Self-help is man's way, let's follow God's Road Map for life!
Every Shepherd Needs a Sheepdog
The bible often refers to a pastor as the shepherd of the flock (church). I love this language as it gives me a very simple way to picture roles in the church. I grew up in the midwest, on a farm. We farmed nearly 2,000 acres of corn & soybeans. Had several hundred cattle, a couple hundred hogs and several chickens. Although we didn’t personally have sheep, I spent much of my time working at our neighbors farm that did. I want to share with you today a revelation that the Lord showed me about shepherds and their flock. By far, the shepherd is the most important role when we talk about the church or the leading of the sheep. The shepherd is a role of patience. Our shepherds need our prayers daily! When I look at a larger sheep farm/ranch like our neighbors, there is another important member of the group. That member is the sheepdog. In church terms the sheepdog would be the evangelist or better yet, the equipping evangelist! Before I lose my pastor friends that read this, let me say that the sheepdog is an no way more important that the shepherd. The shepherd has the rod of authority. He can tell the flock what not do and what not to do. The battle for the shepherd is that if he pushes to hard, the sheep tend to move on to greener pastures. That’s where the sheepdog comes in… On occasion when the flock needs to be pushed or moved quickly to a safer destination (salvation), the sheep dog comes barking and moves the sheep. This subject is a book in itself, but let me give you some observations about shepherds and sheepdogs. As the body of Christ, I think all of us act as a shepherd or sheepdog whether we are paid staff or not. *A shepherd can survive without a sheepdog, but the work and stress is much harder than he expected without a sheepdog. *A sheepdog cannot survive easily without a shepherd. It’s too hard to keep yourself fed and sheepdogs need affirmation and encouragement from shepherds. *Shepherds can’t see themselves as a sheepdog. *Sheepdogs can’t see themselves as a shepherd. *Shepherds often don’t agree with the methods of sheepdogs because the shepherd feels they push too hard & too fast. *Sheepdogs cannot fully understand the methods of a shepherd and wonders why they don’t bark. *A flock ran by only shepherds will lose the sheepdogs because the sheepdogs feel like they can’t contribute. *A flock ran by only sheepdogs will eventually lose the shepherds because they’ll feel that the flock isn’t being nurtured. *A sheepdog will bark, push and move the flock out of their comfortable space, then the shepherds can step in and nurture the flock at their new pasture. *A shepherd will comfort, encourage and strengthen the flock daily and the sheepdog will round up those who need the shepherd’s care. *A shepherd’s biggest cause of stress is the sheepdog. *A sheepdog’s biggest cause of stress is waiting for the orders to round up the flock. *A sheepdog’s biggest motivation for what he does, it to help and please the shepherd. *A shepherds biggest motivation is to make sure it is a safe place for the flock. *If sheep never experience a sheepdog, they will become comfortable and complacent. *If sheep never experience a shepherd, they will become paranoid and legalistic. These are a just some observations of shepherds and sheepdogs. As I wrap this up, I want to caution my church brothers & sisters. Be sure to have both shepherds and sheepdogs in your church. The two can coexist! I’ve seen successful churches in which the Sr. Pastor is a sheepdog, but he surrounds himself with many shepherds to care for the flock. It can be done, but the balance needs to err on more shepherds. I think the best model is to have a lot of shepherds with a small amount of sheepdogs. The pastor is the head shepherd with his rod of authority ensuring the flock is strengthened, encouraged and comforted. He keeps the sheepdogs under his authority as not to create an insecure or paranoid flock, but uses them regularly to ensure the flock doesn’t become comfortable and complacent!
Does God Reward Initiative?
Why are so many Christ followers "Waiting on God?" Is it biblical to do so? If it is a discipline we should apply to our lives, when do we wait and when do we take the initiative and move? Does God only reward waiting? Does God reward when we take the initiative and move? This has been a struggle for most of my life, do I wait or do I move? From my observation, I think the majority of Christ followers are prone to wait more often than to move. I'm not here to condemn anyone by saying that one is better than the other, but I hope to shed some light on an observation that I recently was made aware of in the scriptures. 1. Waiting - I don't need to spend all my words on waiting. Waiting is a biblical concept (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 27:13-14, Lam 3:25, Psalm 37:34, and the list goes on and on). I think it is important to note that the actual phrase, "Wait on the Lord" appears only 3 times in the bible. All three times it appears in the Psalms 20:22; 27:14; 37:14. The word wait appears 106 times (KJV), waited 34, waiteth 11, waiting 8 times. I think it is clear that with many life changing decisions that we face we are to wait. 2. Initiative - Since David coined the phrase "Wait on the Lord," I want to take you to what is likely the most famous story of David's life. Let's go to the story of David in Goliath in 1 Sam 17. When we read this story, many times we glance over it because it is familiar, but I want you to read verses 31-37 you will see that David took the initiative to fight Goliath. Without a doubt, it was David's idea to go fight Goliath. We all know the ending of the story, God rewarded David's initiative! 3. Observations - (a) David's initiative was aligned with God's will. When Goliath was talking trash, David decided it wasn't acceptable and rose up in opposition to him thus taking the initiative. Proverbs10:32 (KJV) This was an example of David's great faith in the Lord and his willingness to stand for righteousness as a follower in Christ. (b) David humbly took initiative. Some would say David was cocky in his approach, but before moving, he respectfully volunteered as a servant. (c) David knew that it was God who delivered him and God who will deliver him again. So here's the answer - God rewards us when we take the initiative, if our initiative lines up with God's will! I want to encourage you today... If you have a ministry idea that is driven by the thought to take the gospel to all nations (Mark 16:15), don't wait... go! If you want to write and you intend that your writing will help others know God... start writing today! (Psalm 46:10) If there is a non-profit on your heart to start, join or donate time/money to that will bless the widows, orphans and the poor (James 1:27)... don't wait for a sign from God! If someone needs encouraged, don't ask for permission to encourage them (1 Thessalonians 5:11). I someone needs prayed for, it is unlikely that the heavens will open up and a beam of light will fall on them indicating to you it is ok to pray for them... just pray (1Timothy 2:1)! It's time for the church to stop waiting for signs and wonders from God before we move! The church needs to know God's word, know God's will and to take the initiative so we can fulfill God's will on earth! I'm convinced that the most common attack the enemy uses on us is distraction but the most powerful attack he has is man's ignorance to God's word!
Remember What You Have In You!
As I write this tonight, I feel prompted that someone reading this needs reminded. Someone reading this needs a simple reminder of the power that is given to us by the Holy Spirit! 1. The Holy Spirit gives you power to be a light to the world! Acts 1:8 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 2. The Holy Spirit will empower you to keep the truths of scripture close to your heart! John 14:26 6 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 3. The Holy Spirit is part of you wherever you go and whatever you do. It was not a one time visit, He dwells in you. 1 Corinthians 6:19 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 4. The Holy Spirit gives you the power and skills to deal with the troubles of this world if you let Him. Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 5. The Holy Spirit empowers you to speak up for God, to physically and mentally heal those who need healing. Luke 4:18 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 6. The Holy Spirit is here to comfort and direct you. If you listen, He will guide you. If you wait, He will show you the way. John 16:12-15 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. 7. The Holy Spirit is everything, for without it we are nothing! (Read #6 again)
The Problem Of Suffering
What is the problem of suffering? As I write this, I am reminded of the times of joy and the times of pain and suffering I’ve endured in my life. I am reminded of times of financial blessing and times of financial difficulty. I am reminded of times in my life that I felt like I had more attention and love than I deserved. And I’m also reminded of times I have felt alone and abandoned. Does this sound like your life? I think we’ve all gone through seasons of testing, suffering, joy and happiness. The question is why? What does it all mean? What did it mean for Job? Whenever I’ve felt overwhelmed, I read Job. Job makes me feel like my circumstances are not so bad. Job lost his wealth, children and health in the same period of time. Job had all this happen to him even though he was known as a man of upright character and a man who loved God. I’ve learned a lot from Job and what he taught us about the problem of suffering. As I sometimes do, I’m gonna give you the end of this blog first. The problem of suffering is that it gets our focus distorted and sometimes even destroys our focus away from what’s important. Let that sink in for a moment… When you have financial difficulties, do you focus on loving God and spending time with Him as much? Do you really focus on Him and thank Him for what he’s doing as much as you do when everything is going well? When things are going bad do you ask God, “Why are you allowing this to happen?” Or do you say, “If I’m in this situation for the rest of my life, I’m still gonna follow You!” As I mentioned earlier in the scripture of the day, satan attacked Job’s motives. Satan believed that Job worshiped God because of what God gave him. Satan said that Job, was faithful and obedient to God only because God was good to him. Many believers today love God when everything is going well. Deep down we all know that when adversity strikes, our faith is really measured. After much suffering, Job finally had a breaking point. After Job resisted his friends continually telling him that his suffering must be caused because of his sin (sometimes that’s true), Job finally broke! Job 19:6-21 6 then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. 7 “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. 8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. 9 He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. 10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. 11 His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. 12 His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent. 13 “He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. 14 My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. 15My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. 16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth. 17 My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. 18 Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. 19 All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. 20 I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. 21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. Job’s focus was on God, but it was distorted. Job was feeling that God was causing his suffering. God was allowing the suffering, but not causing it. God was deepening Job’s faith. Up until the suffering, it appears that Job’s life was picture perfect. Job basically asked God “Why are you doing this?” God answers Job in a very tough way as seen in verses 38:1-41:34(you got to read this!). Needless to say, Job was put in his place. Then in 42:1-6 we see repentance from Job. 1 Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” As soon as this was done, Job is blessed again (42:12) It was when Job said, “I don’t get it, but I trust Your motives and Your ways” that the curse was lifted. This tells a lesson that we all know in our hearts… We need to keep our eyes on Him. The key to enduring suffering is to trust God for who He is, not for what He does. Job’s focus was distorted. When he had too much suffering, he began to question God’s motives. We must always remember Isaiah 55:8-9 when we are tempted to question God… 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As we wrap this up, remember that the problem of suffering is that the enemy uses it to distort or destroy our focus. We worry about the “why” instead of anticipating “what” He will use this situation for in the future. Almost every time that I have endured suffering, sometimes I learned a “why.” Sometimes the “why” came immediately, other times I didn’t discover until years later. There are some “why’s” I still don’t know and that’s OK! The difficulty is waitingfor the “why” to appear. Don’t get discouraged, simply remember that patience is one of the fruits of the spirit! God does it on His time because His ways are higher than our ways! The “why” sometimes can only be answered when you see “what” He did with the situation and “what” He was shaping in you during the process! Here are a few tips to move through suffering… 1. PRAY!!!! 2. Ask if there is a sin issue present, if so… REPENT! 3. Ask “Am I being attacked because I am a Christian?” (remember satan did this to Job & he was righteous) If you are, pray for STRENGTH. This will only deepen your relationship with God if you keep your focus! 4. Get around other believers who will walk with you, pray with you, listen to you and love you! 5. Declare your faith in Him and His ways. 6. Wait patiently for him to show you a “why” and then wait to see “what” He’ll use it for! 7. Take the advice from Job 37:14 Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.
Is What You're Trusting In The Right Thing?
In a world where materialism is the norm, we chase “stuff” and at the same time we forget who’s the source of it all. What are the things you are trusting in? Do the things that you place your trust in make you angry or disappointed? What does God say about the choice you are making with your trust? Below is a short list of the things we sometimes place our trust in and what God has to say about them. We place trust in our money (economy) - Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” We trust that having material goods will make us someone special – Proverbs 30:8-9 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. We trust in our retirement/savings – Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. We trust in the president (or other elected officials) only if we voted for them – Romans 13:1-2 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. We trust that everything will be fair – Psalms 37:7 & 16 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. We trust that our good deeds will make sin count less against us than others – Jesus paid the price for our sins. That means everyone, not just you. We are called to forgive as we were forgiven. We are not to condemn. God is the judge. It is not about our works or deeds but by faith alone in which we are saved. Good faith produces good works that come from pure motives. We trust that our tax dollars will be used how we want – As a believer, we believe that the words of the bible are from God and are true… if that’s the case, we know that it’s not our money but rather it’s God’s. In summary… Mammon calls for our trust, and so does God. What God are you choosing to follow? Two final verses to wrap it up. Philippians 4:11-13 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Luke 14:33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Do You Recognize The 9 Early Warning Signs Of Being Disconnected With God?
Being disconnected from God is something that we all should fear. To me the fear of hell isn’t as much as the pain and punishment, but it’s being permanently disconnected from God and His love. We are surrounded by God’s love on earth… can you imagine it being completely gone? So how can you tell if you are becoming disconnected from God while you are on earth? 1. You don’t hear the Holy Spirit quite as clear as you used to. Just like a friend, spouse or relative… if you don’t communicate with them, you forget what their voice sounds like. (John 10:27 Rom 8:9 2. You start to doubt what the Holy Spirit showed you in the past. Many times we become wise in our own eyes and begin to doubt the truth that was shown to us by the Holy Spirit. Other times, our doubt consume us so much that we do not receive what God wants to give us. (Proverbs 3:5-8 James 1:5-8) 3. You no longer want to listen to other believers, you only want your opinion to be heard. God speaks to us by His voice, His word and through others. When we act as if we “know it all,” we subconsciously tune God and others out. (Proverbs 19:27 Proverbs 12:15) 4. You “forget to pray.” When I talk to people about their prayer life, I am shocked to find that they rarely pray once per day. God wants us praying continually to Him. It should be just as often as a husband and wife in a healthy relationship would talk on a Saturday when they are both home. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 Ephesians 6:18) 5. Your time with God is done by a schedule only (usually Sunday). Spending time with God should be something that is part of your day… every day! For more clarification, read #4 again. 6. You don’t read the Bible for yourself, instead you read everyone’s opinions on the bible. Today, it is easy to get caught up in listening to the opinions of man instead of allowing God’s word to speak to you. A litmus test for you is to ask yourself… what do you read more than anything else? If His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, we need to know it like the back of our hand. (Joshua 1:8 2 Timothy 3:16-17) 7. You feel like you are getting more and more distracted! Satan’s favorite and yet most subtle attack on our relationship with God is distraction. When you feel overwhelmed with things that don’t seem spiritual… pull back and move toward Him! The enemy is trying to get you to take your eyes, ears and heart off of the Lord! 8. You tell yourself, “I love Jesus… But I don’t like the church.” If we are to be like Christ, then we need to love what He loves. Jesus loves the church, the church is you and I. The church is made of imperfect people. Jesus loves imperfect people. So should we. Read more about why on my blog page on Church Health –> here <– and help “The Church” be healthy again. 9. You’re not open to the possibility that you could be wrong… especially with your theology or interpretation of scripture. We have many blog posts that address the danger of pride. When you approach God in a prideful, intellectual or omnipotent way… you have placed yourself in opposition to Him. James 4:6 BONUS #10. When you read this list, several of your friends came to mind, but you didn’t! The more we know about sin, the easier it is to see it. The question becomes, “Do you see it in yourself or in others?”
The Daily Dozen For Believers
As a believer in Christ, what do you use to coach yourself? What questions do you ask of yourself to stretch you? Are you asking yourself questions? Here is a list of a dozen questions that I use for myself to stretch and grow me in my walk with Jesus. I hope that they help you grow in your walk. 1. What can I do today to glorify Him? 2. How can I give others the same things that God has given me? (grace, love, prayer, forgiveness, etc.) 3. Will I walk in love with believers and non-believers today? 4. How can I associate with those in lower positions than I today? 5. Will I/Am I forgiving others as I have been forgiven? 6. I love others as Jesus loved me today? 7. Who should I pray for that I need to be praying for, including those who don’t believe or those who wouldn’t pray for me? 8. Am I praying all of the leaders that are over me? (and who do I need to pray for?) 9. Have I been operating from a position of pride lately? (and how can I break it?) 10. Am I spending all the time with the Lord that He deserves? (how can I make the time?) 11. Do I wait on Him, or am I making decisions with my flesh? 12. Do I listen to Him when His voice, His word or His people are speaking to me?
On Dealing With Fears In Life...
We all have fears from time to time. Why do we fear? So what do we fear? How do we prevent fear from creeping into our lives? What does God promise us? 1. We fear when we don’t feel comfortable according to the world’s standards. God’s promise – John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 2. We fear when we think that God might pass us by or forget us. God’s promise – Hebrews 3:6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. 3. We fear when we believe that others can interfere with God’s plan for our life. God’s promise – Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” 4. We fear when we feel we are weak and fail. God’s promise – 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 5. We fear when we think that we are alone in our circumstance. God’s promise –Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” How do we make fear go away? 1. Fear goes away when we stand firm in the Lord. Proof – Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 2. Fear goes away when we ask Him to be with us. Proof – Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 3. Fear goes away when we remember he is with us. Proof – Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 4. Fear goes away when we allow His love to invade our life and when we love like Him. Proof – 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 5. Fear goes away when we remember that He will answer our prayers when we are in trouble. Proof – Psalms 102:17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea. Bonus on dealing with fear… Worship! Worship melts away all negative emotions! Psalms 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
What's The Truth?
What’s the truth? In a world filled with differing opinions, many find it hard to distinguish the truth from a lie. So what is the truth? Below is a list of 7 truths the we as believers must keep tucked away in our hearts and proclaim with our mouths. Truth is so important to internalize. Satan’s favorite trick is to distort the truth and make man doubt God’s word and character. Without knowing the truth about God, we can fall for “the trick.” John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 1. God will never lie to you. Numbers 23:19 19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? If He said it, He will do it. Remember that His timing is perfect, even though it may not be the same timing as ours. (Titus 1:2 is another good example of this) 2. Jesus is the only way to heaven. John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. It is not by our good deeds. It is not because we are good people. It is only by believing, receiving, accepting and obeying. As time moves on, some claim to know the way… if Jesus isn’t the answer, it’s a lie. The truth is that Jesus is the ONLY way! 3. The Bible is the true and complete word of God which will stand forever. John 17:17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth John 10:35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. Beware of teachers who don’t speak of sin. Depending on the version you study, “sin” appears between 400-500 times… I think we should talk about it. Sin isn’t the only subject, my point is that we shouldn’t add, delete or change God’s word to mean something different than what God has said or is saying. The bible is God’s road map for our life. If you have a map and cut it into 100 pieces of paper, then randomly pick one of the pieces to get to your destination… it won’t work! The bible is no different! 4. God calls us to submit… ALWAYS! James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Romans 8:7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Yield to Him at all times. Don’t force things in the flesh but wait on the Lord with patience. Listen and obey how He directs you. 5. We are called to repent, not just confess! Lev 5:5 1John 1:9 James 5:16 Prov28:13 John 20:23 Do not get caught up in saying you screwed up… fix it by repenting. Confession will not guarantee salvation but repentance does. 6. Being a lukewarm christian is disgusting to God. Revelation 3:16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! If you are lukewarm for God, neither hot nor cold… ask for forgiveness and beg for transformation. This must be fixed… 7. Suffering happens and suffering can destroy our character. The problem with suffering is that the enemy tries to use it to distort and destroy our focus. What you can’t do when suffering strikes is question God by asking “Why?” Instead we need to ask God, “What will you use this situation for in the future for your glory?”
Something That Could Change Our Chaotic World
Today I want to address something that is crippling our society. It’s a topic that I’ve wrestled with many times in the past… The topic is submission to authority. I want to specifically address political authority as that has been my biggest struggle in the past. Some people may wrestle with a boss, parent, teacher or other authority. God’s word is clear on how we are to respond to all authority. I stopped wrestling with my struggles in authority when I realized what God wants me to do with it… I will start by saying that I am not writing this to endorse or to speak against a particular politician or political party. I have had public officials that I didn’t vote for disappoint, and the ones I’ve voted for have also let me down. So what does God call us to do with our elected officials, or with any authority in our life? 1. Recognize that God placed them – Rom 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. If we are to take God’s word as if it “IS” God’s word, we must accept that all authority is established by God. If God establishes those that are in power, who are we to allow the decisions of those in charge to upset us. One could use the argument that he is losing “his” money to a poor tax plan, but God’s word says that the money we are entrusted to isn’t ours Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. As I look at myself I ask the question, “When I complain about who is in office, am I telling God that He doesn’t know what He’s doing?” 2. Love them – Mark 12:30-31 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” This may be the biggest test of the church in the end days… loving those who do wrong according to the bible. Only God can condemn and judge. We all are guilty sinners, every one of us. God’s love changes that, we need to show it to others too. 3. Pray for them – 1 Tim 2:1-5 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. We are called to pray for everyone, from our enemies to our leaders. Instead of calling them the devil, pray for the Holy Spirit to invade their life. Instead of praying them out, pray for them to be blessed. Instead of assuming their motives, pray that they have a kingdom mindset. 4. Speak of them as you want God to speak of you – How do we shine the light of Jesus when we verbally and publicly attack those who do not uphold the same values as us? More times than not, we Christians destroy the salvation of others because sometimes we are such unwelcoming people to those that don’t think like we do. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Based on this, aren’t you glad that God still welcomed us even though we don’t think like Him? I know that God is doing something new in our nation and around the world. He’s in control. He knows what He’s doing. He will get the glory. But, He wants us to cooperate with Him. The goal is souls… what would happen if we prayed without ceasing for the hearts of our leaders and they genuinely change and become an ambassador for Christ? It’s up to us! 1 Peter 2:13-17 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
Do You Really Submit? (part 2)
Today we will be continuing on the subject of “Do you really submit!” If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s message, you can do so -by scrolling to the post above. I want to begin the discovery of some specific things that God has called us to submit to. So without further delay, here we go. 1. God calls us to submit our minds and our thoughts to Him. Romans 8:7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Is your flesh governing your mind or is God? James 4:7 says toSubmit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Our battles with the Devil always begin in our minds first. A simple test to see if your mind is submitted to Him is to keep a count of your thoughts about yourself during the day and then keep a count of your thoughts about Him. Who wins? We should always be thinking about how we can glorify Him and how we can advance His kingdom. 2. God calls us to submit our actions to His word. James 1:22-25 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Is the bible “pretty good in theory” to you, or is it your road map for your life? So how do you submit your thoughts and your actions to Him? a. Get in His word and know His word. There is no blog, no book, no teacher or pastor that will ever be a substitute for the word of God in your heart. b. Remove the junk in your life. If Jesus was sitting next to you, would you watch the same shows on TV that you watch now? Would you listen to the same music, read the same magazines or talk the way you talk? Even though you may not physically see Him, He is there. c. Pray without ceasing!
Do You Really Submit (part 3)
Today we bring you the third installment of “Do you really submit?” If you didn’t catch part one or two you can do so by reading the two posts above this one! As we continue, I just want to recap on what has been covered so far… We are called to submit our thoughts and minds to Him. We are also called to submit our actions to His word. So let’s look at a few more things that the Lord wants us to submit to. 1. Our stuff – We are not to be slaves to our stuff. Having a lust for our stuff means that we choose the world over God. I believe that God is OK with us having nice things. However, if you obsess over having stuff, you are falling in love with the world and falling out of love with God. God’s word is clear, it is the world or Him. Rom 1:25-26 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. James 4:3-4 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 1 John 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. God’s road map for dealing with our “stuff” is to serve others, do good deeds and be generous! 1 Tim 6:17-19 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 2. Our plans – Making plans and setting goals is not wrong. In fact it is biblical as we will show you on July 1st, 2012 (shameless plug)! The satisfaction of achieving your goals is so much more fulfilling if you set your goals around His will first! Many times we get the idea. After the idea it turns into a desire. Once we desire something, we “have to have it.” Then we ask God for it. When we do this, we are simply praying to God so He can do our will. This strategy is disobedient to scripture. Eph 5:17 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. We are to pray to God “Your will be done.” Seek His will first and then plan according to His will. Col 1:9 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. James 4:13-17 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. 3. Ourselves – When we submit our stuff and when we submit our plans to the Lord we allow Him to control us rather than the world. When we submit our minds and our thoughts to Him, we begin to see things from His perspective. When we do the above and then submit our actions to His word, we begin to submit ourselves to Him. This seems obvious, but I myself have submitted in these areas and yet didn’t fully submit myself to Him. By submitting myself to Him, I mean allow Him to use me for whatever He wants without a fight from me. I’m not a scholar or theologian. I’m not an experienced author. But I do have some messages that the Lord has planted in my heart. Out of obedience (submission), I write. Out of respect for His plans for my life, I will obey… No matter what, you will get used by God. You have the choice to be used by God like Judas or Paul. I believe that someone reading my words right now is facing a decision to submit, or to run your personal plan by yourself in your way. For you who reads this, I say “SUBMIT.” His plans are to prosper you. His plans are not to harm you. His plans are to give you a hope and a future!!! Jer 29:11
3 Things That Will Push You Toward Pride
I’ve heard it said before that pride is the parent to all sin. Pride seeks to flaunt itself, but also to hide itself. Pride is something that is easy to see in others but not easy to see in ourselves. Pride and being prideful is something that God opposes. The difficult thing for those who wrestle with pride is that they rarely know when they are operating from a prideful heart. So what does God say about pride? Out of the many references in scripture about pride, the following two always stick to my heart… James 4:6 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 16:18 18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Our best protection from becoming prideful is to be aware of the things that can fill us with pride. Below is a short list of the things that can happen in our lives that I’ve noticed can open the door to pride creeping in our hearts. 1. Success – When you have a lot of personal, business or financial success… the temptation is to think that you did it yourself. When you start to take all the credit for your successes in life, you’ve opened the door for pride to creep in. 2. When we are last – It’s easy to see the temptation of being prideful when we are successful, but it’s just as easy when we are not successful. When we are in last place, the temptation is to envy others. Envy often turn us to despise those who are always doing better than us. When we despise others, we compare ourselves to them. When we engage in the habit of comparison, pride steps in. 3. Saying “I” too much – Have you ever been around others who clearly show you that their favorite subject is themselves and what they do and don’t like. You might not even ask them of their opinions… but you’ll get them regardless. Many know the story about how Lucifer became Satan. To summarize, Lucifer became prideful. Let’s look at the words he used before God opposed him and cast him out of heaven… Isaiah 14:12-14 12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” I was used 5 times. It also supports #1, satan thought he was doing things on his power and not with God’s. In summary, we risk becoming prideful when we’re doing well, when we’re doing bad and when we’re thinking about ourselves. That about sums it up! We always have a risk of pride creeping into our hearts. How do we prevent these three things from letting pride take over? Prov 4:23 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 1. Remember that He and He alone is your source. Every breath we take is because He allows it. Without Him we are nothing. 2. When you are in a rut, follow Prov 3:5 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding 3. Be selfless and not selfish Phil 2:4 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Confess Or Repent? Invite Jesus Or Accept Him?
We’ve all heard that we should confess our sins. Nearly 75% of the United States calls themselves a Christian. Did the 75% simply confess they were a sinner and received salvation? Some denominations rely heavily on confessing our sins to the pastor or priest of the church to ensure they are right with God. Nowhere in the bible does it say that a imperfect man can guarantee us salvation. Other denominations consider someone is “saved” when they “confess” they are a sinner & accept or invite Jesus into their heart. As David Pratt once said ever so bluntly, “Should we be concerned that no such superstitious prayer is in the New Testament? Should we concerned that the bible never uses the phrase, Accept Jesus into your heart or invite Christ into your life?” As Mr. Pratt says, we must give people the full picture of the gospel. Yes, God is a Father who loves us but He is also a Judge that can damn us. So if confessing to others is not the way and saying a prayer isn’t just it, then what’s the formula? The answer is really a combination of everything above. The answer is a continuous circle of five things 1. confess 5. obey 2. repent 4. give 3. ask * The five things represent the continuous pursuit of the life of a true believer. These five should never cease during our pursuit to be like Christ because we are imperfect people. To set holiness on our theology and to live it out, these 5 things are critical. 1. Confess – We are called to confess that we are a sinner. We are called to confess that He is Lord. We are called to confess that we are nothing without Him. We are called to confess our humanity to one another and ask for prayer. (Lev 5:5 1John 1:9 James 5:16 Prov28:13 John 20:23) 2. Repent – Confession alone is not enough. We are commanded to repent of our sins. Repenting of our sins is saying “no more.” When we repent, we turn away. When we only confess without repentance we are saying to God, “Yeah I did it, so what… I’m gonna do it again. I wanted to make sure you knew I did it, and I wanted to make sure we’re both aware that it’s gonna happen so nobody is surprised.” First of all, He already knows you did it. Secondly, almost everyone can confess to anything if there was no consequences. Think about it, is it possible to not lie ever again? Is it possible to not ever curse again? Is it possible to not have sex outside of marriage again? You and I both know the answer is “yes.” Is it also possible to become weak and screw up? We also both know the answer to that too. My point is this, if you do slip and screw up confess and turn from it. It may take a few falls and a failures. If your heart is to turn away from it and to not do it again, you can overcome with the help of a loving God. (Acts 2:38 Hebrews 10:26 Luke 13:3 2Corinthians 7:10) 3. Ask for help from God (the Holy Spirit) and other people for the things you struggle with. (Psalms 121:1-8 Phil 2:4 Gal 6:2 John 14:26 Acts 1:8 1Cor 2:13) 4. Give God permission to hold you accountable. Give God permission to correct you. Give God everything you’re holding onto. You should also have Godly people in your life that can hold you accountable and correct you. (Heb 4:13 Prov 27:17 Rom 14:12 Luke 17:3 Jer 17:10) Now because you’ve repented, you are forgiven… now you want to obey! 1 John 5:3 ESV For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 5. Obey (John 14:15 Deut 4:39-40 1John 5:3) When we confess and repent of our sins, ask for help from God and others combined with giving God and others permission to speak into our lives… we catch obedience and are pleasing to God! Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Why Do We Get Afraid?
Why do we get afraid? God didn’t design us to be fearful of anything in the natural. God designed us to have a healthy fear of Him. The key to that sentence is the word “healthy.” He wants us to be afraid of not being pleasing to Him. God wants us to be afraid of His perfect justice. And, we should always be afraid of not being with Him. A healthy fear is not being so afraid of Him that we keep our distance from Him. A healthy fear is not seeing God as only a rule maker and the enforcer of the rules. Healthy fear is doing the right things in His eyes so that we do not place ourselves at distance from Him. Healthy fear is fearing being apart from God. When you understand the love that God has for you, when you catch the fact that He’s obsessed with the idea of your eternity being spent with Him… you will be afraid of not being with Him and treating Him as He deserves! The challenge with being afraid of the right things is that we get too consumed with being afraid of things on the earth. When we’re afraid of the things God didn’t intend us to be afraid of, it distracts us from fearing the things about God mentioned above. What I’ve noticed about fear on earth is that it usually presents itself when we don’t keep our eyes fixed on God. Here are a few of the reasons we become afraid… We become afraid when we believe the lie that we’re are alone in our circumstances. Isaiah 41:10 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. God didn’t design you to believe the lie that you are alone! We become afraid when we stop seeking Him. Psalms 34:4 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. God wants our primary focus in life to seek Him every day and in every way! We become afraid when we chase the desires of our heart instead of bringing our requests to Him. Phil 4:6-7 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. God wants us to include Him in our lives by listening to and taking His advice! We become afraid when we are prideful and try to handle everything ourselves. 1 Peter 5:6-7 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. We are designed to use God as our counselor! We become afraid when we are consumed with gaining material things instead of spiritual food. Luke 12:22-26 22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? The material things of this earth are temporary. When you are getting consumed with always having the newest and best… you’ll find fear creeping into your life! We become afraid when we stop hoping in God’s perfect plans and feel sorry for ourselves when we don’t get what we want. Psalms 42:5 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. God’s word for you today is to stop being afraid! Trust Him! Be humble! Submit to Him and His ways. Go to Him for wisdom and understanding and the enemy will have no authority to use fear against you. If the enemy can’t use fear to direct your life, you will discover everything God has made you to be. When you discover everything God has made you to be, you will do things on earth that will outlive your life! Proverbs 3:5-8 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
The Keys To Hope
As I thought about what message I wanted to type today, I felt that today is the day I wanted to address the word hope. Hope is simple, yet complex word. Hope can encourage us and sometimes our hopes disappoint us. As simple as hope may be to have, I think God gave us some guidelines on our hopes. These guidelines can protect us, strengthen us, encourage us, grow our faith and grow our relationship with Him. When I hope for things, I sometimes tread the thin line between hoping, and thinking I know everything that God has up His sleeve. I know that that isn’t the case, so without delay, here are the keys to hope… 1. Hope must be packaged together with patience Rom 8:25 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Often when we are hoping for something (especially in the USA), we expect it to happen right now, or at least within our personal timeline. Patience gives you strength Isaiah 40:31 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. 2. Hope must be in God and not the thing we hope for. Psalm 39:7 7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. We can’t get caught up in the thing we want but we must get caught up in the God we serve. There have been times in my life when what I was hoping for didn’t happen. During those times, my prayers were selfish. A powerful way to pray is to tell the Lord that you will be OK no matter what happens. I call it the door prayer… “If this is the right thing, open the doors and open them fast and shut the doors anywhere else so that I don’t get distracted. If this is not what I need, shut the doors and shut them quick so my eyes are not distracted with it. And Father, lead me to the open door that is your will.” His timing is perfect, ours isn’t. His ways are best! His thoughts are not like our thoughts and our ways are not like His ways Isaiah 55:8. God wants us to trust that He knows what is best for our lives even though it might not line up with the desires of our heart. Remember, Jeremiah 29:11? 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. When we hope for something, we will quote this scripture to ourselves to justify what we want. The part we forget about is that it says the plans “I” have for you. They are His plans and not ours. 3. Pray, pray, pray! Romans 12:12 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Our internal negative tendency when we hope for something is to pray a few times for it to happen. Our prayers become like a checklist of demands “until” it comes true. Keep praying while giving God permission to do His will on the situation. As a bonus, praying will increase your patience! 4. Even if you believe God will deliver, don’t expect it. Place your hope in His will… Wasn’t there a prayer in the bible that says something like “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” Proverbs 10:28 28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. 5. Don’t minimize what God can do Mark 9:23 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” ANYTHING!!! 6. Remember that our God is a God of hope. Romans 15:13 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 7. Don’t forget to praise Him for what He’s doing. Psalm 71:14 14 But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Even when we don’t see it, God is hard at work. Romans 8:24 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 8. REMEMBER As you hope and trust in Him and His ways… you will be blessed! Jeremiah 17:7 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
What Does Temptation Do?
Temptation is an urge to sin, and we’ve all been tempted. Many times in the bible temptation is described as being “tested.” Tested in the Greek is “peirazo.” Peirazo means to tempt or to put to the test. When Jesus was approached by Satan in the wilderness, the word peirazo is used. Many times in scripture, peirazo is used to describe the harassment that the Pharisees directed toward Jesus. Because of this, I am going to go out on a limb and declare that temptation and testing are very similar to one another. I believe that temptation is simply testing. So what is temptation testing in us? Temptation is testing the quality of our faith! As mentioned earlier today in 1 Corinthians 10:13 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. When tempted, we can choose to doubt God and His promises by giving into the temptation or we can believe Him and His promises. No matter what the temptation is, our response to overcome the temptation is the same… 1. Pray. Follow Jesus’ example and pray against the temptation - Matt 6:13 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matt 26:41 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 2. Wait & Listen – 1 Cor 4:5 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. The enemy love to distract us, as I’ve said before… I think it’s his #1 attack. Many times we are tempted as a distraction that will keep us from hearing God’s will. 3. Submit – James 4:7 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Examine yourself. Is there areas of your life and/or your heart that you’re holding onto or that you haven’t totally submitted to God? Is God calling for submission in that area now? 4. Obey – James 4:17 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. Enough said! In closing, temptation tests you. It tests your faith. It will test your character. It tests your habits and your decisions. We always think that temptation is satan’s idea. If you remember in Job, God “allowed” satan to test Job because God wanted to refine Job’s character. Job was tempted by His friends to find blame for his condition. Remember that even people of good character like Job are tested. The result of Job’s testing was his unconditional faith in God. It was when Job said, “I don’t get it, but I trust Your motives and Your ways” that the curse was lifted! (Taken from the problem of suffering) God will purify your heart if you will stand up to and resist temptation (testing)!
The Two Most Subtle, Yet Destructive Words You Could Say!
I hope I caught your attention with the title. What I want to share with you today is very serious and very important to me. Everything that I write is a lesson I have learned or am still learning. What I will share with you today is a personal battle that I’ve fought against for a long time. The two words that I want to share with you can destroy your relationships. These two words can destroy your career. These two little words can rob a leader of his/her title. And these two words can take a great church with a lot of influence to a small church with zero influence very fast. As you probably know, the actual words aren't the problem, rather it is the context in which they are delivered and the heart behind them. Nearly everyone gets caught up in saying these words. Most times, these words get used to take the focus off of us and our imperfections. The two little words I am talking about are “I KNOW.” Think about yourself for a moment… how often do you say those two words? Maybe you don’t say the exact words but you probably use a variation of them. If you’re like me, I would guess that you say them more often then you’d like to admit. Most of the time when we are saying “I KNOW,” someone is trying to help us, change us, or teach us something. Our internal negative tendency is to agree and say “I KNOW,” or a variation of. Here’s the problem with that… if we really knew and put into action what we say we know, we wouldn’t be having the conversation about the issue in the first place! When I get caught up in responding with a version of “I KNOW” to someone else… my response was often rooted in arrogance and pride. I didn’t want to admit I was wrong. Other times, I did “KNOW,” I was simply too lazy to apply what I knew. So how can the words “I KNOW” be destructive as the title suggests? 1. “I KNOW” is usually a symptom of arrogance and pride, putting you in opposition with God. Here’s a few examples of what God has to say about pride Prov 16:5 Prov 29:3 Prov 11:2 Prov 26:12 Prov 16:18 Prov 25:27 Prov 8:13 Prov 11:12 2. “I KNOW” will push those that can help you away. When I was a sales trainer years ago, I had sales reps who faced struggles. Some reps pulled out of the slump and others never did. Many times the slump was due to lack of activity or a specific skill set that needed refined. When the sales rep was coached on the lack of activity, the answer almost always was “I KNOW” from the reps that never pulled out of the slump. When the sales rep that didn’t pull out of the slump was coached on a specific skill set, the answer almost always was, “I’M ALREADY SAYING/DOING THAT.” As you can guess, they weren’t already saying or doing what they should have been saying or doing. They did “KNOW” what they were supposed to do, or did KNOW but chose to not do it. The end result was failure that was rooted in pride. The attitude and the heart of the sales rep made the trainers not want to help them because advice was falling on deaf ears. I KNOW will push those that can help you away! 3. “I KNOW” will destroy your career. If you are not the boss, you will have a difficult time submitting to authority. If you are the boss, nobody will want to work for a know it all who doesn’t listen to feedback! 4. “I KNOW” will take a great church with a lot of influence to a small church with zero influence very fast. To save space, just read points 1,2 &3 again because it applies to a church. Beyond those 3 points, I will add that a church with a “I KNOW” attitude will tend to have leaders that are not submitted to authority. When church leaders are not submitted to authority, the congregation tends to have little submission to the leadership of the church. 5. “I KNOW” will ruin your relationships. We’ve all heard the saying, “Nobody wants to hang out with a know it all.” I would add, especially your spouse and children! A few years ago, when I attacked this issue in my heart I found a list called “Signs of Pride.” I do not know who to give the credit to for the list, but I hope it is as revealing to you as it was to me? SIGNS OF PRIDE 1. Insecurity. Research reveals clergy as one of the most insecure of all professional groups. Insecurity is the root of many unhealthy and ungodly behaviors. It provokes us to want the lavish praise and attention of others too much. Much of pride is motivated out of one’s unmet need for self-worth. Finding one’s identity and security in Christ is a must to avoid pride. 2. The need to be right. Ever encounter someone who has a hard time being wrong? This is a symptom of pride. The need to be right prevents one from appropriately evaluating issues as well as themselves (Galatians 6:3). A person who needs to be right has an exalted investment in himself or herself and thinks that he/she knows better than others. In religious circles, the need to be right is frequently manifested through always saying ‘God told me’ or ‘God showed me’. 3. Being argumentative. Individuals, who argue their point of view, especially to those in authority over them, are allowing pride to get the best of them. At the root of their argument is a belief that they are right and the other is wrong and that their will should prevail. It is appropriate to advocate for a point of view or position but not to do so in such a manner that you are more invested in your opinion than in arriving at a mutual understanding. 4. More invested in being heard than in hearing. When someone develops a pattern of needing others to listen to them rather than first hearing others, pride is motivating the need. The need to be heard is common among clergy who are insecure. Oftentimes, the individual does not feel loved or valued unless people “hear them out.” In truth, this is often just an expression of insecurity and pride. 5. Anger. Anger is a self-justifying emotion. This means that the nature of anger is to prompt us to justify our position and blame another for the wrongdoing. Justification of self leads to denial of our own complicity or wrongdoing. The scripture warns that the “anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20). An individual who is angry a lot is suffering from pride. 6. Irritability and impatience. Even though I am a counselor, it was only recently that I learned that the root of impatience in my life is anger and therefore pride. When we are unable to be patient with another and are irritated, it demonstrates a haughty view of self. We feel that our views, time or needs are more important than the other persons. This again is more an indication of our pride than someone else’s slow movement or imperfection. 7. Lack of submissive attitude. Submission is the voluntary placement of oneself under the influence, control or authority of another. When an individual pledges their submission to you or another, yet is critical or argumentative of that authority, then pride is the hidden issue. The test of humility and submission is being able to say ‘yes’, maintain a positive attitude and trust God, especially when the decision of your authority goes against your grain or better judgment. 8. Not easily corrected. Ever work or live with someone who won’t receive any negative or corrective feedback? This too is pride. Before he died, a pastor in the East Valley was noted for being easily entreated and able to receive corrective feedback from others. He would thank the person for the negative feedback and commit to pray about it, seek counsel and get back to the person with what conclusions he came to. He was a role model for many of us. 9. Receiving correction but not changing. I worked with a man who often would receive my correction and say thank you for the feedback, but would never change. This too is a form of pride. The individual was placating me and people-pleasing me, telling me what I wanted to hear but not really taking the feedback to heart. His insecurity and fear prevented him from truly changing. 10. Needing others to take your advice. Counselors, such as myself, easily fall into the trap of having to have others take their advice. Advice should always be offered without strings attached. If you find yourself resenting the fact that your advice is not followed, look deeper at the motivating issues in your life. 11. Needing to proclaim your title or degrees. A good friend of mine requires everyone to call him ‘pastor’, saying that he has deservedly earned the title. Demanding that others call you ‘doctor’ or ‘pastor’ or ‘bishop’ is usually a way of making you ‘one up’ and them ‘one down’. Once again, pride is fueling the requirement. 12. Being stubborn. Webster’s dictionary defines stubbornness as “unduly determined to exert one’s own will, not easily persuaded and difficult to handle or work, resistant.” The root issue of stubbornness is willfulness, which is ‘I want what I want when I want it’. Another name for pride. 13. Comparisons and competition. 2 Corinthians 10:12 makes it clear that comparing oneself with others is unwise. Comparison is a form of competition. It is often overt. For example, emphasizing the size of one’s church, the number of converts, etc. However, it can also be the subtle sin of heart that inwardly grieves when another is more successful or rejoices when another pastor’s ministry enters hard times. The motive of heart is pride. “I KNOW” is subtle, yet destructive! Remove that phrase from your vocabulary. Most importantly, remove the pride and arrogance from your heart that causes you to say it!
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