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Anxiety, Guilt, and RESENTMENT
Three of the most powerful emotions


Why is it that some people grow spiritually and others donít? Why do some yield fruit thirtyfold, some sixty, and some hundredfold? (Matt 13:8,23.)

The reason is to do with your receptiveness. Too many are not receptive, because they are proud, stubborn, arrogant, self-reliant, and hold onto various wrong approaches or attitudes for selfís sake.

I canít go deeper than that in the answer. Only God can tell you more about why some people react one way, and others react differently. One day you will see the reasons why Ė in the spirit realm. For now we must be content with knowing only so much. It is enough for Godís purposes with you and me.


What Makes People Ugly

Whatever God is able to do with you, depends upon your heart Ė your inner self, your motives.

We have met some nasty people in our time. Iím sure you have too. Why do people want to be like that? Theyíre not likeable; they donít make friends; theyíre repulsive to others! In one word: selfishness. Their lives revolve around themselves. They love themselves, and are not bothered about changing to be more likeable. That takes too much effort.

They may care what others think about them, but they donít care to please others. They just live to please themselves.

Self-orientation makes them ugly. It reflects in all sorts of ways Ė the way they talk, walk, eat, and behave in general.

Itís the same spiritually, toward God. What makes you ugly to Him is centred on your heartís response. If itís uncaring about the things He cares about Ė and that care is His love Ė you are ugly to Him.

God canít dwell with sinners. Sin is based on selfishness Ė doing what you want, not caring about its impact on others, especially on Godís feelings. But God is love. If you want His acceptance, you should begin to reorientate your life in line with the way that He is. Become like Him. Start developing outgoing care for others Ė firstly for Him. Then youíll start to become pleasing to Him, and many things in your life will begin to change Ė for the better!

Jesus described such ugly selfish people, in parable, like this:

These are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts (Mark 4:15).

How does Satan manage to pull these souls away from Godís wonderful plan for them? Through temptation. He appeals to something within them. He appeals to some sinful desire, or some wrong attitude that they know they must give up in order to accept Godís Word. But Satan works on the personís mind, inflaming the passion, or accentuating the power of the attitude, so that it seems more right to hold onto it than to give it up. He makes wrong seem so right.

If itís hatred, he works on your mind tempting you to hold onto that hatred, justifying it with various excuses and reasons, telling you why so-and-so deserves to be hated. He causes you to dismiss Godís simple warnings that you need to change your attitude for your own good.

If itís fear, he exaggerates that fear by instilling some electrical charge of his own to make it more acute.

Satan is a spirit being, so he knows how the human body works, and the human mind. He knows the electrical impulses that course up and down your nervous system. He knows how to increase such impulses to do wrong. He can make you feel good or feel bad. He knows the Ďbuttonsí to press in you.

Of course, he can only do that insofar as God lets him. God has the final say about what He allows in any individual. For that reason, you need to turn your life over to God, completely! Because only God can protect you from Satanís spiritual onslaught.


Some Give Up

The problem with all of us is that, humanly, we donít want to turn our lives over to God completely. We want to be our own masters. So, the Word of God doesnít take root. Thatís why many are unreceptive. Itís their own carnality which prevents it (Rom 8:7).

In Jesusí parable of the sower, He wasnít just referring to unconverted people. The analogy goes on to include people who do begin to accept what God says, and start to change in line with His will. But they also become resistant:

These... are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness. [But] they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time... (Mark 4:16,17a).

Difficulties arise (4:17b) that induce them to give up. If you are going to endure to the end, you must stay receptive, and humble like a little child. If you stay that way, no temptation will be able to slay you (1 Cor 10:13).

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry (1 Cor 10:14).

Where does idolatry start? In worship of self. In some way, you put self before God. You make what you want to do more important than what God asks.


Anxiety

The powerful emotions of anxiety, guilt and resentment all revolve around self being put first. Letís take a look at anxiety. Jesus explained that you worry about your life and about the things to do with your life. Itís in Matthew 6:25-34. Please look at these passages. I donít have space to include them in full.

The root of worry is that you are not serving Him (see Matt 6:24) but serving yourself. You donít live for Him; you live for yourself. Or, your faith in Him is not developed sufficiently because you are too physically-minded. Your heart is still tied up with the things of this world Ė mammon (Matt 6:19-21).

Your motives and your outlook on life Ė what Jesus symbolised as your Ďeyeí Ė are self-orientated. That causes your Ďeyeí to be bad, spiritually speaking, and so your life is still full of darkness (Matt 6:22,23). Yet, you think you are spiritual, because you have some head knowledge of God and mentally accept Jesus. Oh how great is your darkness! (Matt 6:23.)

Because of that wrong motivation, you are low in faith:

O you of little faith! (Matt 6:30.)

Jesus says:

Therefore do not worry... (Matt 6:31).

How can you not worry? He explains: change your approach; change your motivation; change your way of thinking; change your priorities. Do this:

Seek FIRST the kingdom of heaven AND His righteousness, and all these physical things will be added to you (Matt 6:33).

Yet many Christians donít do it. They know it, but they must grow it, too. You must grow righteousness, goodness, meekness, etc. Ė all the traits Peter mentions in 2 Peter 1:5-10.


Guilt

What is guilt based on? Self, once again. If you feel unloved by God, think you are unforgiven, or feel guilty about your past, you need to make changes. Iíve mentioned them already. They are the same. Most spiritual problems have a common root.

When your life is turned around and you fully commit to God, to obey Him irrespective of the cost to yourself, and you give up living your life from self- motivation, He comes to live within you. The amount of His Spirit is small to begin with, but it increases as you continue in faithful submission, yielded to His will.

Enlightenment, inner strength, and faith (which is confidence in Him) all come in, too. They are aspects of His spiritual make-up, so as He comes in, they come in also.

As the Word of God takes root in your life Ė because you are humbling yourself, laying down your ambition, self-will and pride Ė so do the attributes of God find a home and expression in and through you.

Guilt is an aspect of fear. Not a healthy fear of God, but an unhealthy fear. John wrote about our heart condemning us. Read 1 John 3:16-24.

There you see that self-condemnation and lack of confidence before God is due to selfishness. ďHow do you get that out of that text?Ē you may say. Serving self, or loving self, is the opposite of loving with Godís love. Thatís why John urged us to love, not only with words, but with deeds and in sincerity (1 Jn 3:18). Love must be practical and real, not theory.

You can only love with Godís love if you are converted Ė changed Ė turning away from living a life that revolves around getting for yourself, or pleasing yourself. Your selfish ambitions must die. As they do, as you let Godís love come in, guilt will disappear.


Resentment

Likewise with resentment. Itís a form of hatred. You hate someone for saying something or doing something. Generally itís something against YOU. Again, self is the centre of your offence.

You took offence at what they said or did. It hurt you. Better not to take offence. Better to leave it. Donít take on board negative input. Only imbibe the love of God. Then you can give it out, canít you?

Someone with resentment that they donít want to release will be saying, ďItís all very well for you to say it, but itís not so easy.Ē I know, but itís possible and you MUST do it if you are to survive spiritually. If you donít struggle with your mind (God will help you if you do), Satan will use your unforgiveness to take you to hell where there is much more misery!

Either you release it and let the Lord carry the burden, or you carry it all the way down. The choice is yours! If you donít change, God is angry at you. You think Iím exaggerating? Read it yourself in Hebrews 3:7-19. So, donít harden your heart. Soften it by humbling yourself. Youíll find it much easier then to cope. God will then come in to help you.

The more you resist, the harder it gets, and the more miserable your life will become. Learn from Paulís words in Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:1; 4:1,11-16; 5:7-9; 6:4-6,9-12; 7:25; 10:7,16-17,19-31,35-39; 12:14-15.

God is faithful. You must be also.

Malcolm B Heap

Further Reading: Healing Inner Wounds (75p). Self-Condemnation, in  Articles of Faith, Vol 2 (£5.00).
 

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www.midnightministries.org.uk