Victory Over Strongholds

God loves you despite your behavior; He asks in return for us to love people despite their behavior

Victory Over Strongholds
The Stronghold of a Critical Spirit – Part II

Scripture Reading: James 4:1-12

Key Verse: James 4:11
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

I want to add to today’s Key Verse:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults. (Colossians 3:12-13)

Note two things about the first sentence.

One, God chose to first love us without condition. Our behavior does not earn us God’s love. God loves us despite our behavior.

Two, since God loves us, “you must”. This is a command for us to follow, not a suggestion.

Since God loves us, shouldn’t we love the people around us?

God commands us to “clothe ourselves” the way He wants, not the way we want. When we accepted Jesus and became His followers, we agreed to obey Him even when we do not understand or when it is difficult.

Also, the phrase: “clothe yourselves” suggests that it is a decision. We can choose to do it even when we do not feel like it.

Most of us realize something about clothing that is beyond modesty. Clothing can cover up a lot of bad stuff about our bodies, embarrassing stuff! Like wrinkly skin, scars, and other parts that we prefer others not to see.

This is what God’s Word is telling believers. “Put on clothes” that cover the ugly part of your inner self. Clothes like mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience cover our selfish feelings.

Someone might say that it is hypocritical to feel one way and talk another. That is like saying it is hypocritical to put clothes on that cover the parts of your body with which you are not pleased.

When we clothe ourselves with the God-like characteristics that the Bible tells us about, we may not feel them making much of a difference at first. But the more we put these clothes on the more we become a better kind of person.

The Bible tells us to live by faith, not by feelings. Since, in our humanness, we cannot stop our feelings, we must not let them be louder than God’s voice. The more we read the Bible the louder God’s voice is in our minds. The louder God’s voice is the greater the chance for mercy, kindness, and patience to win out over ugly, negative feelings.

Be sure to put God’s clothes on every morning!

Father, remind me daily to read Your Word and put it into practice. I want to clothe myself every day in Christ-like words and behaviors. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.

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