Thursday, 1 September 2011

A shadow of a doubt

Hmmm... phrases repeating themselves. This time, this one: a shadow of a doubt. There's a word missing: BEYOND. 
'BEYOND a shadow of a doubt' ie absolute certainty.  This time, the focus is on DOUBT and the shadow it is casting over our lives. My life, in particular, at this moment.
Renee Swope talks about this: that shadows
"are created all around us when something blocks light. And so it is with the shadow of doubt. When we focus on ourselves and how inadequate we feel, or what others are thinking about us, we cast a shadow of doubt in our minds and block the light of God’s Truth in our hearts.
Our thoughts end up being mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us. It’s not that these thoughts are bad. It’s just that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God.
We become too concerned about what others think of us instead of what God thinks about us.
And just as Paul warns us in Rom. 8:6, “the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” so something in us slowly dies when we become self-focused.
God created us for so much more than self-preservation or self-promotion. It’s just too much pressure. Even if we achieve success or have a few good days, eventually it won’t be enough.
If we want to live beyond the shadows of our doubts, we have to take our eyes off ourselves and turn them toward the Light by focusing on God’s thoughts towards us. When we feel insecure, we need to think about His strengths instead of our weakness. When we feel inadequate, we need to turn the focus of our hearts to promises that tell us who He is and how He wants to work in our lives.
...a shadow of doubt had been cast over my thoughts and emotions because I had stopped living in the light of God’s promises. That is how I ended up paralyzed by the darkness."

Renee talks about doubts of:
"I’m not good enough.
I’m always disappointing someone.
I can’t follow God consistently.
I’ll never change."
I wanted to add some more, but I think she's got it all covered in those four short sentences.  All big fat lies, of course, but how easily we believe them.

How do we deal with doubt? By..
"Turning away from self – Turning toward God
Turning away from doubt – Turning toward Truth
Turning away from darkness – Turning toward Light

Instead of waiting for God to zap us with confidence and remove our doubts, let’s ask God to use our doubts to draw us into a deeper place of dependence on Him and His promises. It’s not necessarily going to be easy, because it requires turning, but it is possible and worth what it takes to turn.
Turning leads to transforming, as we allow our thoughts to be made new, and transforming leads to believing as God’s thoughts become our Truth. "

Oh yes, I thought. Definitely right. Because Jesus says: I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT. I read today in John 17, in Jesus' prayer for his followers:
I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.

They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed...       John 17:6ff, The Message

A deeper dependence on God - through turning my eyes on Jesus, looking full in his wonderful the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.

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