In addition to comparing and criticizing, complaining hinders our moving forward. A murmuring complaining spirit is displeasing to the Lord. It is normal to express grief and sorrow or share something that is happening in our lives. It is not normal to grumble, accuse, blame, speak negatively and not acknowledge anything positive.
It is even more destructive when complaining about people and not things. It leads to gossip and fuels the works of the enemy. Complaining comes from a spirit of fear which is conquered as the Lord brings freedom. When we want to help those who are being battled in this area, we should lead them to the awareness of what the Lord has done. We shine the light in the darkness and lift them up with affirming words of life, hope and trust. We encourage them through the expression of our faith.
We are to be thankful in all things. Gratitude is to be a daily attitude. We overcome evil with good. When we are around negativity, let’s be the positive. We hold fast what is good, from glory to glory!
1 Thessalonians 5:18-21 “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things, hold fast what is good.”
As the Spirit of God leads us to move together in unity, competition is eliminated. We are called to complete one another; not compete against each other. Competition can hinder every member of the body from flourishing in the place God has them positioned. In the world, competition is celebrated, but this is not the way of the Kingdom.
We are of one mind, and one accord. We are all one in Christ. We are one body, one family. When one is blessed, we all rejoice. We do not compare our achievements with others because they are not separated; they complete each other. At the pool of Bethesda, Jesus showed us how to handle competition. At that pool, whenever the water was stirred the first one who got in the water would be healed. Jesus went to a lame man who was in the very back, not fighting to get ahead, and he wasn’t helped by others. Jesus told him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ Jesus didn’t help the lame man be the first one in the pool; He took him out of the competition altogether. What the Lord calls you to do, He will enable you to do, regardless of any opposition expressed through competition.
The Lord tells us to rise up and walk in what He tells us to do, looking unto His spiritual ways. In the natural it may appear as though another person has a position better than ours, but there is always more we don’t know regarding someone’s life. The best position is the one we all have–in Christ. Our desire is to be who He calls us to be, to do what He calls us to do and to rest in knowing how much He loves and values us, from glory to glory!
John 5:7-8 “The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ ”
As we submit to the authority of God, any control that has been exercised in a wrong manner is healed layer by layer. By His Spirit, He reveals these areas to us and helps us recognize and minister to others, as He leads. The safety we find in the Lord helps us trust His ruling in our hearts.
Control is exercised in a wrong way when people put themselves in a place of authority that has not been given to them. They too quickly take over a situation without considering the timing, or other’s input, and assume their directives are the best. They try to get things to go their way, trusting it is the best way and the only way things should be done. Controlling others gives them a sense of value and helps them deal with their own insecurities and fear of failure. In their hearts they reason that if they order the sequences of an event or any happenings, including relationships, they will keep the upper hand and have no unpleasant surprises. Some unexpected hurts have happened in their past, and they feel if they are in control they can insure the hurts won’t happen again.
Only in Christ can we have safety, regain trust and learn to love and be loved in a healthy way. The more we surrender to the Lord, the more we relinquish all control to Him, and the more we are free from the control of others. The freedom we have in the spirit to move forward is no longer restricted. We can let go and let God be and do the impossible, from glory to glory!
1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ ”
In reaching out to the Lord, we find we have to reach into our hearts and surrender all to Him. As we reach for His hand, He responds with love. He knows our whole being and leads us into the deeper places with Him. He helps us reach places we have closed off because of hurts and pains. When He takes us there, He heals us and fills us with His glory.
God honors our hunger. He gives grace to the humble. With a heart surrendered to Him, we are able to face every area where we need healing. Some of the things we go through lead us to this self-effacing place; face-to-face with our weaknesses where shame, guilt and condemnation may try to harass our souls. In that moment…we know God knows and we receive His forgiveness as a mighty wave of love and glory.
As we yield to the Holy Spirit, we are resisting the devil who has to flee from us. The closer we are to oneness with the Lord, the farther away we are from our enemy. The key is to remain submitted to God. We draw near to God. We take authority over our flesh, the devil and the world. We rejoice knowing He draws near to us, from glory to glory!
James 4:7-8 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
To help us draw nigh unto God we can visualize reaching for His hand. It helps us to take-hold of His reality. Like a child whose hand is stretched forth to a parent seeking leading, guidance and comfort–we seek His hand at all times.
We seek Him the most when we know we can’t take a step without Him. Through humility and total surrender we reach into our hearts, and reach out to His grace and mercy. Many things can hinder our efforts. What we hold in our hands may need to be released. Perhaps we need to stop trying to grab hold of something or someone else. It may also be our fears and insecurities that prevent us from reaching forth boldly and wholly.
As we walk with the Lord we realize we need His guidance with every step—great or small. Trial or no trial, we desire to hold His hand. Holding His hand brings comfort when in sorrow and peace when at war. It brings safety and rest in every moment. We seek after Him because we love Him so and find He looks for us to reach out to Him from glory to glory!
Psalms 77:2 “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.”
It is when we are drawing nigh unto God that battles come causing us to draw away from the things of God. Our adversary sees us drawing closer and closer to the Lord and wants to move us from that deep place of intimacy.
Lies the enemy speaks to us are to draw us away from our closeness with the Lord, and they are attached to a no need to declarative statement. It’s the enemy’s list of all the things we don’t need to do when we are in the midst of a trial: go to church; read and study The Word; rest in the Lord; pray; worship and many many more. Yet, it is the opposite that is true. In those times, drawing nigh unto the Lord is what we need to do more than any other thing because it’s only in His presence that we find peace and joy.
The greater the battle, the more we are to seek and remain in a face-to-face encounter with our Lord. We draw nigh unto Him with our whole heart. Even in situations where we can’t seem to find the time for prayer and worship, we can trust God sees the longing of our hearts and blesses us with His presence. It’s about quality, not quantity. Whenever there is anything pulling us back, let’s move towards our Lord, from glory to glory!
Hebrews 7:19 “…for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”