No More Excuses
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! —2 Corinthians 5:17
“I’ve always had a bad temper. That’s just the way I am.”
“I’m a straightforward person. That’s who I am, and that’s how people need to accept me.”
“I call things as I see them. I don’t sugarcoat anything.”
This list could go on endlessly, but the one thing these excuses have in common is that each is meant to justify the people being the way they are. It’s a way of resisting change.
It’s also a way for Satan to creep into our minds. The great deceiver tells us that we’re not rude—we are just being honest, and people need to respect that quality in us. We think we speak the truth as we see it, and we’re not cowards or hypocrites. If the devil can convince us that we don’t have to change—that we’re fine exactly the way we are—he has won a serious battle in our lives.
In fact, the devil can give us a lot of excuses for not changing. That may be the problem. If he convinces us that other people are at fault because “they are just too sensitive” or “they don’t want to hear the truth and face reality,” we don’t feel responsible, and we think we’re all right.
Another thing is that no matter how negative we may be in our thinking, most of us wouldn’t call ourselves “negative.” We prefer words like logical, realistic, forthright, or candid. Not facing the truth about ourselves is part of Satan’s deceptive work.
When I went through a period of extreme negativity, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as being negative. I was just being honest. If I saw something wrong, I spoke up. I offered my counsel on ways for people to change. I could see the weaknesses and problems of others, and I was quite happy to show them how they could overcome.
On my worst days, I found things wrong with all my friends and everything they did. I didn’t have to look for things to criticize—I did it without effort. I didn’t consider it negative because I thought I was merely trying to be helpful. It never occurred to me in my prideful state that people didn’t really want my help. They wanted acceptance and encouragement, not judgment and criticism.
As I said, I never thought of myself as being negative—that is, until God dealt with me and convicted me. I’m not trying to condemn anyone for being negative, frank, blunt, candid, or whatever term you may use for it, because condemning is in itself being negative. Instead, I want to help believers recognize their attitude problems and help them realize that God is able to deliver them.
We start the Christian life as new creations of God. Our past is wiped away. The Christian life is one of change—of growth—of moving onward.
The pathway to freedom begins when we face our problems, and face them without excuses. “Yes, I’m negative, but if you had come from the kind of family, I did, you’d—” Stop! No excuses. We know what we were in the past, but we also know that we don’t have to remain that way now or in the future. With the help of Jesus Christ, we can have our minds renewed according to the Word of God.
The most difficult part may be to say to God, “I’m a negative person, but I want to change.” Remember that a negative mind produces a negative life. You’ve probably tried to change yourself many times in the past, but it didn’t work. Now you can begin to win the battle over Satan’s stronghold by admitting who you are and acknowledging that you must depend on God to change you.
Holy and positive God, forgive me for all my negative thinking. You want me to be loving and filled with Your joy. Help me so that Satan has no stronghold over my mind. Please destroy every negative aspect of my thinking, through Jesus my Lord. Amen.
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