So, here we are at the end of this 8-day devotional on dealing with the hurts, habits, and hang-ups that steal our joy, and make life seem unmanageable. Hopefully, you are working through each of these devotionals. I pray that you are identifying your issue, acknowledging who your Lord is, turning your issue and life over to Him, assessing and confessing your faults, making changes, repairing relationships, and getting into a time in God’s Word and of prayer.
Today we will look at The Sharing Choice… Recycling Plan. This is when you yield yourself to God to be used to bring the Good news to others by example and by your words.
A key fact is that God never wastes a hurt! What does that mean? Well, we have seen that in this world we will have trouble, pain, hurt, disappointment, etc. God knows about your hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
He will respond to them in 3 ways:
- He will help you find healing and to make healthy choices.
- He will use them to draw you closer to Him.
- He will use you to help others going through similar issues.
GOD NEVER WASTES A HURT!
I see it all the time. An alcoholic with time in sobriety sponsors a newer alcoholic, a divorced person walks alongside of someone facing divorce, a cancer survivor sits with someone getting chemo for the first time, a person loses a loved one and a grief support group welcomes them in…and the list is endless.
This is God’s recycling plan! 2 Corinthians 1:4 (nlt)… He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
I envision our life as a Christian like a team of mountain climbers. The climb is difficult but together they can succeed… encouraging each other… watching and learning from the climber ahead of them…avoiding the dangerous hidden crevasses… finding solid ground to walk on. They are led by a map produced by someone that has gone ahead of them… who has given direction and warning. When the leader of the mountain climbing team reached the peak, does he stop to rest and enjoy the view? Of course not, he helps the next person who in turn helps the next.
So…We are all on a journey and at times it seems like we are climbing a steep mountain. Jesus is leading the way; He gives us His Word to guide our steps… as well as His church to walk with us. Our job is to watch out for the person following behind us… to encourage, lead, help them find solid ground. You can help them navigate the rough terrain… point out where you slipped and fell… point them to the map, and the writer of that map (God).
Many times, this begins by “sharing your story” with someone who God has placed in your path. Here are some suggestions for sharing your story with someone:
- Be humble! Remember this is a testimony, not a brag-amony. Your job is to tell the story of what your hurt, habit, or hang-up was (is) and how God has led you to a healthier place. It’s one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. And then share who that bread is! John 6:35…Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Jesus is the bread that gives life…Hope…Joy…direction…strength to face the battles we all face. Your story can give hope and guidance to someone a few steps behind where you are in your journey.
- Be real! Be honest about your hurts and faults. Let them know that you are transparent, vulnerable, and real with them. James 5:16…Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. God wants to recycle your progress for someone behind you in the journey. You might be a lighthouse to someone else’s storm…. leading them to the ultimate Lighthouse (Jesus).
- Don’t lecture! You will never argue or force someone into healing, healthy choices, or into heaven. God wants you to be a witness, not a defense attorney! You have heard it said that you may be the only Bible someone reads…this is true especially if they are going through a tough time where they may feel God is distant, or that He is the cause of their issues. Use “I” sentences. Tell how God helped you move forward and found healing.
You may say… “Let someone else do it” or “that’s the pastor’s job.” Truth is that you can reach people that the pastor can’t. God has placed them in your circle of influence “for a moment like this”
This is your calling! Acts 20:24… But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
So…now that we have finished the last 8 devotions dealing with hurts, habits, and hang-ups…now what? Hopefully, you are working through the healthy choices…connecting with the Lord daily…and making progress. Remember it’s a lifelong journey and that I and the church are here for you. Remember God is with you! 2 Corinthians 5:17… This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! God’s hand made you…and saved you…wants you to be the best version of you that you can. He will lead you to make those healthy choices. He never made you go through this world alone! Together you are stronger than alone. There is someone that needs to hear your story…you may be the answer to their prayer!
- If you have received comfort, hope, direction from someone when you went in a tough spot…call them and thank them!
- Do you know someone going through a tough experience that you have already gone through? Look for an opportunity to share your story with them.
One last note:
Some of you may have read these last devotions and said, “That’s nice but I don’t have any hurts, habits, or hang-ups.” Here is a partial list that the Life Hurts God Heals group put together: issues with pride, stress, gossip, poverty, self-esteem, fear, anger, jealousy, selfish, anxiety, depression, bitterness, worry, guilt, addiction to pornography, food, smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, money, gambling, tv, shopping, work, the hurt of any loss, grief, disease, all forms of abuse, rejection, criticism, gossip, lies, and betrayal. If any of these sounds close to home…go back and reread these 8 devotions. Call me for help and support. 440-237-7958 ext.118.