Tag Archive | forgiven

Roadblock #7 – Unwillingness to Forgive – The Enemy of Mercy

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

God’s Word is very clear on forgiveness. When we forgive others, God forgives us. When we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. If we have an unforgiving heart, we put a distance between Him and ourselves. His voice may become silent. God may choose not to speak to us until we choose to forgive another who has hurt, offended, or sinned against us. A harsh, unforgiving, judgmental spirit can stifle our communication with God.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Again, we hear very clearly that God will forgive us when we forgive others. Sometimes it feels impossible to forgive someone who hurts us deeply. Truly, we cannot climb this mountain in our own strength. Just as the Holy Spirit gives us the power of self-control to abstain from sin and wrongdoing, He also gives us the ability to forgive. Asking the Holy Spirit to change your heart toward the person who offended you enables you to see that person through the eyes of God. Praying for your enemies also softens your heart for them. Begin with small, one-sentence prayers led by the Holy Spirit, and soon your blossoming mercy will increase your petitions on behalf of those who hurt you.

The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we do not know what to pray. Tune in to the Spirit of God within you to receive power from on high to do what seems impossible in your own strength. When you forgive others, God forgives you. When God forgives you, you must believe it and fully accept His gift of forgiveness.

Understanding how great a debt I owe for my sin and how much Jesus paid for it, I am grateful that God has already forgiven me. In turn, I should extend my gift of forgiveness to those who have sinned against me. Exercising forgiveness is a choice, just as accepting forgiveness is a choice.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

Continually thank God for His forgiveness and ask Him to carry on the healing process in you, so you feel both forgiven and forgiving, then walk in the freedom that brings. When you are freed from an unforgiving heart and let go of the sin that holds onto you, you may hear God speak to you clearly. Until then, you may have to sift through a few lies to get to God’s truth.

#1: I can’t forgive my brother or sister—he/she hurt me too deeply.

#2: God doesn’t expect me to forgive this one.

#3: God will forgive me, even if I don’t forgive others.

 Purchase my book, 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, today and find the truth to disprove the above lies. Also read a whole lot more about the truth in God’s Word on the subject of forgiveness. Practice removing the barriers that stand between you and God.  Then, resume your two-way communication and achieve greater intimacy with Jesus.

Click here to purchase book today.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

Click here to purchase this book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Ground Zero – The Foundation for Hearing God’s Voice

Following the 7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice, and removing the 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, should help you achieve the result your heart longs for—hearing God’s voice. However, there is one pre-requisite to hearing the Spirit of God within. I call it, Ground Zero. You must have already established a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son.

When you seek God with all your heart, you will find Him! This is Good News. The journey to greater intimacy with Jesus begins with acknowledging your sin. The God of all creation is righteous and holy. He doesn’t want to be near immorality. So our disobedience, rebellion, and sin separate us from Him. Sin is anything that doesn’t please God. It’s not just committing one of the big ten, like: murder, adultery, idol worship, stealing, etc. Sin shows up in our everyday behaviors, like: gossip, lying, cheating, pride, jealousy, unrighteous anger, gluttony, greed, and judging people, just to name a few.

The Bible very clearly states that those who do not enjoy a saving relationship with God through Jesus are condemned to a life apart from God for all eternity. Born into the sin of Adam and Eve, we are all sinful by nature. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” However, despite our sin, God desires to be in close relationship with every individual He created. How is that possible? God sent His Son, Jesus, to bridge the enormous gap that sin creates between Himself and us.

Although our sin separates us from God, no sin is too big for God to forgive, and we don’t have to get our lives in order before coming to Jesus Christ. God loves you just the way you are. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God, in His unconditional, infinite love for His creation, established a way we could be forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled to Him. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb, and die on the cross, to pay the penalty for our sins. In doing so, He formed a bridge between a sinful people and a perfect God. He provided the only way we could experience restored relationship with God, the Father. John 3:16-18 says,

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

God gives us the opportunity to live with Him eternally, through His Son, when we confess Jesus as our Savior and Lord. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God promises that we will be saved when we accept Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sin and believe in His resurrection from the dead.

Did you hear that? Jesus didn’t remain in the grave. He’s not dead! Jesus is alive! We can have a relationship with a living God through Jesus Christ because He lives! Isn’t that the greatest news you’ve ever heard? Yes! Give God a shout of praise!

If you have never confessed your sin and invited Jesus into your heart, what are you waiting for? Simply believing in God isn’t enough. To reiterate, Jesus Christ is the only way to a restored relationship with your heavenly Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Do you desire to walk with Jesus? Do you want to let Him heal your hurts and fill that hole in your heart that nothing else and no one else can fill? Do you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord today?

There is nothing you can do to earn your own salvation, and no measure of good behavior and good works will get you into heaven. It is by God’s free gift of His amazing grace and the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross that your sins are forgiven, and you are reconciled to God. The way to experience forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God is to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, accept that He died for your sins, ask His forgiveness, and invite Him to be the Lord of your life. When you do this, God sends His Holy Spirit to live in your heart.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Jesus stands at the door of your heart today and knocks. Do you hear His voice? Will you open the door and invite Him in? If you are not a follower of Christ yet, and your heart’s desire is to know and feel God’s presence and peace daily, then accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and start your new “relationship” with Him today.

You may sense the Holy Spirit of God encouraging you to make a decision for Christ right now. If so, say these words in prayer to God:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I confess that I have sinned, and I know that my sin separates me from You. Please forgive me for all my sins. I accept that Your Son, Jesus Christ, came to save me by Your grace. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin and provide the only way back to You. God, I believe You raised Jesus from the dead. He is alive and lives to intercede for me.

Jesus, I invite You into my heart today to be the Lord of my life and give me a fresh start. Thank You for the promise of eternal life in heaven with You, and for the gift of Your Holy Spirit Whom You send to live in my heart right now. Please help me hear Your voice within me and lead a life that glorifies You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

If you prayed this prayer for the first time and were sincere, there is great rejoicing in heaven today! You are forgiven, and you will spend eternity with your heavenly Father. Your fate has been sealed by the Holy Spirit Whom God gave you just now. You are a child of God! Welcome to His family. The Bible says,

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:11-15)

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

If you invited Jesus Christ to be your Savior today, you now have a new life in Him, because He lives in you. By the power of God’s Holy Spirit within you, your actions and attitudes will change. With His help, you will discard your old way of living and seek to live a life that is more pleasing to God.

Record today’s date and keep it somewhere safe. This is your spiritual re-birth date. You are born again in Jesus Christ. Happy Birthday! God adopted you as His son or daughter today. This is the first day of the rest of your life! You have just established your new personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of God now lives within you, and He is eager to speak with you in two-way conversation.

To learn how to recognize God’s voice, I will refer you back to my recent blog posts beginning with January 4, 2018, entitled, Step 1- Expect and Believe. Also see my book, 7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice, available on Amazon.com in three forms: Audio Book, Kindle, or Paperback.

Click here to buy 7 Simple Steps book

Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

Click here to buy 7 Roadblocks book

Book Two in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

 

Click here for FREE Ground Zero Video Course

Cover - Ground Zero