Deuteronomy 28:13, 14 NKJV And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
I’m sure you’ve heard people describe their situations as “being under the circumstances” or “a day late and a dollar short”, or “always at the bottom of the barrel with too much month and not enough money to make it through”. Or how about this description of life: “I’m just a little under the weather right now”. “This is just my ‘lot’ in life”.
Words describing a person’s perception of how life is treating them can become the bane, or source of their harm or misfortune and the continuation in that type of life. What they’ve spoken about their situation can become a self-prophecy of what they are fearing about their lives.
Job said in Job 3:25, 26: For the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes.
Not all bad things that happen to us are a result of speaking negatively about the fears that we have in life, but our attitude about what is taking place in our lives often leads to a continuation of the same kind of problems. Jesus said that out of the abundance of a person’s heart comes words about their lives.
Matthew 12:34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
This morning the Lord has been speaking to me about self-pity. Self-pity is often the result of seeing life’s challenges as being bigger than your God. Self-pity leads to a victim mentality. It sees no way out of the circumstances or problems of life and causes you to feel sorry for yourself; hopeless and out of control. According to the Urban Dictionary the definition of self-pity is “pity for oneself; especially exaggerated or self-indulgent pity where you believe that you are the victim who has done no wrong and is deserving of condolence from everyone.” It carries the attitude that I might as well go eat worms and die because nothing is ever going to change; I’m just a loser at life. This is a self-destructive attitude and should be avoided at all costs in the life of a believer in Christ Jesus.
The way to defeat self-pity in the life of a child of God is to counter it with the truth of God’s word.
Self-pity says I can’t do anything about my situation; I’m just a victim.
God’s word says “I am made in the likeness and image of God and through Him I have dominion over the challenges of my life.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
Self-pity says I’m sick and don’t have the strength to take care of myself.
God’s word says that I am healed by the stripes of Jesus; that Jesus took my infirmities and carried my sicknesses and by His stripes I am healed. (Matthew 8:16; 1 Peter 2:24)
Self-pity says I don’t have enough money to pay my bills.
God’s word says that God is the one who gives you the power to get wealth that He might establish His covenant with you and that He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Deuteronomy 8:18; Philippians 4:19)
Self-pity is a tool of the enemy that opens the door for his destructive power to come into your life. It keeps you in bondage to sin, sickness and disease and poverty and lack. It is an enemy that needs to be resisted! When we dwell on how bad life is for us at the time that we are going through a challenge we allow the enemy to establish thoughts of failure and defeat and if continued creates a stronghold of mental bondage. The word of God says that we should take control over the thoughts that come into our minds that are not of God and cast them down, arrest them and replace them with God’s thoughts about us.
2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
This is the battle that we fight, not against people or things, but against the wrong thoughts that come into our minds. Sometimes these thoughts are planted by the enemy of our souls, Satan, the devil and his co-horts and sometimes we accept wrong thoughts that come from life’s disappointments, wrong teaching or an abusive past. How other people have treated us often set us up for self-pity, thinking that we are not appreciated or loved and accepted. These are all strategies that the enemy uses to establish a victim mentality in our minds.
God tells us in Ephesians 6:11 that we can put on His armor to stand against the “wiles” or “schemings” of the devil. He clearly states that our fight is not against people but against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Many times we blame others for our feelings of inferiority and failures when the enemy that we need to stand against is the devil. We do that by putting on the armor of God.
The waist is to be girded or wrapped with truth; God’s word is truth according to Luke 17:17. Jesus said we would be sanctified, set apart, equipped for battle with God’s word!
The breastplate of righteousness protects the heart and assures us of our place in Christ Jesus as being right with God. According to 2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Jesus to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Our feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Jesus is our peace according to Ephesians 2:14-18. He has broken down the wall that separated us from God the Father and established us in peace, reconciling us to God. When we stand in His peace we are on secure ground. We know that we are about the stand with stability because of what He did for us on the cross of Calvary.
We take the shield of faith to shield us from the fiery darts of the wicked one. Faith is said to be what overcomes the world for us in 1 John 5:4: For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcomes the world—our faith. Jesus said that when we come against trials and tribulations that we should be of good cheer as we are in Him and He has overcome the world for us. Faith in Him gives us the victory that overcomes the world!
The helmet of salvation protects our minds. Salvation is the Greek word soterion and it means rescue, deliverance, safety, liberation, release, preservation. It is an all-inclusive word signifying forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, rescue, liberation, and restoration. Christ’s salvation is total in scope for the total man: spirit, soul, and body. When we understand what all Jesus died to purchase for us our helmet is secure and we can protect our minds through right understanding of the word of God. We no longer have to receive the enemy’s lies; we counter them with the truth of God’s word and cleanse our thoughts through right thinking.
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. It is what we use to slash the enemy. Jesus spoke God’s word to the devil when he tempted Him in the wilderness. He rebuked every lie of the enemy with “it is written” and then quoted the scripture that countered the lie of the devil. (Matthew 4:4-10) The word of God is living and active and sharper than a two edged sword; it will not return void but it will do what it is sent out to do. (Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:11)
And last, but not least, we pray: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”. (Ephesians 6:18) Prayer is not just coming before the Father with a list of requests. There are different types of prayers that we pray to meet the need in our lives. Prayer is speaking to God about our lives and listening to hear what direction He gives to apply to the situation at hand. Sometimes we might need to just be still and know that He is God and that He is working in our situations, righting the wrongs and making the crooked places straight. Other times we might come before Him and hear His direction to defeat the enemy that is standing against us at that moment. It could be a direct command that we need to apply to our lives or something that we need to change in how we are approaching a situation. Many times He gives specific directions for how to carry out and accomplish the victory over the enemy’s strategies against us.
If we have an attitude of self-pity we see ourselves as defeated before we ever get started. Victimization is the enemy’s strategy to keep a person in bondage. It is an enemy to be resisted and driven out of our lives!
When Peter tried to get Jesus to feel sorry for Himself because He was telling His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and would be killed and raised the third day, Jesus rebuked Peter as being a spokesperson for Satan and an offense to Him because he tried to get him into self-pity.
Matthew 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Jesus realized that self-pity would keep Him from doing what His Father had sent Him to do. If He had entertained the thought that He was above the suffering and crucifixion that would purchase man’s salvation He would have been defeated before He ever got to the cross. But instead, the Word tells us in Luke 9:51 that “when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,”; He was determined to fulfill the plan of God for His life in securing man’s redemption. Jesus told Peter that what he was saying was an offense to Him; a stumbling block that would have introduced self-pity into His heart that if mediated upon would have defeated what He had come to do.
Have you seen self-pity trying to invade your thoughts? If so, put an end to that thinking through speaking God’s word over your life. God has made you a winner, not a loser!
Father, I thank You for showing us the pitfalls associated with a self-pity mindset. I pray that You will help each one of us to recognize those thoughts before they have an opportunity to become rooted within our hearts. Father, I thank You for the truth that is in Your word and that when it is applied to the misconceptions and lies of the enemy that it slashes him to pieces. I thank You for the armor that You have given us to protect ourselves from the wiles of the devil. Father, I pray for those who may see themselves as victims that You would show them how You have equipped them as winners, not losers and how they can succeed through applying Your word to their lives. Father, I thank You for Your Spirit who leads us into all truth and helps us to win over the challenges of life. Thank You for the faith that You have given us to overcome the world and all that the enemy would throw at us. Thank You for the blood of Jesus that secures our salvation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.