Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
I used to struggle with self-pity…a lot. If you only knew the battles I faced in my mind about how unfair certain situations were, and how I was being mistreated, it would shock you. The enemy, along with my learned stinking thinking, had me convinced that “poor old Matt” never got the good things he deserved.
Before I continue talking about how off-balance my thought life was in regard to feeling sorry for myself, I do need to say there were definitely legitimate reasons for me to lean toward self-pity–and there still are to this day. All of us have difficult situations we face, and all of us deal with people who are just not fair to us. This is part of living life on planet earth.
My problem was, my thinking about such things was off-center, especially how I considered my “luck.” I put luck in quotation marks because there’s no such thing. The enemy wants us focused on that word so we will stay in a state of panic, blame, and sadness. After we have our minds set on our “bad luck,” he then wants us to constantly speak it out into existence, post it, and tweet it, so that it comes to life.
Sure, there are random chances that happen, but luck is an abused word by those of us who stock up on self-loathing and refuse to look within ourselves for what we truly need. If Christ lives in us, we already have everything we need! We just have to tap into it!
“Figures! Just my luck! I always get treated this way!” That statement could regularly be put in a bubble above my head. It’s exactly how I thought. God’s Spirit in me wanted to change that, but first, some growing pains had to happen.
The growing pains I’m referring to is in my mind–in my thinking (see Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 10:5). Learning how to have our thoughts match up with what God says about us is extremely painful, but soon enough we start to believe the truth! One of those main truths you’ll learn is this: self-pity is worthless, absolutely worthless.
When we begin to allow the Holy Spirit to point out triggers that bring on self-pity–and even extreme, over-the-top sadness–then we can recover. He will always guide us in our thinking, that is, toward what He says about us. But we have to pay attention. After we let Him start to counsel us, the cold, dark, uber-sad moments of feeling sorry for ourselves become few and far between!
Friend, I’m not saying don’t feel your feelings–FEEL THEM. But bring them to God. Don’t be controlled by them, and don’t let them ruin your day. Feelings pass, but the consequences of incorrect choices based on those feelings do not. So look to your Creator within you and He’ll comfort you, strengthen you, and He’ll put things in perspective based on His promises.
Jesus indwells all believers on the exact same level and He’ll never go away. Nothing you do or don’t do will change this fact (see 2 Timothy 2:13, Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Ephesians 2:8-9). But even still, He is constantly teaching us new things each day. If we are allowing Him to live through us the lessons will happen organically and we’ll grow in wisdom and grace. If we’re not, then the enemy will have a field day, every day.
That dingleberry will hit you with a non-stop barrage of trying to get you to focus on everything and everyone you can’t control. Not only that, but his goal is to continually bring up the mistakes of your past–not just from years ago, but from yesterday, from this morning. The accusations will come flying at you like flaming arrows! They will pierce your mind if you let it happen…if.
This is your choice. You have a say-so. You can put on your shield of faith!
It’s all about your focus. If you will keep your focus on Christ in you–not people, not circumstances–you’ll begin to see major changes! Changes in what? In people and circumstances? NOPE! IN YOU! In your reactions! People and circumstances might change, but that isn’t what you’re worried about any longer because you have no power over that and you know it!
To be fair to you, in regard to this subject, think about it this way: How long has it taken for people and circumstances to get where they’re at in your life? Probably a long time. Therefore, you should give Christ a long time to get things in order. Be patient and trust God. React as He guides you. Sure, you’ll fail, but so what. Forgive yourself and refocus.
Do your part and stop worrying about people. Do your part and stop living a life of anxiety over the circumstances you never had any control over to begin with! As you do, the things you can control, you absolutely will.
Jesus once had an encounter with a man who had been living in self-pity and blame for a long time. At nearly forty years old, he still thought everyone around him was at fault–and I’m sure some of them were. But what did Jesus say to him? Did He say, “Oh, you poor baby, let me take care of that for you.”? No way! Jesus said, “Get up!” (See John 5:8).
There are times in our lives when God says the same to each of us. When we’ve taken our eyes off of who we truly are inside–perfect, holy saints (see Colossians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21)–as well as who God is, He’ll jolt us with the truth! He’s not mad at us, He’s not disappointed, but He’s saying, “C’mon, get up! Please listen to me. You’re better than this. I’ve got better things planned for you, but you’re going to have to refocus. Refocus on me, and refocus on who you are.”
So today, my friends, know this: God knows what you’re going through and He cares. He knows about every situation, He sees how you’re being treated, and He knows about all the unfair stuff. But He still wants you to get up! You weren’t made to stay down! You are an overcomer! THERE’S MORE FOR YOU! God wants to use you! He has a plan and a purpose for your pain! BUT YOU GOTTA GIVE HIM THE PAIN! Cry! Scream if you have to! LET IT ALL OUT! He can handle it! He wants you to understand your value and He wants you to bear good fruit! You can’t do that when you’re not focused on the truth! RE-FOCUS! If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you have all you could possibly ever need, right now! Let’s gooooooo! Get up! Get up! GET UUUUUUUUP!
A prayer for you: Dad, thank you so much for teaching me how to pay attention to my thoughts. Just yesterday I started to listen to a sad song and I could immediately feel myself start to get sad. I know that listening to sad songs are not a bad thing, and I know that I should feel my sad feelings when I have them, but you pointed out that it was the song that CHANGED my feelings. Thank you for teaching me how to pay attention to the things around me that can trigger self-pity. I will guard my heart against that stuff, with your help of course. Keep teaching me more as I go deeper into the knowledge of who I truly am inside. I feel like I’m swimming in the ocean of your grace, and I’m grateful! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them are in severe pain, and rightfully so. Many unfair situations have come their way and even things they might deserve. Father, help them to realize you’re with them during all of it, and that you are a God of infinite mercy. You don’t hold their sins against them, and when trouble happens, you will guide them into the proper choices. Self-pity is not one of them–that’s from the enemy. Let them know it’s okay to be sad–healthy even. But please begin to change their thinking ABOUT being sad. Lead them toward thoughts of strength, confidence, love, and peace! These things come from you IN them! When the enemy temporarily knocks them down, you always help them up! They have to want your help up, but when they do, you gladly stretch out your hand and lift them. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!