It’s Worth the Effort to Pull the Weeds

CT.2-6
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day Six… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Sandra recaps the time when she first started a garden. It produced a great harvest, but she warns that “weeding was a constant part of the process.”

She reminds us that keeping our minds renewed is similar.

It is.

I’ve found great contentment in gardening over the years. When I did a search of my site for weeds, a few posts came up. One of my favorites, and the one I was looking for, was about learning to find patience through freshly picked greens. It reminded me of the Gardener. …the One who cares for us, lights our way, illuminates the path, is our living water, and is our source of growth.

We can plant great seeds into our heads and our hearts. We can produce a joy-filled outlook and make an impact on those around us. But if we’re serious about our walk with God, we will need to look closely for the weeds which have the potential to overtake and choke out His plans for our lives. The Gardener didn’t intend for these to be in the garden.

Sandra wrote in the book and excerpted in the photo above:

“When comparison, jealousy, and insecurity lodge thoughts in our minds, we can capture those thoughts.”

We can.

Sometimes we struggle, but we can.

These thoughts tie right into the Scripture for today because they are against the knowledge of God. We don’t have an oblivious God. We have the One who is all-knowing. These thoughts—comparison, jealousy, and insecurity—go against the very thing God has revealed as His truth, His will and His superior plan. They go against His intentions.

With Him, we can have confidence that we are capable of taking captive those thoughts and turning them around to make them obedient to Christ. Sandra’s encouragement closes out the day saying,

We can identify them as lies and replace them with scriptural truth. Just like gardening, the harvest of a healthy mind and heart will be worth all the effort.”

Amen.
Pull those weeds.
It WILL be worth all the effort.

 


 

Finding the Jackpot of Truth

CT.2-5
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things
he planned for us long ago.
~Ephesians 2:10

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day Five… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Gosh, I just love this verse! I’m His masterpiece! That’s what the apostle Paul has shared with us from God’s own heart.

Even though there are times I don’t feel like anyone’s masterpiece (we all have our moments or days or seasons of feeling this way), just reading this in light of my relationship with Him makes me grin and let out a contented sigh.

Sandra Stanley calls it a “jackpot of truth” in the Comparison Trap devotional book. It’s a jackpot we already own… no rainbows to follow or leprechauns to find. The jackpot is already a part of our relationship with God, because of our faith in Jesus.

If you dig a little deeper into this amazing verse, you’ll come to realize that the new creation we became at the moment we received Jesus put His plan into further motion. The verse tells us that He has good things which He has planned for us, and He planned them long ago (well before we took a step into faith).

Sandra reminds us that the good things—the plans, the blessings, the circumstances—that He’s picked for me aren’t the same as the ones He’s picked for you. When we fall into the comparison trap by asking, “Why not me?”, we can know, in confidence, that God has something else planned… something He probably planned long ago, and something He’s personally chosen us for.

THIS is hope surrendered. It’s asking, “Why me?” or “Why not me?” and surrendering our wondering hopes to His plans and expectantly hoping that what He has planned is even better for us.

Instead of comparing our lives, our gifts, our talents and our blessings, we can have great confidence that the One who calls us His masterpiece is leading us toward and allowing us to experience just what He needs for us to be able to do the good things he planned for us long ago!

 


 

What He Sees When He Looks at Me

CT.2-1
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is a continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
John 6:47

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day One… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Week One of the study concluded with the weekly gathering of the women to discuss our discoveries and takeaways and to jump into the Week 2 video lesson. It was a good one. Watch it, it’s only 20 minutes long! You can get an app for your phone at the web link above to watch the video for free. The video is powerful.

The video got serious pretty quickly as Sandra wrapped up the first week of helping us to zero in on our tendency to compare, and Andy jumped right into letting us know what God really thinks of us. Some of the video content may have opened old wounds for some women, but for me, it was a reminder of how His presence can heal all of those wounds if we will only embrace His opinion of us.

So, “where do we look to determine how we’re doing in life?”  There’s a voice in our head that tells us to look around at others, and it convinces us that we need more of what others have in order to be acceptable, respectable and lovable.

Andy Stanley took us to the Scriptures into Galatians 4:4-5 to talk about the law, rules, and the mirror which reflects that something is wrong. We all struggle to keep “God’s law,” but we struggle to also keep the standards we set for ourselves. On our own, we aren’t ok, and we never will be… there’s plenty around us to remind us of that. It’s yet another trap of comparison.

But we’ve been redeemed for a price. We’ve been purchased by means of a trade. The value of any specific thing is the price that someone will pay for it.

The images of the lesson made me really wonder what someone would “pay” to know me and have me in their life. What price would I bring? The only way to understand my true value would be to auction myself off to the highest bidder.

This is the Gospel.

That auction DID take place. I was redeemed for a very specific price, in a very specific way, by a very specific person.
God sent His Son into this world to buy me back and to purchase me.
He was the highest bidder
.
He did that for me.
He did that for you.

My faith placed in Him gives me the status as a daughter of God.
I am the daughter of the living God.

When God sees me, He sees a woman of great worth.

Oh, how I struggle to believe and embrace this at times in my life, but renewing my mind to this truth—to His truth—and to how important I was to Him that He would purchase me with the price of His death on a cross… it is just overwhelming to think about.

He loves ME that much. Wow…

He loves YOU that much. Wow…

Instead of taking cues from those around me to determine how I am doing in life and to determine how valuable I am, I need to take my cues from the One who made me, loves me and redeemed me.

I’m excited about the impact of the week to come during this study. The verses above from Day One of Week Two mean everything to moving forward toward more understanding. In the Devotional Book, Sandra suggested that we read them slowly to let their truths settle into our heart.

Do that.
Do it again.
Let them settle.
Let yourself smile.
Let His peace overwhelm you.
Let His love wrap around you.

He wants you to know that, in essence, He says to you, “You are fine, because you are mine.”