ACW

ACW

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

When the rubber hits the road by Lynda Alsford

I have been challenged over recent months to change the way I think, especially in the area of gratitude and what I think about myself. It is so easy to say 'Trust the Lord' or 'look at God not your situation'. I often listen to the song 'Turn your eyes upon Jesus'. I particularly enjoy the Hillsongs version. But I am going to be honest with you. I am not turning my eyes upon Jesus. Not really. Not most of the time. What I am actually doing is looking at my situation and outwardly saying I trust God. I often say I am going to trust God but I am not trusting Him. I say He is the centre of my life but then fill it with other things instead. I say I am grateful for all He does for me and then never thank Him. 

I worry a lot. I have been especially anxious over recent months. There is always too much month left at the end of the money and bills seem overwhelming. But when I look back at what God has done for me before I find no basis for my worry. Jesus has never let me go without the things I need. During a time of unemployment, when I didn't have the money for my mortgage, I got a letter from my bank saying 'We mis-sold you PPI. Please fill in this form and we will repay you'. The amount I got was enough for the mortgage. I hadn't even considered applying for this as I didn't think I qualified for it. At the beginning of this year I was off sick for two and a half months following a knee replacement. Given I don't get full sick pay, and I am not eligible for mortgage relief from the government for 3 months of each claim, it was a worrying time. However, shortly after seeing my surgeon, I got a letter from the working tax credit department. They were back dating my claim and the payment was enough for 3 mortgage payments. I could go on but you will be relieved to know I will not. 

So why do I not remember these things in a time of need? Yet again, I focus on the situation and start worrying. I allow anxious thoughts to go round and round my mind. I have read the Word of God so why do I not believe it? I mean really believe it. I say the words. I mentally assent to the truth but when the rubber hits the road...I worry instead of believing. I believe the first worrying thought that pops into my mind. 

And it is not just in the area of provision. I say that as a Christian I should love everyone but then I come up against someone I find difficult to get along with for one reason or another. I find myself hating this person not loving them. I may not say this out loud but I am thinking it. This happened recently to me. I was feeling very angry and hateful towards someone with whom I am in regular contact. At first I wallowed in my negativity. I felt justified in it. This person was causing pain and upset to someone I really like and respect. But my attitude was not Christ-like. This is where the rubber hits the road as far as being a Christian goes. I speak of a God of love but can I love the unlovely as He does? I decided I needed to change my attitude. While still acknowledging that the person was in fact in the wrong in one area that was causing pain  to others, I also realised that I needed to get along with them and see them as Jesus does.

I started by giving thanks for this person. It was really hard to do. It took every once of will power to say it to God. 'Lord I thank you for X'. I asked God to help me and then just did it- as an act of my will. The more I gave thanks for this person the more I found my attitude changing.  Day by day I worked on this until I could pray for them with love. I am now able to get along with this person much more easily. I can pray that God will bring this person into His Kingdom and I mean it. But it was hard work. It was spiritual warfare. 

Paul in Philippians 2:12 says the following . 

'Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear' (NLT)
It is really hard work to change the way we think. In my experience it takes a combination of will power and the Holy Spirit.  If I tell myself 'I can't help it', 'I can't change' then I will never change. If I tell myself 'I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength' (Philippians 4:13) and repeat the truth of it to myself again and again my heart will gradually change. If I thank God for the person I find so difficult He will change me by the power of the Holy Spirit. For me it goes to the heart of my faith. If the blood of Jesus is as powerful as I believe it is then I can work with God to change my thoughts.

The Christian life is not easy. Believing God above your circumstances is not easy (no prizes for spotting the massive understatement!). But boy is it rewarding. I feel so much more peace now I have learned to love this difficult person with the love that God has given me. The hate was so much more tiring. I am now working on my anxiety and worry. And I know I will be successful. For I know in whom I have believed. He died to set me free. This is real spiritual warfare. Allowing God to change our hearts.

What one thought can you ask God to help you begin to change?

Blessings to you all.



Lynda Alsford is a sea loving, cat loving GP receptionist and writes in her spare time. She has written two books. He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. She writes a newsletter, Seeking the Healer, in which she shares the insights she has gained in her journey to freedom from food addiction. Sign up for this at her website, www.lyndaalsford.com. Lynda blogs at www.patch-work-blog.blogspot.co.uk






13 comments:

  1. A challenging post, Lynda. This morning's readings have reminded me of the song, "Jesus be the centre". I need to relearn the song and the outworking.

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    1. Thank you. It is a challenging life in general following Jesus and it will be a life time learning curve. But God will honour the small steps we take towards being more like Him. I also love that song 'Jesus be the centre'. So easy to say and so hard to do.

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  3. Very helpful, especially in relation to someone I find hard to get on with at church (and to the former 'demon headmaster' of my son's school!). But Lynda, please tell us who you are in the title (by Lynda Alsford) or in a bio at the bottom. I get the posts as emails and the 'posted by' line doesn't appear there. I find it frustrating not to know whose words I am reading!

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    1. Thank you for reminding me Veronica. I totally forgot to write the bio or put 'by' in the post. I did it in a rush yesterday.

      I am glad the post is helpful. It is so hard to change how we think about people. Praying you find God and you together can start to help you with the person you are thinking of.

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  4. Lynda, you hit upon a really salient point. As we read God's word we also allow the Word to read us. And it's only when its truth moves from our head to our heart via revelation knowledge that it begins to alter the way we live and move and have our being in Christ. Behavioural changes rarely happen overnight, but we can seek to co-operate with Holy Spirit in the way you suggest and slowly see how our mindset alters and so does the way we act and react. Thank you for this inspiring and thought-provoking post. Blessings. :)

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  5. Such a great post Lynda! And so relevant for me at a time when I'm also trying to change the way I think about things, especially in relation to those well worn grooves of worry that the mind often falls (un) comfortably into. Inspirational...

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  6. Thank you Deborah. I have been learning to thank God for everything I can think of. I have also been writing my gratitude down sometimes. It helps focus my mind. I also find it helpful to remember what God has done in the past for me. In the Old Testament we read of people making altars of some kind when God did something for them. It was a visible reminder for them of what God had done. That is one thing that writing can do for us. We can make an altar out of writing down what God has done for us.

    And we must try not to condemn ourselves when we worry. Condemnation is a waste of time! Jesus died that we might not be condemned but forgiven and restored!

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  7. Good stuff here. I suspect the first step is to admit our real 'feelings' about things/people. Pointless to be seen praising God and loving everyone, and actually not doing that at all: He knows our hearts. Always good to list what God has indeed done for us. In specific terms as well as the 'usual' as in 'saved us and loved us'.It's always more than we remembered.

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  8. Absolutely Mari. It is in being completely honest with God about how I really feel that I begin to see real change. Jesus told the woman at the well that true worshippers worship in spirit and truth. When we come to God acknowledging who he is and acknowledging who we really are no matter how unfavourable that may be, we see real change.

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  9. Great post Lynda. It really spoke to me.

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