I have allowed others and the world to tear down my confidence. I have spent too much time in the "company" (I use quotes because it has all been online) of progressives and liberals who have such a distaste and, in some cases, a hatred for God that they can't see beyond the ends of their own noses. They continually use the same tired arguments, regurgitated for the umpteenth time over the same conversations--abortion, homosexuality, all the new gender terms (I can't even keep up with those!), creation, and racism, just to name the majority of issues. They do not listen. They do not reason. They do not critically think. They do not even correctly use the science that they so vehemently hold up as god-like. Although, they will tell you over and over and over, ad nauseam that they do and that you are the one who does not listen, reason, or think critically. In filling myself with this stuff on an almost daily basis, I realized that my confidence, in my God, and in myself, has shrunk exponentially.
Mat 12:34-37 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
I realized that by spending so much time listening to their evil words (and, yes, the blaspheming has been extremely bad lately, as well as the attacks on my person, my abilities, and my motivations), I was very quickly losing my confidence in what I could do for and through my God. No matter how much I want to see them find the Messiah, there simply comes a time when it is doing more harm than good to be there.
Mat 7:6 " Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
I have been getting torn to pieces. I have allowed what is holy to be trampled on because I felt the need to keep arguing and in so doing, I've almost lost what it is I believe God has for me.
I am not a stupid person. I am a well read, well informed person. I don't spend hour upon hour reading scientific journals or statistics on, well, anything, but I do study people and I study God's Word. In the end, these are the only things that will matter. Knowing and applying God's Word, which leads to right relationships with God and with people.
Since the time of my accepting God's gift of salvation, my heart has been for God's Word and for people. I want to know God's Word, live it, and help others to understand and apply it. I am an exhorter, but I have been exhorting the wrong people. I'm not saying that there isn't a time for evangelism and sharing God's Word with unbelievers, but, for me, that is not my main focus. I believe that my gifts lie in discipling believers, helping them to grow and mature in their faith.
As I was reading 1 Kings 19 last week, this verse stuck out at me...
1Ki 19:14 Then he said, " I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
Elijah was zealous for the Israelites. The fact that they had turned from God and His ways made Elijah distraught. He felt alone and he was in fear for his life. (God, later in the passage, does comfort him with His presence and the fact that He had a remnant being prepared.)
I have allowed myself to lose my zealousness for those in the Church. I have allowed myself to become consumed with trying to change the culture from the outside of the Church rather than from the inside. I have allowed my confidence to slip away because of the accusations and lies of the enemy. I, in many ways, have become distraught over the state of our country and our world. Distraught over the blatant sin and the outright mocking of God. Distraught over the lack of discipleship and the Churches seeming inability to come against the upfront displays of rebellion and lasciviousness.
It is time to turn the page. It is time to remember where my confidence comes from...
Psa 71:1-8 PSALM 71
Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance.
In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed.
In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
Incline Your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;
You have given commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,
For You are my hope;
O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother's womb;
My praise is continually of You.
I have become a marvel to many,
For You are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all day long.
Psa 78:7 That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
Pro 3:26 For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.
Pro 14:26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.
My confidence comes from the Lord and it is time to restore it and move forward. He has gifted with me with specific gifts and it is time to drown out the voices of negativity. It is time to drown out the "you can'ts" and "no one cares". It is time to focus on the Church and the path it seems to be headed.
It is time!