A sister in Christ writes: “I have so many character flaws that I am aware of more now. I am trying to work on them slowly. Not so easy. One is negativity. Another is trust, which I haven’t started on yet.
“Want to overcome the negative the best I can first. I have many, many, flaws, as we all do. But I always seem to see my depression and anxiety, which really doesn’t qualify as a character flaw, as my worst offender. But I see it as what makes my family’s life harder, and what makes for financial strain.”
Verle: The first thing that strikes me as I read your comment, is a feeling of exhaustion from just thinking of trying to trust, not be negative, not worry, and to not be depressed. It’s daunting to face such a heap of flaws that you have to tackle them one at a time.
Remember there are only two religions
- The religion of Be Good and You Will Be Rewarded (even atheism falls into this religion)
- And the religion of You’ll Never Manage to Be Good Enough for God to Owe You Anything – But It’s OK – Because of Jesus There is Grace.
Even when I have accepted salvation from my sins by trusting in the finished work of Jesus, he is the worker not I–I must quit trying to rip off his job or, ungratefully, trying to provide what he has already provided (strength, worth, security). He really likes his job and will not help me take it from him, he gives no grace for me to succeed apart from him. Even then, it is important to continue to trust him for strength moment by moment. The same thing that saves me keeps and secures me.
O foolish [Verle], who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?Galatians 3:1-3
Yeah, I know, I am that foolish.
Watchman Nee was discouraged because he read the verse that we should reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Every morning he would get up and try, try, try to act dead to sin and alive to God. (Just as this dear reader is trying to not worry, not be depressed, not be negative and not mistrust.) He took forty days and forty nights to fast and pray and couldn’t figure it out, so he gave up and was eating breakfast when the Holy Spirit asked him if he wanted the answer.
The Spirit said, “You can’t kill dead people.” Watchman pondered this and applied it this way (as I suggest you do too):
- Each morning he thanked God that, in Christ, he was already dead to sin(although it didn’t feel like it) and was already alive to God.
- He pictured “what manner of person ought I then to be?” (If you have trouble picturing how dead people respond to sin, visit a morgue, if you have trouble picturing how alive people respond to life and God, watch a loved child with their parents.)
- Then all day he would yield his body parts according to a growing picture of deadness and aliveness.
- He stopped trying so hard and rested all day long, moving his body members according to a growing picture of deadness and aliveness,
- and at the end of the day he committed the day to the Lord and went peacefully to sleep.
Dear friend, thank God for your struggles with anxiety, depression, negativity, and mistrust that remind you of why you needed salvation and why you need him now.
Ask him to help you improve your picture of inner love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, godliness, and self control which are already yours as gifts from the Holy Spirit. Practice acting in what you already have and who you already are. At the end of the day leave the results to God and sleep peacefully.