The Overcoming Believer's Life

    John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have
    overcome the world."

Dear reader, God wants you to live an overcoming life!  Please read the following lesson with faith, not in yourself, but in God.
The Believer's life
is an overcoming life.
Even though we will definitely have problems and personal struggles in this life, we will be able to overcome because of
Jesus. Because of Him, we have victory over the world, including sinful habits, bitterness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and discouragement.

This "Daily Maintenance" is
essential for all believers, not just beginners in hopes of becoming a new creature fashioned by the Holy Spirit.  
The proof is in what John was told to tell the church of Ephesus:  

    "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are
    apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and
    have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you
    have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you
    repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit
    says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.''  
    NKJ Revelation 2:2-7

The Nicolaitans were the early Gentile syncretists, who felt they could build communities of believers with the mortar of compromise or political
correctness.  These were the false teachers that crept into the church, who disguised themselves as followers of Christ – who professed to be His
ministers and servants – but who led the people astray.  

Our prayer is to become "Overcomers" through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The "Overcomer's Series" is a gem written by
Tyson S from scribd.

Lesson 7 – Overcoming a critical attitude

    Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

    James 2:13, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!”

In Matthew 5:7, Jesus blesses those who overlook faults, forgive failures, and show mercy to those who have fallen. This type of people can see
the good in every situation, even when that situation has hurt them personally. They see the glass as half full instead of half empty.
The Bible says Christians ought to be these type of positive and encouraging people—not because we are unrealistic or blind to the facts, but
because we believe in a God who can turn around bad situations and forgive the most heinous betrayal.

What is a critical attitude?
Some people always see things in a negative light. In every situation, they will have some complaint or find some fault. They lack mercy in their
judgments of themselves and others.
Definitely, it is helpful to carefully consider ourselves and situations. But if we fall into a deep negativity, we will eventually harm ourselves and
those around us. What are the dangers of a critical attitude?

A critical attitude tears down, but doesn’t build up

If we have a critical attitude, we are playing judge, jury, and executioner all at once. This type of criticism is not constructive, but destructive. In 2
Corinthians 13:10, Paul said that God gave him authority for the purpose of building people up, not tearing them down. Even though Paul was
passing judgment on the Corinthians in the letter by pointing out their wrong attitudes, he was warning them and not condemning them. He used
his authority to pass judgment on them (judge), with the hope they would decide his judgment true and repent (jury), and he would not have to
exercise his authority to discipline (execute). If Paul, an apostle who wrote 13 books of the Bible and pioneered Christianity throughout the
Roman empire, was so careful to use his criticism to build people up, how much more careful should we be!

A critical attitude steals our joy and poisons our relationships

A critical attitude is like a disease. Some people know they have a critical attitude, but can’t change. We may find some small satisfaction in
passing judgment on this or that, but that satisfaction is short-lived. A more lasting satisfaction comes from recognizing improvement and
celebrating success. People want to be around positive people, not critical people.

A critical attitude makes us resemble Satan

Satan is famously critical. He has the worst attitude in the universe and wants us to share in his misery. He always is able to see the downside of
every situation, plan, or action. Satan used to be a powerful angel in heaven, and many Christians believe he was thrown down out of heaven
because he found fault with God and rebelled. If we have a critical attitude, we resemble Satan more than we resemble God.

What causes a critical attitude?
  We develop a critical attitude; it doesn’t all come at once. Several factors contribute to our forming a critical attitude:
  • Past experiences. If our parents emphasized guilt and punishment, we may use harsh standards to judge ourselves and others. This type
    of past experience makes it hard for us to compliment others.
  • Physical tiredness. If we are too tired or are sick, we may become easily annoyed and judgmental.
  • Negative company. Who we hang around with often shapes our outlook and the way we talk. If we are always around negative people who
    enjoy criticizing others, we are likely to pick up on that.
  • Desire for justice. Some people may criticize and judge because they have a strong sense of right and wrong. Even if they do not say
    things out loud, they may pass judgment in their mind.
  • Pride. At the root of our critical attitude is pride. We put others down because it feeds our pride. Sometimes, our pride is without shame. It
    will cause us to criticize those who in nearly all respects are better people than ourselves. We enjoy pointing out their weaknesses and

How to overcome our sinful habits

1. See people as God does
Our perspective on ourselves, other people, and situations in life should change once we become Christian. When we recognize that God is
sovereign and loves people unconditionally, it will have a dramatic effect on how we look at the world. For every difficult person or situation, we
will be able to see how God can work a miracle to change that person.
Take a moment to consider some difficult person that you have criticized in the past. Can you see the possibility of God changing that person? If
you can, then why not pray that way?!
Our God changed Saul, the persecutor of the church, into Paul, the apostle whose heart was wholly for Jesus. Nothing is impossible for Him.  

Luke 18:27, "Jesus replied, 'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'”

2. See situations as God does

If God is sovereign, omniscient, and loving, then logically we should also expect that God will work out everything for the good of His people. We
have no reason to be negative because God is in control. Even if we suffer some difficult situation or learn some painful lesson, God must have a
good purpose in it.

    James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith
    develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

We are in a spiritual war, where we are battling to save souls from a ruthless enemy. In this war against sin and Satan, we will face opposition and
trouble. We should remember that even Jesus paid a high price in this war—and we are not exempt from the fight. However, we have hope
because we know God will win. In the end, no sacrifice or suffering we face for the sake of Jesus and the gospel will be in vain.

    Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
    Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

3. Humble ourselves before God

A powerful antidote to a critical attitude is humility before God. When we recognize our own sin and humble ourselves before God, it is very
difficult to have a critical attitude toward others.

In Galatians 6, Paul is telling the very fractious Galatian church how to live according to the Holy Spirit. The Galatians were caught up in proving
their holiness by outward actions, and as a result, became prideful and judgmental of one another. In Galatians 6:3-5, Paul says that everyone
should examine themselves as to whether they live up to God’s standards, not how they compare to someone else.

    Galatians 6:3-5, "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he
    can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."

We need to realize that we entirely dependent on the grace of God in our lives. If anyone else fails at any point, we should realize that we are no
better than they are. John Bradford, a 16th century reformer that was imprisoned and eventually martyred by English church authorities, saw a
group of prisoners being led to their execution for their crimes. Realizing that he was no better than those criminals in terms of sin, he said,
“There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” We need to have the same humility before God when considering the sins of others.

4. Let God judge

Throughout the New Testament, there are warnings not to judge others. We need to let God judge. People are born with a sense of right and
wrong, but our justice is imperfect. Moreover, we are sinners in need of forgiveness ourselves—we have no right to receive God’s grace in our
own lives when we do not extend that grace to others.

    Matthew 7:1-3, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure
    you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in
    your own eye?”

James 4 says that when we judge our brother or sister, we put ourselves above the law of God. In effect, we are saying that God is not doing His
job and that we need to step in and deliver our own judgment. Our job is to obey God—we should leave the judging to Him.

    James 4:11-12, "Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and
    judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who
    is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?"

When we become a Christian, our outlook on life should change. We should trust God to take care of injustice, consider ourselves with humility,
and anticipate God will cause good things to come from difficult situations. Moreover, we understand that a critical attitude is dangerous spiritually
because it harms others, poisons our relationships, and prevents us from receiving God’s forgiveness for our own sin.

Discussion Questions
    1. Why do you think that people sometimes have a critical attitude?
    2. After reading this lesson, how will you change in terms of judging yourself or others?
    3. Describe how God has been merciful and gracious in your life?
    4. Talk about one person that is merciful, kind, and gracious. How do you respond to them?
Daily Maintenance:  Overcoming a Critical Attitude
"Balancing the Goodness of Torah with the Grace and Mercy of Messiah"
Congregation T’shuvat Yisrael-Daily Maint: Overcome the Accusing Me
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