Programmed for Success or Failure?

The mind and emotions are very big factors in shaping the kinds of relationships we have with others. Most importantly, our mind and emotions mold and maintain intimacy in the relationship we have with God. This is one of the reasons that He tells us in Ephesians 4:23 that we must renew our minds to His Word. To renew is to make new again. It is important because some of us have some programming running in our minds and hearts that is outdated. It will not support the new operating system of faith, elevation, and blessings. No matter how much we pray for certain things, if there’s not a change in our souls, then we’ll lack the spiritual resources to support what we’re praying to receive.

For some of us, it is shocking to hear that our way or mode of thinking may be flawed—that our own thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and feelings are causing us to fail in areas of our lives that are very meaningful. We may be successful in several areas, but where it counts most, we may have some kinks that need to be worked out. The building blocks of our personhood that we’ve learned or inherited since our births may be constructing a barrier instead of a bridge to brighter tomorrows. In most cases, these kinds of building blocks ignore the destiny DNA that’s written deep within. Instead, they build perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors that are toxic to our souls and spiritual well-being.

In Mark 1:15(NLT), Jesus Christ said, “The time promised by God has come at last! …the Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Many during this time heard this proclamation and looked at Jesus as if he had two heads. They had no idea regarding the meaning of all this talk about the Kingdom of God, which was invisible to them. They were looking to see things in a very literal or linear way. They didn’t know their identities as spiritual beings, so if it wasn’t something tangible—something they could see, smell, taste, hear, or touch, they weren’t inclined to believe it. Some of us are the same way.

Earth is not our home. We’re just passing through. We came from a place that must be seen with more than human eyesight or vision. Natural or physical vision allows us to see and interact on earth, but our homeland requires a vision that is exponentially higher and more acute. It’s spiritual vision, where we see with the eyes of our spirit. Comprehending this allows us to recognize the reality of the truth in 2Corinthians 4:18 The Message (MSG). It says, “There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” The things we can’t see are more real than what we can see. We can’t see love, for instance, but most of us would agree that it is more real and stronger than anything that exists.

Because of carnal thinking, some of us can’t see what the Lord desires us to see, and we can’t hear what He desires us to hear; for these things must be spiritually discerned and perceived. An internal change must occur, and this was the message that Jesus Christ conveyed in Mark 1:15. He said, “REPENT of your old ways.” To repent is to have a change of heart and a change of mind. It’s to change the programming to such a degree that we believe in what we cannot yet see. That’s faith!

Leaping from fear to faith is for many of us a very big step. We often cling to the things that make us comfortable, and yes, sometimes those things are the very toxic elements that hold us back. We must get wired to the truth that faith is the only way to travel to real success in life. God commands us in 2Corinthians 5:7 to walk by faith and not by sight. Proverbs 3:5 warns us not to lean on our own understanding—we can’t allow ourselves to settle into a carnal mindset. We ought to continually be reaching toward higher spiritual heights. We must aim to have what God has for us, as we lean totally and completely on Him, the God we cannot see. He will not forsake or fail us, and if we trust Him, He’ll give us good success. ■

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Programmed for Success or Failure?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! ar

Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry

For people that are not familiar with the term ‘spirit-being’, after hearing it, more than likely it will cause one of three reactions; fear, apathy, or curiosity. Some people fear the term ‘spirit-being’ because of the errors they’ve learned or because of a lack of knowledge about their own identity. If you’re a member of the human race, you’re a spirit-being with a soul, housed in a body. God tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:23 to keep all three parts of us; spirit, soul, and body, blameless before Him. This means we are to keep all parts in harmony with the honor and integrity for which they were created.

God’s command in 1Thessalonians 5:23 allows us to know that it is very possible to not keep all three parts of us in the harmony, honor, and integrity He expects. We can neglect our spirits, and therefore, neglect the highest part of who we are. Upon a closer and more honest look at our lives, many of us can see that there’s a heavy cost associated with this neglect.  The cost of not appropriately valuing ourselves can be summed up in one word; it is indeed, fear. Ignorance is one of the things that creates a cozy, comfortable home for fear. It is manifested in our circumstances as the result of not knowing who we are, whose we are, and why we are here on this planet.     

Fear causes us to run from the truth of who we are, and this is why the devil uses it so vehemently against us. It is his number one weapon. We know absolutely that fear does not come from our Heavenly Father, for He tells us in 1John 4:18(NLT), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” To be perfect in love is to be complete in love. It is to own and revel in the space and place you occupy in the right now of this moment. It takes a certain confidence to do this, and therein lies the plot of evil in domestic violence and abuse.

Some are apathetic about their highest spiritual self. They’re not interested in the least, and it is usually because they are consumed with the issues of the body and soul. Pleasuring the flesh is their ‘get down’, and little else holds weight. So, if they’re clueless about their spiritual identity, imagine how they’d respond to the notion of spiritual warfare. They think by taking the posture of neutrality they will be safe. You might say that you don’t want to fight the devil, but it is very foolish and unwise to think for one second that he doesn’t want to fight you.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that the devil is in the earth to do three things, to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus also said in this verse that his very own purpose for coming to the earth is to fulfill the Will of the Father and give us a rich and satisfying life—a life that is more than abundant. It is a life we can most certainly have, for it is our right through Christ, but in order to have it, putting on God’s spiritual armor is a must! You must understand your spirit has an appetite, and only knowledge of God through Christ can feed it.

When it comes to the devil’s shenanigans, the question we should ask is why? Why does the enemy want to kill, steal, and destroy us? Well, it’s not so much your body that he’s after, it’s your soul; its what you carry that the enemy wants to destroy. For you to find out who you really are is his greatest nightmare. Keeping a person fearful and apathetic is his motive, and ignorance is one of the tools he uses to do it. This is why God tells us in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge, indeed they reject knowledge about who God is.

Romans 8:29(NLT) tells us, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” God has placed something precious in us through Jesus Christ. As our relationship with Him deepens, this treasure beautifully unfolds. So, the very best thing you can do for your life is to become curious about the treasure you carry. It is a treasure so valuable that the enemy will seek to destroy us through an abusive person, so we’ll never discover it. It is the destiny in your soul that the devil is after, and he desires to steal the enthusiasm and inner joy of your journey. Once this has been robbed, the world, too, will be robbed of the goodness you were destined to deposit in it. Pray, be courageous, and have faith! You have a destiny in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit, God will lead you to liberty, so that your spirit, soul, and body, will be free.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Life Matters to God

A parable is a simple story that is used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, and the Lord Jesus Christ used them often. The greatest teacher that has ever lived, he understood that there would be some folks that needed to have spiritual lessons broken down in small chewable bites. They weren’t quite ready for the meat and had to have milk instead. The extremely impressive thing is that for those that were ready for the meat, the very same lessons fed them in an undeniable way as well. Take for instance the parable about a lost coin beginning in Luke 15:8. It’s about a woman who losses something very precious to her, and if you’ve ever lost something that means a great deal to you, you’ll know just how she felt.

During the periods that were written about in God’s Word, women were not treated as a man’s equal. Genesis 3:16 gives us some insight about how this came to be. In this verse, God told Eve that the devil would curse her with pain during childbirth, and there would also be a curse of inequality in the marital relationship. This happened because of the influence of darkness and Adam’s and Eve’s decision to succumb to it. As we look around today, the devil is still up to his old tricks. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there’s still a spiritual war going on between good and evil.

Our souls are at stake, because that is what the devil is after—he is after our souls, but he is required to do his evil shenanigans in a legal way. This is an important truth that you and I must know. You see the devil cannot violate God’s laws. In order to harm anyone, he has to do it on legal grounds. Think about it, the devil couldn’t just take all the good stuff God had given to Adam and Eve. If that were the case, he would never have had to trick them into disobeying God. So, the truth is that the devil is always on the prowl, looking for something he can use against God’s people legally.

In the Book of Job in the Old Testament, Job 1:7(NLT) tells us, “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” The Bible refers to the enemy as the ‘accuser’ because accusing is what the devil does. Looking to find dirt on us, he patrols the earth for something he can use to levy a case and land a curse against us. Its why God warned us in 1Peter 5:8(NLT), “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

As a consequence for Eve’s sin against God, the enemy was able to land a curse that caused disharmony and inequality in the relationship with her husband. This persisted in relationships between men and women for thousands of years, then Jesus Christ came to the earth at the time God appointed and rescued us all from the darkness and fear that the enemy caused.

The knowledge of this curse, and understanding the backdrop of what women endured, will allow us to see how distraught the woman was in the parable Jesus taught in Luke 15:8 (NKJV). He said, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” This woman lost a silver coin, and at a time when women had no rights and couldn’t work, a wedding dowry of coins might have been the only thing she could truly call her own.

It was hers. If anything happened to her husband or if he no longer wanted to be married to her, she would at least have her coins. So, when Jesus Christ said that she lights a lamp, sweeps the entire house, and searches carefully until she finds it, her diligence is very understandable. Luke 15:9 tells us that when she finds the coin, she will call in her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. Luke 15:10 tells us that in this same way, God’s angels rejoice when one sinner repents and comes to Jesus.

Jesus wants us to understand how heaven rejoices when God’s family is expanded on the earth. Can you imagine? This is beyond wonderful!!! All of this rejoicing is done over each of us, and it demonstrates how much our individual lives and what we do with them matters to God. He doesn’t want you to be mistreated or feel insecure or bad about yourself. God gave His only begotten Son so that you would have the chance to be happy and blessed down here. He desires this so much for you, and the very least you can do is desire it for yourself. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Your Life Matters to God”
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Flashing Red Lights

A few years ago, I met Amy in the courthouse lobby downtown. She had a familiar brand of nervousness and angst. It was a state of being I know quite a bit about, and it pulled my attention straight away. Growing up, my neighborhood was full of abused women, and some of their abusers did things that were more ruthless than I would dare write about here. But these women stayed. Their children were raised seeing their mothers abused, and seeing their fathers pay no price for it. Amy didn’t have any children, but she had witnessed her mother taking verbal and emotional abuse from her father for many years. Her mother rarely defended herself, became lost in many ways, and stayed in the marriage.

Amy was just out of college. She spent her last year as a senior with an obsessive boyfriend who would threaten to do her harm if she ever ended the relationship. He was local to the area where they both attended college, and she landed a really good paying job there after graduating. She tried breaking things off with him several times, and after she moved into her own apartment, she felt she’d have some peace. And it was for a while—it was peaceful, but after a few weeks, the phone calls were non-stop. There were times that he seemed unbelievably sweet and caring, and she found herself forgiving him and allowing him back into her life. For months she tried the ‘let’s be friends’ approach, but he wasn’t having it. And the final straw was when he started showing up at her job; waiting for her after work.

She didn’t want folks at her job in her business, but she had to get security involved. It was then that one of the officers advised her to file a restraining order. It had never occurred to her to take that step, and she was terrified of what might happen when she did. Abusive situations like these are tormenting, and we must know that God doesn’t want this to happen to anyone. He will give us the kind of wisdom and spiritual guidance that will lead us away from danger. He tells us in Proverbs 1:7 that respecting His counsel will build a lasting foundation of true knowledge, but He also warns in this same verse that there will be some people who despise wisdom and discipline, and they have problems because they won’t listen to Him. This is an avoidable mistake.

In His Word, God provides wisdom, and if we will allow ourselves to be guided by His wisdom, we can make good relationship decisions. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, we can love smart. The very first step to loving smart is to make prayer a continual habit pattern. God never gets tired of hearing from us. He loves it! Jesus Christ said in Luke 18:1 that we should always pray. Think about a loving couple that have been together a long time. They know each other so well that they can finish each other’s sentences. They share a communication that is deeper than words. This is because they’ve spent time with one another. They are interested in what the other has to say, so they listen to one another.

Establishing our relationship with Heavenly Father is like this in some ways. The relationship each of us has with God through Christ is a very personal thing. The more we talk to Him, the more intimate our communication and communion with Him becomes. Heavenly Father is a loving God, and He sees things that we simply can’t see or know. Psalm 121:3 says that He’ll keep our feet from falling; He will not let us slip. This is what God will do for us, but if we desire His protection, we can’t exclude Him from our decision making. He’ll warn us, but we must talk with Him often, so we can recognize those flashing red lights of danger that He provides.

It was a very turbulent ordeal for Amy to get away from her abuser, but the restraining order seems to be helping. She is still nervous at times, and constantly looking over her shoulder. We need to know that God offers us His peace and protection. During the toughest times of our lives, He is with us and willing to help. He tells us in 2Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is all we need, and His power works best in weakness. If we trust Him, Heavenly Father will always get us through abusive situations, but He also desires that we’re committed to pray and talk with Him more. When we do this, our spiritual senses will be sharpened, then we’ll be able to recognize His warnings and have the wisdom to heed them. ■

“Flashing Red Lights” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Have You Ever Tried Running up A Mountain?

The term ‘wholeness’ is one we apply to an individual that is thriving mentally, physically, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. The Bible is instrumental in helping us understand what happens when the spiritual part of us is out of whack. All the other parts of us go haywire too. Most people would agree that when it comes to the mental acumen for things like technology and science, humanity has advanced in many areas. One would expect that all the other aspects of our being would keep pace, but in fact they haven’t. This is particularly true regarding our emotional well-being. The times are exceedingly stressful, and although we’ve grown adept to keeping up with technological gizmos, emotionally, we seem to fall further and further behind.

In Hebrews 12:1, the Apostle Paul said that since we’re surrounded by the witness of all these wonderful folks that lived with incredible faith in God, we have no excuse. We have to get busy like they did. After all, they were not perfect. They had flaws, but they ran the race God placed before them and accomplished what He wanted them to do. We all have a race to run; all of us! Paul tells us to go ahead and strip off all that heavy negative stuff that weighs us down so we can run with endurance. Sure, we might become tired, but not easily so; we’ll keep running no matter what, with our eyes continually on the prize.

What’s happening to a lot of folks is that they’re not able to run because they don’t understand they’re in a race. And not only this, they haven’t built up endurance. Why is this such a huge problem? Well, it’s a huge problem because life happens. God designed life to be a constantly moving, everchanging, progressive, and productive dynamic. It doesn’t slow down and wait for anyone. It just keeps going, and if you’re not prepared for the ‘get down’, it will boogie right on passed you. The wonderful people that He tells us about in Hebrews 12:1 had incredible faith, and we know this because they faced incredible obstacles. You can’t have one without the other. Jesus Christ tells us in Romans 8:37 that through him, we’re more than conquerors, but you can’t be a conqueror if there’s nothing to defeat.

Given this, it is inevitable that life will present some mountains. In Mark 11:23(NLT), Jesus Christ used a mountain to teach us about faith. He said, “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.” Some of us are dealing with some mountains right now. Maybe you’re in an abusive relationship, and it seems there’s no way out. Perhaps your debt is mounting, and you can’t see a way to get from underneath it. From marriage problems to unrelenting sadness, many of us have what we consider to be mountain size challenges. The good news is that this is the Lord’s specialty. There’s nothing too hard for Him, and He loves to help us.

Sooner or later, we’re going to have to face the reality that the mountain is part of our race. Yep, sure is. I know, it seems insurmountable, every mountain does when you’re looking at it from the ground up. That’s why God tells us to keep our eyes on His love while we’re moving through rough terrain, so we’ll never see the problem bigger than we see Him.

This is not to minimize the difficulties we face in life, because keeping it real, have you ever tried to run up a mountain? What?!!! Try putting the treadmill on the highest maximum incline—it’s no joke, but the thing is, we up the ante on the treadmill because we know it’s going to give us a good workout. Life is given to us by the Creator to do same thing to our faith—to give it a maximum workout. With the treadmill, you can press ‘stop’ and get off. Life doesn’t work quite the same. You can’t ‘get off’ of life unless you take yourself out; and some folks are doing this. They are ending their lives because the pace of life exceeds their emotional acumen to deal with it. God has given us a better way! It’s the way that leads to wholeness.

It’s awesome that we’re making all these technological and scientific advancements, but ‘The Cloud’ ain’t got nothing on the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ is where the action is! Through him, God has equipped us to not just keep pace with life, but to blaze a trail of love that others can follow. God would not give us a race that we’re incapable of running. Let’s get moving by being more committed to Him. Let’s study His Word and pray more. Give the Holy Spirit greater room in your heart. Throw out the welcome mat and ask him to come in and help you prepare. He’ll help you train. Then you’ll have the endurance to run up that mountain and run the race God has placed before you with the victory of faith. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Have You Ever Tried Running up A Mountain?”
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

He Will Help You Get Your Treasures Back

One of the most well-known passages of scripture in the Bible is in the Gospel of Matthew. In it, Jesus Christ extends an overwhelmingly generous and loving invitation. In Matthew 11:28-30, he tells us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” If you’ve never faced a problem or issue in life so troubling that you literally feel imprisoned by it, then the invitation of our Lord and Master may not mean much to you. But if you’re anything like me, and you’ve had your back pinned against the walls of your circumstances and condition a few times, then you will understand and appreciate the lifeline our Redeemer is offering.

Recover
He offers us rest, and it is more than just a temporary reprieve. It is a rest that allows us to recover, be restored, and increase in spiritual strength. Spiritual recovery is so important to us because it brings the healing that only our Lord and Savior can provide. And all we need to do is ask for it. Very often we feel imprisoned by life’s circumstances because our destiny is to be at point C and we’re still at point A. We must remember at all times that we’re spiritual beings having an earth experience. Our body provides the vehicle to move about within the earth, but our spirits provide the opportunity to move with Holy Spirit power according to God’s Will and Plan. So, when we feel as though we’re stuck in life, growing in God’s love, nature, and power is always the solution. This is why Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 11:29 that the conduit to the rest he offers is to learn about him.

Restore
We have a dastardly evil enemy, and he is the devil. Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that the devil is a thief whose chief mission is to kill, steal, and destroy. Our Big Brother and Lord would never lie to us. Jesus Christ is truth itself. So, if he tells us that we have a treacherous spiritual enemy, it would be incredibly unwise and catastrophic if we refuse to believe him. He wants us to know about our enemy, and he also wants us to know how to protect ourselves against him. God’s Word places this wisdom in our hands.  

I heard a wonderful believer’s testimony about an encounter he experienced after praying fervently for a friend. His friend was very bound by oppressive situations. They were fracturing his family relationships and depleting his finances. This friend had contemplated suicide and came to this man for prayer. While meditating in the Lord, the believer saw a massive room filled to capacity with every imaginable treasure, and everything in this room was chained. He knew that these were treasures of God’s people that had been stolen by satan. Understand that God will help us get our treasures back.

Heavenly Father told His people in Joel 2:25(NLT), “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.” God’s people had lost everything that was important to them, and the locusts in this verse are symbolic of the devil who steals and destroys the things we value. God reminded His people that only He has the power to restore. They had made the terrible mistake of putting their faith in the wrong things, but in order that God could restore them, they needed to turn to Him in obedience and have faith in Him. This is true for us as well. It’s why we need to learn about Jesus Christ in God’s Word, because learning about his love, ministry, and the extraordinary sacrifice he made for us will build our faith.

Increase in spiritual strength
Increasing in spiritual strength is probably the most important aspect of rest. God tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to be strong in Him and in the strength of His might. Life requires His strength, and the more we know about Him the stronger we become. It is important for us to respect that our destinies are etched in stone, so to speak. Our conscious minds are not aware of all that God has slated for us, and it’s why we must trust Him with all our being. He knows where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be there, and He knows how to get us there. Our propensity is to try and control the journey, and this won’t work. The rest that Jesus Christ offers requires that we give him the wheel. This is a no brainer. We should never hesitate but take the lifeline and rest he offers; we desperately need it.

While we’re in the passenger seat, we’ve got plenty of time to read, study, pray, and mediate on God’s goodness. That’s the whole purpose of rest, to remember what has been done for us through Christ, and to rest in it. You see, there’s a mindset of intentionality that’s expected of us. We must intend to gain spiritual strength as we rest. If that’s not our intention, we won’t have the strength to maintain what God restores. Let’s do our part by resting in the peace that Christ offers. We’ll be amazed at what the Lord does in our circumstances when our hearts are truly committed to spiritually grow and increase our faith in Him. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“He Will Help You Get Your Treasures Back”
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Fresh Start

I was asked recently to pray for a woman that has been in an abusive marriage for over 25 years. Her husband has been abusive in many ways, including habitual infidelity. She’s tried to leave the marriage several times, but each time he has begged for forgiveness and made promises to change his behavior. She has taken him back and continued to suffer through his abuse and cheating. His years of affairs have produced more than one child outside of their marriage. The child support for those kids has diminished college funds and financial support for the children they have together. Now that she’s in her fifties, and after all the lies and everything she’s been through, she says she’s finally going to leave him and give herself a fresh start.

When we think of the word ‘fresh’, we automatically think about newness or something that is different. The mere mention of the word inspires good feelings. We get excited about the possibility of leaving the ‘old, worn out, and no longer useful’ behind us. The harsh reality that stares all of us in the face is that newness doesn’t get it’s beginning from the external, it is birthed internally first. Real and lasting change begins in our hearts and minds. This is an astounding truth that most people ignore.

There are many reasons that a person will remain in an abusive relationship. If children are involved, the abuser may contribute part or all their financial support, making it more challenging to leave the marriage or relationship. Also, both pride and fear can be deterrents to leaving as well. When the abuser has some degree of affluence or prominence in the community, pride can become a stronghold. Fear of abusive retribution and retaliation, as well as the fear of a withdrawal of support, is also very much part of the reason why many people remain in abusive relationships. But these are not the root cause of why a person stays, they are what’s on the surface.

The truth is that God has empowered every individual of sound mind to achieve and accomplish whatever they truly want to do. When we’re relentless or passionate about something, most of us find a way to get what we want done. So, there has to be something deep-seated in someone’s mind and heart to make them feel as though they are unable to be set free. This isn’t a judgment. I was bound by four walls of self-doubt, self-condemnation, and insecurity for many years, so I know the entrapment of a mindset of powerlessness very well. I personally believe it is its own hell, a prison that ensnares countless numbers of individuals who believe there’s no hope.

In 1Timothy 6:12(NLT), God tells us through the Apostle Paul, “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.” God’s Word is true. It is the Source of any truth that exists in the earth. A thing may be factual, but facts change all the time. Truth is eternal, and it is this fight, the fight to stand on our truth in Christ, that is the greatest fight of all.

Instead of fighting to stand ground on the truth of our strength, ability, and liberty that Christ gave his life to make available to us, we fight for the thing that enslaves us. We fight our strength, ability, and liberty when we don’t believe in them. Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:32 that only the truth will set us free. And the truth is that we will have to give up the mindset of powerlessness for a mindset of hope.

Hope is the first step to a fresh start, but it will require something that only the Lord Jesus Christ can provide in order to back it up. We need the power of the Spirit of God, and we must invite Him to do a work on the inside of us. Without this, we slip back into old ways of thinking and behaving and continue to allow ourselves to suffer. We must acknowledge that we are indeed in a fight, and we will need more than the armor human understanding and skill can provide. We need the whole armor of God, and He freely offers it. He tells us in Ephesians 6:11 to put it on, and therein lies a true fresh start. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

A Fresh Start
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!