God does not feel sorry for us.
This might sound, at first, as an opposite statement from the things you are familiar with hearing from me. But allow me to explain and I think you will learn something wonderful.
I am not saying that God does not have compassion, nor am I saying that He doesn’t see our tears, nor comfort us in affliction. But it is not for pity sake that He acts in our lives to change our circumstances. He is not moved by pity to meet our needs or answer our prayers.
There is something that brings the blessings of God into manifestation. It is more a principle than any action on our part. It is the principle of faith. I call it a principle to take it from the realm of self-effort as far as possible, because we are so easily prone to condemnation. It is, really, never about us.
I will get back to the principle of faith in a moment, but first I need to comfort you from the shock of my first statement. You will learn something that will transform you.
Though I know quite a few people who seem to have a natural self-confidence many of us do not walk in great self-esteem. In the school of ‘hard-knocks’ many of us have learned to walk around with a chip on our shoulder, or a pain in our heart, that invariably manifests in an attitude of self-pity. Some people give off the aroma of ‘the victim’. But most seek the reward of the victor. That is to say that they let everyone know somehow what incredible trials they have endured yet still have ‘faith’.
This is a subtle thing and it keeps many people in a bondage that Jesus came to free us from. It is the same bondage Jesus rebuked the hypocrites of when they disfigured their faces and looked dismal so as to be “seen by men.” Jesus told us: “they have their reward” (John 6:16).
Again this may appear as a harsh comparison but it is not a stretch from the principle Jesus was teaching. Many of us do, inadvertently, seek a form of ‘the praise of men’ when we let everyone know how great our affliction is. We even couch it in spiritual terms because we believe that God causes or allows affliction to build character in our lives. But if character is defined as ‘how well we can hang on through trials’ I am missing something. I see defeated Christians everywhere, all of them thinking that they have ‘faith’ because they have not given up on God despite the harsh ‘trials’ they are enduring. (No condemnation, been-there, done-that.)
Self-pity does have a certain gratification to it. And the seeking of pity from others is a temptation common to man. It does have a ‘reward’ but it doesn’t really feel good. For some it becomes a certain kind of comfort, a familiar place. In the secret place of many a heart, that lonely feeling of self-pity can become a place that feels secure. If you have been there then you know what I mean and you know that it is a lie, a false place of comfort. It does not really feel good.
I am not saying that Christians should not comfort and encourage one another. I should not even have to say that. You know I am talking about something else. I am talking about a lifestyle of self-pity. I only have the right to speak on this matter because I have often camped there myself.
And I discovered these truths: no one really feels sorry for you in the way you want, they have enough trouble of their own; the ‘comfort’ we get leads only to an addiction—it is an empty hopeless place and it requires no faith!
This is why I say that God does not pity us, nor is He moved to answer our prayers out of pity. It would only feed an addiction and bondage that He came to free us from. When Christians pray with the thought that God will somehow respond to them out of pity for the adversity they are experiencing, they do not understand the power available to them in Christ. When they pray with the thought that somehow God will relent and take the trial away, they are presuming that God has sent it in the first place.
This is a subtle but real place many Christians live. It is as though God might finally see how hard life is for them and come to the rescue. “Can you hear me now?” The temptation then becomes to build a case with greater evidence of ‘need’ till God comes through. This is actually building a case against God. It is certainly not building a case for faith.
I have had many experiences where God has come through. He has rescued me more than once. But that is not where I want to live, always in need of rescue.
When my children were little they would sometimes fuss for a thing that was within their own reach.
I could end this article here, with that thought. But I want to take a moment to teach on faith. Faith is not something we have to conjure up like some magical thinking that moves God to respond with a desired result. Faith is an attitude of heart that results from being convinced that, in Christ, we are positioned for all of the blessing God has for us. It is already within our reach.
Faith is not something we must do, it is something we have, we own it when we have Christ. It is a fruit of the Spirit. When we walk in what we ‘have’ we walk in the spirit and not in our own understanding. The promises of God are, simply, ours to possess.
When Hannah and I went to Andrew Wommack’s 2007 Minister’s Conference in Colorado, I spoke to Andrew about my desire to be back in ‘full-time’ ministry. He encouraged me with the verse in Romans 11:29 where Paul writes, “God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable,” in other words, I could expect that my ‘calling’ had not changed in God’s eyes. I responded with words that revealed my poor understanding of faith at that time. I said, “I know, I’ve just got to believe that.” He responded with words that revealed his level of faith, “What’s to believe? It’s true!”
Faith is a condition of our hearts, a ‘place’ we come from when we approach life with all its trials and adversities. It is convinced that God is for us and it takes His word at face value. It believes God. Faith is more than ‘hanging-on,’ it is more than belief that He exists. It makes Him happy to know we trust Him and that He ‘rewards’ our faith and trust (Hebrews 11:6). Faith says, “What’s to believe, its true!”
Rest assured that God sees and understands the pain and tears that life brings our way. But when you come up against the inevitable trials of life, don’t give in to self-pity, search the scripture for a promise of God that relates to your need and tell yourself, “What’s to believe, its true!”
Self-pity is the antithesis of faith.