Insights from the joy of having peace with God

Archive for the tag “anxiety”

4 Things to Remember When You Feel Like a Failure

Recently I have noticed that many members of our church have been under intense spiritual attack. Interestingly, I have found that much of the attack is focused on one specific issue: feeling like a failure. This isn’t just coming up in one aspect of our lives, but seems to be spread across every context of our lives. It is beyond feeling as if we have failed a specific task and goes right at the core of our identity.

I must admit that this is not uncommon and I have even felt the sting of this arrow before, even recently. I am not an expert on adequately defending against it, nor have I found the perfect way to extinguish its flame. The enemy is an accurate shot and the flame burns deep. Thankfully, God has not left us to our own devices to manufacture a makeshift defense. He not only provides our defense; He IS our defense!

Here are 4 Things to Remember When You Feel Like a Failure:

1. Remember who God is.

So often we are focused on ourselves and our iniquities. All throughout the Scriptures God has a singular purpose in His work, to have His name and His power known in all the earth. This holds true in the current circumstances that we find ourselves in. Whatever is causing you to believe that you are a failure, God is wanting to use it so that He will be exalted in all the earth. (see Psalm 46)

There is none like you, O Lordyou are great, and your name is great in might.” Jeremiah 10:6

When we remember who God is, we can begin to see His might as our focus rather than our weakness. His might is our strength and enables us to stand while under attack.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11

2. Remember who you are in Christ.

Christian, you are not alone. God is with you. He dwells within you. Take a moment and let this sink in… (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16)

God loves you. (Psalm 86:14) God is for you. (Romans 8:31) He has adopted you and called you His child. (Galatians 4:4-8) THIS is title of your identity for all of eternity. Though you may fail, you are not identified as a failure. You are the child of the One who never fails.

You are not abandoned. You are not left to despair. You are not orphaned. You are reborn. You are remade. The old you is gone and there is a new you in Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Instead of focusing on the negative things you are facing, we must focus on the greatness of who God is and who we are in Him. Don’t focus your efforts on the lies told by the enemy, rather focus on allowing God’s truth to enter in.

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” –Screwtape Letters, Lewis

3. Remember what God has promised.

God is faithful. He has NEVER gone back on His word. He has promised us a future of hope, a hope that does not disappoint! (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 5:5)

This is critically important because of the fact that we are still in a broken world and are still tempted by sin. We have moments where we are faithless. We fail God. However, we are not defined by our failure; we are defined by our Father. He never fails. He remains faithful even when we don’t. (2 Timothy 2:13) His love for us is definite and infinite.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

4. Remember that you will fail.

This last point of remembrance is important. There are two aspects to remembering that we will fail.

  • Your failing may be a sin issue.

There may be times where you feel like the enemy is lying to you by calling out your failure. Consider that it might not be the lie of the enemy, but the conviction of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8)

Before we assign blame to the enemy, we must ask God to reveal sin in our hearts that needs to be repented of. This conviction may be God’s way of sharpening you so that you may persevere. The reality is that this life is hard. We do fail. Whether it’s being lazy, procrastinating, forgetting, losing our temper, acting unlovingly, losing our drive, or just simply not prioritizing properly, we all slip. Here is a key that will help you discern who is speaking to you:

Holy Spirit = You have sin that is keeping you from God. Repent! You are a child of God.

The enemy = You are your sin. You will never be good enough.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12

  • You are not perfect and your witness is not about showing your own perfection, but His.

We tend to view our weakness as something that shames us. Social pressures of this world tell us that weakness is ugly, even pathetic. The Word says that all mankind is dead in sin before Christ brings them to life through faith. For the Christian, we should not spend our time trying to hide our weakness to each other. This is because the more we talk about our weakness, the more we magnify the strength and glory of God!

Christian, we must stop worrying about the things that we seek to boast about. Our only boast to each other and to the world is that Christ has saved us! (Galatians 6:14)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Jesus says that His grace is sufficient. Do you believe it? I pray that you will not seek a grace that is minimally sufficient, but that you will recognize that His grace is more vast and enormous that anything you could possibly imagine. It overflows…for you!

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:12-14

Obedience is mine. Results are His.


Don’t Manage Your Stress and Anxiety

I know it all. Really. Ask my wife and she will tell you that I act as if I do. Sometimes I recognize this as pride, but other times I chalk it up to confidence. I pride myself on how “in control” I am in life and how little stress affects me. Correction: I used to.

Stress is not something I deal with often, but when it hits, it packs a punch. I know that many of you know what I am writing about. About 8 years ago I started experiencing dark periods of depression. I didn’t know exactly what was happening as I was usually known for my care free, easy going nature. I found myself in seasons of loneliness, indifference, void of feeling any emotion. In these moments I found that even knowing the truth of the Word did not mean that my body was able to believe it. I needed more than intellectual ammo, I needed the Holy Spirit. The good news is that He is always there. I am learning more about who He is and how great He is by my confrontation with how weak and depraved I am. I was starting to figure this whole thing out. But….

Recently I had some questionable news come back on a lab report during my annual physical examination. The info I received was so cryptic that I turned to the source of all credible information, WebMD. I knew this was a bad idea, but I clicked away anyways. If you are not familiar with the magnitude of this mistake please take note. Any symptom that you have on this site will show that it could be a sign of death, doom, and destruction. Out of hundreds of possibilities of what my reading could mean, my mind stuck on the worst of them, incurable cancer.

Within minutes my body literally went into panic mode and I experienced my first anxiety attack ever. For days I had no appetite, could not sleep through the night, and I even started to exhibit real symptoms of disease. After numerous tests my doctor could only tell me that the original reading that started this anxiety was a bad reading and that everything seemed to be fine. Right, like I could really believe that.

Finally I allowed myself to surrender to the thought that I was fighting a spiritual battle with physical weapons. I was trying to find ways to reduce my level of stress and anxiety through breathing exercises, stretching, walking, even praying. If I did enough of those activities I believed that I could “manage” the anxiety away. As I was reading through my Bible I kept reading commands given by God through prophets in the OT.

“Fear not.” 

I always thought of this phrase in Scripture as a kind suggestion. As I studied more I found that it was not a suggestion for managing problems in life, but a direct command. To go even further I found Scriptures that deal with anxiety and stress and found them to be commands as well. God does not command us to “fear not” and not to “be anxious” because he wants to help us experience a smoother ride in life. He commands it because it is not of Him. Because of this I was finally confronted with the fact that being apart from Him it did not proceed from faith, and therefore is SIN.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Fear and anxiety are not from God. Therefore my reaction to fear and anxiety in my life should not be to try and manage it, but to hit my face before my God and repent of it. How freeing this is. The burden of worry is lifted. The pain subsides. Please make note that not all of my physical ailments have gone away, but they are no longer my burden to carry. I no longer need to worry about them because they are in the hands of my loving God. My job in this season is to live out His calling in my life. His job in this season is to bring about His will. Peace comes from not trying to do His job.

Obedience is Mine. The Results are His.

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