Everyday, we hear voices of confusion, condemnation and criticism.
And, if we’re honest, they come mostly from ourselves.
This past Sunday, we looked at the call to protect ourselves from negative voices in Colossians 2:8-19
- “Don’t let anyone take you captive with philosophy…”
- “Don’t let anyone judge you for (how or when you worship)…”
- “Don’t let anyone discourage you for (not being spiritual enough)…”
I categorized these warnings as voices of confusion (“How life really works”), condemnation (“You are a failure. No one will ever love you.”) and criticism (“You will never be good enough.”)
This inner-battle was captured well in the Dove commercial called “Choose Beautiful.” Check it out:
Men: Imagine if there were two doors for you. One marked “Successful,” and the other “Average.” Which would you have chosen to walk through?
My point in showing this wasn’t to sell skin care products (theirs is), but to illustrate how that inner voice isn’t just an issue about physical beauty. This kind of situation stirs our emotions because it’s happening within all of us constantly.
In contrast, God’s voice for us offers truth in His Word instead of confusion.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:31-32]
The Holy Spirit speaks to us about grace, not condemnation.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. [Romans 8:1-2]
And, when we are among God’s people in community, we will hear encouragement, not criticism.
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. [1 Thessalonians 5:14-19]
This balance of truth, grace and encouragement are heard in the gifts of the Word (scriptures), Worship/Prayer (Spirit) and among the People of God (Community/the church). In a spiritual life, all three must be kept in balance. We can tend to think we’re okay if we’re just in the Word. Or that daily prayers are enough. Maybe, we love being in spiritual friendships but we can’t neglect growing in all three spaces: Word, Spirit & People.
These are big values at Restoration. I think we’re always striving to create space for us to stay in balance with all three.
Where do you need to grow? How can we help you find and keep balance of Word, Spirit and People?
What critical voices are you hearing most? If you’re not willing to do somethingNEW, what do you expect will be different?