When your yesterday collides with today
Each of us are born for purpose. Every aspect of our life has a God given purpose and we have a responsibility to respond and do according to God's plan, but so often we fail because we do not respond correctly.
What God wants to achieve through us can be aborted because of the way we approach life. We tend to compartmentalise the different areas, but our lives are not made up of spiritual versus other aspects. We live one life, but because of some assumptions we have made, our lives can end up limited.
In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about 'The Parable of the Talents' and I want to use that today to demonstrate how many of us have become stuck in some areas of our lives due to our personal grids.
In the parable, talents (money) was given to each servant (representing us) by the master (representing Jesus) to be invested according to their individual ability. The first two servants, though possessing different amounts of money, were equally diligent and doubled their capital. The servant who possessed only one talent displayed no diligence and instead hid this talent. At their master's return, the first two servants had different sums to present, but both offered increases of 100 per cent and received the same commendation and reward. The third servant that buried his talent was severely punished as a result.
So why did the third servant fail to invest His talent? In the text the servant confesses: '...I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.' Matthew 25:25 ESV. He was so fearful of the master that it crippled him from accomplishing the task set for him. His fear also caused him to perceive his master incorrectly.
So, what was the real problem with this servant?
This servant's problem is what I call "his internal grid" or his way of thinking.
Each of us has a way in which we filter the information we receive. Many of us due to our personal grids have become stuck in some areas of our lives: professionally - always overlooked for the promotion; relationally - never being able to settle down; spiritually - not being able to breakthrough to the next level.
Our grid is that place where our yesterday collides with our today.
In our lives there are conditions, situations and learned behaviour that teach us negative values and responses. Depending on our upbringing, it can cause many of us to internalise wrong beliefs and wrong responses to various situations. Some factors that contribute to the construction of this grid are:
1. Shame based discipline - It has been well documented that our society prides itself on shame based discipline by speaking negatively over others creating a lack of self-confidence and being highly punitive.
2. Rejection - Many of us have been abandoned or rejected in the past and this still affects us today. We approach every relationship (even with God) with an expectation of rejection. This expectation drives us to do things which are destructive and even harmful to our wellbeing.
We have to recognise that many of the things that affect our lives negatively in these ways are orchestrated by the devil. His plan for you is to "...steal and kill and destroy..." John 10:10a NIV.
WHAT THEN IS THE SOLUTION?
1. Step #1 is Jesus - surrender everything to His care and His transforming power. "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed," Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV. Breaking the cycle will not happen through self-help books, it is only found in Jesus.
2. Step # 2 is self-assessment - open your heart to the Holy Spirit, the searchlight of God. Oftentimes, it is hard to make an accurate assessment of ourselves so we need to ask God to help us. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts..." Psalm 139:23-24 TLB We need to ask the Lord to reveal areas in our lives that are hidden even from us and be willing to receive what He has to say.
3. Step #3 is renewing your mind - apply the Word of God to our lives so we become all He wants us to be. For "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Romans 12:2 NIV.
It is going to take the right people to help you out of your situation. "Hurting people hurt people...healthy people help people get healthy". We have to get ourselves involved with groups of people that can encourage us in the Word and the things of God.
Some of us feel like our lives or areas of our lives are empty and dry, but the Lord is saying, if you are willing He can and will make a way, He brings refreshing and restoration to our lives. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT.