold, to
hoard.  But that feeling is based on the
worst, most caustic lie of all: that you’re more important than God.

How much? Every
Christian is absolutely free to follow the Holy Spirit and their conscience to
give however much they want, when they want, to whomever they want. Or not.
That said, though, as a rule it’s an exceptionally good idea for every believer
to do what throughout time so many Christians have always done, which is to
discipline themselves to give 10 percent of their gross income to their church.

If that sounds like a lot, it is’and that’s the point. Many, many
Christians, in fact, consider 10 percent of their earnings the minimum they
should give. Through their actions, they prove in the realest possible terms
that they do understand the supremacy of God in their lives; that God is
always on their mind; that they do trust in the Lord to provide; that their
eyes are as much on the next life as they are on this.

Give. It really is
that easy. Because it really is that hard. And God knows that.

If there’s one thing God understands, it’s sacrificing for others.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
(2 Corinthians 9:7).

For more help see: Being Christian

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries