And it was this intensity that caused prayer to degenerate from a flowing spontaneity to a rigid, packaged plan, dispensed routinely by the religious leaders. Prayer changed from privilege to an obligation.
We are all guilty of sin by virtue of our sin nature inherited from Adam. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT). When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, we become aware of our guilt and feel true shame over our sin.
We all have an intuitive sense of justice and that wrong must be atoned for. But because of our sin nature we are prone to self-atonement and false guilt, a sense and thought that we must somehow pay the penalty ourselves. This results in self-recrimination, self-accusation, and false shame, which is a powerful sense of worthlessness.
God addressed the problem of our guilt and shame by providing forgiveness as a gift “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV).
The punishment for our sin is not overlooked. The death of Christ actually paid the penalty in our place once for all: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
The Lord also provides ongoing provision for our sin: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). By truly receiving His forgiveness when we sin as believers, we thwart self and Satan's attempts to create false guilt.
Often we can’t control difficult circumstances but there are ways to change our perspective and responses, which can help transform suffering into something positive. Here are some perspectives to help transform suffering.
When we have a different perspective on our trouble we can respond to it differently. By seeing our problems from God’s viewpoint, we gain the perspective to face trouble His way.
Whenever we come across passages of Scripture that seem to contradict each other the first thing to do is read the verses in context. Context can alter how we understand individual words.
Be honest: when was the last time you said something or gave something or wrote something or did something with the single motive of encouraging someone else?
Besides teaching God is perfectly loving Scripture also teaches God is perfectly just. His justice is that characteristic by which He gives everyone that which is due—reward or punishment.
One of the mixed blessings of public speaking is listening to the way folks introduce you. It's sometimes best to cover your ears. You wonder if they've got the wrong guy.
Oh, I understand that our example is Christ…and that the standard is high…and that our motives are to be pure. But it needs to be repeated again and again and again: Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.
Our habit of looking back in life’s rear-view mirror can put us on a collision course. We can lose sight of God’s steadfast grip in our life.