Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:28-31~

It always amazes me how at the moment you begin to feel as though your life is going in the direction you want it to go, someone feels the need to point out that you are not doing things the way you should be doing them.  This becomes especially true if the changes you have made in your life are a direct result of following Christ.  Critics seem to come out of the woodwork, trying their best to make sure you don’t feel confident, strong or otherwise able to deal with life without the benefit of their advice or direction.  The jealousy that ensues when you are starting to become stronger in your faith and you are trusting God to help you make your decisions instead of calling up a friend or family member to get their seal of approval on the issue of the day, is quite comical.  After all, what purpose does it serve for a person to be jealous of God? 

I’ve gone through many, many times in my life when I didn’t know where to turn.  Or, maybe I knew, but was reluctant to ask God to help me.  Whatever the case, I chose to confide in someone and instead of helping or supporting me, that person made me doubt my capacity to handle even the simplest of issues because my solutions to my problems didn’t match up with what they thought I should do.  This is not a healthy situation.  Unfortunately, because we love our families and our friends so much, we tend to be afraid sometimes to say to them, “You know, you’re really full of it.”  Just because what they would do in a given situation isn’t the same as what you would do, doesn’t mean they are right.  It is actually okay for you to be right every once in a while.  and if you’re following what God has put on your heart and you know that you are acting out of pure motives and that you aren’t allowing yourself to be led by the flesh, then you need not worry about the disapproval of the people in your life who haven’t gotten the memo yet. 

It is hard to break away from negative relationships, especially those ties that are expected to be close ones.  The father who is unable to take care of himself, the husband who refuses to grow and evolve, the sister who just can’t let you be content, or even the child who chooses to make bad decisions despite all of your efforts to keep them safe; you cannot save everyone and they cannot save you.  If something is wrong in your life, take it to God.  The advice of friends and family is great and every great once in a while, they can open your eyes to the things you may be doing that aren’t good for you; however, if their criticisms are still coming to you long after you’ve made the changes you need to make in your life, then they’re not giving you friendly advice, they are holding on to attempts to control you.  That is not acceptable and it is not necessary. 

Some good passages to read are Luke 6:42, Matthew 7:5, Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 7:12, Judges 14:15-17 and Deuteronomy 13:5-7.  I believe that the stronger you get in Christ, the more you will be tested.  Those who don’t believe the way you believe or who don’t seem to believe in anything at all will feel threatened by your confidence in Him and that is okay.  Just try to live the best life you can and understand what is behind these criticisms.  We know the difference between when someone has said something to us out of love and when their words are purely retaliatory.  You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you when someone really has your best interests at heart.  If you are truly working to improve yourself and you know that the source of your troubles has often been your inability to trust God and/or a tendency to follow the people in your life instead of God, try to maintain the focus that God will answer when you call.  He doesn’t ask you to leave a message, He doesn’t ask you to hold on while He clicks over to get another call, He doesn’t screen you out.  He will always answer and His answers are always the right ones, even if your best friend on this planet doesn’t tend to agree.   

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”

~1 Peter 2:15-16~

 

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