How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong by Leslie Vernick – The common denominator in all of our destructive behaviors is that we are acting on something that is not true. Gain a new perspective on the troubles God allows in your life. Come on a journey of personal growth and spiritual discovery as your heart is drawn back to a central tenet of the Gospel: Truth isn’t something you learn, but Someone you know. And the truth will set you free.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV)
Last week we learned why we do what we do. If you missed it click here. It’s important to know why, before you find out how to go about real change.
What do you love the most?
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 ESV)
“Do we really love God that much? …For many of us, our other loves are not bad loves, there just out of order. We love good things, but we love them too much – more than we love God. What we love rules our heart. When we love God he is infinitely patience with our awkwardness and mistakes in expressing that love. On the other hand, he hates when we pretend to love him while our hearts are attached to something else. He calls that spiritual adultery.” (pg 96)
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:4-6 ESV)
“Many of us repent of wrong behaviors, even wrong thoughts, but we don’t understand that we can’t grow to be more like Christ unless our heart loves something more passionately than we love ourselves – or our own desires.” (pg 97)
What are some of the things you have discovered in Jesus that you love more than yourself?
“Setting our heart in order is making sure that we have submitted our heart – our affections, our mind, and our desires – to the things that God says are good and right. We have given Him the right to rule us. He is at the center of our heart because he is the desire of our heart.” (pg 97)
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday. (Psalm 37:3-6 ESV)
How has your relationship with Christ changed your desires?
“The next time you’re upset, ask yourself not only what you are feeling and thinking but what you want. Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be understood? Do you want to be free from stress? Do you desire people to like you? Are you wanting good grades? Do you desire obedient children? When you’ve identified what you want, are you willing to lay it down for Jesus? Do you believe that if he doesn’t allow you to have the desire of your heart, it is because he loves you and that his heart knows what is best for you? If he chooses not to allow you to have what you want, are you willing to yield that decision to him in faith?” (pg 99)
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:2-4 ESV)
“What has been the deepest desire of your heart? Is the love of God and the love for God controlling you and ordering your life? Or have you found that other desires, even legitimate and good ones, have crept into first place? What are they?” (pg 99) . . . Our love for God grows out of our understanding and experience of his love for us. Spend some time with God meditating on his love for you. A good place to begin would be to focus on the Cross.” (pg 100)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 ESV emphasis added)
Paul prayed that we would be rooted and established in the love of God.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)
“There’s no question that when we choose sin, we are not expressing Christ. But (and this is an important but) even when we sin, he is still within us, living at the core of our being – in our spirit. The Spirit of Christ does not come and go, no matter what our soul might feel from one moment to the next. So instead of developing an ‘in and out’ theology based on the roller coaster of the soul, we should be looking to the Word itself for answers. And there we find no mention of ‘fellowship’ as something that Christians go in and out of as they behave rightly or sinfully.” (Heaven is Now by Andrew Farley)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)
How has the unwavering love of Christ in you freed you from the roller coaster ride?