Over the past few months I’ve been led to stop using profanity and cut way back on secular music. I’ve been growing a lot in my relationship with Christ lately, and have been making a lot of changes in my life. However, these changes in particular, although small, have been very difficult doing. There have been several times where I have caved in and listened to music that wasn’t appropriate or cursed while stuck in rush hour traffic. I’ve often told myself that it wasn’t a big deal that I was backsliding because I don’t have to do these things to win God’s love and approval. He loves me and takes me just as I am, which is more than true. However, every time I’ve slipped up, I’ve ended up finding myself going back to dropping the profanity and secular music again.
But tonight it hit me and I came to a better understanding about why doing these things were on my heart. A song from one of my favorite secular artists, Kevin Gates, came to mind. I told myself that I could look up his song online and listen to it, but before I could reach for my phone or laptop, I changed my mind. Then I thought, “God you know I love you because you know how much I love me some Kevin Gates.” Then it dawned on me. I haven’t been drawn to give up these things in order to win God’s favor or to avoid His wrath. I’ve been drawn to give up these things simply because I love Him and want to please Him. It’s like when I get married one day. I know the man that God sends to marry me will love me. He’ll love me if I never wear makeup or put on perfume. He’ll love me if I wear sweatpants and a t-shirt everyday. He’ll love me simply because I’m me and I won’t have to do anything to win that love or prove my beauty to him. However, because I love him, I’ll take the time to put on makeup and wear a nice fragrance. And as much as I love my sweatpants, I’ll put them away most days and wear something a little nicer. Not because I think doing those things will make him love me more than he already does or that he’ll up and leave me if I don’t, but because I know doing the little things like that will please him. Those small things will bring him delight and put a smile on his face, and because of that I don’t mind doing that.
True love completely changes and transforms you. It causes you to think and act differently. It causes you to do things you don’t have to do, but just want to do. Like I said, I’ve been making a lot of changes in my life because of my relationship with Christ. His love for me is changing me and transforming me daily. I’m starting to think more of Him and less of me. I don’t mind doing things (or not doing things) for Him, not because I want anything from Him, but simply because I love Him. The love He has for me, is making me want to love Him (and show Him how much I love Him) more and more.
“For we are not given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”- 2Timothy 1:7
Sometimes we’re so in love with our hustle that we forget to fall in love with our purpose and the grace that our purpose allows us to have. There’s nothing wrong with grinding and hustling because without hard work success is hard to come by. But hustling is NEVER a substitute for the grace God gives you when you fall in line with the divine purpose He has for your life. No matter how hard you hustle, no matter how much how much you’re married to the money, no matter how many times you’re on #teamnosleep, if you aren’t grinding for your God-given purpose it’s all in vain. When you align your hustle with your purpose you will be unstoppable. So if you’ve been grinding but seem to be getting nowhere despite how hard you’ve been trying, take some time and seek His face. Your hustle alone may yield results but they will never overflow until you follow His will.
Y’all better quit playing Russian roulette in these “relationships.” There’s nothing wrong with loving hard and being forgiving but don’t be foolish. Forgiveness does not automatically mean allowing people a 2nd chance. Everyone doesn’t deserve 2nd chances and if they didn’t see your value the 1st time around, they probably won’t see it the 2nd, 3rd or 15th time around.
Proverbs 4:23. If you want to change your life, you first have to change your thoughts.
Watch a documentary on the Discovery Channel and you’ll see this time and time again. A lion is prowling the savannah looking at a heard of unsuspecting wildebeest. The lion doesn’t just run out and chase every single wildebeest. No, he sits back and observes the heard for a bit. He looks for a wildebeest that is injured, that is sick, that is very old or very young. He looks for the weakest link in the heard and then he pounces. He wants a meal that isn’t going to fight back. He knows that when he goes after the weakest one in the heard, he has a better chance of catching and killing his prey. He wants something that he can easily devour.
We’re not out on the savannah, but we definitely face the same threat. The Bible says the devil is like a ravenous lion, seeking whom he can devour and just like a lion he always attacks the weak. He looks for those injured by the pains and troubles of life. He searches to find those sick with bitterness, hatred, and resentment. He loves seeking out those new in their faith or those who have grown complacent and stagnent in their faith. Now, of course, the devil isn’t walking around in a red suit with a pitch fork making himself apparent in his attacks on us. Just like a lion hides among the tall grass and tries to blend in to the terrain of the Serengeti, the enemy often blends in to the everyday situations in our lives. He often comes through people and situations in life. I notice that when I’m at my weakest spiritually, emotionally and mentally that I get bombarded with attacks. When I’m already having a bad day, I’ll overhear someone talking about me. When I’m stressed out, I’ll end up having a fight with a loved one. When I’m worried about money, I’ll face an unexpected financial hardship. Trust me, it’s not happening by mistake. The enemy sits back and observes. When he sees you at your weakest, he knows it’s time to pounce on you by sending people and situations to further discourage you, depress you and break you down.
Now there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is, there is absolutely nothing you can do about your weakness. The good news is it doesn’t even matter because you don’t have to be strong if you serve a God who can be strong for you. The Bible says in our weakness, He’s made strong. Not only that, but He will fight for you every time you’re attacked if you allow Him into you life. You’re not like the poor wildebeest, left without a protector to defend it when it’s attacked. You have the ultimate protector in Him and He will not allow any attack to destroy you.
Let me give a disclaimer: this doesn’t mean that you won’t face attacks and that they won’t hurt when they happen. They will happen over and over again throughout your life and often they will hurt you in ways the feel to hard to bear. However, God will allow those attacks to strengthen you and increase your faith in Him. (Remember, all things work for the good of those called according to His purpose). Those attacks may shake your confidence, scare you, and they may even scar you but they will never take you out, as long as you have God on your side.