God expressed His Love for us by the death and resurrection of His Son (see Romans 5:8). This costly Expression reveals the authenticity of what is in His heart. It is easy to give away what is not precious. Giving something of great value carries far more weight than token gifts and mere words. Nonetheless, words can carry great worth if there is great value in them. God’s words are Spirit, Life, and Truth (John 6:63 &17:17). They have weight. None of what He expresses comes from vanity or hypocrisy. God does not express what is not real and He does not give in order to look good. He is good; therefore, He gives good gifts. He is Love; therefore, He gives love. What He gives has meaning because He means everything He says and is intentional in what He does. Jesus is the Perfect Expression of the Father, and the Holy Spirit expresses the will and nature of the Father and the Son, perfectly. There is absolutely no pretence found in God. Everything He does and says reveals His true nature.
John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (KJV). If public worship means more than private worship, then public worship has little value. In truth, our corporate worship should be the result of private worship. True vanity is trying to express what is not real. If there is no true love and devotion behind the words and deeds, then they are meaningless (see Matthew 15:7-9). Keep in mind that worship acknowledges and exalts God for Who He is and is a way of life. Singing is part of worship, but it is not the whole of it. The way we live our life should be an expression of worship. For example, a person should do his or her job as an act of worship onto God, which means everything he or she does is as unto Him. That means doing things with excellence without the express purpose of self-promotion; rather, it promotes His glory in the work place. The way we treat others, whether they are believers or not, should acknowledge He is God. We are kind, gracious and merciful to others because it reflects His very nature and even His very Name. Exodus 34:6-7 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin . . . (KJV). Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:44-48, KJV).
How do we know if we are living a life of worship unto God? Perhaps a way to answer that question is to ask another question: whom am I trying to glorify? It is very simple, do I do things because I want to look good and have the acceptance of man, or do I do things to please the Father? Do I sing unto the Lord so people will take notice or because worthy is the Lamb? Do I teach or preach, do acts of benevolence or give so I have the respect of others. What motivates me to do what I do? It is good to acknowledge one another’s talents and gifts, because that even expresses the goodness of God. Where did those talents and gifts come from? In fact, we should treat each other as gifts from God. Encouraging one another is an act of worship and an expression of love. It is not just helping our brothers and sisters to operate in their gifts and exercise their talents; it is helping the Father’s sons and daughters. Does our life declare that Jesus Christ is Lord?
One final thought: in the hustle and bustle of daily living, it is easy to lose sight of having a lifestyle of worship. Life can be tough, but a lifestyle of worship can turn it into joy. Lets be honest, some people can be difficult to deal with as we go about our business. They can be hard to love, but as we center on Jesus and submit to the Holy Spirit, we can express the Father’s love to them as well. Part of worship is to desire what God desires, and He desires that all would come to repentance. Romans 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (KJV).
While each one of us are supposed to represent Jesus well, and be Jesus to those around us, we should remember that there is only One Savior. As we may be co-laborers with God in the harvest, it is still God Who gives the increase (see 1Corinthians 3:5-9). The only Way to the Father is through the Son (see John 14:6). The One Who heals and makes the decision about whom or how people are healed is He. Nevertheless, there are those who wear themselves out trying to be the savior of the world, as if they are the only link to God. Without realizing it, they act as if they are the only ones who love God. Some even believe they are the only “true believers” around.
Sometimes zeal can work against people. Inadvertently a number of them make themselves the “the go to” person. Eventually they so encumber themselves that they stress out because they are spread too thin. Instead of stewarding well what the Lord has given them to do they try to take on more than they are supposed to, and wonder why they feel like failures in the end. They are so busy trying to be the Savior that they fail to do what Jesus has called them to do. Their busyness has made them ineffective in their actual calling. Because they place themselves in this position, they wind up trying to live up to other people’s expectations (real or imagined) instead of God’s expectations. Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (KJV). When we please the Father and do His will, we will bless others. If you are burned out on “ministry,” it is time to reboot. Novices and mature alike have fallen into this trap. Therefore, instead of feeling guilty, stop and listen. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (KJV). If you want to do works of faith, listen and obey. The bottom line is spend time with God and let the works flow out of the relationship. As you walk by faith, leave the results to Him. It is not up to you to make things happen; it is up to you to believe. John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom he hath sent (KJV).
There is another group of “saviors.” These try to fix people in the name of “ministry.” They want to “save” everyone so they can avoid their own baggage. It is easier to deal with other people’s hurts, fears and struggles than to face our own. While it may “feel good” to help someone else, it does not help you. As long as people refuse to deal with their own issues, they will never be who God called them to be nor will they be effective in helping others. You cannot use ministry like a drug to dull pain and ease anxiety. “Helping” someone else does not necessarily mean you have your act together. Fortunately in many instances, it was God’s grace that helped people through difficulty in spite of the “minister.”
Matthew 7:3-5 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye (KJV). True ministry requires clarity. Without it, we can do more harm than good. As long as you minister to others because of personal issues, you will filter everything through them. You will believe what a person is experiencing is the same thing you have experienced and miss it by miles. It is like a doctor who has faulty equipment, and as a result, misdiagnoses a patient. That means it would be easy to offer bad advice under such circumstances. In the mean time, you still have not come to enjoy the freedom of God through your own healing.
Sometimes the Lord will have us help another as part of the healing process. It is one thing to “minister” because we are hurting, and quite another to minister in spite of our hurting. However, we must keep process in the Lord’s hands. That means we sit with Him and allow Him to reveal those hidden things lurking in us. We must permit Him to minister to us in the way He sees fit. The process may or may not include other people. Nonetheless, it starts with Him and it ends with Him. After all, He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
Lastly, there are those who will go to people before they go to the Savior. They have become so self-absorbed that all they want is people’s attention. They do not desire change; they desire ministry. Going to Jesus demands change. Going to Him means healing and freedom. Sadly, many come to think that the only way people will pay attention to them is if they have problems. Instead of allowing others to freely love them, they manipulate them. Getting people to feel sorry for you accomplishes nothing. The Father wants a deep intimate relationship with you because He loves you. In spite of any negative experiences in life, especially with those who are supposed to be close, you can trust Him to love you. The question is, do you love Him? When we face hardship, we need to go to our Savior first. Then if He leads us to others, we can go to them. Until then, we wait on Him.
A major reason we see people who never change or who are ever in some sort of a crisis is because they do not want change. Instead of letting go of their problems, they hang on to them while accusing God for their problems. Many of which they cause themselves. Instead of forgiving others when they need to, they wrap themselves up in a cocoon of bitterness, and then wonder why no one helps them or wants to be around them. It is hypocritical to refuse the help you need, and complain because no one will “help.” God will get as close to you as you let Him. If you want to remain sovereign, the Savior will not be your Lord. Some need to figure out who has the best terms. You can do life on your terms or do life on His terms and actually have abundant life. It is your decision alone. As long as you bury yourself in your problems, you will remain lonely. That is on you. If you go to the Savior and allow Him to be your Lord, He will lift you up and out of the pit of despair.
In their struggle against certain sins, some individuals have a tendency to count how many failures they experienced in a given period of time or how long they went without a lapse. Those who keep track of those periods between “slips” may find it takes longer to experience the victory that is available through Jesus Christ our Lord. A sign that they have not come into true repentance is the focus they put on the failure. Some fall into the mindset that says, “I’ll do better next time.” They promise God they will never do it again, whatever “it” may be. As a result, they wind up trying to realize the victory in their own strength. It is similar to the alcoholic who promises to quit drinking, but is powerless to follow through on that promise. Instead of receiving the grace necessary by faith to overcome, they try to be strong, but wind up weak in the process. Like many who make New Year’s resolutions, they start out well, but quickly run out of steam. At some point, they give up and wait until the next year when they start the vicious cycle all over again.
When people keep score, they tend to rationalize bad behavior. “At least this time I went two whole weeks without getting drunk.” It is as if the length between getting drunk made it okay. Keep in mind that getting drunk is one example of many things with which people struggle. This is no way singles out one thing over another. You fill in the blank for what “it” may mean to you. While it is good to encourage ourselves, the method we choose makes all the difference. The key is encouraging ourselves in the Lord. When we receive the grace of God through faith, and place our trust in Him to deliver the victory, 1John 1:9 becomes real to us: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (KJV). 2Corinthians 12:9-10 becomes the Standard for overcoming: And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (KJV). John 15:3-5 is the Strategy for success: Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing (KJV). Quickly we discover that it is the Son Who makes us free; not our effort to be good (see John 8:30-36).
Keeping score can lead to more failure, as it reveals a history that seems doomed to repeat itself. If a person sees himself as fighting a losing battle, he will come to believe he cannot win. As a person thinks, so is he; and as he believes, so will he receive and act. We can draw a line in the sand with 2Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (KJV). It is not a “do-over.” Stop looking back, and see what God says about you now and what your future looks like in Christ Jesus. 2Corinthians 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (KJV). Philippians3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (KJV).
When we embrace the True Nature of God, our decision making process will change as well. We cannot have a true encounter with God and expect our thinking will go unchanged. As we see things differently, our reason for doing things will alter because our motive will filter though love. When you come to accept God is Love and He absolutely loves you, you will grow in confidence with Him. How does this affect our decisions? For one, as we realize that Father God is actually cheering us on, we dispel any belief that opposes that Truth. Jeremiah 23:29 Is not My Word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces (KJV)? Truth works like a hammer that chips away falsehood and tears down strongholds. The more we accept the Word of God as absolute Truth (see John 17:17), the bigger the Hammer becomes. It will move from chipping away to taking out entire mountains in a single blow. If God is cheering you on, what does that mean? He wants you to succeed!
For some, this is a very difficult thing to grasp. For those who struggle with this Truth, lets begin with the basics. You say you don’t feel worthy. How do you become worthy? How do you become righteous? You don’t, because you cannot do what Jesus already did. If you are in Christ Jesus, you are already righteous before God (see 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21). His righteousness is our righteousness. He made it a gift unto us. Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ (KJV). Because Father wants you to succeed, He provided the Way for you to do just that! That means He already squared away the worthiness issue. He is more interested in His relationship with us than us trying to follow a bunch of rules. You cannot earn is His love.
As you realize that God is not opposed to you, you should also realize that He is not opposed to your success in life. The more we involve Him in our decisions, the more right decisions we will make. When people do not invite God into the process and the process fails to yield good result, they cannot honestly blame God. Nonetheless, many still do. The question now comes to this: what is a right decision? Is it what we think is right or is it what God says is right? As the goal is to align with what is right in His eyes, keep in mind that He did not take away our right to decide. However, He often gives us better choices from which to choose.
The difficulty lies with carnal thoughts colliding with godly thinking. The older a person is before coming to Christ, the truer the following statement may be. Because of having a worldly perspective for a major portion of one’s life, a godly one can appear foreign. God’s thinking seems upside down, even though He is our Creator Who knows best. When we come into His Kingdom, we have to unlearn what we “knew to be true.” When darkness was our light, Truth appeared to be falsehood. Evil was good and good was evil in our sight. How many scoffed at believers in Christ before coming to Him? How many ridiculed them for acting like “goody-two-shoes?” Though some may have thought they never called good, evil, they actually did. Even now, some struggle as believers when they see others’ good works. They appear to be self-righteous. Granted, there are times people actually do act out of self-righteousness; but for many, they are doing the best they know how. That is another subject matter for another time. The question is: who is being self-righteous in this scenario? Can we applaud our brothers and sisters when they do well? Can we honor one another in a way that is pleasing to Father? The way we decide to treat others will greatly depend on the way we think.
As we journey forward with God, we will find He is trustworthy. As He leads us in our decisions, we find that He really does have our best interests at heart. There may be times it appears that He is leading us in the wrong direction. That is when we cannot afford to lean our own understanding. The more we embrace His true nature, the more right decisions we will make. As long as some hold to their old opinions about God, the less they will trust Him. Unfortunately, they will never be totally pleased with the results of their decisions. Proverbs 3:5-12 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (KJV).