Recently, I went through a few days of being consumed with myself. I allowed insecurity over my character, relationships and circumstances to dominate me....Jack Frost says in Experiencing Father's Embrace that our sin struggles serve as the best kind of encouragement for others when we have victory over them 51% or more of the time....how wise. So don't worry. I'm on the other side of this one :-) It's always a word of the Lord and submission to His revelation that brings healing.
For those of us who want to share about God, our calling is pretty simple. We could talk about His love and mercy over and over again using the same vocabulary, and if we are truly friends of God, the Holy Spirit will take those words and reveal a new facet of God's unfailing love every time we speak. God always comes after us, even when we are too preoccupied with ourselves to experience our reality in the center of His love. Anyway, God came for me in the middle of my self-focus, as He has done so often and will do again and again for me. He interrupted that particular day's downward spiral by asking me not to read my "hate mail". That got my attention. Yah, God does talk to us that way, but I asked Him again just to be sure and I heard Him confirm and expand my perspective.
See, when I think about hate mail, I realize it comes in an envelope, in my heart and soul mail box every day....and then I have a choice whether or not I open it. If I open accusation and hate, I advance it to demean my entire being: body, soul and spirit. Mail has to be broken open, pulled out and unfolded before it can be read. Funny thing about the thief. He has to find an envelope, buy a stamp and go to the post office in tries to get to our spirits. God says in His word that we know the difference between His voice and incoming evil, even before we make a choice which way we're going. We've been lied into thinking that we are incompetent of making the distinction between our Shepherd and the thief. Believers in Jesus, God speaks directly to us from His habitation in our spirit. It can become like peaceful second nature to hear our Shepherds voice, but it will never be that way with the voice of our enemy. When he speaks and we listen a part of us will always know that we still feel incomplete, that we are starting to feel worse, that we've compromised with a counterfeit who has no true tenderness for the vulnerability of our hearts.
God said that day to me, "Can we just not read your hate mail today....I'm coming in through the love gate." I remembered that the mail will be delivered, and it may be full of insults, punishment and offense. Some of it may even be garbage the thief is trying to pass over on me about other believers--Members and parts of one and the same body of Christ. God's heart in speaking this way to me was to relieve me of a burden of satanic condemnation and sorrow. He was reminding me that there will only be one way He will ever come into my world. He will be consistently bringing life I can see worked out. I will get used to loving His voice for the life He produces and have peace in trusting His faithful words as He works in me without betrayal. We are never asked to turn our hearts over to robbery, but to refuge.
I threw the mail in the "trash" and decided I could do without it.....shredding works too.
Open wide the love gate.
"Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers....I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly...the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."