Inner Character

This posting and the following one are to address an anonymous comment sent in regards to “Letting go”.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture 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. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:1-11

Justification of our sin through action in itself is a sin. 1 Peter 3:9 says, Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” which means there is no room for ungodly response to someone else’s actions. If we feel that someone has wronged us, Jesus again said that we are to take it to that person and make him or her aware. Many times, we do not give people the benefit of the doubt. Often our wandering minds have no control and so something someone says or does in complete innocence is taken out of context and turned into exactly what Satan wanted you to hear or see. That is why we must always be thinking on truth. We must always be aware of Satan and his attacks because he is only here to steal, kill and destroy our families, our marriages and our friendships. He wants nothing more than to separate all the things that God has brought together.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

James 3:16

James says that most of our quarrels and arguments come from our own selfish ambition. It comes from our own personal desires. We see something in someone else that we wish we had or maybe do have and do not recognize and it becomes Satan’s feeding ground in our life turning it into our heart issue. We become quick to point out every flaw we think we see in someone because we make it our own personal mission to find fault in his or her life. My worship pastor reminds us a lot that when you are pointing a finger at someone else’s sin or faults, that there are three fingers pointing back at you. I have really had to think about that because how quick are we to focus on someone else’s issues when really the issue at hand is our own heart. Whatever is in our heart is very visible to other people every time we open our mouths because the words that come from our mouth speak loudly to the condition of our hearts.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:41-45

There is in fact a reason that we should be very careful and slow to judge because we all have huge flaws that must be dealt with in our own lives. A judgmental spirit can often reflect someone who is self-righteous or superficial or possibly, who has an insensitive heart. It is hard to look clearly at the lives of others when we have a plank in our own eye because it blurs our vision. We can examine ourselves for our self-righteousness by considering how often we are quick to correct others rather than correcting our own attitudes and actions. Jesus does not tell us not to examine the lives of others because we should help hold one another accountable but we must be careful to make sure that our eyes are also cast towards ourselves. We must be walking in humility in order to walk more closely with God.

We are to reflect good character and our relationship with God should be producing good fruit. Our fruit exposes where our lives are rooted and whether they are rooted in Christ. To judge a tree’s fruit, we cannot just look at that one particular moment or season of production but the whole period of production from that tree. The product of that tree reflects the heart and the product of the discipleship of that tree reflects the inner character, which Jesus refers to as the treasure of the heart. (Luke 12:35) Simply stated, our works, our speech and actions are a snapshot of our hearts. A good heart is faithful while a hypocritical one is not. Obedience is not about keeping the rules we create but that of faithfulness to God. We cannot acknowledge the authority of Jesus if we are not pursuing our commitment to walk with Him in our daily lives. Trusting in God because of our faithfulness in our walk frees us to treasure the relationships that are at the center of our lives. Do we value one another by serving and giving to one another or do we value our selves and hoard up all that we have because that ends up being the true reflection of our heart? All we have to do is look at our heart to know if we are fully trusting God and walking with Him.

“Father, may we not look at others with a tainted heart but that of a heart that is filled with a love for You. May we not point fingers at others but recognize in our own lives the areas of our heart that we need to examine and make pure. Help us to love as You have loved and to be a blessing to others at all times. May we always be able to turn the other cheek and show true godliness in our lives.”

Walking in Truth

This is a posting I wrote and posted on April 28, 2008. I am reposting it in response to a comment that was sent about the Letting Go posting. I hope this will help to answer the question that was presented in that comment.


“Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40

What is truth? Paul wrote that we are to think on truth. We are to think about the truth of God and His word as well as ourselves and others at all times. It is important that we know truth and that we view the world and those in it through the truth of God and not ourselves or our circumstances.

God created every one of us as a wonderful and unique creation. He did not create one mold and then destroy it saying that everyone must fit into this likeness. We each are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalms 139:14) our Father who loves each of us just as we are flaws and all. He created each of us with a purpose that He so carefully planned for our lives. (2 Timothy 1:9) He gave each of us our own unique and special gifts that can be used to serve others and glorify Him (1 Cor 12:7-11) and He loves and accepts us when the rest of the world may turn their back in rejection towards us. This is truth and when other thoughts enter into our mind, to the contrary we must recognize the source as coming from the father of lies. We may know what is true about ourselves and be secure in it but suddenly someone walks into our life and we find ourselves comparing who we are to who they are and thus enters sin.

As women, we must guard our minds from the overactive tendencies we have that can interfere with our relationships with friends and family. We must guard our hearts and minds by knowing truth so that Satan may not gain ground in our lives. It is so very easy for us to allow our minds to wander as we try to read between the lines of a conversation or the actions of someone else. Our minds can come up with all kinds of things to justify the behavior of others. Essentially, we are playing mind games with ourselves. The question when we head in this direction should always be “is this truth?” Praise the Lord for His truth because without it we would have no hope and no trust.

When our hope and trust comes from the Lord, it makes thinking on truth easier to accept. Hope and trust come from being secure in His love and loving others with His love. 1 Corinthians 13 clearly talks about love and what it is and it is not. As believers, we are called to love one another. Let us look at the meaning of this passage.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Truth clearly states that “love does not delight in evil” and that it “rejoices in truth”. Really read over that passage. When we find ourselves being jealous or keeping record of wrongs then we are not walking in the truth that God has laid out before us. When we question someone’s actions or words or even distort them then we are violating what is required of us to love others as God has commanded. When we read into their words or actions instead of accepting them as they were presented then essentially, we are making that person out to be a liar. We must always ask ourselves what is true and what is real.

One of the hardest things to do is to train our minds not to think evil about another person. Trying to not second-guess or read between the lines is so hard because our sinful minds automatically want to assume the worst in people. We as women are very sensitive and emotional and many times take things out of context and lose focus and when we find ourselves second-guessing or analyzing each other, we then hinder the opportunities of having healthy relationships with one another. This leads us into Matthew.

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Matthew 18:15

In order to have healthy relationships we must obey truth. When someone has hurt or offended us, we are to go to them in private and bring it to their attention. This means that we should not waste away our days wondering and worried about what others think about us because truth says that if they are walking in truth then they will bring it before us. Instead of being hung up on whether or not people are having critical thoughts about you, turn toward God and His word or towards your mentor. They are the ones who know your heart and your attitude. They do not look at you through judgmental eyes and they will help you recognize or identify wrong attitudes.

The conclusion,

The wicked man flees though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Proverbs 28:1

Basically, if you are not guilty, don’t act like it. If you are walking in truth then do not allow the world to condemn you and reject you because Christ is living through you. Enjoy your relationships that are from God and do not hold back from giving yourself to others for fear of what they may think. God places people in our lives for many different reasons and we decide whether they will be a blessing or a burden by whether or not we are walking in the truth of God’s word.

“Father, help me to hide Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against my sister. Help me always to think on truth and to shy away from the tendencies of second-guessing those in my life. May I always take them at their word and remind me to always seek Your approval above all else.”