Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Litmus Test

 Friend, what do you really believe about the gospel? Is the blood of Jesus powerful enough to save you from your sin? Is the blood of Jesus powerful enough to wash away the shame, the regret, the pain and the stain of sin from your past?

Take the litmus test and find out what you really believe. Under the confession, the protests, the insistence that you really do believe all that. Because what your heart really believes is very telling, and sometimes we don't know until we're forced to confront what our heart and mind has told us for a very long time.

It's time to deprogram. Pull out the troublesome thoughts that nag at your mind and discourage you. Pull out the weeds that have been growing in your thought life. Voices that say, "Are you crazy? You don't want to share that. What will people think?" Or, "If you tell your story, no one will understand. They will reject you."

I faced just such a test in writing my recent book, "Healing the Heart of a Woman." (Order your copy here: Healing the Heart of a Woman). I prayed and surrendered every word to the Lord, and I ended up re-writing it many times. I wasn't comfortable speaking about a lot of things I wrote about, but the Lord kept reminding me to trust Him in the midst of it. I want to encourage you with what the Lord told me. "You are not responsible for other people's responses." You are only responsible to obedience to Him.

A litmus test, according to the online free dictionary, is "a crucial test using a single issue or factor as the basis for judgment." It's a critical indication that will prompt all your future decisions. It's the defining moment when you must confront what you're really made of and what you believe.

The litmus test for many people comes down to transparency. Transparency is desperately needed yet lacking in the body of Christ. Without it, we are held captive to our fears and insecurities, the lies of the enemy, and the fear of shame or rejection. It's the old trap of the fear of man.

What do we really believe? We cannot truthfully answer that unless we exchange the word 'believe' for the word 'trust.' Do we trust Jesus with our reputation? Do we trust Him with our future? Do we trust Him to be our defense against misunderstanding, criticism and rejection? Because if we do, we can trust Him with telling our stories, our testimonies, no matter what the little voices in our head try to tell us. If we are lord of our own life then the hope for our future and our salvation becomes solely up to our own capabilities, and we forfeit the gift of God's grace. What we believe is directly connected to what we elevate in our imagination and what we focus on in our thoughts.

That, my friends, is a litmus test. But know this: when you share your testimonies, God also issues a litmus test to those that hear. He challenges others with the same questions. What do you really believe about the gospel? Is it enough for you? Do you believe Jesus' words, "MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT? "

Litmus tests show up in many forms and you may not even realize you've just been presented with one.

  • When someone else receives a blessing or breakthrough. Do you want to see them blessed?
  • When the doctor presents you with a bad report. Do you believe Jesus will heal you?
  • When God shows grace instead of judgment to someone that offended you. Is His mercy only for those that do not set off any emotional triggers, or is it for everyone?
  • When your impossible situation seems overwhelming. Do you believe God is bigger than your situation and has a plan for you to overcome it?
  • When you feel offended with someone and feel tempted to elevate your offense over mercy. Have you forgotten how much you have been forgiven?

If you really believe that God's grace is sufficient to shelter you against your fears of transparency, then I encourage you to tell your story, for by doing so, you not only heal yourself, you also give hope to others. Satan wants to steal our hope and confidence in the Lord. Testimonies give God glory and speak to others of our quiet confidence in the Lord to protect us and shield us from the things we worry about. Share what God has done for you in your deepest darkest moments. This is what gives others confidence to trust the Lord with their salvation and their future. How shameful it is when we are more concerned about our own reputation than the salvation of others. Should we fear man, or fear God? The scripture says the fear of man brings us into a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe, (Prov. 29:25).

Sometimes people are not comfortable with other people’s transparency because it confronts them with their own ability to be transparent. When people display openness and vulnerability, it challenges others with their own heart issues of pride, judgment, a lack of love or compassion. This is the voice of fear and the voice of accusation. It always speaks loudly in order to turn people's hearts away from trusting God and putting their confidence in themselves. If you put your trust in yourself to try to keep your reputation, then fear will always be your master. What's worse, is that fear will prompt you to do things to try to save your reputation that can seriously mess you up - even disqualify you from greater purposes. Those who try to save their life will lose it, and those that lose their life will find it. The accuser lives in all of us unless we are purposeful to crucify him. I urge you to crucify the one that prevents you from genuinely trusting God, loving others or receiving the grace that God has made available to each of us. If you are presented with a litmus test today, I pray you pass it. DIG DEEP, and put your trust in the Lord.

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