Sometimes, you don't have to say a word
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Sometimes, You Don’t Have To Say A Word

 

We All Have Stories

The longer you travel this road of life, the more stories you remember from the journey. I remember this one for how it demonstrates how there are many different ways that God can speak to a person about the condition of his or her soul.

I used to work in an auto plant, building cars on the assembly line. Phil was one of the guys who had been there a long time. I remember the day I first met him. My first impression of him was that I thought he was pretty opinionated. He really was, actually, although I have to admit that, at the time, I was probably more opinionated than he was. By “opinionated,” I don’t mean someone who merely has an opinion; I’m talking about someone who has an opinion and knows how to use it. I would stick to my opinions without having a sufficient awareness of all the facts to see how flimsy my opinions really were.

I believe we often find an understanding of theology that reflects and makes sense of our own experiences in becoming Christians.

That was my experience. It kind of went like that for me. I happened to be a person who leaned pretty strongly toward an “Arminian” theology – that God gives everyone an opportunity to accept or reject the gospel, as I felt at the time that God had done with me.

Phil, because of his experience, was very strongly “Calvinistic” – he held a theology that basically says if you believe in Jesus, it’s because you were saved from eternity past, and you just came to recognize, in the course of time, that you are one of those whom God “ordained to be saved.” But you don’t really choose. You “got saved” because God chose you long ago. I wasn’t sure I liked his theology at the time. That wasn’t how it worked for me.

One day, Phil told me how he became a Christian.

And when he did, I had more of an appreciation for his theological position. I’m not sure how the conversation even started that day, but I’m glad it did.

Phil told me about his past life – his life “BC” – before Christ, and how much different his life was. When I knew Phil, he was a quiet fellow, and seemed to be reasonably modest and self-controlled. But as he tells the story, he was not always like that.

Phil explained that he used to be a supervisor on the line a long time ago, and that job came with a number of troubles. It’s a difficult job, being a front-line supervisor in an auto plant. It’s especially stressful if you have a strong-minded workforce with an attitude that they don’t really want to work all that much, and they are backed by a union with very broad shoulders. And Phil had a bunch of them in his department.

Phil was a miserable man with a problem.

Phil was dealing with a lot. The guys in his department weren’t really happy with him.

And neither was his wife. He had been fooling around on her, and, being a philanderer and an alcoholic, his wife was getting ready to leave him. To put it briefly, he was pretty miserable, and he admitted that he was completely miserable to live with. And to work with.

Anyway, one day, Phil had a situation on the line that was very quickly turning into a very serious and soon-to-be expensive problem.

And, there was Murray.

Now, you have to know Murray to appreciate him. He was a simple guy. By simple, I don’t mean stupid. I mean uncomplicated. Murray was just a plain, humble guy, who somehow was known as a Christian, even though he never seemed to preach much to the guys he worked with. Now I MYSELF was in the habit of preaching to the guys I worked with at the time, but I will say that they didn’t always do well with it – partly because (just being honest here) I was, at times, pretty vocal and opinionated about it.

But unlike me and my frequent preaching to people about how they needed to be saved, Murray was quiet about his faith. People knew he was a Christian, but he seemed never to preach at anyone. And yet, he hosted the presence of The Lord as he went about his work from day to day. They just knew there was something different about him. People knew, somehow, that if there was a God, he and Murray were pretty close.

So anyway, now that you know how I was always preaching, and Murray was not always preaching, I can tell the rest of the story.

As I said, on this particular day, Phil was having this “soon to be expensive” problem on the line. One of the operations in his section of the plant required a very specific bolt that had to be put in the vehicle at this point. If that bolt was not available, there was no way to continue running that line. They would have to stop the line and send everyone home. And THAT is expensive. You have to know that when these assembly plants have to shut the line down, they count the cost in thousands of dollars per minute. THAT is an expensive bolt.

Phil sent Murray to find those bolts.

Phil knew they were in the plant. He had checked the records and he knew they had been received in shipping. But they weren’t where they were supposed to be. And they were now literally within a couple minutes of seeing the line shut down and the shift workers sent home. Heads were set to roll, and Phil’s would be rolling with the rest.

And this is the point in the story where Phil got my attention. Phil said he watched Murray as Murray went to look for those bolts. Phil said that everyone in management was feeling the pressure that was about to hit if the line went down. And as he was feeling that pressure growing (and knowing Murray was a Christian) he watched as Murray took a left to turn down one of the isles where the parts were stored.

And then Murray stopped. He quietly bowed his head for about 20 seconds. And then, he looked up suddenly, spun his head around, did a “180” in the isle, and walked the opposite direction. And thirty seconds later, he came from that other direction with that box of bolts in his hands.

And in that instant, Phil knew that Murray’s God was real.

Phil said to me, “I just knew. God just somehow gave me the grace to believe it, I guess. But in that instant, I saw that Murray’s God was real. AND I WANTED TO KNOW THAT GOD.”

Murray had never preached to Phil. Phil knew full well he was a sinner. Murray never pointed that out, never pounded on him about what a horrible man he was. But when Murray prayed, and Phil saw that God had answered Murray’s prayer, God used that to reach Phil.

Now, we can argue until the cows come home about whether God chose Phil or Phil chose God; whether God chose to give Phil a chance to respond to an invitation, and if Phil chose to respond to the chance that God was giving Phil in the moment, or if God just caused Phil to believe, and so he just did. I guess Phil and I might still see it differently, if we were to sit down and compare notes about it.

And that might even be a good discussion to have, depending on how it happens.

But getting caught up in that would miss the point to be learned from the story. The point here is that we don’t know what God will use to get someone’s attention. We need to understand that sometimes, it’s not our talk but our walk that will be the thing that God chooses to use in someone else’s life.

In the bible, in Peter’s first epistle, he says, “always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you.” And I think that is good advice – especially since it is in the bible. But just never forget that it also says, “we are epistles to BE READ OF ALL MEN.’

Murray said nothing that day. He was READ. Like a BOOK.

He was read because he was ABLE to be read – because He learned what it was to “do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with His God” (Micah 6:8)

So always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you. But rest in God for the timing and the “how” – even if it’s just walking close enough to him to hear him say “turn right” when you were going to turn left.

Because you never know how God will use that simple act to bring a lost soul to Jesus. And your effective preaching – your “word in due season” – may be spoken without a single word.

Read More
resting in God
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Resting In God As A Pathway To Peace

There is peace to be found in the chaos

Sometimes, in the business of life, it is all so easy to be overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. It’s not so bad sometimes; but when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, it is so easy to spin on the problems.

Sometimes, circumstances can be daunting; people can be truly annoying and difficult to deal with. We, as Christians, are to be about our Father’s business; but we also have our own agendas and interests. Not many of us live a life where we can say, “And you should follow me, just as I follow Christ.” And so it is natural that there will be conflict in this world.

But if we are honest with ourselves, much of our trouble and discontentment in life comes out of our cares and our worries – concerns about the future, or how we will be received by others. We worry at times about our health and our families. We worry about our future and how we will provide for ourselves when we are old and gray. We worry about what this world will be like for the future of our children.

We know in our heads that we are to trust God in all things.

But actually doing it is not always so easy.

When Jesus was meeting with his disciples in the upper room, shortly before his crucifixion, he said to his disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Now when we are struggling with our overwhelming circumstances, we could be tempted to blow off this kind of suggestion by a well-meaning friend. But in the context, we need to remember that Jesus was saying this to comfort the disciples, even as he himself was aware that he was headed for the cross. Though you may be tempted to discount words like this from a friend because you think they don’t know how you feel, remember Jesus spoke this while he was under a cloud of a very difficult season in his life.

Most people are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer,” a prayer authored by Reinhold Niebuhr:

O God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed,

The courage to change what can be changed,

and the wisdom to know the one from the other.

In our more sober moments, this makes sense to us. Sometimes, in our moments of extreme frustration, we might be tempted to utter a different variation of that prayer:

O God, give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed,

The courage to change what can be changed,

and the wisdom to know where to hide the bodies of the people I have to kill because they tick me off.

But the real power behind the prayer is the understanding that can be found in the complete prayer…

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

There are days that will be good; enjoy them. There will be days that will be full of woe. Do not despise them, or the circumstances that bring the feelings. Recognize in these moments that God is not to be blamed; He is to be trusted as He walks with you through the storm. As you praise Him through the storm, he “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them..

The circumstances might be consequences of your own making – perhaps they come because you didn’t listen to him when he warned you not to get into a situation. They may be consequences of someone else’s making. When David sent Uriah into battle and told his men to leave Uriah on the battlefield all alone (2nd Samuel, chapter 11) it seems reasonable that Uriah might well have wondered if God truly loved him, leaving him there to be abandoned. And sometimes, time and chance happen to us all. When a tsunami hits, the righteous and the unrighteous are all hit by the wave.

Beyond a point, there is paralysis in analysis. When your circumstances are overwhelming, praise Him in the storm. Ask Him to show you if there is something you need to do differently, or if you need merely to stand steadfast, and like Moses said before the parting of the sea, “behold the salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13-14) God gives wisdom to all who ask of him and are not double-minded. (James 1)

Our God inhabits the praises of His people. And when He delights to manifest His presence to you as you reach out to him in praise, the circumstances fade in the glory of the presence of the Lord.

When our circumstances seem to big to us, we need to understand that our circumstances are not so big at all; we merely need to praise our God until He shows Himself so much larger than the circumstances.

Read More
growing iranian church
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

The Growing Christian Church In Iran

There is a post in “The Times” out of the U. K. that outlines a plan to send 300,000 new bibles into Iran.

It is true. Jesus is alive, is very real and very much on the move around the world. The chinese church is currently mobilizing 1,000,000 missionaries to evangelize the Muslim people in the Middle East and they are intent on seeing these people set free with the glorious love of Jesus Christ. The Chinese church has come through an extended period of growth in the midst of the hardship of persecution, and they are fearless in sharing their faith in Christ with a people group that has long been without the gospel. This Chinese church has learned to live vibrantly in the love of God after thriving under years of persecution by the communist Chinese government, and is marching to the beat of heaven’s call to lead people into the glorious liberty of faith in the Lord Jesus.

When believers in Jesus hear of such a thing, they rejoice. For those who have had an encounter with the living God, and who know our Father’s heart, it is natural to rejoice when any lost soul finds life in Jesus. For those of us who have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that God shows Himself very present and very real to us in our deepest times of struggle.

Read More
why do i not hear God
FAITH INSPIRATION, Revival

Why Do I Not Hear God

People often ask me, “why do I not hear God?”

For some time now, I’ve tried to get up early in the morning to pray. I believe, as most Christians do, that it’s important to try to spend time in the word of God and let Him speak to me as I read quietly, in His presence.

On this particular morning, I had been meditating on some of the ideas that The Lord had shown me in my reading. I was in my office, trying to be quiet and still before The Lord. And then, I heard a ticking noise.

I Never Noticed It Before

I didn’t know what it was, at first. But it was a curious sound. I noticed now, as I actually LISTENED to the noise, that it was rather slow and methodical. It’s not unusual to hear noises in a house – you can sometimes hear wood creak and crack a bit as boards shift on one another in the structure. Sometimes, you can hear the water pipes click and crack as they move around a bit from heating up and cooling off with the water running through them.

But this sound was different. It wasn’t changing. It was rhythmic, steady, unrelenting. I focused on it now, and was curious to know where it came from – how does a sound like this persist for so long without changing or giving some clue as to its origin? And on top of that, I noticed it wasn’t a constant tick. It was a tick with two pitches – high, low, high, low – very slow, methodical and repeatable. I just had to know out of curiosity, where this sound came from.

Read More
the lady at the ferry station
FAITH INSPIRATION, Thoughts

The Lady At The Ferry Station

She wasn’t hurting anyone. But if the truth be known, she was annoying a lot of people. It reminded me how sometimes we have no idea how our behaviors are actually hindering the gospel as we try to preach it to others.

We were at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, waiting for the boat to cross to Lower Manhattan, along with hundreds of others. There was this old woman, sitting in the middle of the crowded room. She was reading her bible. And singing. She was really singing.

It wasn’t an operatic voice or anything; in fact, she was a little out of tune. And LOUD. She was preaching-singing. She appeared to care little about what anyone around her seemed to think about her singing, too. It was like she was in her own little world.

Read More
Be still and know
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Being Still Before The Lord

Being “Still” Is Not Doing Nothing

Being still before the Lord is not inactivity. It is refined activity. Being still is choosing to “do nothing,” but not with the idea of merely shutting your brain off and disengaging to relax or unwind; it is a purposeful disengaging from all the “busyness” of life that distracts you, so that you can be more mindful of the presence of the Lord.

And this is not about coming to God with an agenda. This is not waiting on the Lord to “get” something from Him. It is being still in His presence, allowing Him to set the agenda, simply because you recognize that, above whatever else God may do in you and through you, He has chosen to “settle in” with you – He has chosen to “tabernacle” with you – to set up His tent in your heart, so to speak (as in John 1:14) and to reside with you, very much because – wait for it – he enjoys your company.

Being Still Before The Lord Is Letting GOD Set The Conversation

Being still before the Lord is allowing Him to “set the agenda.” It is allowing God the chance to decide what the two of you will talk about. And if His agenda is simply that He wants to enjoy being with you, that should be a good enough reason for you to make time to be still before Him, in His presence – so He can enjoy your company as you enjoy HIS company.

I hesitate to make too much of this, because I think the mistake that can be made in reading what I’m saying here is that I’m saying it’s really all about you. It’s not.

But there was the line in the movie “The Color Purple“…

Listen, God love everything you love – and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.

You saying God vain? I ast.

Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing.

You see, as we spend time in God’s presence, we are changed from glory to glory into His likeness. And His ultimate goal for you is that when you finally finish growing up, you will look just like Him – clean, pure, holy and able to enjoy being in His presence, free from guilt about the past, from anxieties about the future, from feelings of inadequacy, simply being able to be who he has made you to be, before Him, as He is, the two of you enjoying each other’s company.

God’s Purpose Is To Make You Like Him

There may be times when you are still before Him and He will give you a mandate, or set you on a mission or give you a task. But always keep in mind that any task He gives you, as far as it concerns you, is ultimately so that you can more completely be conformed to His image. He doesn’t need you to do “stuff.” He wants you to do stuff, because as you obey Him and as he uses you, you get to enjoy more of who He is.

Learn to spend time with God, simply enjoying being in his presence, letting Him lead you into whatever conversations He wants to have with you, in His word, by His spirit.

As Rick Joyner says, it’s easy for God to find workers. What He is really looking for are friends.

Read More
I dont know
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Sometimes Saying You Don’t Know Is The Best Ministry

I remember, years ago, when I was working in a factory with a group of guys who knew I was a Christian and who knew that I was pretty vocal about it. At the time, the gospel was pretty simple for me. You have to make a choice. Jesus died for your sins. You have to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. (I still believe this, by the way.)

But at the time, there were a number of people in the group, of all persuasions. “Harry” was a guy that had a very tough skin, and a very hard background. He was the typical “biker gang” type of guy, who would make threats to hang people up and slice them open to watch them bleed out if you crossed him the wrong way. He watched me with curiosity, and we often compared stories and ideas about life. I don’t recall that I was ever afraid of him or anything. But it was obvious he didn’t really like me, or what I stood for.

“Gary” was another guy in the group. He was a nice guy – very gentle-spirited and always friendly. You’d never know, judging by his demeanor, that he ever had a care in the world. He always smiled, always had a kind word for people. It was interesting to watch the interaction between the guys in our work group. I noticed that Bob and Harry seemed to get along alright, though they would have been very much opposed philosophically. In fact, it was interesting to see that, although Gary and I would have agreed with each other about the bible, Harry seemed to like him when he didn’t like me.

Read More
the greatest thing God wants
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

The Greatest Thing God Wants

Francis Frangipane speaks (in an interview during a podcast) of a time where he was so down in his life, so discouraged at the way his life was going. He was raising 5 children and a foster child, discouraged that he wasn’t sensing a clear direction for his place in life or where God wanted him to be. He was depressed about how he felt like a failure, and like he didn’t have any idea
about his true purpose in life.

One day, in desperation, he was crying out to God, hungering for God to speak to him and to show him what God wanted of him. God spoke to him, in that moment, very clearly, and said, simply, “love me where you are at now.”

Francis was taken aback by that; he was wanting something more specific from God about what he should do with his life. But God simply confirmed to him that the greatest thing God wanted from his life was that he love God with all his heart.

Rick Joyner talks about a time he took a road trip to spend some time with God, trying to discern what God’s purpose was for his life. And God spoke to him, and told him a powerful truth:
“It’s easy for me to find workers; what I’m looking for is friends.”

He hath shown thee, o man, what is good,
and what the Lord requires of thee –
but to do justly,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Yes, God delights in using you. But He COULD do it without you. He just chooses not to. He wants YOU to enjoy the journey as He works through you. But His ultimate purpose in working through you is not to get “stuff” done. His ultimate purpose in working through you is so that you can enjoy the journey with Him, being amazed at what He does, as you get to watch and to participate.

God’s greatest desire is to conform you to his holiness so that He and you can enjoy each other’s company. He doesn’t want your gifts, your talents or your service nearly as much as He wants to enjoy your company.

Draw near to Him, and let Him change you so that you and He can enjoy spending time together.

Read More
God speaks
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

God Speaks From Time To Time

There are some things that happen and they stick with you. I remember a moment very clearly that was one of those “stick with you” moments. Actually, it was fairly recently, and I hope it sticks with me forever, for the urgency it created in my soul at that moment.

I was listening to an audio version of a bible commentary on Romans, Chapter 9, written some time ago by a gentleman by the name of Andre Dellerba. And the point he made struck me in the moment as very profound.

God Speaks At Pivotal Points In Our Lives

What he said was that God speaks to us, occasionally, at pivotal moments in the history of our lives, and we are accountable for the decisions we make in those moments of time. Now, I know that the Holy spirit is constantly dealing with us as believers. There are times we hear Him nudging us in one direction or another – times when he convicts us of sin, or prompts us to contact that friend or relative that we just don’t enjoy spending time with, but they need us to do it.

Now, when Dellerba was discussing this issue of God speaking at pivotal times in our lives, he was speaking particularly about unbelievers, and how God will nudge them at particular points in their lives. His point was that God does not strive forever with man; and that as people harden their hearts to the promptings of the Spirit, God does not strive with people forever. God moves in specific moments and circumstances, and God will hold people accountable for how they respond to God in those moments when He speaks.

There Is A Price For Quenching The Spirit

As I was listening to this podcast, it struck me that there are times when God has spoken to me about issues in my life, and I chose to ignore those promptings of His Spirit. And I have to honestly say that in those moments in my life, where I knew that God was prompting me about a need to be obedient, and I chose to quench the Spirit about those issues where He was speaking to me, I’ve since had hard work to do in those areas in my life. I’ve had to turn over the fallow ground that resulted from my ignoring Him and choosing not to obey Him.

There is an even greater problem for the believer in ignoring those promptings of the Spirit that for the unbeliever, because the believer has an even greater witness. The believer has tasted, and has seen that the Lord is good. We walk not merely out of head knowledge or out of fear, but by the reality and the fellowship of the Spirit. The unbeliever, He prompts from the outside; for the believer, He is living inside, choosing to dwell with us, where He can be grieved in His very own home (John 1:14).

Do not forget that God’s purpose in saving us is not merely to get us out of hell. God’s ultimate purpose in saving us is to get the “hell” out of us. If we continue to ignore the promptings of His spirit, we can become ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:8). And if we do, what a waste we make of the purposes for which Christ died to save us.

The level to which we rise in our walk with Him when no one is watching us is the level to which He will be able to promote us and use us in the world. Strive always to walk in the awareness that the God of the universe walks with you, moment by moment and step by step. Strive to please Him, even when no one is watching.

Read More
the devil wants you dead
FAITH INSPIRATION, Revival

The Devil Wants You Dead

The Devil Wants You Dead. And God does, too. They just want it for different reasons.

The devil wants you dead because he hates you and wants to destroy you. He hates that God loves you and that God wants you to reflect His glory in the earth and for you to be a part of God’s plan. Simply put, God loves you and the devil hates what God loves.

God wants you dead, too. He wants to crucify your old man so he can bring out of  you a reflection of the saviour, allowing you to walk into what His desire is for you. It’s what His desire really has been for all of humankind, even since before the fall – that we would walk with Him, and Him with us, able to enjoy each other’s company.

We Need To See Ourselves As God Sees Us

God is desperately looking for friends with whom he can share his heart. He wants to spend time with us. That self-will you hold on to – all that stuff where you don’t really believe Him when He says, “do this,” or “don’t do that,” is killing you, a little at a time. And the guilt, shame and self-loathing it causes you creates a barrier between you and God.

The devil loves that stuff. But God wants to crucify that sin nature and that self-will so we can enjoy spending our time with him. He wants to free us from guilt about the past, anxiety about the future, and feelings of inadequacy. But to get there, you have to “die.”

Don’t be limited by only seeing the failures of your past

You think you’ve messed up? Maybe you have. Maybe you have really messed up. But do you realize that not one, but two people denied Christ? As Kris Vallotton says, one hung himself; the other ended up being the head of the church.

The point is that there are many people in the bible who had failures in their lives. But those failures don’t have to define you; they don’t have to mark the limits of who you can become in Christ. King David had great moral failures in his life, but David was known as a man after God’s own heart.

The devil has a clever way of messing us up and keeping us locked in patterns of self destruction. It’s one of the ways he tries to kill us. When you’re struggling with your choices, and you’re wrestling with a temptation, he tells you before you do it that it’s not that big a deal. But after you’ve given into it, he uses the guilt to shame you into thinking you’ll never change. When you’ve fallen, you feel guilty. You make plans to do better. But when you fall into the same patterns, you convince yourself you can never change. Or you measure your “success” by how well you’ve done since the last time you fell. Until you fail again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Don’t focus on that. That’s from the devil and he’s just trying to kill you. Focus on Jesus.

There is a part of us that wants to offer our own sacrifices to atone for our own sins. We can get into a trap where we believe that if we can just demonstrate that we’ve done enough “obedience” to outweigh our disobedience, then we can take ourselves seriously and somehow believe were are then worthy of the grace of God.

But that is a subtle form of pride. And that’s from the devil, and he’s just trying to kill you.

Peter’s remorse ran deep. For three days and nights after he denied Jesus, he had to live with who he really was. Jesus told him who he was. Peter thought that even if everyone else denied Jesus, he would stand firm. But Jesus told him he was very weak and that he would not be nearly as strong as he thought he was. We have to see who we really are. But we can’t stay there; that is only part of the story. Peter also had a promise from Jesus, in that Jesus told Peter He prayed for him:

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.(Luke 22:31-32)

The moral of the story is that you need to learn to “die to self” before you’re dead. To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil 1:21). “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). “He who keeps his life will lose it; he who loses his life for my sake will keep it” (Mark 8:35).

God does not see you merely in light of your past; he sees you also through the lens of eternity future, through the lens of your destiny. And so, as you learn to die to yourself, do it quickly. See yourself from your position in Christ.

Your bad decisions are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones

The difference has to do with pride; if you insist on seeing yourself as good enough, you will see a failure as “uncharacteristic” of you; it is a subtle trap from the devil, where he entices you to keep “trying” until you can see that you get it right. Your ratio of success and failure becomes the whole measure you use to determine your worth before God. But it’s still about you.

And focusing on YOU all the time is a trap of the devil. And the devil wants to kill you. Focus on Jesus.

If you simply acknowledge that you are not good enough, but you acknowledge that you need Jesus to do it in you, he will. The beautiful irony is that recognizing you are not “good enough” positions you to receive His grace. And when you surrender to Him, then He is able to see you as both beautiful and “good enough” – because it is his grace that is sufficient to cover your sins.

But this is the trick

The trick of the devil is that whether you spend time being proud of how Christlike you are, or spend time being humiliated by how sinful you are, you’re still spending your time focusing on you. Constantly beating yourself up about how you’ve failed again and that you’ll never change is a subtle form of pride (if you can hear that). Because it’s still about looking at you.

Just look at Jesus. Focus on Jesus. God wants you to learn to enjoy spending time with Jesus, focusing on his faithfulness, his love for you, his sufficiency for you. And as you spend time with Jesus, in prayer, in meditating in the word of God, He changes you. Jesus said, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you can ask for anything you wish and it will be granted” (John 15:7).

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)

It’s that as we spend time with him, we just naturally become like him. And as we spend time with him, becoming like him, the things He wants become the things we want. And then it becomes the Father’s good pleasure to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32), because you and God want the same things. And His greatest desire for you is that you fulfill your primary destiny of being conformed to the image of Jesus. As you spend time with him, you enter into an awareness of having been crucified with Christ and raised again from the dead. And you fall in love with that condition. And then, as you do, you bear the fruit that will last.

Agree with God – quickly – that you must die.

If you agree with God that your old man needs to die so that the life of Jesus can transform you into a new creation, then you’re in the safest place you can be. It is there that you learn to live as a dead man, brought back from the dead.

And the devil can’t hurt you when you walk in that. And, pardon the pun… but that just kills him.

Read More