Tag Archives: Life

Seek the Approval of God NOT Other People

Dear readers,

As promised, here is the 2nd part to/the full blog about pleasing others instead of pleasing God. It did not turn out how I expected it to, but I wrote what I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to write, so here it is! Thank you for your patience! Here it is:

Alexis Malek

April 12-13, 2017

Seek the Approval of God NOT Other People

10 “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

 https://www.bible.com/116/GAL.1.10

I know I have previously written on this subject, but it has come to my attention a lot recently that it needs to be addressed again. I myself have always been a people pleaser and this has gotten me nowhere but heartache, pain, and sometimes trouble (especially trouble with God). I am trying to break free of this habit, and have been trying to do so since learning this was a sin and foolish in the eyes of God, which I learned sometime after being saved almost 5 years ago (April 18, 2012 I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit). Since I am trying hard to break free from this awful habit, I must also cut ties with people who are habitual and unapologetically people pleasers – especially ones who claim to be walking with the Lord, Jesus.

But how can a person say they are walking with the LORD, that they trust only Jesus and love Him with all their being but then in the next breath (or in some cases, in their next written or typed sentence) say that they want to make everyone happy and please everyone and nothing is more important to helping others than to try to make sure they are all happy? Sounds like people-pleasing to me. However, the Bible specifically states that we are not to please people, but God in several places in both OT and NT.

Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”

John 12:43 says, “For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

There are also examples of men putting pleasing people before pleasing God into action in the Bible. For instance, when Jesus was handed over to His enemies by Judas and He stood before Pilate and the high priests had gotten the crowd all fired up against Jesus, Pilate asked who to release, the prisoner named Barabbas or Jesus and the crowd shouted: “crucify Him!” So to please the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas (a murderer), and ordered for Jesus to be flogged (whipped) and crucified (Mark 15:9-15). Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of the crimes He was arrested for and that he’d been sent to prison because the high priests were envious of Him (v. 10), but to please (or pacify, as it is written in my NLT version), he released a vicious murderer and had an innocent man (who they found out too late truly was the Son of God) beaten and crucified.

Being in the business of people-pleasing is still similar today. Whenever we make a decision to try to please everyone (or even 1 particular person or group of people), we are telling Jesus that we do not fully believe in Him and/or that we do not love Him as much as (or at all, depending on who the people-pleasing person is) we love the people we are trying to please. Jesus warns us against this in Matthew 10:37-39 that if anyone loves their mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, or anyone else more than they love Him, that they are not worthy of being His follower. He is not telling us to hate our family, friends, or other loved ones – He is telling us to love them less, because their lives are finite and will end (and those who do not believe in Jesus will be separated from all who believed, loved, and obeyed Jesus while they were here on earth, whether for an hour or most of their lives or anywhere in-between), but Jesus is infinite (He has existed since the beginning of time and will always be in existence) and holds the keys to eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. When we love, follow, and obey Jesus in faith, we learn how to live the right way and we get prepared to how life will be like in Heaven when there will be no more evil, no more sadness or crying, no more suffering or pain or loss or betrayals: all bad stuff will be done away with and the things that remain will be love, peace, faith, hope, joy, and those who were faithfully obedient to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God and our Lord and Savior.

On the other hand, living for worldly pleasures and to please people will lead to a life of self-destruction and also your actions and words will have a negative impact on others in the world and it is insecurity and self-centeredness that led to the first sin ever committed in this world from Eve after the serpent deceived her. She was deceived because she was naïve and she was insecure after the serpent (Satan in disguise) told her she could have the same knowledge God had and be like Him and be equal to Him, and she wanted it so badly that she went against God’s command not to eat from the 1 fruit tree that was forbidden and we all know what happened after that! —> Sin entered the world along with death, destruction, pain, suffering, separation, sickness, greed, poverty, and all the other problems we face in today’s world.

Why am I bringing this subject up again, one might ask? I have been guilty of being a people pleaser my whole life, and for the past few years, I have been working hard to break the cycle. I still hate confrontation because I don’t like hurting other people’s feelings (or the possibility of it) and I do not want to upset anyone or rock the boat of our friendship or current relationship status (including blood family, and spiritual family at church). And honestly, their reactions/possible bad reactions cause me anxiety because sometimes people (including me, another bad habit I am working to get rid of) explode in anger or get super offended and hurt and cry or yell or both, and some throw things as they yell, and relationships end sometimes when the other person is unwilling to accept what they are hearing and distance themselves as far from the truth they do not want to hear as possible. But I know, because it says so in Scripture, that it is wrong to aim to please people above pleasing God, and fearing man is dangerous, but trusting God leads to safety (as we can read in Proverbs 29:25. And the flip-side to that is this: “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge (or wisdom, depending on translation).” Proverbs 1:7a

The second part of that Proverb (Proverb 1:7b) is that “but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Why do we act so foolish? Is it lack of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding? Is it selfishness? I believe it depends on the person, because some people are not selfish, they just lack the proper wisdom or understanding to know what is right in a situation that is not as simple as black and white (right or wrong). “Thou shalt not murder” is an obviously wrong/bad thing to do. However, doing something good for someone else may not necessarily be easy to see as doing something wrong if the person cannot see that their motive is to please the person instead of honoring God. Sometimes, people do the right things for the wrong reasons and then it is considered a sin against God because God examines the heart, He examines the reasons for our words and actions. If our motives are pure and bring glory to God (and that is our intent), then God is pleased. However, if we do something to please another person, then God is not pleased. And to do something we know in our hearts goes against God, but we do it anyway because we are afraid what the person we are doing the thing for will do to us if we do not do or say what they told us to, then we are guilty of acting against God in more than 1 way: first, because we feared man more than God and second, because we did something that went against God (i.e. lying to others because they demand it and cannot handle the truth).

There is a third option if you are unsure whether or not to do something, to do the right thing for the right reasons, and if you rightly fear God if you’re being asked to do something wrong and sinful but you know it is wrong and do not want to do it: pray. We are told to pray on every occasion, continually and persistently, in Ephesians 6:18. There are many other places in the Bible where we are told to pray in NT, and in OT, we have many examples of those who did the praying, such as Daniel (Book of Daniel), and King David (1 and 2 Samuel). God has the right solutions to every problem we will ever encounter in life. The question is, will we be willing to pray to Him to reveal what it is when the right thing to do is unclear to us? Will you continue being a people pleaser, or will you give up your life to follow the Lord (Jesus Christ) and do things His way, which is the right way? This question is for both believers as well as non-believers. For non-believers: it is not too late to turn your life around, be saved (take the necessary steps to be saved including proper form of baptism), and to daily follow Jesus and live life the way He taught us to both in words and example by the way He lived His own life here on earth as a human.

I recently had to end a very short-lived friendship with someone I met in a support group for anxiety and depression because he claimed to be a man of God who loved Jesus above everyone else and trusted only Jesus. Yet when he created his own support group with “hope” in the title (for those of us who suffer from depression, so we would know there is still hope that it will not last forever and that things can and will get better), at one point he forgot that Jesus was a major factor in the helping and supporting others (since it is important and also brings healing to those who believe when they hear it that Jesus loves them unconditionally, and has the power to heal them) and banned any mention of God or Jesus from the group and was not afraid of other believers leaving the group (and there were others besides me who also left due to this). He said that the reason he created the group was to help others, and there were those who were against hearing about God and Jesus and complained to him about it. Another admin after she left the group had said that there were only a few who did this objecting but most of the members joining were for hearing the Truth, were for hearing about God and Jesus. So one person who began with good intentions, let a few people dictate what was allowed and what was not allowed in his support group. He let their anti-Christ mind-sets wreak havoc with his own sense of right from wrong and he forgot that Jesus is a key to healing. Some people believe in doctors and the medicine they prescribe to heal them of whatever sickness or ailments or pain they experience. Some rely on natural remedies (which both of these things are OK initially, but not when that is the sole thing they rely on: medicine – whether RX or over the counter (self-medicating), or natural remedies). Jesus may, and sometimes does lead us to a specific doctor who will prescribe specific meds or let you know of natural alternatives (depending on the doctor) to help heal us or make us better. However, the first step should be believing that Jesus has the power to heal us, step 2 is to pray to Him about how to get the healing we need from Him, and step 3 is obeying Him whatever He tells us to do. Also, truly believing and accepting that Jesus loves us unconditionally can be healing as well, knowing that no matter how well or poorly we act (as long as we continue to confess our sins to Him like in 1 John 1:9), He will forgive us because when He died for us on the cross, it was to save us from all of the sins we have and would ever commit and not just the sins we had committed prior to being made right with God through a soul-saving relationship with Him (Jesus).

Standing on this truth in your heart, in your mind, and letting it enter every fiber of your being, will help you to be at peace in the midst of storms and feel joy when things are bad in your life, and you will no longer be crushed by the overwhelming weight of anxiety, depression, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, rage, discouragement, fear, doubt, unbelief, and/or whatever else currently weighs you down. I know that these things currently weigh me down (though I thank God that bitterness has not taken root in all areas of my life and just in a couple of relationships, which I am working to uproot the bitterness so it does not spread to every other relationship and to every area of my life) and I feel like I am drowning and that Jesus (my “lifeguard that walks on water”) is too far away to reach me and save me most days. Part of my personal problem is that I am having a hard time internalizing personally what I know and understand on an intellectual level about God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice of His life for me on the cross. I believe that many others suffer from this problem too. It is one thing to know a fact about something or someone, but it is completely different to reconcile the truth of it personally in your own life, especially when it comes to something as truly wonderful as God’s unconditional unfailing and everlasting love, mercy, and grace for us, which makes Him slow to anger and eager to forgive and blot out the stain of our sins and not remember them anymore. I believe if we could all (everyone alive today not already doing this successfully) learn to personally feel and believe and accept in our hearts how much God truly loves us, and feel the full extent of His forgiveness that was given through the shedding of Christ’s blood so we would not have do die for our sins because Jesus did for us all, each and every one of us, then it would be a whole lot easier to live life to please God and to do what is right, even if it means that not every person will be pleased. In fact, when we do what pleases God, there will always be people who don’t like it and who will complain or leave your life. I learned this the hard way several times since coming into a right relationship with the Lord nearly 5 years ago – on April 18, 2012.

 

What we need to learn is that not everyone wants to believe or accept the truth, so as much as we want it to be, those who live like this will not be saved. We need to let loving and honoring Jesus be more important than pleasing people. We need to learn to be full-time God-pleasers and to accept that there will be people, even among those we love, that will not be pleased by our words, actions, attitudes, behavior, or devotion to Christ. It is hard to let go of people we love and of seeing God’s promises for our lives come to pass on our timeline and in the way we want it to, but it is something we need to learn to do and to do well if we are to live joyful and peaceful lives. We need to trust God’s timing, and that the rare times God says no (instead of “not yet”), that the thing we want is bad for us, and/or that He has something better in mind for us because God sees the whole picture and we see only a partial picture.

 

And consider this: Sometimes when we aim to please people by saying or doing what they want and not saying and not doing things that offend, upset, or annoy them, we are doing them a disservice. We are enabling them to continue living in spiritual darkness, and to live selfishly to please themselves, which will lead to eternity in Hell for them. Part of our jobs as Christians is to make sure everyone in our lives and everyone we come across (when given the opportunity to do so) know/be told the truth about God and Jesus, and learn about the Good News of salvation and how to attain it. Then it is up to the person receiving the information whether to accept it or reject it. We can try to water the seed planted with words of love and encouragement and by the way we live our own lives, but we cannot force anyone to believe or accept something they either are not yet ready to accept, or will never believe or accept as the truth because of the veil Satan placed on their minds. But we may never know if the person initially rejecting Jesus or the truth will ever turn their lives around and give their hearts to Jesus if we do not try to share the truth/Jesus’ love with them, and if we do not try to find out why they are so against anything having to do with Jesus or God. It is possible they were hurt by a “Christian” or that there was a tragedy in their lives or traumatic event, and they cannot understand how a “supposedly loving God could ‘let’ such bad things happen to them or to innocent people in the world. I still do not understand such things myself, but there comes a time when a person needs to learn to “trust in the LORD and do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and to believe His promise in Romans 8:28 “to work everything together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Instead of working so hard at pleasing others and trying to pacify them or keep them happy, what if we decided to live out the truth Jesus taught us in the Gospels and live pure lives that please and honor God, and perhaps someday we will see the miracle (especially if we continually pray for the unbelievers and non-believers among us: friends, family, and others God puts in our paths) of at least 1 (possibly more than 1) of those people having a change of heart and giving their hearts to God and their lives to Jesus to be saved! How incredible would that be? When we please God, it can bring about miracles. He can make our enemies be at peace with us. Pleasing God can bring non-believers to (and unbelievers back to) the Lord to be saved. It can bring healing to our bodies, hearts, minds, souls, and spirits. Nothing is too hard, or impossible for God. However, when a person dies, so does any help you were receiving from them and any hope of whatever you were hoping for or expecting from them. That is why we are to put our hope and trust in God and not in people, money, or circumstances.

 

Yes, it can be painful either when someone we care deeply for leaves our lives and treats us like lepers because we love and follow Jesus and they want nothing to do with the truth or Jesus because then they’d have to admit they are wrong and change their ways. Yes it is painful when we have to say goodbye to someone we care about because they are toxic to us and if they stayed in our lives, they could lead us astray and we would forfeit our salvation. However, wouldn’t it be even worse to lose our salvation because we thought keeping everyone we love in our lives (even non-believers/anyone against Christ/Truth/God) was more important than the salvation of our own souls, and we did everything the other person/other people wanted in order to get them to stay in our lives? What is more important, pleasing people or the salvation of our souls? If the answer is the salvation of our souls (and pleasing God and following Jesus) then no matter how painful it is for us, we need to do what is best according to God, because He truly knows what is best and what is right for us, and knows better than any other person would what is right for us. It will not be easy, and Jesus warns all of us to count the cost before following Him, but it is more rewarding to be able to learn to live your life filled with peace and joy, even in the midst of horrific storms (trials and tribulations) in our lives now and the promise of eternity in Heaven forever after Jesus 2nd Coming. Am I saying to never please other people? No! In fact, Jesus came to serve us and has commanded us to do the same (to serve others). The key is to remember we are doing it for God and not solely for the other person to win their approval or like or love. When we work to serve others, we are to examine our motives for doing so and make sure that our reasons are pure and to honor God and help the person (regardless of whether or not they can ever return the favor or do something in return), and not to please people or expecting something in return. The right people will be pleased when we obey God and do things that please Him. And we are not to worry about those who do not like or accept what we do in obedience to the LORD, or in the way we conduct ourselves and live our lives.

 

What will you decide to do? Will you work to please God (first) and do what is right and for the right (pure) reasons, or will you continue to be a people pleaser who either does wrong, or does the right things for the wrong reasons or does the wrong things for the right reasons? When our goal is to please God first and foremost, He will reveal to us the right way to do things and give us the right words to say to others. The decision whether to please others, please yourself, or to please God is entirely up to you. I hope you will at least pray about it and ask the Lord to help you make the right decision and to stand by it and do the right things always, no matter how difficult. Thank you for taking time to read this. I believe in doing so, that you truly do want to please God and that there is hope for you! I hope there is still hope for me, but I believe there is definitely hope for you, as long as you have breath in you to make the necessary changes in your life, with the help of the Holy Spirit and Jesus. May God’s love and peace be with you!

From Defeat to Victory, From Worry and Fear to Faith in God

Last night I was reading a couple of inspirational books God has led me to read to boost my faith and deepen and strengthen my relationship with Jesus and Him as a result. A couple of the things I wrote down came from 2 different books. One was on how to be Victorious and when the author mentioned our victory already being won and to remind Satan of his future when he tries reminding us of past mistakes, I immediately thought of Revelations 20:10. In the other book, Romans 4:18-21 was quoted and it jumped out at me so I wrote it down. The other stuff I wrote down in my notes were thoughts that hit me as I was reading both of these books on my Amazon Kindle. I may edit this later if I can find time to re-format this into a proper blog post, but even as it is now, it is still valuable advice I wrote down for myself and want to share with all of you, my readers. I hope this advice blesses us  all and brings a turn around in our favor for each of our situations and trials and that victory is not only mine, but yours too, in every area of your life! I did edit some stuff (changed “I” to “you” or “we” and some other similar changes), but I did not re-format it. If the advice seems confusing as is now, let me know and I will re-format it as soon as I can, otherwise I may leave it as is.  The stuff immediately below was not included in the original notes, so I am keeping them separate for now.

Some things to keep in mind when doubt (or fear) creep into your thoughts and try to take over your life:

First of all, they stem from lies Satan tells us through our circumstances, through other people, or whispers in our ears when we are focused on our problems instead of on Jesus. In order to get rid of the strongholds these lies have on us, we must daily study God’s Word to learn the truth (what God says about our situation). It helps to write out the key verses that speak to the specific situation(s)  or struggles you are worrying about that are present in your life.

From Defeat to Victory, From Worry and Fear to Faith in God

More things to remember when fears and doubts assail you:

1)    King David, even before he became king (after the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king) boldly stated that “the giant” was defying “the armies of the living God” and then asked King Saul if he could fight against Goliath. King Saul eventually said yes, and with nothing more than a sling and a few stones, and a strong and firm faith in God and that God was with Him and had completely prepared him for the battle all those years he clubbed bears and other wild animals that tried to eat his father’s sheep, he completely defeated Goliath. He spoke words of faith and victory before the battle and already saw himself winning through God and that is how he won the battle against the giant named Goliath. Key verses: 1 Samuel 17:26, 32, 34-37, 40-50.

2)    Daniel (Book of Daniel) and his 3 friends Hananiah (also called Shadrach), Mishael (also called Meshach) and Azariah (also called Abednego) had a strong deeply rooted faith in God and it saved Daniel’s 3 friends from burning in the 7X heated furnace (Daniel 3:16-30, key verses 16-18 with their statement of faith that their God could rescue them from the furnace, but even if He didn’t, they would not worship the king’s god) and Daniel from the Lion’s mouth in the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6, key verses 21-22 where Daniel explains to King Darius who had come to see if Daniel was alive, that God had found him (Daniel) innocent in His sight, and so had shut the lions’ mouths so they couldn’t harm him). Daniel and his 3 friends prayed several times a day and worshipped only the 1 true God and believed that God could keep them safe from death, and even if not (his friends said “but even if He doesn’t), they would worship only God because He was the only true God (was implied in what they said). And that is also why Daniel would not pray to anyone other than God and refused to stop praying to God even when some administrators tricked king Darius into coming up with a law that for 30 days no one could pray to anyone or anything other than the king. Daniel and his friends were faithful to God the whole time, and as a result, the king reigning in Chapter 3, and the other king who was reigning in chapter 6, both ended up praising Daniel and his friends’ God and made decrees that He was God alone and that no one was to speak a word against their God (chapter 3), or to tremble with fear before the God of Daniel (chapter 6).

 

  • Prayer and strong and deeply rooted faith in God alone is what made David, Daniel, and Daniel’s 3 friends successful in defeating their enemies and death.
  1. Abraham believed without wavering that God would honor His promise to make him “the father of many nations.” Romans 4:18-21.
  2. Our victory has already been won. Satan’s end has been set (Revelations 20:10), so I and other believers need to remember this truth, accept it, and live life with this truth as a reality. Satan wants us to think that there is still a chance for him to win the battle, and wants to bring as many people down (to eternity in Hell) with him as he can. The key is to remember that Satan’s future is set and can never be undone, and so his future will happen, but our future is with God and Jesus in Heaven because we took the steps (believed God’s truth when we heard it, repented of our sins, confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, got baptized in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – fully submerged under water for a second, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit as a deposit of the promise of eternal life. The Holy Spirit was given also to guide us along God’s path for our lives) to be made right with God through Jesus and faith with works is what is needed to be made right with Him. Through faith we repented, confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, through faith we got baptized, and through faith we daily take up our crosses to do the will of God/follow the instructions of Jesus for our lives instead of doing what Satan or our flesh (body) wants us to do. When we keep the victory over Satan (Revelations 20:10) and over death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) in mind, and remember that Jesus healed many who were sick, blind, deaf, mute, lame, crippled, demon-possessed, and other illnesses and raised the dead and that Jesus was Himself raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that that same Spirit lives inside of us who have been made right with the Lord, then we can have a victorious attitude and live out our faith firmly and strongly. We must speak faith-filled words, words of life, of blessing over ourselves and others in order to see God’s promises come to pass. When we speak positive faith-filled words based on God’s promises, we drive out fear, doubt, worries, anxiety, and it can also drive out depression and other negative emotions that bog us down and produce strongholds based on lies Satan told us that we believed, and when we instead begin believing God’s truth and speaking God’s truth over our lives and the lives of others, those strongholds will be broken and we will be set free. This is one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit – to lead us into all truth and for the truth to set us completely free from all bonds, chains, and strongholds of the Devil.

 

  • When the situations in your life appear to go against what God promises and I am tempted to feel depressed, anxious, defeated, stuck, or anything that goes with fear or a defeated attitude, I turn to Scripture (God’s written Word, full of good promises for hope and a future, for life instead of death) – and you can too and do the following too – to see what God says about my particular situation that I am are worried about, or depressed about and speak God’s truth over my situation (out loud whenever possible, even if only in a whisper) and firmly believe what God says about it instead of the lies. It could be that it is a general promise like “My present troubles are temporary but produce for me a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the things we see now for they will soon be gone, rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen, for the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) You need to believe you’re your current problems/trials/illnesses are all temporary. God also promises in Psalms 30:5 that “God’s anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” For my sickness, despite what someone else – even another believer might say, the promise in Jeremiah 30:17 is still applicable today, when God says it is – where God declares, “I will give you back your health and heal your wounds.” God might be saying “not yet,” but that does not mean that He is saying “no, not ever.” God only says no when He has a plan for the trial we are going through (including illness), and as soon as the plan is carried out (be it a lesson learned, being a display of God’s mighty power like the blind man Jesus was sent to heal who had been blind from birth, or if we are to help others with the same or similar problems or ailments/illnesses, lack of faith and God is giving us a chance to believe without doubting – for Jesus said “according to your faith may it be done” and “Be encouraged! Your faith has made you well” or whatever the purpose of the trial or illness is), then the healing will be given, the situation will suddenly turn around in your favor unexpectedly and suddenly, and you will see overwhelming victory through Christ because of His love for you.
  • And we are not meant to wait until Jesus comes back for a majority of our promises to be fulfilled, only for certain ones, like the promises of no more pain, separation, loss, tears, new bodies that are unperishable and eternal, and some other promises. But there are promises that I will see come to pass in my lifetime here on earth, when I fully believe without doubting, and when God deems it time to. God has a set time for everything (as we all learn in Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah mentioned something about it in Isaiah 61:2), and we need to learn to trust in God’s timing, even when we don’t understand why He is “taking so long” to honor a particular promise or why there was a “sudden delay” when we thought the promise was about to become reality. God’s ways are higher than our ways and He sees the whole picture, while we only see a glimpse of it right now, so He knows better than we do when the time is right to bring a certain promise to pass in our lives.

 

 

 

You Are Who God Says You Are

Alexis Malek

September 5, 2013

You Are Who God Says You Are

For most, if not all of your life, people will try to define you and mold you to their specifications. It could be your parents, siblings, friends, your boss, or a significant other or spouse doing this because they want you to do things their way and live the life they want you to be living. Then there will be times that people will try labeling you with unkind names that do not apply to you because it is a quality they have themselves (usually) or because they are blinded by their own selfishness. This could come from anyone including someone you live with (whether you are related or not), from someone you work with, a stranger, or family. You do not have to let the negative words you use to describe yourself be who you are either.

No matter who it is coming from, you are not who people say you are, you are who God says you are. Today, don’t listen to people who tell you you’re not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes. If someone is telling you that you are inconsiderate or unfriendly but you know that you are considerate and friendly, let it roll off your back. Have you been told your dreams are impossible? Have you been called ugly, old, too young, stupid, or any other unflattering names? Just because someone called you any of these names or any other names does not mean that they describe who you are, even if it was a family member who labeled you with the unflattering descriptions or qualities. Has a doctor told you that you will not recover from your sickness? Do your finances look bad?

The only One who defines you and controls your health and finances is the One who created you, our Heavenly Father. God says you are beautiful and perfectly made in his image, and God does not make mistakes! God says you are qualified, you are healthy, you are good enough, you are equipped! God’s health report says you are 100% whole and healthy. God says you are going to make it, both in your dream job and your health. God sees you as talented! God says you are kind, considerate, caring, thoughtful, respectful, loving, and intelligent (Galatians 5:22-23 lists the qualities the Holy Spirit produces in you)! God can turn your health and finances around when you believe he can and that he will. God already has the solution to your problems, he supplies all your needs and knows what you need to get where he wants to take you in life (your dream job). God wrote everything about you and your life in the book he made of you long before you were ever born (Psalm 139:16). So don’t let other people define you and don’t let your current circumstances define you either. When you see yourself the way God sees you, miraculous things will begin to happen. God says you are amazing, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are blessed, and you are strong! Do you feel old or rundown? God says you are young and vibrant! Psalm 103:5 says, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” The psalmist was claiming here that God had renewed his youth!  You can make the same claim if you will dare to believe it!

If you let other people, your circumstances, or your own negativity define you then you could end up dragging through life depressed and miserable, never rising to the amazing life God has planned for you. The words you speak have power so use them to bring you to where you want to be instead of using them to keep you down. Your words can bless you or curse you, so choose your words carefully! Wake up in the morning (or whenever you wake up) and declare, “I am beautiful (or handsome). I am healthy. I am strong. I am vibrant. I am courageous!” Declare out loud that you are blessed and anointed by God (Psalm 23:5). When you do daily bible study and discover new things God says about you, and you accept his descriptions of you and of the quality of your life then you will start to see things to change for the better in your life.  Don’t live the life others have mapped out for you, but have the courage to live the life God has planned for you!  God says in Jeremiah 29:11 (through the Prophet Jeremiah), “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans for hope and a future.” Don’t let others keep you down or have you living a life of mediocrity or “barely-getting-by” in a dead-end job or working a job you don’t want to do but that your parents made you do, but get into agreement with God! Remember that you are not who others say you are, you are who God says you are! You are his child! You are made in his image. No one can live your life for you accept yourself and so no one else should be able to dictate how you live no matter how much you love them or how well-meaning they are with their plans for you. Other people may want the best for you, but the thing is, only God knows what is best for you because it was God who created you and planned out your whole life beforehand.

If you are not already living the life you want to be living (in alignment with God), then read carefully in your Bible, in God’s word, what God says about you and what he says about the life he wants you to be living and start living the life he planned for you. When you are living the life God has planned for you then you will still experience bumps in the road and trials and tribulations, but God promises to see you through them all and bring you out to the other side better off than before. The first step is to believe what God says about you and get it down into your spirit so that your actions will start to reflect God’s word and you will be living the good life God planned for you before you were born. Don’t worry about naysayers because they will always be trying to discourage you, but keep your eyes focused on God and on his word and his promises, which apply to you and not just to the people back from the biblical times when the verses were originally written.  The Apostle Paul talks about how salvation is for everyone in Romans 10:5-13, and if salvation is for everyone then so are God’s faithful promises and the qualities he uses to describe his children. Today, decide to start believing that you are who God says you are and you can do what God says you can do (live the life he has planned for you) and let your light shine brightly for the world to see!

The Difference Between Laziness and Doing Your Best

Alexis Malek

August 19, 2013

Difference Between Laziness and Doing Your Best

I am so sick of people accusing me of being lazy and assuming I sit around on my butt all day doing nothing when that couldn’t be farther from the truth, just because I do not have a paying job. I may not have a job that pays money, but I daily do the Lord’s work by continuing to encourage people in their faith, spread God’s word, helping others any way I can whenever I can (not always financially but I give my time, encouragement, love, and other things I have to give too), and writing. I believe God has called me to write since I have a passion for it and have since I was ten years old so I write almost every single day. I suppose though that someone not in the house of God (a non-believer) would not understand this concept though (that although I do not have a job that pays money that I work daily).

Why is it people lash out at people when there is something they do not understand about them? Why not take the time to ask the person about what you do not understand and try to understand and be understanding whether you gain understanding or not? Why is it easier to be rude and mean? Does it make you feel better to pick on others? You must lead a miserable life if you have to be mean and rude to others either to feel better or to make them feel as miserable as you instead of showing love, kindness, forgiveness and understanding, and respect to them.

Do you want to know who is truly lazy? It is not me. I cook for myself, I clean up after myself, I take care of myself (including showering regularly, doing my own grocery shopping – which I walk usually to the grocery store and sometimes I walk back too, and going to church and doing my own laundry when I need to and remembering to take my clothes out the washer and dryer when they are done washing and drying), and I do God’s work daily. But there are people who are fortunate enough to have a paying job who feel that because they “work hard all day” that it is okay to be unsanitary and not clean up after themselves in the shower, toilet or any other part of the bathroom or in the kitchen. They justify their lack of cleaning up by working hard all day but really they are just being lazy. Next time someone wants to call me lazy or a moocher, they should take a moment to think about their own actions, or sometimes their lack of actions, and walk a mile in my shoes and see what I actually do all day instead of sitting on my behind. Now for laundry I am more understanding usually because people do work all day most days and they may forget their laundry. However, if I have no clean towels and am out of clean clothes to wear and someone forgets their laundry, since I am not a mind reader or a diva, I gently remove their clothes from the wash (and once in a blue moon the dryer) and put my clothes in. Today both washers had clothes in them but the one I usually use downstairs was full and the one upstairs barely had anything in it. Usually I would take out the full load downstairs but I figured since there was barely anything in the wash upstairs that it would be more convenient for everyone involved to just do my wash upstairs. But the owner of the (barely handful of) clothes attacked me telling me it was their clothes I removed and how dare I when she works all day and I sit around and do nothing. I apologized three times even though she continued to attack me but she said she didn’t care about my apology and next time she will throw my clothes on the floor. That is extremely rude and uncalled for. If her clothes had been in the middle of a cycle, I would understand her being angry – though if her clothes had been doing a washing cycle I wouldn’t have touched them. She overreacted and said mean things that were uncalled for her to say.

She may have been the last person to call me lazy and accuse me of sitting around doing nothing, but I get it constantly from other people who are also non-believers who spend absolutely no time with me whatsoever and couldn’t possibly know what I do all day every day. Before you go around accusing other people of being lazy or “this” or “that,” take a moment to think and put yourselves in their shoes. Until you have actually walked at least one mile in someone else’s shoes and seen what they have been through and what they actually do, you have no right to judge them or to be rude to them. So what is the difference between laziness and giving it your all? It is not whether or not you have a paying job because you never know the circumstances preventing someone from working a “paying” job. No, the difference is what you do with your time. If you have a paying job, good for you! But if you don’t clean up after yourself in the bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else in the house then you are exhibiting lazy behavior. However, if you continue doing the Lord’s work and try to get a job and continue doing what God called you to do (in my case, writing) and you clean up after yourself in the bathroom, kitchen, and elsewhere and cook for yourself, do your own laundry, and do your own grocery shopping and take care of yourself in general then you are not being lazy. No job does not equal laziness, having an attitude that keeps you from picking up after yourself is what makes you lazy. I am not a lazy person. I work hard every single day to do God’s work and to try to get a job and to try to get my writing published. Therefore, focus on your own life and your own actions and don’t be so quick to judge others because only God sees everyone’s every move and only he has the right to judge others for their actions or inaction.

Nothing I said above was being judgmental of others, but stating a fact. I do not judge others for being unsanitary (even though I suffer because of it at times) but instead I tend to clean up after them silently without complaining. I do not judge others on anything they say or do or don’t say and don’t do. I do my best to display the characteristics of Jesus every day. I am not perfect and there are times I fail but I also do not go attacking other people for anything I see wrong in their life. I had to get this off of my chest because it has been bothering me for a long time now.

One final thought: I do not answer to other people, I only answer to God. Only God can call me into account for my actions and I know he sees my hard work and sees the injustice and everything that is done to me or against me. My God will justify me and vindicate me. God will bring victory to me in every area of my life because that is his promise, which is written in the Bible. Since I have gotten this all off of my chest, I will focus on God and his promises and not on my problems or what I don’t have. Instead I will be thankful for what I do have and for what I know God is working behind the scenes to do for me.