Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VII – Overcoming Anxiety Through Spiritual Balance

King Canute, also known as Cnut the Great, ruled the North Sea Empire (modern day England, Norway, and Denmark) in the 11th Century. Beloved by his courtiers, he was often lauded as the supreme lord and ruler of the land. One day, the king grew tired of the incessant praise and asked his courtiers to place his throne by the shore during low tide. Then as the tide rose throughout the day, he proceeded to command the tide to stop rising and not to wet his feet and robe. When the tide disobeyed his commands and wet him, he stepped back and said to his courtiers: ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.‘”

We can rule over somethings, but there are other things that we have no rule over.

We are spiritual beings endowed with power to rule. At the very beginning, we were empowered to rule all things except one another (Genesis 1:26 NKJV). Then we decided to give up our birth right and so lost power to rule just about all things but ourselves. Since that time early on in the history of mankind, man has been trying to get that power back – to control that which it lost power to control.

To complicate matters a little, though we lost power to rule, we did not lose power to steward (manage).

Finding spiritual balance is about knowing the difference between the things we have power to rule and the things we have power to steward.  In his address to his courtiers, King Canute points out that the things we have rule over pales in comparison to that which we are called to manage. In the rising tide example, we no longer have rule over the tide, but we sure can steward or manage what we do with it.

Spiritual imbalance is trying to rule over what we have been empowered to steward and trying to steward what we have been empowered to rule

We have been empowered to rule our mind and body. We own them and so they are subject to our kingship. Yet sometimes we allow our mind and body to take over. We become a slave to them. This is tantamount to giving up the power we have to rule! When we stop ruling our mind and body is when our lives go out of control!

Practical Application: When your mind starts to think about things that you do not care about, tell your mind to stop it, and then engage your body to take tangible action to change what your mind is thinking about. Engaging your body may mean subjecting one of your five senses to something different. Walk somewhere, listen to something new, look somewhere else, squeeze a stress ball, or go outside and smell the flowers. Do something to change the trajectory of your thinking before it takes over.

Trying to rule what we have been called to manage is playing God. Since we are not God, it leads to high stress and disappointment with very little chance of continued of success. This can lead to unnecessary anxiety and depression

Can we manage our relationships, our future, our health, our finances? Sure we can! Can we rule over these things? No we cannot, since to rule over something means that we can guarantee the outcome.  Therefore, we should not try to rule what you have been called to steward.

Now, the better stewards we become, the more likely we are to experience the outcome we desire. This gives us the impetus to become better stewards by acquiring knowledge, gaining understanding, and acting wisely. Thus, just because we cannot rule something does not mean we should give up on our stewardship.

Rule what you can and manage what you cannot rule

There are three rules I stick to when it comes to balance:

Rule 1: If the things I am anxious over are things I can manage, I don’t get depressed over them but start the journey to manage them better without marrying myself to an outcome (remember that you can’t guarantee an outcome as a steward).

Rule 2: If the things I am anxious over are things things that are in my sphere of rule, I stop allowing what I own to rule over me but learn to how to rule over them.

Rule 3: If the things I am anxious over are things I can neither rule nor manage, then I do not worry about them until they cross the threshold of rule or influence.

Do not fall into the trap that you have power over everything that happens. You know you do not. 

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VII – Overcoming Anxiety Through Gratitude

I have a challenge for you if you have the courage to stomach it: When convenient for you, I want you to take an alarm clock, go down to the morgue, find a dead body, set off the alarm clock, and watch to see if the dead body comes back to life!

While I secretly hope you decide not to take on my challenge, I hope you thought about why I would ever ask you to do such a thing in the first place! It is because I want you to know that it is not your alarm clock or your body that wakes you up in the morning. Thousands of people die in their sleep daily. That you and I woke up today is a gift from our Maker.

Life is a gift you must open

I suspect that when you receive a gift, you usually thank the person that gave you the gift. So I ask you this: When was the last time you opened your eyes and truly thanked the Maker for giving you another day. Unlike the thousands of people who never wake up, you have another opportunity to take the gift of life and see what it has to offer.

The gift of life is like a fertile piece of land

Life is like a piece of fertile land…whatever you plant in it grows. Life takes your seeds of thoughts, desires, attitude, and actions, and gives it right back to you multiplied many times over but in a different form. Therefore, to understand what you are getting from life requires that you uncover the seeds that you are planting.

If you are like me, you plant both good and bad seeds and so reap both good and bad fruit. While it is crucial to understand the nature of the bad seeds you have sown (perhaps through counselling, therapy, and self-reflection), do not underestimate the value in deliberately choosing to sow good seeds.

Your real challenge is to plant so much good seed that it overshadows and dwarfs the bad seed

One of the best seeds to plant is gratitude. When you plant it, you reap the fruit of peace of mind and favor with men. Peace because gratitude short-circuits worry by changing your minds focus from what is wrong to what is right. Favor because gratitude communicates humility. Since humility is honored in the right circles, it has the potential to lift you out of the very muck that may be causing your anxiety in the first place. Thus, gratitude has the ability to control your anxiety and to lift away anxiety by helping to change your circumstance.

So how do you grow in gratitude? An effective way is purposefully keep in mind that there are people in the world who would gladly take on our troubles any day. If you have doubts about this, just go to http://www.globalissues.org and read the poverty stats.

There is a lot for you to be thankful for today, so give thanks.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend

 – Melody Beattie

 

 

 

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VI – Overcoming Anxiety Through Expectation Reset

When I was in 7th grade, my classmate committed suicide after doing poorly on a test. His parents discovered him after they forced his door open to find him strangled by a skipping rope which he used to hang himself. Why would a 12-year old kid take his own life for doing poorly on a test? And why do it before the results of the exam ever came out? While the dynamics of what he did are complex, we know for sure that he elevated the importance of the exam too high. His performance was tied to his worth as a person. Therefore when he did not do well, he considered himself a failure and so became worthless as a person in his own eyes.

We are worth more than what we do or achieve in this life

After his death, many of my classmates recalled that he had been depressed after the test. See, depression comes when we are not where we strongly believe we must be OR things are not the way we believe they must be. Thus, depression attracts those of us who have high and potentially unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Why? It is because when we don’t meet what we expect of ourselves, we feel less than. Our identity and security takes a big hit and we feel we can’t carry on.

Now, having unrealistic expectations that we feel we must meet instead of should meet is dangerous. The unrealistic nature of our expectation means that we exert a lot of time and effort to meet it. The nature of expectation itself means that any failure to meet ‘it’ is blown out of proportion in our mind and heart. When this happens is when we lose perspective and we stop being grateful for the things we should be grateful for. In other words, our unrealistic expectation hijacks our thinking to such an extent that the very things we should be grateful for often become entitlements that no longer deserve our attention.

We should not allow our failure to meet our own expectations hijack our thinking to the extent that those things we should be grateful for become entitlements

Jerry West, the hall of fame basketball player whose silhouette is on the NBA logo, suffered from deep bouts of depression that made him consider suicide, though he had a lot to be thankful for, including a loving family and adoring fans. Turns out that his father left when he was younger. He perhaps had an expectation that is father was going to be there. So he took it to heart when his father was no longer there. Was Jerry West subconsciously trying to prove to his father that he was now good enough so as to try and convince his father to stay? Is this the reason Jerry West was always one of the first to arrive in the gym and last to leave? Though the results of Jerry West’ work ethic was spectacular, the root behind the work ethic may not have been as glamorous.

In life, we should expect nothing and be grateful for everything

 The things we expect and feel entitled to can have a deleterious effect. When we expect nothing, anything we get is a free gift. If we truly see everything good as a gift, we are then able to feel and express gratitude right from our heart.

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part V – Overcoming Anxiety Through Perspective

The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice over how you view it – Chris Pine

Perspective is everything when you are facing the challenges of life – Joni Eareckson Tada

I once designed an experiment with my friends that involved a half filled cup of water. My objective to see to see how many people would consider the cup half full and how many would consider it half empty.

So I decided to split my friends into two groups of four – a blue group and a green group. Next, I set up meetings with each person in the two groups over the course of a month.

When meeting with those in the blue group, I kept the cup empty at the start of our meeting and then filled up the cup five minutes before I had to leave and then asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.

With the green group, I kept the cup full at the start of our meeting. Then I drank half the water in the cup five minutes before leaving, and asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.

The result: 3 out of 4 people in the blue group considered the cup half full. 3 out of 4 people in the green group considered the cup half empty.

When I asked the people in the blue group why they saw the cup as half full, they said the cup was previously empty and now it was half full. When I asked the people in the green group why they saw the cup as half empty, they said the cup was previously full and now it wasn’t. It seemed both the blue and green group looked at the current state of the cup through the lens of the previous state of the cup.

Like those in the blue and green group, our perspective of our current state is highly dependent on our previous experience.

For example, a girl who has only ever slept on a memory foam mattress may see having to downgrade to a spring mattress as a shocker and so experience a measure of anxiety over the situation. This is like going from the glass being half full to half empty.

On the other hand, a girl who has only ever slept on a thin mat may see going to a spring mattress as fantastic development and so experience a measure of happiness. This is like going from the glass being empty to being half full.

The key to developing a well rounded perspective is to subject ourselves to a myriad of experiences that range from the cup being empty to the cup being full

If you have only had full cup experiences, you should design a controlled experiment where you see an empty cup.

Many times, we get depressed when things are not the way we think or expect them to be. What perspective does is change the way we think or expect them to be. The more variety we experience, the more well-rounded our perspective. The more well-rounded our perspective, the less likely we are to be anxious or depressed over a particular situation.

Our experiences change our perspective and our perspective change our expectations 

So give yourself the gift of perspective today. Go down to the homeless shelter. Listen to the story of a person whose life has been ravaged by drugs. Watch the story of a single who went from rags to riches.

You must do these things for it to really sink in. Knowing that there are people out that have it worse than you won’t be as effective.

Know that it will not always be the way it is today.

Things do and will change.

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part IV – Overcoming Anxiety through Prevention

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.
Note: I encourage you to read the earlier posts associated with this series to give yourself the best opportunity to get the most out of this topic. Click on the following links for the first three installments of the series: Part I – Root cause of depression & Part II – What anxiety does to the heart & Part III – Root cause of anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad

– Proverbs 12:25

We can overcome depression by employing strategies that are implicit in the same foundational scripture that forms the bedrock of this series: (1) Stopping anxiety from getting into our hearts (2) Expelling the anxiety that enters our heart before it has a chance to morph into depression.

To effectively overcome depression, both strategies much be employed. While learning how to prevent anxiety from travelling from your mind into your heart is the preferred strategy, no one on this earth will be 100% effective at executing this strategy. Therefore, it is equally as important to learn how to extricate anxiety form your heart.

Stopping Anxiety From Getting Into Your Heart

To stop anxiety from getting into your heart, you have to guard your heart. The bible puts it this way: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). The best way to guard your heart can be found in the following scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds – Philippians 4:6-7

Point A: The peace of God guards our hearts as we humbly submit everything to God.

Whatever we do not submit to God, we take responsibility for, and we try to exercise control over. While taking responsibility is generally a good thing, there are many things we cannot and should not try to control. These include things such as what others will do, and what will happen in the future. It is only when we get rid of our illusion of control will we become humble enough to submit our situation into the hands of a supreme being.

Point B: Prayer is the bedrock of humility. It diverts anxiety from travelling into our heart and into the hands of God.

Prayer says “I can’t do it by myself, God I need you”. Hence, prayer is the language of humility. This does not mean that your situation will change immediately, if at all. What it does do is prevent your heart from being infected with anxiety.

Unfortunately, we often think of prayer as the last resort in our lives. Have you ever heard, “there is nothing more to do now but pray”. Have you said it yourself? This is an attitude that speaks to our tendency to want to feel a sense of control. While this may be good for our ego’s, it does nothing to relieve us of stress and anxiety.

Whatever you think you should have control over is what you will stress over or have anxiety over.

For peace of mind, prayer should be your first resort and not your last resort. Therefore, pray more and pray often. Let go of control and watch peace flood your heart.

In the next blog, I will address how to overcome anxiety through perspective.

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part III – Root Cause of Anxiety

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. I promised her that I would do it a few months ago. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.
Note: I encourage you to read the earlier posts associated with this series to give yourself the best opportunity to get the most out of this topic. Click on the following links for the first two installments of the series: Part I & Part II

Root Causes of Anxiety

UNBELIEF: The Greek word for unbelief can be translated as faithlessness. Faithlessness means “Lack of trust” or “No trust”. Where there is no trust, there is a lack of security or insecurity. Now, the thing about insecurity is that it does not like itself…(Selah)…but it is always looking for security. To make itself secure, insecurity will put up walls, try to control every situation, and act in its own self-interest to protect itself.

Put another way, unbelief in the heart of a person leads to insecurity, which may then leads to self-loathing, a controlling spirit, loneliness of heart (due to putting walls up), being critical of oneself, acting selfishly, and not being able to truly connect with others. These things are interconnected and form a vicious cycle that repeat itself time and again – it is the repetition of this cycle that lead to depression (heaviness of the heart) as there seems to be no way out.

FEAR: Biblically, the opposite of fear is love (see 1 John 4:18). Our hearts cannot live in a vacuum. It is either going to be filled with love or it is going to be filled with fear. In fact, it can be said that the absence of love is the presence of fear.

The love that I speak of is not the eros (romantic love), sterego (love between friends), or phileo (brotherly love). The love that I speak of is agape love. This type of love is committed and sacrificial. It is the type of love that is given based on the heart of the giver and not the performance of the givee.  This is the love that makes one feel accepted and gives one a sense of identity.

When those that mean the most to us do not model agape love to us, it creates a void or wound in our hearts. This void or wound tells us that we are not worthy, causes us to try to measure up to a standard that the world throws our way to feel worthy, and causes heaviness of the heart whenever we cannot fill that void with our performance. Depression occurs when we feel rejected…selah…or when whatever gives us a sense of identity is removed.

IGNORANCE: I have heard it said before that ignorance is bliss. I beg to differ. There is nothing bliss about ignorance, for what you don’t know can kill one. The only people that say ignorance is bliss are those that do not know how to respond properly to the knowledge they have acquired.

The problem with ignorance is that it makes us powerless. Being powerless to effect any change, we become slaves to the whims and whams of life. We are tossed to and fro by every way of emotion and become a bit of a piñata. Perhaps the biggest folly of ignorance is that it makes us highly susceptible to believing the lies we tell ourselves, lies others tells us, lies our experiences teach us, and the lies that the devil tells us. These lies themselves can become the root of the fear and insecurity that we exist within.

Conversely, knowledge of the truth will lead to faith, which then shapes the thinking of our heart. This is turn shapes our emotions, action, and results.

The last statement begins the journey into how anxiety may be conquered. Please stand by for the next installment – Overcoming Anxiety

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part II – What Anxiety Does to the Heart

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. I promised her that I would do it about two months ago. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.

Note: I encourage you to read the earlier posts associated with this series to give yourself the best opportunity to get the most out of this topic. For Part I, click here

What Anxiety Does to the Heart

As he thinks in his heart, so is he – Proverbs 23:7

There is a what we think in our mind, then there is what we think in our heart. What we think in our heart is deeper and has a long lasting effect. According to the bible, what we think in our heart is the determining factor on who we become, and by extension, I will add sets the course of our lives.

Point A: The thoughts of our heart holds the power to control the trajectory of our life.

There is no solving the depression issue without solving the heart issue. When anxiety enters the heart, it causes “dis-ease” or “lack of ease” in the heart such that the thoughts of our hearts (what we hold to be true in the depths of our being) begins to stoop (bow down, pay homage, or otherwise worships) to anything else other than the truth.

Point B: Depression is not a disease (dis-ease) of the mind, but it is a disease of the heart. Hence it is less about what you think is true in your mind, but more about what you believe to be the truth in your heart.

Please read the next sections very carefully and re-read as often as needed until you truly understand:

What is true is different than what is truth! A truth is a fact that NEVER  changes regardless of situation, circumstance, or how much time has elapsed. Something that is true on the hand is a fact, but that fact can change with time, circumstance, or situation. Another way of differentiating between true and truth is this: What is true is temporary but what is truth is permanent.

In our inner ideal world, truths become laws or principles that form the bedrock of our beliefs, shape our identity, and mold the way we see our world. Note that from a biblical point of view, since God holds all truth, only He should be able determine our truths.

Unfortunately, there are those times when our inner world becomes less than ideal. It is in these moment that anxiety can kick in and then things other than the truth begin to shape our belief, identity, and the way we see our / the world.

Point C: Anxiety in the heart turns an unpleasant temporary fact into our truth.

Once an unpleasant temporary fact turns into our truth in our hearts, our heart begins to interpret the present through the lens of the past unpleasant fact, thereby mortgaging our futures. Another way to say the same thing is this:  Anxiety in our heart causes us to get stuck in a moment / temporary experience, and then interprets all future possibilities through the lens of that past moment / temporary experience. This is why changing environment has little lasting impact on depression sufferers although it may offer temporary respite.

Note: In the above paragraph, there is a difference between the truth and our truth

Worse still, anxiety in our hearts keep us in an infinite loop where our unpleasant past experience causes us to have unpleasant present experiences, which we then remember in the future as unpleasant past experiences.

If you can relate to this, then it is very possible that there is some life experience, statement, situation, or condition that may or may not be true (factual) that you have taken to be truth (the truth for you being something you deeply believe that in your heart you truly think will never change).

Point D: We should not let what is true explain the truth, but we should let the truth explain what is true.Ask yourself these questions – What do I truly believe in my heart? When did I start to believe it? Is what I believe in my heart truly permanent or it is temporary? Are my believes in line with the truth?

It is possible that you anxiety exists where your truth is a lie and not the truth – when we believe a lie, we live a lie. And that lie can steal our joy. It is only the truth that will set us free.

Next Time We Will Discuss The Topic – The Root Cause of Anxiety

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part I – Root Cause Of Depression

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. I promised her that I would do it about two months ago. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.

Root Cause of Depression

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad

– Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)

 The wisest man (outside of Jesus) that ever lived reveals to us that the root cause of depression is anxiety!

But before we go further into this topic, it is important to note a few things:

  • The original Hebrew text reads something like this ‘Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop’.
  • The meaning of ‘heaviness’ is sorrow, anxiety, and fear.
  • The meaning of ‘stoop’ is to bow down, pay homage, or worship

Another thing we must note is this: The passage says ‘anxiety in the heart of man”. It does NOT say “anxiety in the soul of man”.

That is to say that to feel anxiety or sorrow in our soul is part of the human experience – there is nothing wrong with you if your soul experiences episodes of anxiety from time to time. This is normal, for there are situations and conditions that can bring on the onset of anxiety.

Point A: You are not abnormal or broken because you experiences episodes of anxiety

If you think you are abnormal or broken because you experience episodes of anxiety, consider that what you are saying is that you want to do better than the most perfect man that ever lived, Jesus, for even he experienced anxiety. Consider the following scriptures:

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch” – Mark 14:23

Do you see that? Even Jesus was sorrowful in his soul when he faced a very difficult situation. But this is not the only time that Jesus was troubled! The bible tells us that Jesus was also troubled and wept when others were sorrowful for the death of Lazarus (see John 11).

Point B: It is okay to tell others that you are suffering from anxiety and to ask for help

The scripture in Mark 14:23 tells us that Jesus told his disciples that he was exceedingly sorrowful. He did not hide when he was going through his deep bout of anxiety but told those whom he trusted in his inner circle. Then he further asked them to help. Specifically, he asked them to stay and pray for him.

With those two points behind us, it is important to say that the type of anxiety that causes depression is the anxiety that enters into our heart. Why is that important? It is because the heart is what ultimately drives our actions through our mind.

Point C: We do not always do what is in our mind, but we always do something when that something has alignment in both our heart and our mind. Hence, anxiety is deadly when it enters our heart for it ultimately controls our behavior.

Next Time We Will Discuss The Topic – What Anxiety Does To Your Heart!

 

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From Slavery to Freedom – How Wisdom Overcame Foolishness

Introduction: In Old Testament times, some cultures held the practice that should a person who owed another person a debt have no financial means to pay, he or she could sell or herself into the service of his creditor to work off the debt owed.
In this arrangement, a bond between both parties would be made, such as ‘work for me for these many years or make for me these may baskets to pay off the debt you owe me’. In this arrangement, the person was ‘bonded’ by law to the creditor and so became a ‘bond-servant’.
Moreover, at times the written bond agreement was placed at the entrance of the person’s habitation to remind him and everyone else that he was in a debt bond. Indeed, such a person was in ‘bond-age’, because he/she was not free to go as he/she pleased.
Consider: Imagine walking up to the house of a person and seeing a bond statement. Imagine that out of curiosity, you reach for it and discover the following: The man sold himself into bondage though he owed no debt to his creditor when he first sold himself. And because he sold himself of his own freewill for nothing, and his now master agreed to the surrender of his freedom and freewill for bondage, no sum of money or work could redeem him, for indeed, there was nothing to pay.
Seeing this, I bet you’d be somewhat dumbfounded. You’d wonder whatever possessed the man to do such a thing – sell himself voluntarily into bondage for nothing. You might also feel sorry for the man!
How one moment of temporary insanity and foolishness can lead to a lifetime of bandage.
The interesting thing is this: You and I are the ones that sold ourselves into bondage for absolutely nothing (this is what plays out in the story of Adam and Eve for they owed the devil absolutely nothing). God saw what we did and took pity on us. Knowing the only thing the slave master (Satan) would settle for to let us go was the utter control of God’s kingdom and domain, God immediately formulated a plan.
Story of Wisdom: So how did God overcome our foolishness? He overcome it with Wisdom. Since the scripture tells us that Jesus is wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30-31), we see that God combatted our foolishness with Jesus (wisdom). Jesus came and substituted himself for us of his own free will so that we could regain our freedom. Here is how he did it.
He started by writing a new bond agreement that allowed himself to be a substitute for the man in bondage. Then he knocked on the house (heart) of the bondservant and said: Lets make an exchange; lets make a binding perpetual accord – your freedom for my bondage. I will take your place under the same bond that you agreed with your current master. Dumbfounded by Jesus’s love, the man accepted and was immediately set free, and Jesus took his place. Jesus then took the parchment that contained the man’s bond agreement and folded it into two, signifying the debt of the man is now invalid, and kept the agreement between him and the man with him.
Next day as the creditor comes, he sees Jesus instead of the old bondservant. The creditor asks Jesus what happened, and Jesus explains that he has taken the place of the man. Glad that he has a bondservant, the creditor asks Jesus to get to work. Then Jesus asks the question, why? The creditor replies that because he has taken the bondservant’s position. To this answer, Jesus asks said, what is his debt so that I may begin to pay it? When the creditor replied, well he has no debt, Jesus simply said, well consider his non-debt paid, and simply walks out!
The creditor knew he had been outmaneuvered. While he could have argued that debt of the bond-servant was his freewill promise to him, he could not argue that Jesus owed him a debt for He had not made any such promises or agreement with him. Furthermore, since Jesus was substitute for the old-bondservant, he could now no longer go and get the man back.
Upset, the creditor quickly tried to see if he could convince the old bondservant to tear up his agreement with Jesus. When he found the old bondservant, he simply laughed at the creditor and said ‘why would I fall for your trap again! And besides, even if I wanted to tear up that agreement, I can’t because a condition of our agreement was that only He could tear it up. You will have to find Him and convince Him. Moreover, our agreement supersedes my agreement with you. Therefore, if something ever possesses me to work for you again, I can walk out freely when I come to my senses. You can no longer hold me against my will’

Point to Ponder: Anyone suffering in bondage is wise to consider accepting Jesus’ proposal for freedom and sign up.

Bible Verse: You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money – Isaiah 52:3 NKJV.

Disclaimer: This story is not meant to fully and accurately depict how Jesus won liberty for us. He did it through the shedding of His blood.

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What is Gods Purpose For My Life? Final Act

God set out His will for mankind the moment He created them (male and female). His will for all of us can be found in Genesis 1:28:

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In the previous posts, we examined what it means to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it, in Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, respectively.

The fifth will of God for our life is to have dominion. To have dominion means to rule or reign. Hence, we see that God wants us to reign in life. And though our reign was cut short when sin entered the world, we have been given another chance to reign through the finished work of Christ. Here is how Apostle Paul puts it:

  For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ – Romans 5:17

Going back to Genesis 1:28, we see that God never intended for man to reign over man. He (God) is meant to reign over man, and we are meant to reign over our environment. Hence, stepping over each other to make it to the top is not God’s will. It is a result of the fall of man!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Man was made to rule over his environment, and not for his environment to rule over him.

That we are made to rule over our environment means that we do NOT have to be a product of our environment. It means we do not have to surrender fatalistically to our past, our upbringing, our culture, our experiences and relationships, or current popular fads. We do not have to conform to what our environment throws at us.

God has placed within us (through the Spirit) the ability to rule over all our situations, circumstance, and environment. Hence, to surrender to outwards things is only possible when we forget the truth that we are meant to reign in this life.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: The inner being was created to reign over the outward things

This being the case, we should not focus so much of our attention on outwards things. Since whatever we focus on the most is what we give power over to control us (our thoughts, our emotions, and actions), it is best to focus internally – on the Spirit of God’s words and direction. Only then will we be able to fulfill God’s purpose of reigning over our situations, circumstances, and environment.

Such people who are able to focus internally may be marveled upon for they seem to live in a parallel universe to those who are freaking out over the situation at hand. As believers, we should not be one of those who marvel.

Food for Thought: When I focus on who I am through whom has been deposited inside of me (the Spirit of God), I am able to live my purpose of reigning in life outwardly.

 

 

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