Dr. Rickey Nation, Ph.D.
Notice what happened to King David. He lost his hope because he was not focused upon God. Hope and focus go together. Where there is no hope, the focus is lost. When the focus switches from God to something or someone else, hope is lost. God’s answer is simple. Focus back upon Him by putting Him first. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
What a powerful question! Most people admit to facing this issue or situation at some point in their life. However, the origins of the conflict are simple to understand.
Life becomes overwhelming and we believe everyone is against us when we fail to handle life God’s way. Psalms 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God clearly wants to help us with life. More often than not, our attempts at handling the conflicts of life only make them worse. Therefore, it seems as if life is stacking up against, people are out-to-get us, and life is the pits. Stated differently, we create much of our own problems including others against us. God’s answer is plain as found in Psalms 50:15, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
As we humble ourselves before God and call upon Him, He hears and begins working in the situations or relationships. He does this so that we will glorify Him and learn to trust Him at a deeper level.
Friends, remember Romans 8:31, “What shall we say to those things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” People are not against you as much as God is for you!
Trying harder doesn’t help our situation. It is self effort. The key word being SELF. We are trying to fix ourselves.
If we could heal ourselves and fix all our problems, we would. As human beings we are powerless and not in control of life. That’s a hard fact to accept, but necessary to realize.
That is the very reason God sent His Son. Isaiah 61:1-3 tells us what God sent his Son to do for us human beings that we CANNOT do for ourselves.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” ~ Isaiah 61:1-3
Now let go of self effort and surrender control of your life to Christ Jesus so He can do the work in you that our Father God sent Him to do.
Question: How do I recognize God’s voice?
Many People struggle with this. They often have conflicting battles in their thought life. To be able to recognize God’s voice you first have to know how to recognize Satan’s.
Revelations 12:10b tells us, “…for the accuser of the brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast out.” Satan is our accuser. So if your thoughts about yourself, others, or your situation are harsh, destructive, defiles, etc. they are from our accuser.
In John 8:11 Jesus states, “…neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more…” John 3:17 tells us, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
God’s voice is not condemning or angry. God builds, restores, and brings healing. God’s voice leads us to kindness, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and humility. He leads us to acts that display fruits of the spirit.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” -Romans 7:4
Your Question: Why is it so difficult to overcome weaknesses?
Everyone has areas of weakness to face and overcome (Job 14:1-2). I have met very few people whom understand how to face and overcome their shortcomings.
The first step to overcoming weaknesses is surrender. Weaknesses are a part of fallen humanity (sin). Therefore, only God can give power to face and overcome weaknesses. The Apostle Paul sought the Lord three times to remove his weakness, but God said:
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9
The Apostle Paul viewed his weakness from God’s viewpoint of eternity. In so doing, he could surrender his weakness easier.
Secondly, live the surrendered life. The Apostle Paul, again, adds light to the situation in verse 10. He states: “ Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Notice Paul’s emphasis in this verse. It is surrendering and the exchanged life. Paul states his weaknesses so Christ can become strong. Therefore, why is it difficult to overcome weaknesses? The world, the flesh and the devil fight against yielding to the sovereign will of God.
QUESTION: Why did God allow problems, situations, trauma, etc. to happen to me?
ANSWER: Most struggle to understand how God is at work in the midst of suffering. God uses the evil/bad that comes into our lives for a greater purpose. Romans 8:28 tells us, “All things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.” All things good and bad work together. God uses them to teach us, build character in us, and to call us to a higher purpose. Romans 8:29 says we are to be “conformed to the image of His Son.”
Joseph in the old Testament is a good example. He was sold into slavery then imprisoned unjustly. Yet Joseph states in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
God used what others meant for evil against Joseph rescued and brought them into Egypt where all their needs were met. (Read Genesis 37-50)
Many people who have suffered, go on to be used mightily by God if they allow Him to bring the healing, joy, and wholeness they need to overcome.
II Corinthians 1:4 states, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
QUESTION: Why do I keep struggling with the same problem over and over?
ANSWER: Many individuals struggle in this area. They think they have “conquered” a problem only to have it come up again.
God’s answer is the fact we don’t need to conquer but surrender. Proverbs 3:5-9 gives us God’s answers. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy naval, and marrow to thy bones.”
God wants us to surrender ALL our heart. That means all areas of our lives to Him and not to trust on our own judgments or thoughts. Often we can have faulty thinking about a certain problem. Never trust your emotions, but turn to God and His Word. Examine yourself, put away pride, anger, resentment, lust, food, etc. (anything that is between you and God or is a god in your life). Then healing in your problem area will be done by God and you will be healthier emotionally, relationally, and physically.
QUESTION: Why does it seem like I am always struggling?
ANSWER: This question is asked by many people and I have asked this question myself. Job 14:1-2 states, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”
The Bible teaches that we all face a life “full of trouble”. It has been rightly stated that there are three kinds of people: “those going into the storms of life, those coming out of the storms of life, and those in the middle of the storms of life”. Therefore, life is a series of struggles but for the Christian the struggle is different. While it is true we struggle, our struggles have an eternal benefit. Our struggles are more of a transformation. Stated differently: God is using our current struggle to transform us or change us into His character and likeness.
Even the best of relationships will probably have disagreements. While the worst will more than likely have intense disagreements. Why all the disagreeing, fussing, and arguing? Why can’t people just get along? The answer is found in James 4: 1-6, “From whence come wars and fighting’s among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Notice what God states about the fighting and warring. It begins within. Verse one states: “From whence come wars and fighting’s among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” In other words, something inside is not settled or peaceful; something is missing. Verse two further confirms this observation by revealing “Ye lust, and have not… because you ask not.”
The word lust means “a longing” for what is forbidden, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Desire, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, carries the meaning ‘move with envy’ or ‘be jealous over’. We further see couples arguing and fighting over, not necessarily external issues, but something not settled, peaceful, or missing.
The next area of battle can be more spiritual. Verse three reveals: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that y may consume it upon your lusts.” If someone seeks God in prayer but with impure motives, God will not answer. This situation can further add to the conflicts and hurts.
Verse four begins to reveal the direction that needs to be taken in order to silence this battle within it. It states: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” God must be first! If God is not in first place, internal struggles develop that can manifest as arguing, fussing, and disagreeing in marriage.
The answer to this externally manifested (arguing with spouse) and internally originated (lack of peace or something missing) is found in verse six. It states: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Humility is the key to solving the arguing, fighting, fussing, etc. When believers humble themselves before God; pride, arrogance, self-will, selfishness, etc. are removed from the marriage. Love and servanthood begins to flow and the relationship begins to become satisfying as never before.
Friends, if arguing, fussing, or fighting is destroying your marriage, get on your knees and humble yourself. In doing so, God’s power and peace will be released in your life as never before, and healing and restoration will begin to take place in the marriage.
Almost everyone is searching for direction or guidance, especially for the New Year. Many, if not most of the people who seek counsel at our ministry are seeking guidance at some level. For this topic, I want to focus upon the differences between God’s guidance received through His Spirit versus guidance received through feelings and/or emotions. Emotional-based guidance is usually a reliable indicator of God’s leading.
While feelings and emotions play an integral part in the life of a believer in experiencing love, joy, peace etc, they were never designed by God to be a sole indicator of guidance. Emotions are designed by God to express God’s life in and through the life of the believer.
To properly understand emotional-based guidance, it is necessary to define the use of emotions. A definition of emotions that I use is “energy motion”. We are created by God to use our energy in motion by registering inwardly life experiences. All of life’s experiences are registered this way and are not meant to be used as a primary means of guidance. Most females struggle with relying on emotional guidance; they believe feelings and emotions are the precise measure of guidance because of being tied to relationships. While men can fall prey in this area also, they are not as prone to emotional-based guidance as women.
On the other hand, spiritual guidance while involving emotions is centered around and focused upon Truth. Psalms 51:6 states “Behold Thou desires truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom” Notice the emphasis in this verse. The emphasis is upon Truth not emotions. Truth is brought into the life of the believer by the inner workings of the Spirit of God acting in accordance to God’s will. Truth will be brought to the life of the believer by the flow of God’s Spirit illuminating the mind, energizing the will for immediate actions while lastly being felt in the emotional core of a believer’s life. The believer is now feeling energized in a specific direction from God such that no apprehension exists and God’s will is accomplished.
Guidance by emotions usually leads to regret, anger, justifications for wrong-doing or embarrassment. God rarely guides His children by emotions but by Truth. Psalms 91:4 states, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Notice the emphasis of Truth in this verse. Truth is the Believer’s shield and buckler. As God’s Spirit leads by means of Truth, that Truth becomes God’s protection for His children. Emotions or feelings can never accomplish this task.
Additionally, Truth provides for the believer freedom or a release from struggles. Emotions, at best, only give a temporary release from struggles and in the end the struggles return with a vengeance. John 8:32 states, “And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” John 16:13 states, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth is come He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speaks and He will show you things to come.”
God’s people are changed or sanctified by Truth never emotions. John 17:17 states, “Sanctify them through tThy truth Thy Word is Truth.” This verse gives a different emphasis of Truth. Change or guidance comes through the Truth; God’s Word contains the Truth. It is the Truth every believer needs for proper guidance.
Friends, begin today to trust God’s Truth instead of emotions for 2018. In so doing, you can become more like Christ and live out your God-given destiny by experiencing a New Year as never before.