(An 11 Minute Read)
Sometimes when truth or correction comes, it can bring a grieving to our spirit. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves when we realize the areas that we’ve fallen short. But that is not God’s heart for us. It is okay to have that grieving in our spirit initially, but then we have a choice what we do with it.
The enemy would love to bring us into fear, guilt, and shame. He’ll want us to feel accused and condemned and to fall under a heavy burden of performance. If he can, he’ll even try to make us hate ourselves and make us feel unloved or unacceptable, thereby being able to separate us from the love of God and others.
God, on the other hand, would also like to join us during such times, not in heaviness and oppression but in joy and gladness and a revived hope for greater things in our lives. The marvelous truth of the matter is that when we receive correction and God changes our heart in an area, we are another step closer to freedom than we were before. That’s something to celebrate!
There is a wonderful passage in Nehemiah about when the law was read to the people of God and how they grieved when they realized how far they had fallen short. Yet God’s heart was so tender and compassionate for them. He did not want them to grieve or feel bad, He wanted them to celebrate! In fact, He was probably celebrating in Heaven over their softened hearts. He wanted to bring joy and renewal to their weary, oppressed hearts, not more pain.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:8-10 KJV
The end of verse 10 is the key here: “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” God knows that heaviness and oppression, fear, guilt, and shame are not going to bring us any closer to freedom because they are fruits of the enemy’s kingdom. In religion, we are taught that they are good and useful tools in order to keep us in line and under control, but that is a misrepresentation of Father God’s heart towards us.
What God actually says is that having joy in Him, in who He is, and what He’s doing in our lives is going to give us the strength that we need to be overcomers and to grow up into what He’s prepared for us.
If a person has a spirit of accusation it will make them feel accused and condemned, no matter what truth they hear, whether it’s coming out of the right Spirit or a wrong spirit. Accusation is so tricky because it’ll beat up a sheep in the name of the shepherd when it’s really the robber who is trying to draw them away. Here again is why it is so important to know our Shepherd’s heart and His voice by being familiar with His Word and through a personal relationship with Him. That means we are seeking His heart for ourselves, we are talking to Him, reflecting on His truth, being grateful to Him and growing in love towards Him. It can’t just be something we listen to Pastors and teachers preach about, it has to be personal!
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. John 10:2-5 KJV
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 KJV
When a person first attends a Be in Health® conference or a For My Life® retreat, it’s like a replay of Nehemiah’s story. We present people with God’s truth so that they can line their hearts up with Him again in righteousness. We teach very carefully about how the enemy operates so that God’s people can begin to recognize him and resist him in their lives according to the power they’ve been given from the cross. But the most important thing to apprehend is that we have an advocate with the Father; that Jesus made a way so that we can have a personal relationship with Father God!
Sin and iniquity have separated us from God, not because He rejected us but because the enemy has turned our hearts away from Him. The things that the enemy throws at us and tries to snare us with are designed for us to get our focus away from God and onto ourselves or others so that we will not be able to thrive. We are not plugged into the source.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:4-5 KJV
When we do plug ourselves into the source, which is our Heavenly Father, we will begin to learn how to grow up in the fruits of His Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-15 KJV
These fruits represent the wholeness of life that God has prepared for us. Each one of them holds a key to our health and well-being. We were specifically designed to thrive when these fruits are developed in us. Yet John 15:4 and Ephesians 3:14-19 are clear that we cannot bear these fruits on our own but we need to remain plugged into the Father’s love and the hope of His calling.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 KJV
There is an element to this Father-son/daughter relationship that we may try to resist because of our personal experience with our own father or mother. That is in the area of correction. The Word says this:
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:5-11 KJV
The word “chasten” or “chastening” is the Strong’s Concordance # G3811 – the Greek word “paideia” meaning: tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication, disciplinary correction:—chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.
This was touched on briefly in the article, Strength in Adversity. This is not necessarily punishment for faults or failures as we may be familiar with but it is actually training, instructing, and correction in a nurturing, healthy way not in a condescending, accusatory way. Verse 10 says that God corrects us for our profit.
Any time God brings chastening or correction it isn’t to smear our face in our sin and to cause us to see how low we are and what a failure we are! He’s trying to deliver us from something that He knows can and will be harmful to us and others. He does it because He loves us so deeply because we are His children and He wants the absolute best for us in our lives.
There is a difference between God’s conviction and the enemy’s accusation. God’s conviction always brings a hope and solution for recovery whereas accusation will make us one with our sin and condemn us for it. Accusation will not allow us to separate ourselves from the sin that we’ve participated with but will make us think that there is something wrong with us and that we are therefore unacceptable.
If we have a heart that has been damaged by a misrepresentation of God’s heart towards us we may become resistant to His real correction or conviction out of fear. We may feel like we need to protect ourselves or even justify ourselves so that we can resist the discomfort of redirection. It is part of a masterful plan of the enemy to keep us from our freedom and to make us resistant to it. He helps us to establish these things around our heart in the name of self-protection that actually are detrimental for our own good and hinder our freedom. It will lead us into rebellion, fear, accusation towards God, ourselves and others, hatred towards God, ourselves and others and every other manner of bondage.
We are children of God, beloved, accepted, treasured, and cherished. Nothing can separate us from that love. God would love to grow in our spirits the fruit of meekness and humility. This is a heart that is open to the Father’s leading and guidance, that trusts that He has our absolute best interests in mind, a heart that is excited and willing to receive His instruction, a heart that longs to know Him more and to participate with Him.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:5-6 KJV
When we recognize that God’s correction is His way of delivering us and leading us into freedom, we can begin to make fear, guilt, shame, accusation, and rebellion our enemy. We can recognize them for what they are, a trap that tries to keep us in the enemy’s prison house. We can develop a perfect hatred for them and begin to realize the incredible love of our Father who so patiently pursues us and so passionately wants to lead us into every good and perfect thing.
Let’s use today as an opportunity to thank God and praise Him for His great love for us, for His patience and longsuffering for us that is always working to help recover and deliver us. Let’s praise Him for His faithfulness to deliver us and to grow us up into every good thing. Thank Him for the great and precious plans and promises that He has prepared for us.
If there is anything in our heart that has been resistant to Him, let’s ask Him to show us what it is so that we can repent and remove it and it cannot continue to hinder our overcomer journey.
Praise God our Father because He has given us every tool that we need in order to be overcomers and to thrive according to the work of His Holy Spirit in our hearts. Let’s put off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise. Let’s replace our mourning for the oil of joy.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 KJV
Let the joy of the Lord be your strength! He delights in us, His children, and rejoices when we take steps out of the bondage of the enemy’s kingdom and into His marvelous light.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 KJV
The Be in Health® Team