It was one of those rare jewels that you tuck away, not so much because of its beauty, but because you recognize its potential.
Whenever you find yourself talking to yourself,
you’re probably sinning.
Switch gears and TALK TO GOD INSTEAD!
My friend Sharon said a missionary friend had sent it to her saying, “it was too rich not to pass on”–and she was right! For almost thirty years I have learned to rejoice in God’s provision of conviction that draws me to repentance and a deeper reliance on Him. In the Counseling Room it has saved many a heart from hardening, as God has reminded each Client to talk to Him more.
When given this jewel, its truth made me chuckle as I remembered a “conversation” I’d entertained earlier in the day:
“I don’t have to put up with that! I should’a said this, and I could’a done that . . .
boy oh man, that was so unfair!”
In a contentious, mean-spirited world, sin comes all too easily. It is tempting to say the growing ugliness that surrounds us is unique. However, I suspect that the times Jesus lived in were no less difficult or dangerous. The point is (humanly speaking), when sinned against, it is difficult to resist responding in kind.
So how can we avoid the trap? Switch Gears!
SWITCH GEARS by:
- Confessing the sin that has crept in–whether it came at your own invitation or snuck in there.
- Refusing to continue down the path you were on.
- Talk to God (pray!) instead by first giving thanks to Him for sending His Son to free you from, “the sin that so easily entangles.” (Hebrews 12:1*)
Switching gears spiritually comes up frequently in the Counseling Room. To begin the process we use what I refer to as, the Triangle Illustration. The Triangle Illustration asks two questions:
- Who (or what) is (or was) the major influence over the decision made in a certain situation.
- Was God the primary influence? Or was it something (or someone) else?
The local Pregnancy Help Center (was located below my old office) serves as a helpful illustration as to how The Triangle Illustration works:
When a woman who was abortion-minded came to the Center, her Counselors would draw the Triangle Illustration on a white board. She would then write the woman’s name in the bottom right-hand corner, and “unwanted pregnancy” in the bottom left corner. The Counselor would ask the question, “Who (or what) is the major influence in considering aborting your baby?” Whatever the woman said, was written at the top of the triangle. (Many times it was pressure from others, fear or the inconvenience of it.)
Then the Counselor would talk from the perspective of the Scriptures. How before God every life is precious and that ultimately we will be held accountable for out decisions. Just that simple perspective was often enough to help the woman shift gears from having an abortion, to trust God to provide the help she was going to need in making further decisions.
For many years the Triangle Illustration has been a useful tool for my Clients (as well as myself) to keep God as the Ruler over our hearts. In those seasons when such things as hurt, fear, anger, pride or our desire to please others threaten, it gives clarity that has kept such sin from finding its way to the Top.
However justifiable we may believe that placement to have been,
allowing anything less than God to influence our hearts is an idol.
Also, God’s call to, “Love thy neighbor” is an impossibility, unless we make loving Him our first priority.
Be encouraged when He calls you through conviction, to trust Him to love others as Christ has loved you. This verse from Proverbs is one that nails the importance of our response to His call each and every day.
“Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”
All to His Glory!
*Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us . . . .”