I struggled with viewing God as more than an authority figure.
I do not know where this perception originated from, possibly from growing up where not going to church was not an option, but it has been a stronghold.
It pigeonholed my view of God and it is still something I struggle with today, which is made even clearer when I sin and my first instinct is to hide from God.
During those times, I beat myself up in my mind; I am low in spirit and countenance.
I convinced myself that these feelings are valid because I deserve to be punished to feel shame for my sin especially the sins I purposely commit or without putting up much of a fight against.
I struggle with the concept of asking God for forgiveness and then going about your day happy, smiling because God has forgiven you for a sin you willingly committed or did not resist hard enough.
It is at this point, I now know to fill myself with His Word about Grace and what was God’s and Jesus’ response to people in the Bible who committed the same sin or similar.
I want to completely kill this fleshly notion that I should wallow in shame and whip myself figuratively with lashings of condemnation.
My perception of God needs to be renewed.
Eve’s perception of God was skewed. She saw Him as an authoritative Father who was withholding something valuable from her.
Sometimes that valuable thing can be a feeling.
The desire to be ‘free’ to do what you want (well what your flesh wants) and when you want. To not have to deal with the mental chaos on whether your actions are good or bad for the spirit. Basically, to be of the world for just a moment and indulge the curiosities of your flesh.
It is during those times when the desire is so strong that it feels like you want to do it: there is no separation between your flesh and you. You downplay or completely dismiss the leading of the Holy Spirit for that ‘valuable’ thing that is being withheld from you.
To Eve this valuable thing was knowledge of all that was good and evil; to be like God. She is not only the mother of all creation but as we can see the mother of insecurities.
The devil portrayed God’s warning as God wanting to exert His dominance and control over her, not for her sake but His.
But even today we view God’s warning as restricting rather than as caution. It saves us from unnecessary pain, sadness, battles with shame and condemnation (unsuccessful battles that we can only win by coming to Him to repent and accepting His Grace).
A NO from God does not always mean no to enjoyment and exhilarating experiences.
Painful situations that we could have been avoided if we listen to the leading of the Spirit and God’s Word.
Although, it is possible to be committing a sinful act and in your mind pops a Bible scripture regarding that very particular sin. So the Holy Spirit can warn us in the act.
It is also possible to dismiss this warning.
If you find that you are dismissing the voice or leading of the Holy Spirit and replacing it with your own, ask God to convict you more, to change your desires every day so they align with His.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
With Romans 10:17, I am realising that it is not enough to read the Bible and/or listen to a sermon once, twice or even 5 times on how to battle/overcome/accept Grace regarding the particular sins we struggle with.
Rather, I need refresher courses all the time.
Yes, the Holy Spirit does work in us to bring scriptures, principles, guidance to our lips and mind, to steer us away from sin. But we must edify the spirit continuously. We need to feed the spirit with the Word.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The renewing of my mind is not for new information to enter in but for the scriptures, teachings and guiding that I read last month, last week and last year to be constantly revised and my progress interrogated.
In examining ourselves, it is easy for us to be blindsided by revelling in our progress that we have not interrogated whether we have fortified the weak spots; opportunities where our weakness can be taken advantage of by the devil.
Like a snake the devil is sneaky and subtle.
2 Corinthians 2:11
“lest satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices“
1st Peter 5:8-9
“8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Do this and God’s Grace will be your reward. His Grace will save you from the hardships caused by present sins and make you stronger in faith.
But you must first show resistance to the devil’s ploys to lead you astray – habits, addictions etc.
1st Peter 5:10-11
10 “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.
11To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
During the times that we fall or find ourselves in an opportunity to do what God wouldn’t like, remember you have power to overcome temptation.
You may have messed up today but next time or each time your presented with an opportunity to sin say out loud
God says “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
It may seem so hard to the point it is physically impossible but keep declaring out loud and it will become a reality.
It may not happen overnight and you may fall right after saying those words but it WILL bring breakthrough as the God of all Grace will restore you.