Friday September 9, 2016
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Cheer up, Friend!
I spent a good portion of my first 30 years feeling depressed. Life had dealt me a bad hand. My parents were of modest means. I was a little on the pudgy side (My best friend called me lard-ass) My eyesight was poor. I was painfully shy and socially inept. How could such a pitiful creature ever amount to anything? In every situation others have a better chance than I. Now, let’s be realistic: all the above negatives were absolutely true. There was, however, another set of true statements. My parents loved me and helped me at every turn. I was physically healthy. I was able to remember things easily, and do math in my head. School was a breeze. I was privileged to work in my grandmother’s tavern where I learned to talk to people. I had much to be grateful for, yet I was shrouded in self-pity. For me, self-pity is the most dangerous warning light on my spiritual dashboard and requires immediate attention.
Let’s be honest, life is not fair. You get dealt the hand you get, and bad stuff happens. That is true for every person. The key is in my response. Self-pity is the basis of most depression. It immobilizes me. When I begin to cry about my condition and lament the unfairness of life, I am in dangerous territory. When I begin to blame fate, or parents, or society, or God for my state, I am crippled.
The Boggy Swamp of self-pity:
· prevents me from seeking the solutions God provides. 1 Corinthians 10:13
· is always selfish. There is no way to feel sorry for myself without thinking of myself. Galatians 2:20
· breeds complaints that God hates. Philippians 2:14-16 / Psalm 106:24‑25
· keeps me from taking responsibility for my own actions and outcomes, thereby disqualifying me from receiving deliverance. (Luke 9:23 / 1 John 1:9)
The antidote for the poison of self-pity:
· Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Gratitude reverses self-pity. When the symptoms strike, you need an injection of gratitude serum. Ephesians 5:18-21 / Philippians 4:6-7.
· Write a list of all the things you have to be grateful for. Be specific. Thank God out loud for each item on the list. Repeat until feelings follow.
· Self-pity keeps you from loving others. The best way to get free from self is to do something selfless. What can you do today to bless someone else? John 13:1-17 Jesus gives us a glorious example of the cure for self-pity.
Somebody Said: Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world. Helen Keller
Scripture Reading: No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG)
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us there is no trial in life that is unique. You are never alone. Someone has been there before you. When the “woe is me” rises up, and you begin to feel uniquely and unfairly mistreated, you are in the grip of self-pity. You are expressing doubt about the justice of God, and complaining that He is not being fair to you. Truth is, He is faithful and just, and there is a way of escape. Gratitude will enable you to find it. It works. Let’s do it!
Pastor Virgil Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson