Week 1 - Fear
Week 1 Relentless Thieves – Ps Patsy Cameneti
When Fear Is Not Fun
John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT)
Jesus reminds us that we have an enemy and he comes to do these three things: steal, kill, destroy.
But, Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life!
We are children of the Light; children of the resurrection. We celebrate Life.
Threatening situations around us cause autonomic responses in our brains – we call these responses ‘fear’. They are automatic responses in our bodies. Fear affects our brains and releases 30 different hormones to allow us to cope with the situation. Our heart rate can jump as much as 5x its normal level. These automatic responses are all designed to help us survive – to either ‘run for our life’ or ‘fight for our life’ (the ‘flight or fight’ response).
There is a response within humans that is attracted to being frightened. People pay to be frightened or ‘freaked out’ – a self-induced fear. A Fear Industry has developed as a result. A person can develop an appetite, even a craving, for the taste of fear.
There is a line between where fear is fun …. or not. And, this line is different for each person. There is a time when fear is no longer fun – and this is when the fear has become …. your fear. You do not always grow out of your fears; they become something that you learn to live with.
1 John 4:18 “… because fear has torment” (KJV)
The important thing regarding fear is that we need to recognize it; to identify it. Fear is a thief; but, it can only steal when we are not aware of it being there. We do not allow a thief to steal something from under our very noses. Through the light of the Word, Jesus wants us to wake up and be aware of the thief – He does not want us to be robbed in life.
It is important to spot fear. The Bible shows that torment is a sign of fear. Sometimes fears are obvious (spiders, heights); while, others are not so obvious (Prov 29:25 – fear of man). They are sneaky fears. Compulsive behaviour has some form of fear attached to it. Marketing is based upon exploitation of our fears. We need to identify what is provoking the reaction we are having.
What is fear for one person may not be fear for another – but that does not mean that the fear is not real. Some responses may seem to be borne out of conviction. Jesus is our example of a man responding out of conviction; but there was never violence in His actions. His responses were always out of love. God is love; and perfect love casts out fear. Where there is fear, it is very plain that love has not been perfected.
So, we ask ourselves – in my relationships, am I responding with coldness (flight) or anger (fight)? Sometimes we are not aware of why we respond in some ways. But the Lord knows and we can ask Him. Be aware though – if we honestly and genuinely ask Him, He will be honest in His responses. His responses, however, are truth and they never hurt us because they are truth. And the truth will make us free …. if we take it.
Isa 54:17 “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (NKJV)
There is a common denominator in all the weapons that the enemy forms against us …. and it is fear. He needs one thing from us in order to be able to steal, kill or destroy in our lives – he needs us to fear.
Fear acts like ½ of the Velcro
If he can get us to hang on to the Velcro, he can stick something else to it. We need to get rid of the Velcro. If we get rid of the fear, he does not have anything to stick anything else to. Jesus shows us how to deal with fear.
Heb 2:14-15 “Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (NLT)
Death is the core of all fear
Jesus went to the core of the problem
Ways to Deal with Fear – that Will Not Work
1. We are not capable of out-thinking fear. The devil is the father of lies and he is very good at crafting lies to outwit us. We cannot out-think him. He is the master of making ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. Worry is the activity we employ to try to outsmart the devil.
2. It is no use burying our head in the sand and pretending the problem is not there. (The devil will bite our backside while our head is in the sand.)
3. We cannot outrun fear. It will be waiting for us when we get to where we are running; and we will find that it has also snuck up on us from behind and then sandwiched us in a vice grip.
Tools to Beat Fear
1. Starve the Fears
Isa 8:11-12 “The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them’” (NLT)
Identify what it is that is frightening – and don’t feed it. Don’t think on it. Don’t watch TV shows that feed it.
2. Remember What the Lord Has Done Before
Deut 7:17-19, 21 “Perhaps you will think to yourselves, ‘How can I ever conquer ……………….. that are so much more powerful than I am?’ But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the LORD your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes! And remember the miraculous signs and wonders, and the strong hand and powerful arm with which he brought you out of Egypt. The LORD your God will use this same power against all the people you fear. No, do not be afraid of …… for the LORD your God is with and in you, and he is a great and awesome God” (NLT)
2 Chron 20:3, 15, 17 “Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. He said, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!’” (NLT)
We don’t try to swallow our fears; or just talk to other people. We talk to the Lord because we need His truth. Remind Him of His truth and His truth will make us free. Ask Him for help.
4. Acknowledge God’s Presence With and In You
Isa 41:10, 13 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. For I hold you by your right hand – I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’” (NLT)
Matt 14:25-27 “About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, ‘It’s a ghost!’ But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here! ‘” (NLT)
Heb 13:5-6 “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]. So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?” (AMP)
A common instruction in all these Scriptures (and tools) is ‘Do Not Be Afraid!’
When Jesus says this, it is not just a comforting pat on the cheek. IT IS A DIRECTIVE: ‘DROP THE VELCRO!’ But He doesn’t just leave us there with that directive; He also tells us why we don’t fear – ‘I’m here with you’. He reminds us that He is with us because we are not aware of Him when we are in the midst of an attack; we are aware of the fear. Fear tries to swallow us up. But, God is with us.
5. Receive God’s Love and Love Others
I John 4:16, 18 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (NKJV)
It doesn’t matter what storms may blow. They are outside of us. And, God is in us and we are in Him. Don’t run from the fear; run to God and receive some love. That love will cast out the fear.
6. Trust God
Ps 56:3-4 “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” (NLT)
Acts 27:22-25 “But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said” (NLT)
Having the Word of God gives us something else to look at – not just the problem. It gives us something to put our trust in. He says that He will never leave us; He will never forsake us. We put our trust in that. And not in the lies that the enemy tells us. We put our trust in Him by saying it – by saying what the Word says.
If we will not fear, there is nothing for the stealing, killing or destroying to stick to
We will not fear
We will trust God
Week 2 - Unforgiveness
Week 2 Relentless Thieves – Ps Patsy Cameneti
Last week’s thief was ‘fear’; and fear has torment. There is something about this thief, fear, that is uncomfortable and unpalatable. We want to be rid of it. However, there is something about bitterness and unforgiveness that we want to hold on to; we want to hold close, even cuddle. Yet, all the while, they are sucking the life out of us. Like a leach, they suck the life out of us – getting bigger and bigger and eating us up. That is sick !! But it is weird – we still want to hold on to them and pet them.
Unforgiveness and bitterness = offense
Offense can be re-worded as ‘a-fence’ – where we build different types of fences around ourselves to separate ourselves from each other.
Different Types of Fences
1. Sharing the same house, office, area
We can see the other person, talk to them, even pass things through the bars to them. We still share the same space.
2. Individual rock wall
We have deliberately, strategically collected offenses and stacked them up: we remember what another person has done; what they said to us on each occasion; and we stack and stack them up upon each other until there is a wall between us.
3. A solid uniform wall
We can build this type of wall when something massively damaging occurs between us; and immediately we throw up a huge wall between us. Even though we may be in the same place together, the person offended does not even want to see the other person.
4. A fence with razor wire
This fence says, ‘if you get close, you are getting cut!’. These are often found in prison yards and may even have an electric current running through – to intensify the pain if you get too close. Interestingly, the sharp edges are only on one side. The person on the other side of the offense is free from any of the danger and effects of the sharp side of the wire. It is only the person who has been offended that has the razor side of the wire. The offended person gets so mad even coming near to them. That can tick us off, can’t it. We can be offended and angry with someone but they are just happy, happy, happy. And that makes it even worse.
5. Double-sided thorns
Both parties are hurt around this type of fence. Each is stung by the prongs whenever either approaches the other.
6. Pretty garden fence
These look nice. We grow flowers around it. We learn how to live with offense and are even capable of having a cup of tea with the person – but the fence is still there. Some things in our relationships can just … be there – but we have learned to dress them up.
7. Cinder block prison walls
These walls are joined to other similar walls of other people. The offended person is the one in prison; and we can share our story with others and they can join with us in our offense. Now we have company in our offense. We can even get a whole team together. Note that the ceiling of the cell is just as solid as the floor and the walls. Being offended can surround us completely in every direction – enclosing us in a sphere of unforgiveness.
Bitterness and unforgiveness are ugly
3 Ways Whereby We Are Robbed by Unforgiveness
1. Affects our ability to receive from God
The gaol house walls also include the ceiling – so we are closed off from receiving from Him.
Mark 11:24 “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours” (NLT)
If you believe it and receive it, it will be yours.
Mark 11:25 “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (NLT)
Jesus’ instruction to forgive immediately follows His teaching about the prayer of faith and receiving anything from God.
Jesus links our ability to receive with our obedience to forgive
Jesus ministered, while on Earth, within the principles of the Old Covenant. Under this Old Covenant, forgiveness of sins had not yet been paid for by His blood. Covering of sins was by the blood of a sacrificial animal, once a year. The Old Testament principle was ‘if you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you’. Jesus’ death on the cross bought eternal redemption from all sin – once, for all time.
Heb 4:16 “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (NLT)
While Jesus has bought and paid for our redemption from sin and forgiveness is available to us all, this forgiveness still has to be received.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV)
God is not only faithful to forgive, He is just to forgive.
God cannot not forgive us. He must forgive us: because it has already been paid for
It is completely wrong for us to think that we need to earn God’s forgiveness. God has already forgiven everything … in Christ – we just need to receive it. We do not need to beg. Jesus’ blood was enough to pay for everything.
Gal 5:6 “For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love” (NLT)
We receive by faith; … and our faith works through love. The devil knows this; so he works at getting us to build fences between ourselves, thereby reducing our ability to receive.
1 Cor 13:5 “… and (love) keeps no record of being wronged” (NLT)
Are we more focused on the offense … or on the answer? Record-keeping of wrongs is what builds fences. Forgiveness is not optional for us; it is absolutely essential in order for us to receive from God.
2. Affects our bodies
Bitterness and unforgiveness bring anger into our bodies that tax our bodies and our immune systems. It is a nasty solvent that erodes every good thing.
3. Affects our ability to make good choices
1 Kings 21 – the story of Naboth and his vineyard and Ahab and Jezebel
If Ahab had not been offended, he would not have listened to the counsel of his wife. Being offended sets us up to receive stupid advice – counsel that is absolutely wrong; counsel that we would never listen to if we were not offended.
1 John 2:9-11 “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (NKJV)
We trip over things when there is no light and we cannot see where we are going. We trip over things for the luxury of being mad at somebody. If we have important decisions to make, it is best that we make sure that we do not have any fences up. If we have no light, we have to go by ‘feel’; and, nowhere in the Bible does it say that the just shall walk by feel. If we place ourselves in a position to be led by feel we have painted ourselves red for the enemy and we are sitting ducks.
Boundaries are not offenses. Boundaries does not separate but give clear definition for respect and trust to guard a relationship from offense and abuse. Good boundaries protect a relationship from offense and abuse. Boundaries are not rejection but are a way to show that someone is choosing to maintain a relationship with another person.
Ways to Beat the Thief of Unforgiveness
1. Remember that God has forgiven us
Ps 103:1-3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases” (NKJV)
God has forgiven us – past tense – through Jesus; He has healed our bodies – past tense – through Jesus. Just receive it.
Eph 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (NKJV)
Freely we have received, freely we can give – any time we need to. Don’t wait for apologies.
Q. Why would you hand you freedom over to someone else?
You would rather say, ’I’m going to stay in this prison of unforgiveness until they say they are sorry’.
Q. How would it be for God if He said that He was waiting for us to say sorry before He was happy and free?
He would be the most bound up being in the whole universe.
Apologies are not for those who have been hurt; they are for those who caused the problem.
2. Pray for Our Enemies
Matt 5:43-45 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (NLT)
We can come out of our cells of offense by receiving His forgiveness and then giving forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We pray for those who injure us.
3. Make boundaries
Sometimes there is a need to set boundaries in order to preserve relationships.
Week 3 - Comparing
Week 3 Relentless Thieves – Ps Tony Cameneti
Comparison is the thief of joy
Compare: The process of comparing two or more people or things
There are good comparisons
· Comparing computers to see which has the most options and the best price
· Comparing avocados at the grocery store to choose the best ones
· Comparing different colours of paint for a wall
There are comparisons that we shouldn’t make
· parenting styles
· marital status
· fashion abilities
· body image
Comparing adds no value, meaning or fulfillment to our lives. It only hinders our achieving
More reasons for not comparing
· It is unfair. We usually compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others
· It puts the focus on the wrong person. We can control one life – ours. When we continually compare ourselves to others, we waste precious energy focusing on other people’s lives rather than our own
· It robs us of precious time. We each get 86,400 seconds each day. Using just one second to compare is a waste of time
· It robs us of our uniqueness. Our gifts, talents, contributions and value are entirely unique to each of us and our purpose in this world. They could never properly be compared to others
Bible Examples of Comparing
Now known as the devil
Is 14:13-14 “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (ESV)
Lucifer had a prominent place in God’s plan; however, when comparing himself to God he wasn’t satisfied with his part in the plan. It affected him. Firstly, he imagined himself being like God. He was detailed in his imagining by naming 6 things he wanted that God had. He took time to imagine these things. Secondly, he began to talk what he imagined. Thirdly, he began to act on his talk. What he wanted wasn’t God’s plan for him. As a result …
Is 14:15 “But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit” (ESV)
Comparing himself to God didn’t exalt or lift him up; it brought him down. It was a total waste of time. For him, it had eternal results.
We can compare up or compare down. Comparing down may bring temporary joy but doesn’t fix a comparison issue. There is always something in us that needs fixing. Comparing up mostly robs people of their joy.
2. Children of Israel
Num. 13:30-33 “But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ Then the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them’” (ESV)
These spies had 2 different choices: to compare themselves to the enemy or to compare God to the enemy.
Remember: God is always on our side
The principle cause for making comparisons is self-centredness. We focus on ourselves: how do I compare to him or her? How do I compare to this or that?
Caleb said we are well able to overcome. What was different about him? Caleb didn’t compare himself to the giants. He compared the giants to God. He wasn’t focused on himself. He was NOT self-consciousness, he was God-consciousness – WHO God is; WHAT God has; WHAT God can do.
How Can We Beat the Thief of Comparing?
1. Decide Not to Be Self-Centred
2. Feed on Who God Says We Are
If we lift up a rock, we bring light to the area under the rock. Light exposes things in the dark. When we pry a rock up off the dirt we see creatures that were under the rock. At first, we couldn’t see them – there was no light. However, as soon as they were exposed to the light, they fled.
Ps 36:9 “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (ESV)
· Pointing out people’s problems to them without God’s light can bring guilt and condemnation
· Feeding on who God says we are will bring light. In His light, we see light
· The dark creatures that became rooted in our thought patterns, that became habits, are exposed in His light – and there is no guilt or condemnation in the light of Him
Remember how Lucifer said: I will make myself like the Most High. When we focus and feed on the wrong stuff, we think we need to make ourselves like someone else. When we focus on Jesus and all He has done for us, we discover that HE HAS MADE US something. It isn’t us making ourselves like someone else; It is Him MAKING US into His image.
3. Choose Truth Over Feelings
Our feelings are fickle. They try to form our thoughts and ways. If our feelings can accomplish that, they begin to rule our lives.
Problem: Our feelings tell us – we hurt – we’re offended – we’re inferior – someone else is better
Solution: We choose to not obey our feelings. Jesus was a master at this.
Luke 4:3 “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread” (ESV)
Jesus didn’t say, “You make ‘ME’ feel bad when you talk to me like that”. That would make Him self-centred. He would have been driven by His feelings. Instead He said, “It is written”.
Luke 4:4 “And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” (ESV)
Jesus’ focus was on God and His Word
Decide not to be self-centred. Feed on who God says we are. Choose truth over feelings.
God is love. He so loved that He gave. God’s love in us will cause us to focus on others. It is the abolisher of self-centredness
Satisfaction doesn’t come from without; satisfaction comes from revelation of Him
We defeat the thief of comparing by knowing our identity in Christ
Week 4 - Hastiness
Week 4 Relentless Thieves – Ps Tony Cameneti
Definition: Haste is quickness; hurry; an over eagerness to act; a response without due
deliberation (prayerfulness and forethought) or caution
Not all haste is bad
1 Sam 21:8b “…For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste” (ESV)
Ps 119:60 “I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments” (ESV)
Luke 19:5 “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully” (ESV)
Acts 10:19 “And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them’” (ESV)
Haste Can Create Problems
1. With Words
Ps 116:11 “I said in my haste, ‘All men are liars’” (NKJV)
Prov 29:20 “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (ESV)
Prov 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (ESV)
2. With Relationships
Prov 25:8 “Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbour puts you to shame?” (ESV)
3. With Direction
Prov 19:2 “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (ESV)
4. With Money
Prov 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (ESV)
5. With Finishing
Luke 14:28-30 “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” (ESV)
6. With Public Embarrassment
Prov 14:29 “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (ESV)
Prov 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (ESV)
Being hasty causes you to run out from under the Lord’s protection, making you the devil’s next target
How to Beat Hastiness
1. Identify Haste Triggers
· Trying to fulfil a prophecy
If we plant seeds and start looking for them to break the surface … and we become hasty and dig them up and continue to do that, they will never sprout and produce fruit
2. Plant Ourselves
These are some areas where being planted will beat hastiness (however, not every area of hastiness is beaten by planting yourself).
Two areas to plant ourselves
a. Planted in Right Beliefs
A doubled minded person is tossed
James 1:8 “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (ESV)
Believing the right things about God, His Word, ourselves, other people or a situation will beat hastiness
b. Planted in a Local Church
Isa 28:16b “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily’” (NKJV)
Some triggers that could propel us into haste
· Offense – (you don’t recognize my gifts or call)
· Ambition – (I’ll show you what I can do)
Choosing for ourselves to plant ourselves regardless of the challenges or possible offenses will be hastiness
3. Fruit Power
James 1:19-20 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (ESV)
How can we be quick and slow?
· Is it self-discipline?
· Inner strength?
· Superior education?
God has deposited fruit in us. The total sum of His fruit in us is well able to beat any flesh that raises its head.
4. Patience and Endurance
Heb 6:12 “so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (ESV)
Heb 10:35-36 “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (ESV)
Col 1:10-11 “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” (ESV)
For us to walk worthy and be fruitful, we will require patience and endurance. God is the God of all patience; He strengthens us with spiritual might
Week 5 - Whinging & Self-pity
Whinging and Self-pity
Week 5 Relentless Thieves – Ps Patsy Cameneti
The thief – the devil – is VERY good at his job. He has been doing it for a VERY long time.
He will rob from us and we may not even be aware of it. He can set us up, get us involved in something and make us sitting ducks – and we may not even realize that he has robbed us.
2 Dreadful Outcomes to Whinging & Self-pity
1. A trap-door to depression
Depression: dark, isolation, despair, hopelessness, suicidal
Whinging and self-pity always lead us down. We do not sign up for bouts of depression; but we do sign up for times of whinging and self-pity.
If we deal with the door, we will never have to deal with the spiral – if we deal with whinging and complaining, we will never have to deal with depression
The door is always in the head.
2. Wants to define us as victims
Victim: a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency; a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency
A victim is someone who loses
Victor: the winner in a contest; one who gets the better of another in any struggle; one who defeats an enemy in battle; vanquisher; conqueror
A victor is someone who wins
When we give in to whinging and self-pity, we sign over our destiny to them and we are not the victors that we were bought to be.
2 Cor 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who ALWAYS leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (NKJV)
This does not mean that there is never a challenge. In fact, if there is no challenge, there is nothing over which to triumph. But, He ALWAYS leads us in triumph. The devil will always be trying to get us to define ourselves contrary to what God says we are – victims instead of victors.
Example from the Bible
The Hebrew people
Ex 2:23-24 “Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (NLT)
Ex 3:7, 9-10 “Then the LORD told him, ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering … Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt’” (NLT)
At this stage in their lives, the people did not know God; they had no experience with Him. The Hebrew people saw God show off for them in the 10 plagues that hit Egypt. These plagues all occurred in the realm of natural phenomena – not things that could be manufactured by men.
However, even after all these miraculous events, as they stand in front of the Red Sea, they complained to Moses.
Ex 14:11-12 “and they said to Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” (NLT)
Sarcasm, whinging and self-pity paints a picture of hopelessness – either in the mind or verbally -declaring a future of hopelessness, of being a victim.
Then God splits the Red Sea and the people are filled with awe; they put their trust in God and sing about His power and might. However, within a very short time, they are complaining again – this time about the water. They turn on God and Moses. God, in His mercy, makes the bitter water to become sweet.
Ex 16:2-3 “There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt, they moaned. There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death” (NLT)
This time the complaint was about food. So God sent manna from Heaven – every day – but, they complained about it as well.
Num 11:4-16 “Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. ‘Oh, for some meat!’ they exclaimed. ‘We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!’” (NLT)
The details of their existence in Egypt were forgotten. Whinging and self-pity blinded them to the ‘in-their-face’ supernatural blessings of God – ‘It’s not the way I like it. It’s the same blessing as yesterday’.
Num 11:10 “Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the LORD became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated” (NLT)
Why was God angry? When they first cried out and complained, they knew no promises and had no experience with God; but, now they do. Yet, despite all that God does for them, they will not give up their insatiable desire to whinge and complain about anything they can.
Num 11:18, 20 “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the LORD heard you when you cried, ‘Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!’ Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it … You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” (NLT)
The King James Version says, ‘… until it comes out your nose …’.
God’s destiny for them was not to be slaves in Egypt, but to be conquerors, to be a mighty nation. The Saviour of the world was to born from among them. They whinged when they were slaves and now they are whinging to go back to being slaves. They complained about their right to be victims, losers.
Sometimes it is easier to just be defeated
Ex 17: 2 “So once more the people complained against Moses. ‘Give us water to drink!’ they demanded. ‘Quiet!’ Moses replied. ‘Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?’ But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?’” (NLT)
The trouble with whinging and self-pity – you have to keeping ramping up the words in order to maintain the impact (now it also involves the children and the livestock).
God is so committed to fulfilling His purposes in our lives that He is exceedingly merciful to us, despite our attitudes and responses to Him.
He provided water for them out of a rock.
Ex 17:7 “Moses named the place Massah (which means ‘test’) and Meribah (which means ‘arguing’) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, ‘Is the LORD here with us or not?’” (NLT)
Whinging hardens us against the Lord and all that He would have for us (Heb 3:8, 15). The Hebrew people were questioning the goodness and presence of God because of difficult situations. However, difficult situations speak to us. With every challenge, complainers identify themselves as losers, victims, pathetic. Worse – whinging causes us to question the faithfulness of God. The plan of God was that they conquer and have a home in a glorious land. They were fighting against their own destiny.
God does not just save us just so we can come out from under the power of darkness. No! He also has a plan for our lives. A destiny. We are children of the Living God. We are to live as conquerors, not as slaves back in Egypt.
Num 13:27-28, 30 “This was their report to Moses: ‘We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country – a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. BUT the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!’ … But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. ‘Let’s go at once to take the land,’ he said, ‘We can certainly conquer it!’ (NLT)
Caleb saw exactly the same thing as the others, but he talked differently about it.
Num 13:31-14:3 “But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. ‘We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!’ So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: ‘The land we travelled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!’ Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. ‘If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!’ they complained. ‘Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?’” (NLT)
They are prophesying their future, picturing the worst in order to have more impact in their words.
Num 14:28-30 “Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me … You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun” (NLT)
The Bible tells us that God has good plans for us to give us an expected end, but we can choose not to receive it. We can fight against it. Just because we can’t see good things happening around us or because we think that we are so incapable of having it.
God knows everything that is happening around us. He also knows every part of us that is incapable of something. All of us have gaps and craters in our lives – but those gaps and craters are opportunities for His grace and for Him to be glorified in our lives.
God’s destiny requires that we conquer. But, we will not obtain our destiny if we walk in complaining, whinging or self-pity. We have to conquer; we have to win.
Complaining vs Reigning
We can have it one way, but we cannot have it both ways. We have to choose which way it will be. The Lord says, ‘when you have finished complaining, we can get on to reigning’.
The complainers of the children of Israel died complaining, in the wilderness.
Identifiers for Whinging & Self-pity
- To get attention, assurance and affirmation – saying/thinking things like ‘You don’t care about me. You think I’m ugly’
- Accusing others
- Accusing yourself – saying ‘I’m an idiot. I’m useless’
- Asking ‘Why?’ – watch out if this question comes up and you are not really wanting an answer
- Also – watch out for the ‘always and nevers’ – ‘People always take advantage of me. I always get left out. No one ever calls me. This always happens to me. I’m never going get out of this mess. I never do anything right’. These declare a future of hopelessness.
Beating this Thief
1. Identify complaining and self-pity as a thief and an enemy in our own life
2. Refuse to respond to people and situations with complaining and self-pity
3. Don’t swallow it
4. Spit it out. Hand it over to God – 1 Pet 5:7
5. Look for things to be thankful for. Rejoice. The devil is looking for ways to take away our faith in God and he will badger us
6. See yourself and speak of yourself as a victor, not a victim
2 Cor 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who ALWAYS leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (NKJV)
1 Sam 30:3-6 “When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more. David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God” (NLT)