Tag Archive | learn

The Life You’ve Learned

“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

© Depositphoto/xerox123.mail.ua

© Depositphotos/xerox123.mail.ua

There was a way of life that I learned before I knew Jesus. Growing up, watching those in my family, my neighborhood, at school and elsewhere, there was a way of understanding myself, others and God that I was learning. I was learning how to process information and interpret my experiences. I didn’t realize I was learning a way of life, I was simply living, existing, surviving, and trying to have some fun in the process.

If, in Christ, we are a new creation, then that means there was an old creation. If we are a work in progress, that means we started in one place or state and are moving toward or becoming something else.

In Ephesians, Paul is explaining in part what it means to live as this new creation. He’s given examples of the old that is gone from within us, but still exists in the world around us. He says there is a former way of life, an old self. This old self and way of life was full of corruption and deceitful desires. Peter refers to these desires as evil. (2 Peter 1:4)

Part of this “work in progress” that we are experiencing is the learning to discern between the old way of life before Christ and this new way of life in Christ. As we begin to understand what God wants for us, certain things will look different. As we become familiar with Jesus, we will recognize attitudes, motivations and actions that look like Him and those that are the opposite of what we know to be true about Him.

As I mentioned in my blog A Work in Progress, there are things that will change because the Holy Spirit now lives inside you. There are also things that you will need to choose to do differently. This choosing is the putting-off of the old self and the putting-on of the new self. There are things we need to remove from our lives and hearts in order to make room for more of Jesus.

If we listen to music or read materials with vulgar or offensive language, we are more likely to use that language ourselves. We teach ourselves to talk this way. When we choose to listen to music, teachings, or read materials that encourage and honor God and others, we are more likely to speak in this same way. We teach ourselves to encourage and honor rather than offend.

There are also the deeper issues of our hearts. When we learn that resentment and bitterness cause us to hold grudges and not forgive, we need to instead choose kindness and compassion forgiving those who’ve hurt us, letting go of all that keeps us angry and hard-hearted. This is why repentance is so important. Repentance says I recognize my own sinful nature (the corrupt and deceitful desires within me), and am choosing to put it off and put on Christ and His righteousness.

In Christ, we learn there is a new way to live. There is a new way to think, a new way to participate in relationships with others and with God. There is a new way to respond to what we experience in this lifetime. And we have an active role in how this happens in our lives.

Something to Consider…

As you think back on your life before Christ, what did you learn about how to live? Who taught you and how did it affect you and your relationships?

What is God giving you to “put on” in this season of your life? What do you know you need to “put off” in order for it  to be effective?

Even though we must choose to do this, the Holy Spirit is always with us helping us to know what needs to be done and giving us the strength to do it.

A Wise Leader (Part 2)

© Depositphotos.com/ petrograd99

© Depositphotos.com/petrograd99

Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity. Proverbs 20:28 (The Message)

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’m participating in a two-year leadership program at my church. Part of leadership is the ability to receive and deliver feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner so that all parties are able to move forward in the best possible way. Feedback has always been difficult for me because I tend to hear it through the lens of criticism.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)

A couple of weeks ago I emailed a leadership and character review to a number of people I’ve worked with in a variety of roles and positions. 24 people took the time to offer me feedback.

I learned so much from the specific information in the survey. I’ve taken the time to go through all of the comments and have focused in on a few areas that need to be addressed. Beyond the specifics, I also learned a few things about myself and others just by going through this process.

I commented in my last post about how I basically completed the survey for myself, specifically highlighting the worst about myself so that nothing would surprise me.

What I learned about myself is that I’m my own worst critic.

For the most part, no one mentioned the things I said about myself at my worst. Only 1% of people rated me lower than I rated myself. Either I’m a really good actress, which I’m not, or I’m not responding or performing as poorly as I think I am as often as I think I do.

It’s important to be able to take an honest look at yourself and the actions and attitudes that make relationships and work environments difficult. It’s also important to remember what you do well and how you contribute to the overall purpose and mission of whatever group you’re part of.

While I’m not sure I like the idea of others being my worst critics, I know I’m way too hard on myself and need to focus on what’s true, good and right about myself. I’ve come up with a game plan to help shed some light on what I tend to keep in the dark. Here are a few things I hope to do going forward:

  1. Cut myself some slack.

I’m not perfect now and I’m not going to be later. I’m a work in progress and it’s a process I can trust because God has promised to complete it.

  1. Concentrate more on the solution than the problem.

I can’t undo what’s been done, but I can acknowledge what should be done going forward. God’s mercies are new every morning and in each moment we can decide to do it differently. When I realize there’s a problem, the wise thing to do is address the problem, make a decision and let that be where my mind focuses.

  1. Confess quickly.

When something does go wrong or not as intended, be willing to acknowledge the problem, accept responsibility as needed, ask for and offer forgiveness to both others involved as well as myself. The longer I hold onto things, the more ammunition I have against myself. God forgives quickly when we confess and repent and doesn’t hold anything against us. The sooner we can get the junk out of us, the sooner God can grow something beautiful in us.

Something to Consider…

How do you see yourself? Are you fair with yourself or do you let your own expectations weigh you down? Do you need to cut yourself some slack understanding that you are still growing and learning?

Do you tend to focus more on what’s gone wrong and how you messed up all the while looking back and feeling stuck or do you concentrate more on what’s good, right, lovely and true while moving forward?

Are you able to acknowledge problems quickly and let go or do you need to bring some issues out into the light so you can be free of the hold they have on you?

God’s heart for you is good. Let Him have room in you to move: growing, changing and transforming you into the person He created you to be. Learn to enjoy the process He has started.