The other morning I spent some time reading through Isaiah 42 and Isaiah 43…and several questions popped into my mind that I thought might be beneficial if I shared.
Isaiah 42:1, “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.”
Question #1 – Am I living a life that fully pleases God?
I once heard it said, “You can please God and disappoint people, or you can disappoint God and please people…but you can’t do both.” How true that is.
As I look back in life some of my biggest mistakes have been when I’ve…
Tried to please myself – Seriously, I am probably one of the most selfish people that I know. I can honestly say that 99.9% of the time things have gone wrong it is because of my selfish desires. The Bible says in James 4:1-3 that this attitude is just not a good thing to have– ever. ANYTIME I place what pleases me in front of what pleases God–I screw up.
Tried to please others – One of the largest temptations a Christian leader faces is the one to try and please everyone. It can’t be done. If you are a leader (or a human being for that matter) SOMEONE is always going to be angry with you…no matter what you do. AND you will also discover that everyone has an opinion as to how you should live your life and handle your ministry.
(Remember–opinions are like rear ends…everyone has one and MOST of them are incredible large and stink!)
The verse spoke volumes to me. I literally stopped and prayed when I read it, asking God to show me how to live a life that is FULLY pleasing to Him.
That’s what I want…more than anything in the world. And in doing so I know I will have to cast some things aside AND be willing to disappoint people.
How about you–would you be willing to ask God that question?
#2 – Am I allowing anything to cause me to lose heart?
We live in a very discouraging world; in fact, I believe that discouragement is one of the number one weapons the enemy will use to try and strike at people–especially Christian leaders.
And so…if there are things that cause me to lose heart, that take away my joy…then I MUST continually remove them from my life.
That is why I don’t read certain blogs anymore–they were joy killers. (And for believers out there who says you do it and it doesn’t effect you–you are full of crap, it’s ripping your joy out– STOP IT!)
I have literally had to decide to not hang out with certain people because, after meeting with them I wanted to set my head on fire and have it put out with a sledgehammer.
(I know that doesn’t sound very godly…but if everyone would be honest for just a second–we all have people like that in our lives…it’s just that many don’t have the courage to admit it!)
I can’t allow discouragement to take a hold in my life–Scripture says in Ephesians 4:27 that we should not allow the devil to have a foothold…and one of his STRONGEST footholds on believers and church leaders is discouragement.
That is why I don’t see hateful and mean spirited emails and letters…all it does is take a shot at my soul. I am open to rebuke…in love, but that never makes it way to me in an unsigned letter or anonymous email.
What needs to be removed from your life to protect you from discouragement?
The Bible states: “Sing a new song to the Lord…” Isaiah 42:10 (NLT),
#3 – What “old song” must I stop singing to make room for something new that God wants to place in my heart?
Every church leader and planter is going to face this issue one day.
I have planted a number of churches … and worked closely with many others. And, in each case the traditions that the leaders are now having to attack are the ones that they helped to develop. The ideas that we are now calling “outdated” are the ones that were once a brand new thought in our minds.
Honestly, there are times when I have been in a meeting and have wanted to halt the conversation because, well, to be honest, I didn’t like what was being discussed. It was tearing away at what I had shed hours of blood, sweat and tears over…but…God has been slowly showing me that I must celebrate the songs that we’ve sang…but I must always be open to the fact that He wants to do new things.
Is there anything in your church that was once a good idea that isn’t anymore?
We’re hitting this hard…and it’s tough for me…but I know it’s going to be awesome in the end. He REALLY brought this home for me when I read Isaiah 43:16-19…
“I am the LORD who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smouldering candlewick. But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it…”
I should CELEBRATE all that God has done…but ANTICIPATE that He is going to do more and be willing to change ANYTHING that He needs to change.
I’m asking Him to “put new songs” in my heart. Here’s the last one for today…
Isaiah 42:16 (NLT) – “I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.”
#4 – Am I Sincerely Seeking God To Lead Me…Or Am I Trying To Lead Him?
There have been so many times I’ve taken my thoughts and dreams to God, asking Him to bless them and allow them to come to fruition instead of asking Him what His thoughts and dreams are.
Here’s a confession–on my best day…I am still nothing more than a blind man who desperately needs the leadership of Jesus in my life if I am going to accomplish anything significant. (John 15:5)
And the thing I am learning more and more is this–God WANTS to lead me in the right way. He wants me to get things right. He wants me to succeed in life. AND–HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO ME and show me how to get there–but this requires me giving up what I want and asking Him to open my eyes to what He wants.
This text says that He will lead me along an unfamiliar way. I believe the churches best days are yet to come. I believe God is going to do things we’ve never seen before…but in order for us to get there we have to be willing to walk in unfamiliar ways…and the only way to successfully do that is LISTEN to and FOLLOW the voice of God.
He’s always speaking…many times though I’ve not been listening.
He will smooth out the road ahead. He will brighten the darkness…at least that’s what His Word says. So…I’ve got to trust Him with my future.
This has RADICALLY changed my prayer life. Instead of taking a wish list to Him every day I am simply asking Him to allow me to see as He sees and feel as He feels…THAT IS MESSING ME UP! It’s a process…but I’m giving up my desires and asking Him to put HIS in me.
I may do a decent job leading my current ministries…but I do a HORRIBLE job when I try to lead God. I’m blind without Him…but with Him I can’t go wrong.
How about you–are you SERIOUSLY seeking what God wants…or are you trying to get Him to buy into your plans?