Staying Focused On My Character, Not Others

focused on my character, not others, God's perfect character

Another place where I fall short; completely staying focused on my character and not others. The “well but” and the “yah but” and “okay but” just don’t exist in God’s word. I answer for my character, not others.

After moving out of the depths of chronic illness, I have to settle into life with the aftermath of it all. I really don’t like that I am still hearing myself bringing up the “buts.”

The buts don’t matter.

Why, because God said so. My life, my protection, my wellbeing, my everything depends on God – not the buts!!!!

You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.

~ Psalm 119:114 (NIV)

I actually find it easy to believe God, or so I say. Living it out seems to be the issue. Hope you are laughing with me. I am human but unwilling to use that as an excuse so I will keep being molded.

I am responsible for my character, not others. The wrongs have been seen by the Lord and He will take care of them. It is not for me to use up any thoughts, energy or emotions and such nonsense.

As I reframe my thinking I see how utterly useless it all is. Getting caught up in the wrongs only brings continued distress to me. How utterly insane is that???

Chronic illness brought many lessons to me that have altered my character. For that, eternally grateful for the experience. It has not been the experience that refined me a bit, it was the Lord’s sweet loving gentle hand showing me the mercy and grace I could show others, no matter what.

There is a time to be shrewd and there is a time to turn the other cheek. We can all go in circles and circles about when each is to be applied. God’s word has declared there is a time for both. By listening more closely to the Holy Spirit, I am realizing this is not black and white.

Only God knows all, from beginning to end, and the hearts and souls of everyone. There is no possible way for me to know all that, so therefore I have to simply be responsible for only my character, not others.

For me, today, that means more letting go of the wrongs that have been done to me. God is the only one who has my back on this. Either I trust Him or I don’t. Words are meaningless if I cannot live it out in my actions through my character.

I am clearly learning more boundaries that will keep me healthier and safer. That came with the extreme circumstances. Turning the other cheek in ALL circumstances is not what God intended for me at all times. Yet, learning to be shrewd can be overdone as well. It brings with it too much hardness towards mankind when it is not appropriate.

Balance plays no role in this. For me, only the Holy Spirit has been able to declare when to turn the other cheek and when to be shrewd. My trust still needs to grow so that I never make those choices on my own.

That is where I need to grow my character and not be concerned about others. I answer for my character alone to God. He will take care of the rest.

Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Your love is slowly creeping past my hard cold walls. May I show a fraction of your love for me toward others in the way you alone deem appropriate.

Thank you, Lord, for getting my head out of the sand and recognizing the wrongs so that I could lean on and grow closer to you. Show me how to use the past for great compassion for others but don’t allow me to get stuck there, no matter what you have to do to keep me living in today, not the past. Show me how you want me to use my stories to glorify you, not bitterness, not blame, not self-imposed justification for anything.

The last few years I have learned more about shrewdness in the Bible. I still struggle with it, still feel uncomfortable with it. But God placed it in there for a reason so I will continue to ask Him when and how to apply it.

Usually, the word shrewd is in context of examples of how we should not be — it is the craftiness of satan and condemed by God. But there are a few examples of using shrewdness in a Godly context.

One example:

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.

~ Matthew 10:16-17 (NIV)

Reading it in context of the whole chapter helps; Matthew 10

Blessings to all of you,

Maribeth Baxter

What is God telling YOU about this?

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