Monday, April 14, 2014

Faith of Gold

What’s going on inside you?  Are you sitting under the gripe tree griping?  Are you holding together or are you falling apart?  When we are content with the choices God makes for us, we can respond rightly to everything life throws at us in all its shades and shadows.  In other words, when we say a loud YES to God’s decisions for us, we will find ourselves content! 

Dear Friends,

Our life does not have to be in turmoil for us to be discontented and griping.  One thing that can get us griping so that we lose our joy is not crisis but comparisons.  These usually begin with the words if only.  Think of the Israelites.  They lamented: “If only we were back in Jerusalem!”  “If only” is the language of discontent.  If only I lived there instead of here, I’d be happy.  If only I was pretty, sporty, or clever like so—and—so.  Or, if only I was married.  Then, if only I wasn’t married!   (Someone said that marriage is like a besieged city—everyone inside is trying to get out, and everyone outside is trying to get in!)  “If only I had a baby, “lamented a woman who was struggling with infertility.  She found she was comparing herself to her classmates, who all seemed to be pregnant.  She had never suspected that she could not get pregnant when she wanted and how she wanted.  As a result, she lost her joy.  “If only I had a more interesting job—like my best friend,” complained another woman.  But contentment isn’t dependent on outside circumstances (good or bad, men or women, jobs, or even having children.  I have come to believe that the content of contentment is Christ!

We must be in the will of God to be content.  When you believe you are exactly where God wants you to be, you won’t be happy anywhere else in the whole wide world!  Even if you feel you are sitting by the waters of Babylon as the Israelites were, you should know you cannot be truly happy outside the will of God.  When we lay our complaints down about His workings in our life, we will be held together inside.  In fact, the dictionary defines contentment as “to hold in or contain together”!

As I struggled as a young wife with being content with a husband who traveled a lot, I realized I would only be fully content if I and he were in the center of God’s will.  Since I believed it was God’s will for Stuart to be doing what he had been called and commissioned to do, I knew I would not be happy if he were home!  That mental acceptance helped my heart to begin its journey toward the peace I had been seeking.  Peace of heart and mind, after all, is not dependent on a person but on being in the center of God’s calling on your life.  Therein lies peace and therein lies an inner cohesiveness that only the Holy Spirit can engineer.

What’s going on inside you?  Are you sitting under the gripe tree griping?  Are you holding together or are you falling apart?  When we are content with the choices God makes for us, we can respond rightly to everything life throws at us in all its shades and shadows.  In other words, when we say a loud YES to God’s decisions for us, we will find ourselves content!  In fact the word aye (yes) is used in the British House of Commons as an affirmation vote.  It has often been hard for me to glance heavenward and say aye to God’s plans and purposes for my life.  But a life of saying “yes, Lord” makes it easier to accept God’s no’s when they come.  So to be content, we must determine to stay in the will of God, accepting what the will of God allows.

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Just Between Us Magazine


Monday, April 7, 2014

Do You Have an Inferiority Complex?

The new me who is dressed in Christ lives a new life in a new dimension with a whole new power to be different.  Christ sets me free to be the me that God has always wanted me to be.

Dear Friends,

When I was a little girl, I had the mistaken idea that my parents loved my sister more than they loved me.  It didn’t seem one bit fair, but Shirley had had three years’ start on me.  My folks had had all that extra time to spend with her, and they shared special memories about things that I knew nothing whatsoever about.  Why they had had a head start loving each other, it was logical for me to believe I was loved less!  I developed a real inferiority complex about my sister.  She was so clever at math, so swift on the field hockey team, so pretty in her pajamas!  My parents, recognizing my problem, sought to “make up” time and assure me of their real love.  They were scrupulously fair, sharing everything perfectly evenly with us, but it didn’t seem to help.  I had a wonderful mother and father and a fabulous sister, terrific friends (a lot of them), great teachers who encouraged me, a tennis coach who believed in me, and yet, despite it all—I couldn’t believe that I was quite as important to my parents as my sister, Shirley, was!  It was not until I became a committed Christian at the age of eighteen that I experienced an internal sense of value.  You see, I came to believe I mattered to God.  In fact, I read in the Bible I mattered so much to Him that He who had but one precious Son sent Him to earth to die on the cross for me.  Now I had to be worth something for Him to do that.  Now I “belonged” to God, and I could start being glad I belonged to me!

Even belonging to a beautiful, loving family cannot bring internal security to the soul.  The soul that belongs to God knows the difference.

When I first began to truly believe that I belonged to God and He loved me, I was well on the way to loving myself in the right manner.  As a new Christian, I noticed the Scripture commanded a right sense of self-worth.  I was to love my neighbors “as I loved myself”—and that was an order.

Confusion came only when I thought that loving myself was the same thing as being selfish.

Not long after I was converted to Christ, I came across a verse in the Book of Galatians that said: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (2:20).

There you are, I said to myself, “I” is good for nothing.  The selfish “I” must die—in fact, God is saying here, “I” have been crucified with Christ.  I discovered, however, this I that Paul spoke of can be thought of as the old I or the old woman that I used to be.  It is the old, selfish unregenerate me he is talking about here.  This, I found out, was the person I was before I met Christ, received the Holy Spirit, and was born from above.  It was speaking of the self-centered, self-seeking, arrogant me who demanded the world to worship at her feet, and sought the company of those who would pamper and coddle, stroke, and attend to her every whim.  This is the way people behave because they are unsure about themselves and need attention to feel of value.  And we behave this way, of course, because we are supremely selfish.  The Bible in no way tells us to love this ugly part of us, but there can be a new me, says the apostle Paul. The new me who is dressed in Christ lives a new life in a new dimension with a whole new power to be different.  Christ sets me free to be the me that God has always wanted me to be.  In other words, to be a Christian means I can begin to feel really good about myself to such a degree I can forget myself in loving service for others.

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine