Saturday, November 25, 2006

three simple, practical steps to avoid despair and condemnation

Lately I have been seeing many people go into a downward spiral of despair over their failings and sin. Someone is going gangbusters for Jesus then he or she has a moral breakdown (i.e., sin). Remorse is not bad. Confession is not bad. Do those things. Those things are not the problem; they are the solution.

The problem is the negative thinking that continues after the confession. We know that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but we continue to think of our failings, rehearsing all the past or former failings of a similar nature. When we get tired of doing that, we go on to recount all our other failings and imperfections in the flesh. In my case, this cannot only keep me busy for hours, but for days at a time.

What is there to do if you find yourself in such a downward spiral of despair? Even if you realize it is happening, you may feel trapped and not know how to stop.

What do I know about it? If you haven't already figured it out, I've been there. Every once in a while I go there again. I have a way to overcome it. It works. It works for me. It will work for you. If you think you are so special and unique, that it won't work for you, you are probably arrogant and ignorant (Arrogant + Ignorant = Stupid). That was not nice but this is what I'm trying to say: It works.

There is a very practical and very simple three-step method to stop the cycle. It does not matter how long or how deep you are in the cycle. It still works. I am so confident that it works that I am going to give it to you free with a 400 percent money-back guarantee.

Here are the steps:

(1) Have you confessed the sin or failing?

NO? Then confess it.
YES? Then acknowledge the forgiveness God has already given you.
NOT SURE? Then confess it.

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
~ 1 John 1:9, NRSV.

(2) Thank God for his forgiveness. Thank and praise God for the Blood of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9.

(3) Just repeat step (2) if a) the thought comes back or b) you start to think “Yea, but….”

“Yea, but….” really means, “No, because….” Such thinking is merely a ploy to get around or ignore the power of the Cross. You are not that powerful. Don’t try it. Just thank and praise God for his mercy of forgiveness.

The first few times there may be a lot of Step (3)’s but stick with it. You will be amazed at the decrease in the frequency of such thinking over time. This is because three things will happen. First, you are retraining your mind and getting rid of habitual thinking patterns. Second, your enemy does not want to cause you to praise and thank God, so there will be less harassment. Third, you will be focusing on what Jesus has done. This is good: It is not about you. There will be the occasional testing but that is part of life. You are still flesh. Just get back with the program.

It works. It is based on God’s Word. Don’t be stupid. Just do it!

Be blessed!

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