Christian Humility

C.S. Lewis stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” A good thought to dwell on for most Christians who, I am afraid, often spend a lot of time not only thinking about themselves but talking about themselves.

I believe humility is an essential quality for anyone who calls themselves a believer. And, a definite must for any Christian leader. In his book “Good to Great,” Jim Collins called this “a compelling modesty.” He write:

“We were struck by how the good-to-great leaders didn’t talk about themselves … When pressed to talk about themselves, they’d say things like, ‘I hope I’m not sounding like a big shot.’ It wasn’t just false modesty. Those who worked with or wrote about the good-to-great leaders continually used words like quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated, did not believe his own clippings; and so forth.”

As a person of faith, I see humility as making the everyday choice to credit God for my blessings and to credit others for my successes. How would you describe it? Pastor Rick Warren said, “Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.” 

No matter who you define humility, know that it means three things. First, you possess self-awareness and can criticize yourself. Second, you are confident and comfortable enough that you don’t feel any need to draw attention to yourself. And third, you revel in the accomplishments of others and are eager to help them shine. 

Proverbs 15:31, 33 states (English Standard Version) “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honour.”

The Passion Translation states it this way: 

“Accepting constructive criticism opens your heart to the path of life, making you right at home among the wise. The source of revelation-knowledge is found as you fall down in surrender before the Lord. Don’t expect to see Shekinah glory until the Lord sees your sincere humility.”

Humility is the key to wisdom and understanding. It is key to growing in the Lord. And, it is key to being a good believer and a terrific leader. Not to mention, being a good friend to others and having solid friends who will stand with you through life. 

The Room

I was recently in another province in Canada ministering and the leader was encouraging the people present to “enter into worship” as the music was beginning quietly in the background. The people were settling in and she commented and encouraged everyone present to enter into the worship that was starting.

I had a “God thought.” Many people enter the room called ‘worship’ but never engage in or embrace worship. They stand and sing, they sit and watch, they read, talk, or snooze. But, they never truly worship. So, ‘entering into worship’ is not enough. One must actively engage in and embrace the time of worship, the songs being sung, and releasing the love that is in your heart for the Lord. 

Worship is part of our relationship with the Lord. And, we need to be all there when we worship. Our minds cannot be running all over the place – we need to be focused. Our hearts must be pure and focused as well. And, our only agenda must be to honour the Lord and glorify His Name. Then, we do all this with enthusiasm and zeal and we have entered in as well as engaged and embraced.

The same is true for any relationship. I had just left and was heading home Sunday when I received an email from a young man who lives in the same city. He had just discovered that I was in his city and was wondering if he could have coffee so he could ask me a number of questions that were heavy on his heart. This is a person who has travelled overseas with me in the past but in the last eight months or so I have not heard from him and had little to no idea what he was doing or even where he was. He is not attending any of the churches I work with in the area. 

He entered into the room called ‘relationship’ but never connected, engaged, or embraced the relationship that was available. A relationship involving discipling or mentoring which might have reached friendship stage had he invested. I am sure that for him it does not seem awkward or strange to be connecting and asking for time with me and help from me in spite of having no contact for two-thirds of a year. In my mind this is not ‘a relationship’ even though he would most likely say that he has a relationship with me.

It is the same for any ‘friendship.’ You can enter the room marked “friendship” and not engage or embrace the friendship that is available. To embrace a friendship means to invest in it – time, effort, emotion, involvement. Friendships take time, effort, and a major investment of an individual’s personhood. 

So, a good “friend” of mine has not contacted me or even spoken to me in over seven weeks. No answers to a personal email that was sent. Texts are ignored when sent. His texts to me are few and very curt and business-like when there is one. I ask two or three times for information I need to continue to minister effectively in his church… He is disengaged in the ‘friendship’ and apparently not investing much time and effort. But, then he reappears and acts like everything is good and nothing is amiss. It’s not. 

To enter into worship, a relationship, a friendship means more than entering the room. We must invest ourselves in these relationships. We must value them enough that we stay connected and involved in building and improving the connection between us and them or Him. Passive does not work. Silence can be and usually is misinterpreted. We must be actively and regularly engaged doing so with enthusiasm and energy. Otherwise we have simply entered the room and not embraced the reason we chose to enter. 

Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)

The word “violent” here means to have zeal, not be passive, be enthusiastic, engaged, anticipating, expectant… Without being this you cannot “take the Kingdom” or truly enter into Kingdom activity. The same is true for worship, relationships, and friendships. Passive just does not work.

Bigger on the Inside Than the Outside

As a believer there are two sides to our life as we walk with Jesus. The public and the private sides. These two aspects of the Christian life resemble the two parts of a tree. One part you see: your public life in the church and in your world is like a tree’s truck and branches. That’s the part that bears fruit. However, who the believer is in private is what can’t be seen, like the tree’s roots. If the roots are shallow, the the tree won’t survive. Drought will dry it up. A storm will knock it down. But if the roots are deep, the tree can thrive in almost any circumstance.

What does it mean to develop deep roots as a believer? It means having strong character. What kind of character does a believer need to have? Good character demonstrates four characteristics:

1> Integrity … this is the alignment of your values and actions. You know what is right and you do it. Integrity has consistency. You know what is right and wrong and not just what is good and best. And, you do the right thing every time. The second definition has to do with decision-making. Believers do the right thing, even when it’s hard, even when it is not best for them personally. They put others and especially the Church ahead of themselves.

2> Authenticity … A Christian should never pretend to be someone they are not. Believers don’t have to be perfect – just open and honest with others. This can be a real struggle for many believers. They want to meet other people’s expectations and so can be tempted to compromise their beliefs and standards. To be a good example as a believer, you need to acknowledge who you really are and be willing to let people witness and see your authenticity even if it means not meeting their needs. It is difficult to be a people pleaser and be authentic.

3> Humility … This is an essential quality for any believer who hopes to have influence with others and truly represent Jesus to others. I see humility as making the everyday choice to credit God for my blessings and to credit others for my successes. Rick Warren said, “Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.” No matter how you define humility, know that it means three things:

A> You possess self-awareness and can criticize yourself
B> You are confident and comfortable enough that you don’t feel any need to draw attention to yourself
C> You revel in the accomplishments of others and are eager to help them shine

4> Love … the final character quality to embrace as a believer in order to have strong character is love. You must care about people. You must respect them. You must value them. People can always tell when you don’t, and that creates an instant disconnection that short-circuits influence and impact.

So, when we are looking inside we need to see integrity, authenticity, humility, and love. If these are the roots of the tree (our life) then there will be fruit and the fruit will be good fruit.

Some Won’t Believe

I am always amazed when I read the Gospel of Matthew. Right near the end of the gospel, the resurrected Jesus appears once again to His disciples. This time they are on the mountain and Jesus is about to ascend into heaven. Mathew records the reaction of the disciples when Jesus appears to them…

Matthew 28:17 “The moment they saw him, they worshipped Him, but some still had lingering doubts.”   (The Passion Translation)

Hard to believe that after numerous appearances to all of them, some of them, and even a few one-on-one, some could still be struggling with doubts. 

But, it should not surprise me, I suppose, as Jesus even told us this would be the case. John records the words of Jesus…

“The words I speak to you are Spirit and life. But there are still some of you who won’t believe.”        (The Passion Translation)

Here Jesus apparently is prophesying what Matthew would later record. That some of those who heard the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom and even followed Jesus – seeing Him raised from the dead – would simply never come to fully believe and give Him their complete obedience and allegiance. Doubt would defeat them.

Well, the same is still true today – some are not fully convinced that they should give Him 110% holding nothing back. There are many who say they believe in Jesus. However, they don’t live like they do. They are not applying God’s Word to their life style – their words, actions, attitude. They are not obeying the Scriptures. Remember, Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will obey Me.” So, although they confess to follow Jesus and that they believe in Him, it would seem that they don’t. After all, when it comes to the Scriptures, you only believe what you have applied to your life. It is always much more than mental assent – it is heart transformation leading to total obedience. “But some doubted.” 

Jesus says that, in Matthew 7:24 “Anyone who hears my teaching and applies to the his life…”

Application is the key. Living what you say you believe … And, if you don’t, maybe you don’t really believe. Some won’t really believe. Jesus prophesied it. They will know God’s Word in their mind but not be applying it or living it from their hearts. They will doubt and allow those doubts to sidetrack them.

I recently spoke with a graduate engineer and we got around to talking about the age of the earth. His area of engineering is the study of the earth’s surface. So, his scientific approach and his university education taught him that the earth is millions if not billions of years old. And, that seed of doubt planted has sidetracked him and moved him out of the faith. “And some doubted.”

And, there are some who are apparently walking in the power of the Spirit. They are healing people, casting out demons, and even prophesying in the Name of Jesus. Yet, they too are not true followers and have missed the point. Jesus says of them…

Matthew 7:21-23 ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the realm of heaven’s kingdom. It is only those who persist in doing the will of my heavenly Father. On the day of judgment many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, don’t you remember us? Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we cast out demons and do many miracles for the sake of your name?’ But I will have to say to them, ‘Go away from me, you lawless rebels! I’ve never been joined to you!’”

They were doing what they wanted and not the will of the Father. So, maybe they were born again and initially followed Jesus but somewhere things took a left turn and they began to believe in themselves and their own ministry – leaving God’s ministry and entering their own – following their own agenda and not God’s will. They doubted that God knew best. 

Jesus says, that on the last days they too will be banished from His Kingdom. They too doubted God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s way. Instead they did what they thought was right and did it in the way they thought was best. And God’s ways are much higher than our ways. 

So, we are still in decision time. We can choose to believe in the resurrected Jesus, His will, His way, His love, His Kingdom, and His purpose of seeking and saving the lost. And follow Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Or, we can choose to allow doubt to enter in and derail us from walking in God’s perfect will for our lives (Romans 12:1-2). 

Our choice – and it is a daily decision. 

TGIF

I know that it is not Friday… but I just needed to share this thought with you. One of my all-time favourite authors and speaker is deeply involved in teaching in the social work field. Her name is Brene Brown. Her Ted Talk on vulnerability is amazing and one of the top 5 Ted Talks of all time. Her six books are life-changing. She has a new Netflix production which I have not seen yet but plan to take time to watch it next week. She has tremendous insights that help heal the heart and set the soul free of shame, rejection, expectations, and pain just to name a few. 

Recently she has restarted a Friday blog which had been discontinued some time ago. It is entitled TGIF. The letters don’t stand for “Thank God It’s Friday” or “Thank Goodness I’m Fabulous.” They stand for: Trust – Gratitude – Inspiration – Fun.

So, on Friday you are to reflect on the past work week and think about what and who you have trusted; something or someone that you are thankful for and should be expressing your gratitude for; something or someone who inspired you during the past week; and then the fun things you did during the week. You reflect on Trust – Gratitude – Inspiration – Fun.

Let me repost what she chose as her four things …

For my first TGIF back in the saddle:

I’m TRUSTING that it’s ok to just keep doing the next right thing – even when the long-term plan isn’t quite clear. Enough right things will get me where I need to go.

I’m deeply GRATEFUL for the support around The Call to Courage Netflix special. It’s felt equal parts exciting/scary and brave/vulnerable. Researcher, heal thyself.

I’m INSPIRED by the women I sat across from over the last month. Abby Wambach for the launch of her new book, Wolfpack, Laverne Cox at the Netflix launch in Los Angeles, Melinda Gates for the launch of her new book, Moment of Lift, and Laura Mayes at one of my favorite conferences, Mom 2.0.

What’s FUN? 

I come from a long line of product evangelists. My grandmother used to hold up a can of beans or a shortbread cookie and basically do a commercial about why it was the very best (including the aisle location at your neighbourhood Piggly Wiggly). Now it’s my turn!

When it comes to suitcases, hair spray, or sparkling water, I have strong opinions. So it was a fun assignment to put together a round-up for The Strategist’s “What I Can’t Live Without” column.

She concludes with…

What are you trusting, grateful for, inspired by, and doing for fun? Post it with some pics on social and tag us #TGIFpractice.

If you want to sign up for next week’s TGIF newsletter, subscribe here.

You do what you want with the idea. I am making a serious decision to do a personal TGIF every week. I am not planning to hashtag it or even post it on my own blog other than on a special occasion. I just plan to take a few moments at the end of each work week and reflect on the past seven days…. And do my own TGIF.

Skilled Instruction and Training

If you were to attend an average worship service on any given Saturday or Sunday you would sit and listen to the pastor – teacher – priest give a teaching – sermon – homily. This is true whether it is a mainline, traditional church, a born again church, or a Spirit-filled church. It is the custom of the people to have the leader spend time during the week seeking God’s heart for a word for the people. Then after he or she has been in the presence of God in their study, the people gather to hear what God has to say through the leader. 

This is much like Moses in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. The people watched as he ascended the holy mountain to meet with God. And, then they waited for him to come back down the mountain from the face-to-face meeting with God and tell them what God said speaking to them about what was on His heart and what He shared with the leader, Moses.

In the early church, it states, “Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer. A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone…” (Acts 2:42-43a The Passion Translation”).

And so the practice continues – the leader or leaders listen for God’s voice, study God’s Word, and bring a message from God to the people when they assemble. We misuse this verse to back up a practice that was never meant to be in the New Testament Church.

However, the word translated ‘teachings’ is the Greek word ‘didache’ which means “skilled instruction and training.” So, the teaching should be more an equipping of the faithful believers – an equipping and training. This, of course, connects directly with Ephesians 4:11-12 which states, “And he has appointed some with grace to be apostles, and some with grace to be prophets, and some with grace to be evangelists, and some with grace to be pastors, and some with grace to be teachers. And their calling is to nurture and prepare all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry, and as they do this they will enlarge and build up the body of Christ.” (The Passion Translation)

The more familiar version states: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

Every believer can go into the presence of God during the week. The believer can enter into the presence of God and approach the throne of grace and hear the voice of God for themselves (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus made a way for us to do this by His death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day. We don’t need to wait for the weekend and the assembly to hear what God wants us to know. It can be and should be a daily thing. Then, when we come together on the weekends it is not to hear a well crafted sermon or teaching and receive the polished “word of the week” because we have been receiving the raw, unpolished “word of the day” all week. We come together and share what it is we have individually heard the Lord speak so others can be encouraged and we can find support in our revelation.

Then, on the weekend we come together to have the fivefold ministers equip and train us in the things that we need to know to continue to minister to those in the world who do not know Jesus. And, they equip us with the skills and knowledge we need to use the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) that He has given to every born again, Baptized in the Holy Spirit believer and follower of Jesus. In other words, we receive “skilled instruction and training” for the ministry that God has called us to do for Him during the week where we live, work, and play.

So, the assembly should be more like going to a gym than going to the movies. We should be practicing and sharpening our skills in sharing the gospel of the Kingdom. We should be learning how to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We should be practicing using the revelation gifts like a Word of Knowledge, a Word of Wisdom, and the Discerning of Spirits. We should be hearing how to live as believers in the current culture and still impact those who do not know Jesus and have not experienced salvation. 

Hebrews 5:14 (ESV) states: “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

The Passion Translation: “But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.”

This would, of course, totally change the way we “do church.” Even altering the reason we “come to church.” But then, in my opinion, it desperately needs to change.

Holy Spirit Directed Bible Reading

I am reading through The Passion Translation of the New Testament and Psalms. I am in the gospel according to John. I am enjoying the read as it is a new version for me and because the new ways some things are stated keeps me on my toes. Often when we read the same version for years – which I do, and before you ask it is the ESV, English Standard Version – the words become so familiar to us that they no longer really register in our heads or our hearts. So, a new version jars the senses and keep your attention in many ways. And, allows the Holy Spirit a fresh opportunity to speak directly to you personally.

The Passion Translation is only available, so far, in book form as the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon. If you have it electronically it also includes the prophet Isaiah. I have both a book form and the electronic form (Olive Tree Bible Program). It comes with many footnotes explaining the various versions of the verse or sentence determined by the meaning of the original language and the words used. It is well translated and seriously well researched. But, I digress.

As I was reading the Holy Spirit showed me several new insights that I had never noticed before. 

The first one is in John 6:5-9. “As Jesus sat down, he looked out and saw the massive crowd of people scrambling up the hill, for they wanted to be near him. So he turned to Philip and said, “Where will we buy enough food to feed all these people?” Now Jesus already knew what he was about to do, but he said this to stretch Philip’s faith. Philip answered, “Well, I suppose if we were to give everyone only a snack, it would cost thousands of dollars to buy enough food!” But just then, Andrew, Peter’s brother, spoke up and said, “Look! Here’s a young person with five barley loaves and two small fish . . . but how far would that go with this huge crowd?”

Jesus asks Philip a question to help stretch his faith. Jesus’ question was, “Where can we get enough food to feed all these people?” Philip did not answer His question. He answered a question that was not asked: “How will we pay for enough food to feed this crowd of 5,000 people.” It seems that Jesus was testing Philip to see if he would look to God (Jesus) to supply all that was needed and not consider or be limited by their meagre resources as a ministry team. 

Maybe not a great revelation for you. But, it spoke volumes to me about listening to what Jesus is really asking you. And, don’t be limited in your thinking and in your faith by what you can see and what you have. We walk by faith, a stretching and growing faith, and not by natural sight.

The second one was after Jesus preached a rather difficult sermon and the multitude left because they were offended and only the 12 disciples remained (John 6:60-69). Jesus went from feeding the five thousand to offending the five thousand. And, it didn’t bother Him. Jesus knew that they were only following Him because of the miracles that were happening (see John 6:2, 6:14, 6:26) and not because of who He was. So, He expresses a little of who He is and what it will take to sincerely follow Him and not follow the miracles, signs, and wonders … and they left by the thousands. 

Today, Christians run from special speaker to special speaker, conference to conference, bandwagon to bandwagon looking for miracles, signs, and wonders. They are following the miraculous instead of the Lord. And, thus they are missing out on the depth of personal relationship the Lord wants to have with them because their eyes are not on Him but on what He does. So, we have the same issue today as Jesus faced in His day. It renewed my commitment to keep my eyes of Jesus and only on Him, deepening my intimacy with Him. 

Just some simple insights from my late night Bible reading the other evening. 

So, ask the Holy Spirit who inspired the words you are reading to “lead you into all truth” and you will begin to see things that you missed in the past. And, using a different translation can help the Holy Spirit draw your attention to what He wants you to see and grab hold of. 

Resurrection Life

As we approach Easter Sunday we tend to think a little more about the resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter Sunday many years ago. This season is often one of the few times that we really seriously consider the fact that Jesus rose physically from the dead and is alive. That He was seen by many different people at a variety of times over a period of 40 days before ascending into Heaven and send the Holy Spirit as the other Comforter.

As I was reading through a new version of the New Testament called The Passion Translation (TPT) I ran across an exciting verse in 2 Timothy 1:9 which reads: “He gave us resurrection life and drew us to himself by his holy calling on our lives. And it wasn’t because of any good we have done, but by his divine pleasure and marvellous grace that confirmed our union with the anointed Jesus, even before time began!”

Literally it reads: “He is our life-giver”

And the “life” that He gives to us is His resurrection life!

Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit – raised to new life, resurrection life. He was different. So different that in one of His initial appearances to Mary in Garden she did not recognize Him. The same was true for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He was raised victorious and glorious as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15 – a wonderful chapter on the resurrection – Jesus’ and ours! 

Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

And He is now living in the power of that resurrection. And promises that we too can experience this resurrection life … now and forever. 

Paul prays… 

Philippians 3:10 (TPT) “And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me…”

The power that raised Jesus to resurrection life is in us as born again believers. And for those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit this same power is “upon us” empowering and enabling us to live resurrection life and to move supernaturally and touch lives for Jesus and the Kingdom. We have resurrection life welling up within us. We live in a new dimension because of this resurrection life. We have new values and a new perspective, a Kingdom perspective. We have been raised from the death of sin into ‘a living hope’ based on this resurrection life that we have received. 

1 Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

As we approach Easter Sunday it is a good time to think about what His resurrection means for us as believers today. And, to pray about what His resurrection life in us should look like in our every day living as we relate to many who do not know the love of God or this gift that Jesus freely gives to those who believe in and follow Him.

Let’s end this thought with the verse in 1 Peter above in context…

1 Peter 1:3-5 TPT “Celebrate with praises the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown us his extravagant mercy. For his fountain of mercy has given us a new lifewe are reborn to experience a living, energetic hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are reborn into a perfect inheritance that can never perish, never be defiled, and never diminish. It is promised and preserved forever in the heavenly realm for you!”

Personal Values to Be Embraced

If someone asked you what your values in life were, how would you answer? My daughter was asked that in a university class and it caused her to do some deep thinking. The professor then asked them to mentally look around at their living room and describe what they saw as the contents of the room said a great deal about what was valued and how life was lived.

I got to thinking about that the next morning and reviewed my values – the ones I believe I currently hold as they do change was we get older and hopefully wiser. I am convinced from personal experience and over 40 years of ministry that good values are the road to a better life. Good values are teachable and reachable. And, just one good value in a person’s life can bring tremendous change and great value. 

Here are some of the values I have been reviewing this morning after my daughter’s comment that evening at our house church…

  • ATTITUDE – Your attitude colours everything in your life, especially relationships
  • COMMITMENT – It separated doers from dreamers and determines your future
  • COMPETENCE – The shortest path to serious credibility with others is competence
  • FORGIVENESS – Forgiveness empowers you live in freedom and with a light heart
  • INITIATIVE – You cannot accomplish anything for God unless you start
  • INTEGRITY – Living with integrity leads to a life of wholeness and people will respect and trust you
  • PERSONAL GROWTH – People who continue to learn always have a future
  • PRIORITIES – Clear priorities show you what to do and where to go
  • RELATIONSHIPS – The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life
  • WORK ETHIC – Working hard brings inner satisfaction every day

So, have a look around the main rooms in your home and see what they are saying to you about values. Take a look at your calendar and what occupies your free time away from work and see what you really value. And, take a look at what you spend your discretionary income on as this too is a determining factor in sorting through your values.

Then, think through which values need some work and maybe even note the ones that are missing. The list above is not exhaustive in the least. In my own personal list I have others like:

  • Wisdom
  • Freedom
  • Solitude and silence
  • Achievement
  • Respect
  • Dignity 

Choosing and knowing your values can provide a number of benefits that include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Making better decisions
  • Finding environments and people that support your aspirations
  • Increasing joy and happiness
  • Supporting your growth and development
  • Helping in times of conflict or confusion
  • Growing contribution and value
  • Providing motivation

Knowing it or not, choosing it or not, all of us have a set of personal core values. Prevent discontent, conflict, frustration and lack of fulfillment by choosing consciously the values by which you want to live.

And remember, it is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

Give Up Why Don’t You!

There is an amazing verse in the New Testament that I don’t believe I have ever heard anyone preach on. In fact, until recently, even I had never preached on it. But, as I was reading and journalling recently the verse really has become seriously important in my life and in my ministry with and for the Lord.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

The Message Version “Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I believe we need to come to the place in our spiritual journey where we give up trying to live the “Christian life” whatever that might look like in our context and culture.

Why – well, a number of reasons come to mind…

1> I was sick and tired of trying to live up to the expected Christian lifestyle and falling short thus feeling frustrated at my attempts at being a good Christian and living victoriously.

2> I came to the realization and eye-opening conclusion that I could not live the Christian life. If the Christian life was going to be lived, according to this verse from Galatians, the Lord Himself was going to have to live it through me.

3> I discovered that Jesus Himself did not try to live the Christian life. He said, “By Myself I can do nothing.” Over and over again Jesus testified that He did nothing of Himself, but lived by His Father’s indwelling life instead.

4> I decided that Paul’s words in the above verse (Galatians 2:20) were not special for him but were written down for each and every one us. Paul was not special. What he experienced and understood we too can experience.

As someone once said, the Christian life – and the living of it – is impossible for all of us. It is only HIMpossible.

So, I am working to fully understand what it means to give up trying and just allowing the Lord to release His life within me and then live His life through me. 

Another step in my adventure and journey with Jesus.

Hebrews 4:1-11a “For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…”