Saved by His Grace, Now What?
Romans 12:2 (NIV UK)
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
When I asked God to take control of my life these are some of the emotions that came into my life; hope, love, joy and a new future. But soon, some of my fears and anxieties about the future started creeping in and I couldn’t work out why they were there, I had given God control over my life? I continued to think about why I had these thoughts and I started wondering if I had demons in my life; I started to think that I needed deliverance because I was still plagued with sinful thoughts and I would feel tormented in varying environments. I felt like there was residue from my past life and all I wanted to do was get rid of it. But I didn’t know where to go like most people who are doing this on their own. So I left it to God, I told Him the issues that I was having and He would strengthen me whenever I asked for help.
*Torment is not from God! No matter where you’re coming from, what you are feeling or going through torment is not from God.*
1 John 4:18 (NIV UK)
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
God has helped me realise the process of salvation and healing, in my personal journey I needed to first clean my mind. I had lived a long life of sin, my desires had changed but my memories and knowledge of sinful things was still in place. I am now saved but I have to restart my life. I need to renew my thinking and what I was and sometimes am consuming affects my mind. My mind was filled with so many bad thoughts / emotions and I needed to first remove them and refill my mind with God.
There are so many things that affect our minds and when we don’t know what to look for we never really remove these things from our lives. For a long time I prayed “Lord, help to remove all the negative in my personality and life, show me all the positive things in my personality and help me to grow in this area, replace the negative with positive.”
I watched a few videos about getting closer to God and they all pointed to getting into the word; but I was too distracted, tired and not in the habit of reading the word each day. I decided to look at what was distracting me from spending time with God and I had to make the decision that I would restart my relationship with these things.
That doesn’t affect me!
In my past every single thing that went against my morals or something that I never thought I would do, I did and the devil would be right there reminding me that I said I would never do it. So when it comes to who I’m interacting with or what I am / was consuming I simply can’t say for e.g. “I can handle watching a TV show with nudity or a sex scene,” because truthfully I can’t, a seed is planted in my mind regardless of whether I can or can not handle what I am consuming. My flesh is weak but my spirit is stronger in Christ.
That’s how sin enters our lives, we become desensitized to sinful things and then we go out and sin because it doesn’t seem like it could harm us. But it can and does!
I decided to look at all the TV shows that I was watching and from there I would have to let go of some if not most of them in order to refresh my mind. I knew that there were some TV shows that were affecting my mind more than others and I had to get rid of these shows first before attempting to remove any others from my life. I struggled at first because when you have a bad habit its easy to get into but difficult to get out of. there were some TV shows that I identified straight away and decided that I would stop watching them but my interest in them was a lot stronger than my will to stay away from them. I eventually stopped watching certain shows when I realised that they were not helping me move forward they were keeping my mind stuck in sin and not moving forward in salvation.
When it comes to TV you have to seriously look at what you are watching, I used to watch all types of TV shows from; “reality” to documentaries. You need to really look at each TV show that you’re watching or considering because there are many TV shows that are fun and seem harmless but they go against God. Reality TV = Gossip! Dramas for e.g. Scandal – Adultery! You have to get to the core of a TV show, this will make it easier for you to truly cut ties with TV shows that are not helping your life.
Also looking at yourself and aspects of your personality or where you have stumbled before will help you see what TV shows you need to cut out, if you’re a gossip you will have to cut out reality TV from your life! If you’ve come from sexual immorality, you will have to cut out TV shows that have sex scenes in them or if you’re not quite ready to cut them out! Don’t watch TV shows that are on post water shed, record them and watch them during the day, you can skip scenes that you don’t need to watch up until you get to a point of not watching the show all together.
Taking small steps is a lot more effective than trying to take big steps because you will end up beating yourself up if you stumble and you’ll watch a TV show that you cut out.
Galatians 5:16 (ESV)
Keep in Step with the Spirit
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
I am still working out what I can and can’t consume on a daily basis; social media, TV, music and everything in between. If my spirit isn’t OK with it then I need to work out what the issue is and consult God always.
**Fasting (done right) strengthens the spirit and weakens the flesh**
Something that I recently learned is that fasting is not just about food, fasting is about getting closer to God. Nowadays we are at a distance from God thanks to ordinary things and we need to make sure that we do not put them above our personal time with God. I decided that I would do a phone fast before starting this blog but then that turned into a social media fast. I hadn’t properly planned exactly how I would go about the fast and instinctively I found myself pressing twitter so I then deleted all social media apps from my phone. Throughout that day and upcoming days I was so immersed in worship music, and I had no interest in social media to the point where I deleted twitter because I realised that it wasn’t actually doing anything for my life it was just adding negative emotions to my heart and mind.
I would recommend fasting from things that are keeping you from spending time with God, people included.
Doing this fast helped me to recognise a lot of things that are in my life thanks to social media; not being satisfied, envy, jealousy and comparison. My relationship with social media had always been filled with negativity and now that I am saved I can not afford to let things slip int my heart and mind through social media. Knowing who I follow and why is really important. I don’t need to be following a certain reality TV family because they aren’t people who I should be looking to for anything in my walk with God. There is nothing wrong with following celebrities the most important thing is knowing what role they play in your life, are they good role models or are they actually the opposite of what you need.
Why do you follow the people you follow on social media?
Friendships and relationships are another area to look at because this is the one area of our lives that we think we don’t need to change because we have been friends with people for a long time and we don’t want to lose them. (I burn bridges so this is not an area that I look at and cry about anymore, it is sad when a friendship ends but its more painful when you try and force a relationship that you no longer need to be in.)
You have to truly look at all your friends and ask yourself whether or not they are good for your new life.
When I started living in salvation I decided that I would no longer drink alcohol, this was something I had considered for a long time but would stumble when it came to a social scenario. I told friends at the time that I was no longer drinking alcohol but then every time it came to an invitation or arrangement I would have to say no to it because alcohol was involved. I looked at these friends and realised that our commonality stopped at alcohol, we had nothing in common past alcohol fuelled nights out. After expressing that I was no longer drinking for what seemed like the hundredth time I burnt yet another bridge.
OK, expressing myself wasn’t the only reason why I ended this friendship there were other things that I looked at and thought this friendships and my involvement in it didn’t reflect the woman I wanted to be. I have always set a bad tone in friendships by accepting people out of desperation who were not good for me; didn’t care for me, saw my destiny and wanted a part of that but didn’t want to be a part of the process. Now I can not allow myself to continue in friendships that go against all my morals and the path that God has me on.
We all have to really look at our social circles to see if the people in them are actually good for our relationships with God, do they help you to move out of the prison and into the palace or are they only there to keep you in shackles? If you friends don’t like the fact that you are automatically different even before you have made physical changes in your life, you know which bridge to burn or no longer maintain.
Always remember where God guides he provides, if God guides you to end a friendship he will always have bigger and better waiting for you. Don’t end a friendship because you are now a christian and you don’t want to mingle with the non Christians, end a friendship because it no longer serves its purpose. Don’t keep it alive when you are not supposed to.
Saved by His Grace, Now What?
Make a mental inventory of all the things in your life. This is a little guideline that you could use to help you make changes in your life. You are a new being and you need to say “bye, bye” to the old things from you life.
1; What are you watching on TV/Film?
2; What music are you listening to?
3; How much time are you spending on social media?
4; Who are you following on social media?
5; Who are you socialising with online and offline?
6; How do you feel after doing the above?