Spiritual Renewal and Readiness Plans
Improving Our Relationship with Jesus Christ is job number one
Paul explains that he has to rely on God for strength. Therefore the more he appreciates his weaknesses the stronger he becomes. God allowed him to suffer so that he would remain humble to counter all the vast revelations given to him. Note II Cor. 12:7-10. Paul concludes that ‘When I am weak, then am I strong’. Paul’s relationship with God was the most vital and empowering factor in his spiritual success. It will be the same for us. We cannot make it without God’s help. We need to improve that knowledge and dependency.
We cannot earn our own salvation based on our good works. We need to learn to rely on Christ intimately. Pray to God more as one who trust and knows God. This close bond takes time to develop. Examination is vital prior to the Passover Season. Each year we should try and improve that bond. We should be like David who wanted to know God’s heart. He was a man after God’s own heart. This relationship is vital for believers note Matt 7:23. See also John 15:9-12. If Christ does not know us we are lost. The old man has died as Paul explains and we now live with Christ in us as he would want us to live. Note Gal. 2:20. We can better get to know how God reacts to our prayers and how He wants us to respond by meditating on our relationship with Jesus in the past year. We cannot earn our own salvation. We are Christ’s comrades and friends, see John 15: 4, 14-16. He will get us through till we enter the family of God. Enoch walked with God in a close relationship in the pre flood era and was taken to a place of safety when he was no doubt threatened. We desire that kind of relationship with God. See Genesis 5:24, and Heb. 11:5-6. God is a rewarder of those that diligently and earnestly seek him.
Self-Examination is Vital to the Process
Paul warns in I Cor. 11:28 we must examine ourselves before the New Testament Passover or suffer the displeasure of God. Paul warns the troublemakers to improve their attitude and behavior before his next visit. Then he instructs them to test themselves or examine themselves to make sure they are in the faith. He says do not drift along assuming that your salvation is intact. See II Cor. 11:5-8. It says give ourselves a regular spiritual checkup. Remember this principle! It is wiser to reprimand ourselves than to have God do it. We need evidence of our faithfulness to God. If we fail to find any, Paul says do something extreme about it. Many of us have a difficult time being objective about ourselves. In prayer ask God for help. We often are too critical of ourselves or too permissive. If a person’s assumes they are rarely wrong they need help in self-examinations. True humility is seeing ourselves accurately positives and negatives. Job finally saw himself objectively and repented deeply and was then very blessed of God. See Job 42:5-6.
Repent With Ever Increasing Depth Each Year
John says that if we cannot see any sins in our lives the truth is not in us. Note I John 1: 8-10. Good is faithful to forgive us of our sins no matter what we’ve done. Just repent and change! If we are determined to get to know God and get closer we must be committed to the commandments of God. See I John 2: 2-4. Remember that sins can easily grab us. John advises not to love this current society and all its ways which are contrary to God’s laws. Grace and the law working together is an unknown concept to the world’s theologians. See Gal. 3:20 and Romans 6:1-2. Each year we should commit ourselves to greater depths of obedience and love of Jesus Christ. In Gal 6: 4-5, 7 Paul explains that we should make a careful examination of ourselves and the work we have been given to do and to support. Don’t be too impressed with self. We must be responsible for doing the best we can with our lives. Do not become weary of well doing. We are in a long race and God will not forsake us. We need to renew our commitment to God each year and especially at Unleavened Bread season. Seven days to push for more purity and less leaven (a type of sin) see vs 9.
Common Negative Cognitive Distortions
1. ALL- OR -NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
2. OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3. MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that colors the entire beaker of water.
4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
a. Mind Reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.
b. The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
6. MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”
7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
8. SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with should and shouldn’t, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “ought to have” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration and resentment.
The above principles are from: Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy, by Dr. David Burns M.D, page 42
Godly Growth involves inward truth overcoming various forms of Self-delusion
Why should we as Christians be concerned about these and other self-delusions? We have to realize that God wants truth in our inward parts. (Psalm 51:6) He knows that it is most important to our salvation that we know the truth about ourselves so that we will not be fooled by Satan and his minions. Satan will encourage unrealistic grandiose thinking or self-destructive thinking. We have got to find and accept reality in order to stand in the coming days ahead. Eph. 6:13. It is very important that we have a clear picture of our true nature, so that we can fight against it. It is difficult to be objective about ourselves. Often it is easier to see the faults and strengths of others.
If we are truly humble, we will think about ourselves accurately, neither too highly or too lowly. (Romans 12:3) This is very difficult. Especially if we do not have a true picture of our tricky nature. Satan is the master of deception. If one thing doesn’t work, he will try something else. We must try to be aware of his deceptions and remember that he is seeking our destruction. Matthew 23:12 tells us that after we are truly humble we will be exalted. In order to be truly humble, you have to always keep the grace of God in our sight and mind. Some of us even have a tendency to think too little of ourselves, but if we turn to God, He will give us the help we need to get the right balance. 1 John 3:19-21.