The Darkness Of Discontentment

Get Up Again And Again

Matthew 21:28 What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go.

  

      Our everyday walk with the Lord is a continual life of choices. What if we make the wrong choice and fall? Through Jesus, we repent and get up again. Our goal is not to run the perfect race, although that would be nice if it could be done, but our purpose is to complete the race that has been set before us through Christ our Lord. Heb. 12:1b Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2a looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. With Jesus, we can finish what God saw us accomplishing in Him for our lives. Before the foundations of the world, God knew us and set out a plan of redemption that would give us eternal life and purpose in the Kingdom of God. Like the son in Matthew 21:29 who said he would not go to the vineyard to do what his father asked, but then repented and did his father’s will, we too have the free will to change our minds and obey our Heavenly Father. We too can get up again after falling on our faces.

      The  Word says that the righteous man falls but gets up again. Notice, it is a righteous man who fell. It is through the strength of God’s righteousness within us that empowers us to repent and get up again. Prov. 24:16 Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. The wicked will stumble into the mess they keep making because there is no power of God’s righteousness at work within their hearts. We who are in Christ have been given the Lord’s righteousness to do the will of our God. Praise the Lord for the gift of a righteous life.

      The Apostle Paul was always looking ahead to the eternal prize God had for him, and not wallowing in the sins of the past. Phil. 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul had fallen but got up again. He gives us an example of what the power of salvation can do in the heart of a person who has chosen the Lord Jesus as their saviour. Even if we fall, we can get up again and look toward the goodness of God for our lives.

      I am sure Satan came to Paul with all the accusations concerning the people he had sentenced to death before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. Satan would have kept coming back to Paul with shouts of “You killed them with your religious zeal, and now you say you have wronged no man!” Paul understood the cleansing power and saving grace of the blood of Jesus. He could declare that he was the righteousness of God through Christ and nothing from his past could change God’s mind about the love God had for Paul. That must have burned Satan’s cookies to have the accusations he was throwing out at Paul come back and scorch Satan’s tongue. Isa. 54:17 No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; and you will condemn every tongue that accuses you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Like Paul, we all need to get up again when we fall and make sure we do it right away. The Lord says to come with confident boldness to receive mercy when we need it. Heb.4:16 Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. The amount of depression and loneliness that is in abundance throughout the world right now is because so many are not getting up again. They have accepted that their failures and inability to find hope of any kind are their lot in life. In many cases, this is the result of living a lawless life and making choices that are contrary to what God says is true and right. Many of them insisted on creating salvation on their terms and now the verdict is in. Their itchy ears and edgy choices have landed them in a lonely place. 2Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

      God will not bless your sins of choice, but He will forgive your sins if you repent of them and come home to the Father. The Lord will help you get up again if you want to. Like the son did in Matthew 21:29, you can also do. Matt. 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. Yes, we can all get up again and continue the race that is ours to finish. We can all say as Paul says, “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Our eternity in Christ lies ahead of us and we through Jesus have the confidence in the Lord to keep going because Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. How good is that?

The Weight Of the World

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 12 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 13 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.            

      As I was leaving the gym, I noticed a young man entering the gym who looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He looked worn out, energy spent, and fed up with all the mayhem that was happening throughout the world at this time. The burden of Sisyphus was etched on his face and expressed by his body language as he rolled his boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down upon his troubled life. The irony was not lost on me, in that he would be lifting weights during his workout. I hoped there would be a release during his exercise for his weary soul because at least he was in control of the weight size he would be lifting.       

      I realized he looked like so many young people who are being crushed under the weight of society’s expectations that have been placed on their shoulders. The constant advertising and flash points of mundane information that are consuming the time and peace of everyone who is logged into the world’s ever-increasing offerings are draining the resolve of mankind. The accumulated debts of numerous choices to buy everything and anything that would bring meaning to life, and comfort for existence, have backfired to the point that no meaning of life has been found and no comfort is attainable. Prov. 23:34 And you will be as unsteady as one who lies down in the middle of the sea, and as vulnerable to disaster as one who lies down on the top of a ship’s mast, saying, 35 “They struck me, but I was not hurt! They beat me, but I did not feel it! When will I wake up? I will seek more wine.”      

      It does not take many problems before we can find ourselves under the weight of the world. No matter the number of years we have walked with the Lord, we need to daily come to Jesus to find the strength for the day. The apostles who had walked with Jesus for three years should have had a heads-up understanding or had some inside-track information as to how to keep their peace and belief intact when a crisis came along. However, they found themselves under the weight of the world when Jesus was crucified and laid to rest in a tomb behind a massive bolder. When the events Jesus had foretold did happen, the followers of Jesus were fumbling and uncertain of what to do. They had forgotten the lessons Jesus had brought to their souls. Luke 24:6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”       

      The weight of the world had come upon those who had believed in Jesus but were now shaken in their faith. Luke 24:17 And He said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. It was only after they had come into the presence of the risen Lord did the joy and strength of the Lord remove the weight of uncertainty and fear from their hearts and souls. Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us? ” Yes, it is while Jesus is talking to us, that we get our equilibrium within our faith back on track. Unlike Sisyphus, we who are in Christ victoriously roll the boulder of doubt, fear, and unbelief over the hill to the other side where it rolls and crashes into little pieces that do not come back to crush our lives.      

      Asaph, the Psalmist, was carrying the weight of the world to the point that he became jealous of those who did not follow the laws of God. He honestly points out his shortcomings when he says in Psalm 73:2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wickedAsaph laments – that nothing is going right and it is not fair what the righteous have to go through compared to those who are filthy rich, and as well as what the arrogant toward God get away with, – it’s too hard to carry. Asaph is weighing the plight of the common man to those who have everything, and the injustice is overwhelming to think about. Psalm 73:16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply. He realizes that if he were to express these thoughts in words, he would ruin a generation of believers who are going through the same battle. Psalm 73:15 If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people.      

      As Asaph ponders and wrestles with these thoughts, he receives a clear revelation and honest understanding of the truth after spending time in the presence of the Lord. It is only after bringing his burdens to God does the weight of the world lift from his shoulders and soul. Psalm 73:17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. The truth of God’s word comes flooding in, washing away the doubt and misleading lies that Asaph was struggling with. His bold proclamation of God being his Lord is the result of spending time in God’s presence. Psalm 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.          

As we walk with God, let us remember that it was through Christ and His blood that we were saved and our souls were renewed to everlasting life. From now and throughout eternity, it will always be through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are His righteousness. When the weight of life tries to attach itself to our souls, it will forever be Jesus we need to bow down to so that our burden is removed. Let us take time to live in the presence of our Lord.

Group Therapy

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I listened to a psychologist explaining the difference between one-on-one therapy versus group therapy. He explained that group therapy brought about better healing results, and a greater percentage of people becoming healed of the multiple mental illnesses and issues they were suffering from. He said that one-on-one therapy was harder to obtain good results because the people were much more prone to being self-centred during the therapy session than those in the group sessions. The therapist explained that in a group environment, there was empathy among those within the group toward the others needing help. They discovered there was genuine help for the mentally ill in the group because some of the people in that grouping had gone through the same problems. Plus there was a feeling of acceptance once people began to share the mental issues that needed healing within their lives.

I found the interview with the psychologist interesting because, in effect, the psychologist confirmed that the church was doing the same thing and had been doing it every week for centuries. The words explaining the group settings differed, but the results were similar. What we as Christians call fellowship, is in effect a form of spiritual group therapy. The Word of God admonishes us to remain faithful in coming together regularly and to keep our hearts ready to repent and change our minds when we receive anointed guidance from the holy Spirit. The result is that we can walk in the healing Word of God and be a blessing to those struggling in life. Heb. 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

It has been said that many are communicating but not many are connecting. Could it be that everyone is talking and no one is listening? I believe there is a worldwide need for people to connect on an emotional level because the loneliness that is prevalent among the youth and elderly has become a universal problem. Maybe it was not such a good idea to create a system where the elderly were housed in care homes, the young were planted in daycare, and never the two would meet. The Word of the Lord says to let the children come to Him and that the elderly would bear fruit in old age. Might God have been thinking that the elderly having a strong relationship with Him, could have ministered with patient love to the young who have thousands of questions that only the elderly would patiently answer, and might have fixed the loneliness problem?

We do need to come together in Godly support groups. The first church was a collection of home groups and a place where the new believers in Christ would meet and pray. Rom. 16:5a Likewise greet the church that is in their house. There is power when we pray together. When two or more are gathered together with Christ as the group’s center, we can bring our petitions to God the Father. Matt. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. There is strength in numbers when brothers and sisters in the Lord, are believing God together for a united purpose that is God’s will. The power of a group of righteous men and women who believe God can become a formidable force and can create a unity that is hard to break. Eccl. 4:12b  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

The Lord has put within salvation the gift of healing for all people who accept God’s gift of forgiveness. The Lord encourages us to submit to one another in the faith and to be a blessing to each other. We become strengthened and encouraged in Christ by confessing our faults to one another and praying for one another. This congregational type of group involvement helps us take care of each other and also reminds us that we all require God’s help at all times. James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

For those who think that they can make it through this world without the nurturing of other fellow believers might want to look to the wild animal kingdom to see what happens when a predator separates a weakling or even a lone water buffalo from the group. Yes, the water buffalo is big and strong, but not strong enough when a pack of predators sets their mind to take it down. We have an evil enemy who goes around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Satan looks for the ones who have become separated from fellowship and group prayer. Stay in touch with the believers in Christ, and the elders in the church, as well as the congregants who can help keep each other accountable to the Lord Jesus. Don’t be afraid to ask for prayer when going through difficult times, and be ready to pray and be a blessing when others ask you to cover their lives in anointed intercession. Keep showing up to God’s group therapy and grow mentally strong as well as spiritually strong in Him who first loved us.