I often get stuck thinking about what I cannot do. I think everyone has those moments and I get there more often than I would like to admit. I was reading and praying this morning and I had a few minutes of asking God to intercede for me and I got stuck listing why I was not able to do the work(s) He has called me to do. After a few minutes of listing all the weaknesses, faults, bad circumstances, and impossibilities, I was confronted with this question, “So What, Josh?”
If you have walked with Jesus for any period of time, you realize how the Holy Sprit answers our questions with questions. It was a line drawn in the sand, if I believe God asked me to do something should I do it, despite the impossibilities? The Christianese answer is, “Yes, your obedience has your next blessing!” While it is true, we often misinterpret blessing.
I was about 3 years into ministry and I was a youth pastor at a location in California. With the advice of wise Christian leaders and answers to prayer, I felt God told me to resign and go. I had so many questions and too few answers to make an educated decision. I kept hearing how my jump of faith would find me caught in the arms of Jesus with great blessing at the end. So, I jumped! I resigned my ministry position, moved in to my parents house with my wife and our one daughter, and began to look for work, ministry, opportunity, just about anything.
Three months later and with offers like being paid for ministry with fresh fish in Alaska, I could not get a real job to save my life. I felt helpless, hopeless and despair began to hit me. Why? Well, I had a notion that Jesus catching me, blessing me and seeing me through meant money in the bank account, fulfillment in my career or popularity and opportunity. Can those things happen and will they? You bet, but Jesus catching us in our faith jumps means more than the material. It was at my lowest point where I could not see much light ahead, that I write this in my journal.
“God, why is it that you see to my destruction and humiliation? I know I deserve nothing, but I am desperate and have nowhere else to turn!”
Like a lament psalm I got real before the Almighty God, and I then wrote this down a paragraph later:
“Josh, Your blessing, fortune and progress is solely based on the calling I have for you. You are so busy seeing what you cannot do or accomplish that you are missing the table I have set before you.”
This was 2002, and the crux of the story is that my mom was dying of cancer and I thought she was coming out of it. I finally settled down stopped searching endlessly and spent time with my mom, I repaired relationship with her and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was in the valley of despair, and fearing all evil, until I woke up that day and I was introduced to the table set before my enemies (Psalm23). My marriage was rocky, credit was broken, my finances demolished, my gifting/calling was hibernating, and my closest friends silent. Oh, but that table! Once I recognized who set it up, who put it all together, I focused on the mission at hand, my mom, my marriage and my family.
Soon after that I was back in ministry and repairing the temporal things, but having a restored and shame free perspective to being in the waiting room. Perhaps you are in the waiting room, you are looking for the blessing and missing the table set before you. All you hear is, “You Can’t Do That!” and I pray that you can answer, “I sure can’t, but He can!”
Marriage is not about getting out of your comfort zone to make your spouse happy. It is about becoming one flesh, and that alone can be uncomfortable for both. Happiness is about self-fulfillment, and when one spouse spends time and energy on happiness, it can create a void in the relationship. What about when both spouses strive for the happiness of the other, it may seem to be the right motive, but something will still be missing. Happiness is subjective and is not a proper motivator for a marriage.
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Mark 10:6-9
The act of “becoming one flesh” is something that happens to the couple through submission to God and each other. When we submit to God, the process of “one flesh” begins and can be a fun and incredible journey. Love is the sole motivator for a healthy marriage and happiness can simply be a periodic byproduct of this love. Love is action-based and not an emotional response or feeling like happiness is. One of the most dangerous questions one could ask a married man or woman is, “are you really happy?” and ironically it is a common question asked when infidelity is being presented. Watch any Lifetime movie with an affair in the plot and that question is bound to be asked. When answered honestly, any spouse can admit at some point in their marriage that they are not happy.
Love always gives while lust always takes. One spouse cannot give happiness to the other, but they can give love. Becoming one flesh comes when we lay our lives down for the other, for example, giving up our preferences for the sake of the one we love. There is no way to cover the many ways we allow the “becoming one flesh” process, but specifically, couples should communicate their spiritual journey with Christ.
As a couple grows spiritually as individuals, the key is to share the details with each other. As communication of spiritual growth, decline or battles become more common in the marriage, the stronger the bond between the couple grows stronger. You literally build spiritual character together. For my wife and I, we each grew up in Christian homes and believed the same things about God. The spiritual maturity we each possessed was different, our moral compasses slightly different and our ability to be tested spiritually were different. Why? We each grew up under different circumstances, and so our marriage started with varying differences that could either pull us together or drift us apart. We chose to be submitted to God and each other, and we grew together, our becoming one flesh helped us build spiritual maturity together that no man can separate. Your spiritual growth is both individual and plural. I am not suggesting an unhealthy co-dependancy, but I am suggesting fortifying marriages with spiritual growth that both husband and wife own together with Christ at the center.
John 15:15 is an interesting passage and often the subject of modern Christian apparel and vernacular. Jesus is my friend! I love that aspect about walking with Jesus, but let’s remember that Jesus said this to his disciples at the end of His ministry when they walked through a discipleship process. I would be robbing God’s people if I told them that “Jesus is your friend” right after they gave their lives to Jesus without letting them in on the discipleship process.
John 15:12-15 tells us:
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
The discipleship of Jesus was a process and a tough one at that. Jesus instantly had his disciples working from the start of the relationship and challenged the first disciples in Matthew 4:19.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
A key to the process, follow —> make —-> fishers of men. In other words, our obedience affords the creation process of who we are supposed to be. The word “make” in verse 19, is the same word from Genesis 1:26.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Jesus told a group of Jewish males that if they followed Him, Jesus would CREATE them into what they were not. He would do the impossible in and through them. I love this! As believers, we are created into this status of a child of God, but the only way to be a child of God is to follow him. We need to drop everything and surrender to him. This is the discipleship process, and it is never easy, but only God can do the creation aspect of this relationship.
You remember the Jesus is my homie movement? Then came bobble head Jesus that said yes to just about everything. Jesus is not my homie; he is my King and Savior. Jesus can call us friends when we have heard from Him and obeyed (vs. 15).
I want Jesus as my friend because I want to do the will of God. Otherwise, we only want a ticket to heaven or at least an escape from hell without the road of discipleship that God wants for us. When we follow Jesus, we submit our authority to Him, and He then will make us (create us) to be more like Him.
His love for us is so deep and goes to all lengths to meet us where we are at, but as cliche’ as it sounds… He does not want to leave us there. Jesus no longer called the disciples servants, not because they stopped serving, but because they knew the plans of the master. Servants never know the plans of the master, friends know and do the plans of Jesus.
I was asked why certain posts had Daily Reading on them. These posts are based on my own personal time each morning, although it may be from days passed.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21
This verse begins a heated debate that did not even exist 20 years ago in the mainstream Christian church. While I will carefully break down why homosexuality is a sin at another time, it is important to realize that all sin against God has a beginning. Futile thinking has a monopoly on secular society and I fear that we, the church, have become futile in our efforts to bring light to the darkness. Again, another topic for another day. This morning, I intend to simply provoke us to honor God and thank God and the importance of this position in our lives.
The Apostle Paul tells us the slippery slope possible when we do not honor God or thank him. Paul is not referring to a single individual here, but like any study, what applies to a group can often be boiled down to individuals. First, let’s break down thanks and honor. Honor is not a thing you do first thing in the morning and then go about your day; rather, it is a daily commitment to live your life in a way that reflects the love of Jesus. Honor is a loaded word and I think a quick biblical study will show how we truly honor God.
What Does It Mean To Honor God?
Verb: δοξάζω (daxazō) – to praise or glorify
It always means “to have or to give a share in”. 1 Plain and simple, to honor God is that He has or has been given a share in your life. This is not just words we express or a confession, but an active lifestyle that God would be honored by. So while it seems that Paul may be saying the futile thinking came because they did not thank God each morning and then honor him when we scored a touchdown by pointing up, it is deeper than that. It really describes the relationship aspect, and this small word study should then be attributed to our other relationships that call for honor (parents, spouse, children, leaders, etc.)
Daily Challenge: Wake up every morning, thanking God and setting a course for honoring (give it to Him, sharing with Him in it) Him throughout your day.
1 Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 253.
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish – Romans 1:14
In Christian circles, we use the word “call” often and just like the word love, grace, mercy, worship, and Christian, these words can start to lose their power in the English vernacular. The Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome and telling them how he desired to visit them. He then defined what we refer to as a “call” as an obligation.
Challenge yourself to substitute the word “obligation” for “call” each time. It will have a significant impact on your life and the choices you make. We may even be slow to designate our calls and ask God to confirm all the more. The word obligation is much less ethereal. It means something of a formal contract, an action required by promise or vow. The original Greek describes an obligated as “debtor.”
When God calls us to something specific, it becomes an obligation. Much like when we consider debt, we still have the choice to pay the debt or avoid it, but it is a debt just the same. This can be difficult to process when we think of the grace of Christ, but the grace and mercy have more to do with relationship than occupation. You see, Paul experienced the full grace of Jesus, and now he is under obligation to reach the Gentiles so they can experience the same. The call of God is by no means a grace-filled journey, your relationship with Jesus is. The call can be rough; it can tax us beyond what we can handle, and this is because we cannot do it on our own. The obligation is a partnership between Jesus and you, where Jesus carries the heaviest weight, making our burdens light.
I was reading from John 9:1-6 last week and something hit me about Jesus, his work ethic. I have read numerous books, articles and opinions on the work week and the knowledge input are coming out of my ears on how to strategize my day (by the way, I will add to that overload at some point). Notice in verse 4 he says
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. – John 9:4 ESV
Jesus was speaking to his disciples openly about the coming of the crucifixion and that his earthly ministry was here and it was time to work while He was still on the earth. He then mentions that the night is coming when no one can work. Jesus set a deadline for the work. While I would love to reflect on life balance and how Jesus even knew the limitations of time while on earth, there is something even tinier here we could miss. The blind man was a setup!
Jesus told his disciples that this man born blind was not so because of sin, his parents or anything except the will of God to show the power of God. Here is verse 3:
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. – John 9:3 ESV
Boom! I almost read over it as I have done for years, pull it out for a cool sermon that God is in control and even suffering can be for the glory of God, have an altar call and move on. Then I got stuck on work aspect. You and I are called to work the harvest, and that is not just salvation of the lost, which is really good.
So you walk into work one day and your boss tells you to walk around the building and take inventory and everything with a green sticker is yours to take home and do with as you please. There is the one person who will hunt down every green sticker making sure they get what is theirs to take. Then there is the person who walks around and convinces themselves that boss is selfish and there is no green stickers and does very little of anything. Then there is the one person who comes in, prioritizes the inventory task and is sure to be detailed enough to check for green stickers as the job is accomplished. Who is the good employee? I would venture to say the third one is.
When we are confronted with the opportunity to God’s work, we have the choice to 1. seek the opportunities that bless us the most right now 2. take on an attitude of false humility and do little work at all 3. Do as Jesus asked of us and get blessed along the way.
The blind man was a setup, a freebie of sorts for the disciples to see the power of God. Our job is people, not a passion! The disciples would have easily overlooked the blind man since he was that way from birth and the impossible was overshadowed by their belief that the blind man did something wrong. I do that all the time; we do that. Jesus is not asking us to go out into the world and find out who is worthy of freedom, just offer it to all. God has setups (opportunities) for us not to use our power but to see God’s power to free others. May you be encouraged to set the captives free!
I always marvel when I read the part where Jesus says:
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23
In my earlier walk with Jesus I took it to mean that the Christians who were not as serious about God as me would have a ghastly surprise waiting for them. I now realize that at the time I thought this way, I was possibly one of the many who would have heard those words had it not been for the grace of God.
I just sat with my family tonight and we chatted about the Garden of Eden as an illustration of shame and guilt. I have one particular child that will bend the truth at times lately and once called on it, will duck in pure shame. It made me want to hug this child and convince her that she can overcome it right now and it will be gone as if it never happened. However, I know that she beats herself up instead of confessing truth and feeling free, she will often hide in the shame and anxiety.
So many Christians, myself included, will set standards of what we see as godly and feel a sense of satisfaction when we make the standard. However, we are just as likely to beat ourselves up and feel so guilty when we fall short of that standard. In the past, I would often emulate the leaders over me as best as possible (which is just fine depending on your motivation) and set that as the standard for myself. I would beat myself up terribly when I fell short of these man-made expectations and only learn to meet them again versus gain a deeper understanding of the grace God had for my life. I had to read a certain amount of Bible each day, pray a certain amount of minutes or hours, memorize a certain amount of scripture, write so many songs in a given time, etc. I lived this way for so long that at some point in time, I forgot why I even wanted to live this way.
My life was based on shame and guilt, the kind that Adam and Eve experienced and pursued in the Garden. I felt shackled to an ideal which in retrospect was purposeless because it was devoid of a true relationship with Jesus and based on a system of penance. If you have ever traveled the world, especially in the Middle East, India, South East Asia, you can witness the religions of the world that set standards of holiness that are impossible to meet. Millions of people constantly falling to their lofty ideals, living in a dark and depressive state that they hope will break into great hope. Christians can often live the same way! We go to church, pay our tithes, serve like crazy, do our devotions, raise our families as godly as possible, but within these life choices there must be the choice to partake of the tree of life versus the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (I will call it TKGE from now on for the sake of hand cramp)
The TKGE is a choice to live a life of the victim which hurts you and others around you, it causes you to hide in shame, cover yourself and run from blessing and freedom. The tree of life is a choice to live a life of innocence and freedom. Here is an example: Brad volunteers as a lifegroup leader at his church and he decides to lead a marriage group. Gary at the same time decides to lead a marriage group as well. Brad and his wife do date night every week without fail, do most of the Top 10 Happy Couple stuff and most would say have a good marriage. Gary and his wife do date night every week without fail, do most of the Top 10 Happy Couple stuff and most would say have a good marriage.
Brad and his wife have the group at their house and begin the time with their testimony and share what they believe the secret to their marriage is and have some books for everyone that they believe will change everyone’s marriage. Gary and his wife have the group at a coffee shop hoping the group will grow and they open up with questions for the other couples and listen to all the testimonies of the group and then hand out a book they believe will help with their time together as group regarding marriage. Brad and his wife, discuss the evening and remark over how many seemed to just not get it after a few weeks and how their group is shrinking. They keep saying to each other, “we have the answer to their marriages if they would just listen and change”. Gary and his wife marvel over the diversity of their group and they purposely find a common thread in all the godly marriages, after a few weeks the marriages that really need help come for help not just to Gary and his wife but to the other strong couples as well. The group grows so fast that they need to split up to make it a personal and engaging.
You see the difference between the two groups of leaders? It is subtle in real life, from the outside they both look the same and seem to have a similar goal in mind. The Brad group is the TKGE group while the Gary group is the tree of life group. My intention was not to teach anyone how to lead a small group but take any advice you may from it. My intention is to point out that our motivation should always be out of love for one another, out of care and concern. So many times we mask our desire to bring a critical spirit or judgement as CARE and CONCERN. Jesus was the pure picture of the tree of life, and in Matthew 5 we learn so much about real relationship with Jesus.
I believe that who Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:21-23 is the one who lives by the TKGE and not shallow Christians as some would like to believe. He is referring to the religious, shame based person who goes to church but has never been free. Never mistake personal holiness as a license to bring shame on the masses around you. Let us turn away from the TKGE and partake of the fruit of the tree of life. We can be free, free indeed!
Wow! I had a great time sharing the word with our Wednesday night crew at Christian Life Center and glad I could spend some time in the front of house this week. God has really been working on me as far as grace for others and taking off the coat of shame and despair. All I can say is that I am still a work in progress! Here are my notes from the evening and some of my content from tonight is not down on paper because… well, God gave me more to say than my paper allowed.
I want to talk about two words today: sanctification and grace
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:10 MSG
Have you ever prayed the prayer: “God do whatever it takes to make me more like you!” In some form or fashion many of us have, but do we really mean it? How about the prayer “God your will be done in my life whatever it is?” Do you know what you are praying?
What Are God’s Tools?
I guess the better question is, what are not God’s tools? God never utilizes shame, regret, or false hope to shape your life and purpose. NEVER.
He uses Bible, Prayer, Circumstances and the Church to shape you, but even more so GRACE. God uses grace to shape you, to teach you, to hold you up. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Grace is who God is!
I believe the attribute of grace is one of the most difficult to grasp when it comes to the things of God, we understand the head cheese of it all; however, God wants us to imitate Him in all things including grace.
Read the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor in Matthew 18:21-35
See, what the one who was forgiven by the king did not understand, was grace. You see forgiveness is a big issue, of course, but the root of any sinful characteristic in any of us can be destroyed and demolished by GRACE. If we walk in the grace of God and extend it to everyone around us, we find things like forgiveness, restoration, praise, obedience, giving, sacrificing … all simple compared to carrying the attribute of grace.
You see Christ died on the cross for the remission of sin or so you can be forgiven and so he could set you free, but for even more. He died and rose to BEAR YOUR SHAME!
I find it so much easier to accept forgiveness, do good things and carry on a decent relationship with Jesus, but it is when he takes my SHAME that I am truly walking in GRACE!
Grace is not a license to sin!
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age Titus 2:11-14 NIV
What is Our Mission?
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Jude 21-23 ESV
In order to do the good works God has for you, you have to allow God to chisel stuff away. The works God has for you are out there waiting for you, pre-ordained. Why? Because it has nothing to do with me and you! The call and works that he has for us have everything to do with Him and if ordained them then who are we to doubt the outcome.
Why did I show the video tonight? Because I believe that God has called us!
Our Mission: I am not the only Masterpiece God has made, I am called to pursue other Masterpieces of God with Grace and Diligence.
What better way to communicate the love and grace of God to others than this illustration we saw today. When you are in the coffee shops, the retail locations, workplace and gatherings, see people as God’s Masterpiece. We can get emotional about what we viewed tonight and really feel compelled to allow him to chisel away at us, but I would be failing if I did not challenge you to pray for the same in our brothers and sisters in Christ, those who are not walking with God.
My prayer is that our eyes would be opened to not just the darkness of the world around us but the beauty in God pursuing the one sheep who is running around all alone.
Share Your Story!
I remember when we first got married and how I wanted to find something wrong with Heather’s testimony, she had to be as wretched as me.
God’s grace doesn’t just rescue you from a life engrossed in sin. It also keeps you from it. And God doesn’t just receive glory when He has to completely remake a ruined life. He’s just as glorified when someone commits themselves to purity and a holy life, and by God’s grace sticks to it. – Steve Furtick
See the truth is I simply wanted to feel better about myself by finding a way for my spouse to live in the same shame I lived in. What! We do that all the time. We compare, we put levels to sin and we create false success markers in our lives based on the standards of others.
When we walk in the full grace of God the shame is gone, and it is no longer a competition to see who is closer to God! It is a relationship with Jesus so intimate that you have to share your story, the Holy Spirit lives in you and overflows so much that you cannot help but share your story.
Be A Tool of God
You see a hammer and chisel were illustrated as tools of God, and just like a hammer and chisel can build something wonderful, it can also tear down, break and kill. Often the things we see as tools of God have the same potential: to build up or to tear down, break and kill.
When you we find ourselves holding the hammer and chisel in our hands, choose to build up!
During a time of prayer and fasting in early 2012, I was radically changed by a simple phrase. “Stop being critical” and I realized that was a deeper issue than I could admit in the past. A critical and religious spirit can be difficult to deal with, especially if it is you who possesses it.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29 ESV
When reading Ephesians 4:29 I always referred to it as anything verbal we commit to. We need to remember that Jesus pointed out that if we hate someone, we commit murder (Matt 5:21) or if we look upon someone with lust, we commit adultery (Matt 5:27-29). With this in mind we do ourselves a biblical disservice by not guarding our thoughts as much as our words.
At our church, we are about to start a new series called “That Guy” and the first message is about critical people. I will not steal any thunder from my pastor on this topic, but I really wanted to just write some thoughts about having a critical spirit. In recent years I have had some waking up to do and God clearly brought me out of what was some serious legalism in my ministry focus.
The Early Church
The big test for a critical spirit comes when our non-essential theology is challenged. I love how the leaders of the early church made rules and philosophy, they made boundaries as far as sex, idols and the life of Christ but did not push their customs or personal preferences. Peter had his own struggle when going to visit Cornelius (Acts 10), a Gentile, but God had other plans. When Peter was confronted about what was good to eat, he questioned it but quickly communicated the message to his brothers.
There were Jews who supposedly converted to Christ but ran around the known world preaching a legalistic message, a fusion of OT Law and the new grace through Christ. This proved to be toxic! A Critical Spirit is toxic to everyone around it and we must be diligent to avoid possessing it. A critical spirit blinds us to the plan of God around us.
Let me first say this very clearly, we ALL struggle with criticalness at some point. However, a critical spirit is the next level, it becomes what one is characterized by. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- When I look at other believers, am I comparing them to me?
Comparison is an evil game that puts you in the loser position, all the time! It is one thing to look up to believers who have a proven walk with God and emulate them as far as character and wisdom. It is wrong to look at other believers to find fault and find ways to show you are better than they are.
So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. 1 Corinthians 4:16 NLT
Besides, when we compare we are placing ourselves as judge and we just read what judging does for us all. This is not a license for believers to tell their brothers and sisters in Christ to lay off the advice and concerns they may have. We are called to keep each other accountable.
- When I pray for others, do I lift their sins and shortcomings as if God did not know?
Prayer is the most important communication we have with God, but we can often make it a personal gossip session. Don’t get me wrong, if a believer is committing clear sin and they are not convicted about it, pray they see and their eyes would be opened. DO NOT make that the power of your prayer for them, pray deliverance, victory, strength, obedience to God, blessing as God sees fit. When we focus on what is wrong with everyone, we tend to easily feel good about ourselves and get puffed up with pride.
- Do I struggle when others are blessed with an answer to prayer I have been praying for personally?
Ok, that was wordy! Do you celebrate the blessing and success of others even when you are still in your holding pattern for an answer? I remember years of ministry where I would see my peers see blessing and success in ministry and I would struggle with it because I was waiting for my breakthrough.
Let’s lay this out very clearly, our jealousy in these moments fuel a critical spirit and can damage relationships beyond repair; furthermore, it robs you of your blessing. Instead, see at as a clear picture that God is in control and you are just “working in line” for your breakthrough.
The worst is when the leaders of smaller churches instantly call out larger church leaders because they must be doing something that compromises the gospel. This is SO toxic and only hurts the smaller church.
They must have made a deal with the devil to grow a church that quickly! As for us we will never compromise!
For some churches that compromise can be technology or type of preaching, membership criteria or just about anything. If you find yourself saying or doing this, stop, before it consumes you.
- Do I give, serve and praise because I feel you have to?
This happens for many of us who grow up in church. We give because we fear we could become like those who do not, we serve and praise because it makes us feel loved, important and in the eye of those who can propel us forward. Wow, I know, this was a low blow.. it is true. The problem here is this stems from a religious, critical spirit and eventually this will cause burnout and a downward spiral spiritually.
- Am I bitter around new people, leaders and believers who have influence?
Do you find yourself down when you are around new staff at a church? Maybe you have tried to get close to a new attender and they kept you a at a distance and have flocked to others instead? You heard the church was hiring for a position and you and your peers start to think that you are perfect for the position. You never get considered, and worse yet they hire outside the church. Pride is hard to root out and often pride is fuel for a critical spirit. You will be hurt by people, because people hurt people. This does not give us license to hold on to bitterness and most of the time we cannot see the bigger picture.
There is so much more I can write on the topic, but hopefully this provokes a self-check. Have you struggled with being critical or have something to share on the topic? Go ahead, would love to hear from you.