It’s time for a new focus, which means getting in touch with the Father’s heart. It means looking at what He’s looking at, and taking to heart the way He see things. It means speaking what He speaks. It means full agreement with God! Any thought or word you utter should align with His thoughts and His Word. If they don’t agree with Him, get rid of them.
A new focus means getting rid of distractions. Ask the Lord when you’re not clear if you’re dealing with a distraction. James 1:5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and with no reproach, and it shall be given to him. Listen more attentively before you act or speak.
It is truly a critical time in history. The present always is! Selah! Be present. Be Purposeful. Be intentional!
There is no reason to hold back anymore. It is time to be all in. Be busy about the Father’s business. Ask Him about His business, and what part you have in it. He blesses obedience; not sacrifice. When you obey Him, you’re in agreement with Him. It is a joy to obey; not a sacrifice. Selah! 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.
Moment after moment, there those who wait in desperation, especially unbelievers. They look for salvation from their circumstances, but find they have no hope. Emotions often control their attitude. In one moment, fear grips their heart, and in another, anger floods them in order to find empowerment over the fear. Anxiety plagues their mind, while depression finds its way in during vulnerable periods of their life. Both sorrow and resentment may also be haunting them. They are grieved at the thought no one cares enough to come to their rescue. They resent those whom they think should be there for them, but are not. These are those who put on their game face, who seem unreachable for the gospel; however, it’s quite the opposite. They’re starving for hope. They may be skeptical of the love available to them, but that’s because they’ve been let down by those closest to them. As believers, we have to see beyond behavior and demeanor.
Not everyone is as they seem. Those with rough exteriors may actually be crumbling inside.
They have no sure foundation on which to stand when the storms of life blow in. Oh sure, they survive. They live, but not to the extent they could if they knew Jesus Christ. Many of you have faced angry people. This does not refer to those who are angered by a single event at a specific time. These are always angry and negative. In fact, they look for excuses to become angry or wrathful. Are you comfortable around them? Do you feel compassion, or do you find disdain trying to creep in? Do you face them with love, or do you run the other direction? Can you chase after their heart for the sake of Jesus?
Keep in mind those who are the angriest, are angry for a reason. Most people do not make a conscious decision to be that way. Anger gives people a sense of power. Power over what or whom? Fear for one thing. What is easier to handle, the sense of fear or anger? Anger protects them from the fear of being hurt again. It keeps people at bay. It says, “Don’t mess with me!” Ironically, the fearful are too afraid to trust someone with their innermost secrets. While they want to share what’s on the inside, they push back on the outside. Who are the fearful? Those who have been deeply wounded. They are the disappointed. They are those without Jesus Christ. Of course, there a number of who do have Jesus, but they have yet to find healing. They need ministry. If only they could find someone they could trust.
Can you be Jesus to them? Will you lay your life down for the unlovable? God loves them deeply, and we are supposed to be like our heavenly Father.Matthew 5:48Therefore, be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect (see verses 43-48 for full context). If you are going to reach out to the broken, you cannot do it from a fleshly standpoint. It requires spiritual discernment. In short, you must walk in the Spirit and listen to His voice. God will whisper secrets in your ear in order to reach the hurting. He will empower you to love them beyond their understanding. That love along with the hope you possess will influence them for the Kingdom. Orphans are famished for the Father’s love. Those who do not have Jesus Christ, do not have the Father either -they’re Fatherless. You can be the one who breaks through and delivers the love they’re seeking. When you let Love have His way, you won’t be phased by their attempts to make you angry. As Jesus put it, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Those looking for a fight are actually looking to express their pain. They just don’t know any other way right now.
They are not your fight. There’s a spirit behind the mess. In truth, you are fighting for them. It’s important to resist the temptation to retaliate when they come against you. Just love them and pray for them. AGAPE is required, because you cannot expect anything in return. This kind of love takes joy in the recipient alone, and does things for his or her good, without expecting a return on investment, so to speak. Usually, when someone pushes back at you, they’re testing your love.
Everyone has been knit together in the womb by same One who created the universe. Each has been created in His image. This simple truth alone should affirm each and every individual on the planet; but instead, the majority has no clue because their identity has been stolen. They don’t know who they are meant to be, and have become shortsighted. That is to say, they see things from a corrupt point of view. Even a number of those who are in Jesus Christ are filled with self-loathing, because they fail to see any value in themselves. Some confuse this with humility. In fact, they use humility as a mask to hide it. In most cases, however, they are unaware of it. Some of you have difficulty receiving love from others. Have you ever wondered why?
True humility recognizes and receives who one is in Jesus Christ. It will put others ahead of itself in order to honor them; self-loathing puts others first because it’s seeking value. Love does for others purely for their sakes. Self-loathing does for others out insecurity. Perfect love casts out fear and fearlessly serves others. The latter lives in fear of rejection, and therefore, does things for acceptance. The truly humble will receive love and affirmation from others. The self-loathers reject love and affirmation because they don’t love themselves the way God intended. 1 John 4:10-11In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
Those who can never say “no”, especially when they should, are starving for love. Because they don’t value themselves, they become needy.
They can never do enough for someone else, because it never equates to the value they fail to see in themselves. In their mind, doing equals worth. This is one reason people are workaholics. Their identity is tied up in performance. If they don’t “work enough” -whatever that means, they are worthless in their opinion. They have to work harder than others to feel any self-respect. Performance does not equal value! Until you love yourself the way God the Father does, you will be incapable of serving others. At least, in a healthy manner. “What do you mean, I’m always doing for others?” Not if you’re seeking affirmation. That’s not to say you don’t want them to benefit from your service. It’s just more self-centered than you may realize. Here’s a quick test to see if you’re truly serving others. Do you require a “thank you?” Do you get put off when someone is “ungrateful,” or doesn’t show enough gratitude? Can you do something for another in secret? If you answered “no” to these questions, your motives may not be as pure as you thought.
A good many are not living up to their full potential, nor enjoying the abundant life God intended for them because they don’t receive from others, much less God. Their feelings of inadequacy prevent them from accepting things that may benefit them. They will only receive the equivalent value of what they see in themselves.
They sell themselves short, and fail to accept that they too can do well in life. Because of their personal hypothesis, they go about “proving” their insignificance by sabotaging their lives. For example, some destroy their financial well-being by making decisions they know full well will hurt them on the long run. While some go in debt because they’re trying to comfort themselves through shopping with credit, others simply do it to punish themselves. They don’t excel in life because they don’t feel worthy enough. In many cases, it’s not a question of talent, it’s a question of personal worth. In the Kingdom, the worthiness issue was settled by Jesus Christ – “Worthy is the Lamb!” It is not about being worthy; it’s about love. If you love God, you’ll walk worthy of your calling. You’ll stop insulting Jesus.
Some use false piety to hide their self-loathing. “I am so unworthy!” How does that glorify God? How is that humility? Are you greater than God? It’s a load of garbage.
If God made you worthy through Jesus Christ, how can you say you’re unworthy? That’s not humility; that’s pride.
Is it possible that some actually love to hate themselves? Some of you received a lie in your heart long ago. You’ve been repeating it ever since. “You’re worthless!” It’s time to change your confession. You cannot confess Jesus Christ is Lord, and then contradict what He says about you. Do you perhaps think it’s time to come into agreement with Him? That’s what it means to confess –to agree. Without conviction, words are empty. For some, if you accept being worthy in the Father’s eyes, you’ll stop killing yourself by trying to prove you’re worthy. You’ll be able to receive love because the self-loathing will be gone. Receive this: be free of self-loathing in the Name of Jesus!
Psalms 139:13-18 For Thou didst form my inward parts: Thou didst cover me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks unto Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are Thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them. How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: When I awake, I am still with Thee.
Overwhelmingly, people who allow others to act as their judges, find themselves questioning their own faith. When they compare their “Christianity” to the opinions of others, they begin to second guess their relationship with God. What makes things worse is that they get duped into the works of the flesh. They get trapped into doing things, rather than resting in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:10For he who has entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His. There is a difference between a testimony about God and someone glorifying their “good deeds” to the satisfying of his flesh. It’s one thing to follow Christ in someone, and it’s quite another to mimic someone else’s works. We are warned not allow anyone to act as our judge in relation to faith (see Colossians 2:6-23). Secondly, it is not wise to compare yourself to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Our Judge is Christ alone! Make no mistake, discipleship is important to help someone mature in the Lord; nonetheless, it should lead him to Jesus who brings him into the fullness of maturity. You cannot rule someone else’s faith, much less dictate what his relationship is supposed to look like. Everyone is designed to have a unique relationship with God.
The idea is to help one another embrace his or her relationship with Him.
We cannot expect others to relate to God identically as we do. Sure, there are general principles that should be taught. Such as prayer, personal Bible study, devotional time, and so on. However, since everyone is wired differently, the way they do things may differ. For example, your best time with the Lord might be early in the morning; whereas, theirs’ might be in the evening. You might be more vocal or expressive in your worship, while others may be more introverted. You get the idea. Some other ways our walks may differ relate to the uniqueness of the relationships we have with the Lord.
Of course, we’re all supposed to be holy because God is holy. Our holiness is found in Jesus Christ. Without going into what it means to be holy, there are things the Lord may single out with individuals. For example, He may tell me to lay off the donuts. That does not give me the right to put that on you. “Be ye holy, and forsake donuts!” None of us have the authority to play (the) Holy Spirit. He may lead us to say something to another person, but until He leads, be careful about putting a stumbling block before him or her.
Similarly, do not allow another to put a stumbling block before you.
If you have a clear direction from God in any area of your life, do not allow others to obscure it by their “two-cents worth.”
“Well brother (sister), you know if I were you, I wouldn’t (fill in the blank).” This is strictly talking about personal opinions; not, God-given advice or warning. That means we should be mindful about stubbornness at the same time. That is to say, you should not allow fleshy desires rule or dictate what’s permissible or preferable. Secondly, avoid mimicking the actions of others. Let their faith be an example in the sense they follow God and obey His voice. What they do as the result of what they heard is not necessarily intended for another to follow. We all have to get our own Word from God. Of course, instructions one may get could also be intended for others; but, each has to be convinced in his or her own mind. We are not a bunch of lemmings who blindly follow one another. Be led of the Spirit.