Everyone is different by design because each person is to have a unique relationship with God. It’s for this reason one may say, “God loves you, but I’m His favorite!” It’s a statement of humility, even though it may not seem so at face value. People lose out when they try to be someone they’re not, especially if it’s another every day, run of the mill human being, and that includes the “superstars.” We’re called to be imitators of God, and conform to the image of Jesus (Ephesians 5:1; Romans 8:29). And yet, each is to carry his or her own expression of true worship to God. That means, the best way for you to worship God in Spirit and truth is simply being you while offering your life as a gift unto Him.
By allowing God to fully sanctify you, you will be your best version possible. If you try to be someone other than you, you actually pervert the best rendition of you. You are of great value to God our Father. You were of great value even before receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. One the most quoted verses in the Bible, if not the most quoted says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The idea you weren’t valuable is a lie! You would do very well for God, other people and yes, for yourself, if you would believe what He says about you. As it written, “Be ye holy, for I am holy,” but know that includes simply being you. His is the only expectations you have to live up to, and He gave You grace to do just that!
Everyone has a story. Each has a narrative they love to tell. It’s their explanation of how and why they got where they are today, and it will be their reason for the outcome of their future. What they believe to be true will influence decisions and choices. Like it or not, much of what happens in life is predicated on these two things. You made decisions. You also made choices that either corresponded with them or sabotaged them. Regardless, they are major reasons for your current state of affairs. It was not luck, good or bad. It was not your upbringing or DNA, even though they played a major role in your life. It still comes down to decisions and choices. Yes, there were outside influences; and yet, how you responded or reacted to them also influenced your present state. To be sure, there were things completely out of your control, and frankly, there are more things are out your control than what is in your control. Nevertheless, what you do with what you can control is a difference maker. You may have started somewhere, but you didn’t have to stay there. Ask yourself, “What did I do with what was in my control?” There are plenty real life stories out there that illustrate this point. “From rags to riches,” or “Grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, but wound up destitute.” And everything in between.
For some, your narrative does not match God’s. You still speak from the old nature’s viewpoint, instead of the new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Since the Bible clearly tells us we’re new, why are some allowing theirs past (old things) determine their present and future life? Are you allowing your past to make the decisions? It’s difficult to live in the present and look forward to your God-given destiny when you’re living in the past, while gazing at it with wonderment. If you’re going to become who God created you to be and step into His promises for you, you’ll need to change your story. “I had dysfunction parents!” And? God is now your Father, isn’t He? Do you suppose that changes anything? Your transformation, your life change, your new story begins with believing Him. Believe you have a new nature, and God is changing your life for the better, regardless of your current set of circumstances. Philippians 1:6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. By the way, it changes faster if you cooperate with Him. To believe is an act of volition; it is not automatic. What happens if you refuse to believe? Simply put, if you don’t combine faith with life, you’re going nowhere. Search the Scripture and see what it has to say about it for yourself. What happened to the first generation of the children of Israel who came out of Egypt in the Exodus? We can learn something from them. 1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (see also Romans 15:4).
Of all the first generation, only two made it into the Promise Land -Joshua and Caleb. Why didn’t all the others make it? Deuteronomy reveals they did not believe God. Even though He did amazing things before their very eyes, they chose not to trust Him and murmured against Him. Their rebellion cost them the promise (read Deuteronomy 1:1-21). If you choose to believe God, you will change your future, even create a new family history for generations to come. “I was lost, but now I am found.” “I was born in diversity, but God gave me a new life, a new beginning, and now I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!” God does give new direction, new outlook, strategies and creativity. Everything you need to move forward is available to you. What will you do? What narrative are you going to tell? Confess a good confession of faith. Say what He says, and see what happens!
2 Peter 1:2-4Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Failing to discern times and seasons we’re in can cause confusion. Our times and seasons change, and with those changes, come new direction. If we’re oblivious to them, we may find ourselves feeling out of whack, so to speak. For example, unexplained irritation and complaining, especially when you’re normally not easily irritated, and you seldom complain, if ever. Sometimes, we can sense a change taking place, but we can’t quite put our finger on it. Have you ever had a moment when your normal routine seems out of place? Perhaps, the atmosphere changed, but there’s no apparent reason for it. However it manifests, you feel unsettled.
The Bible reveals we are made up of spirit, soul, mind and body (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Our spirit communes with Holy Spirit, and it’s with our spirit we serve God (Romans 1:9; 8:16; 1 Corinthians 2:6-26; et. al.). Everything else is supposed to follow the spirit’s lead as it is led by Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). That means our spirit will know about the changes before the rest. When our soul is not quite onboard, it gets disquieted. Our minds tend to be analytical, which means it can run interference, especially when things just don’t make sense. This is one reason Proverbs tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). We absolutely need to trust Him, even when nothing makes sense. He is faithful!
If you’re one who came from a controlling background, where you had to know everything, because you lacked certainty in life, this will be a new venture for your soul and mind, especially if you’ve never experienced this before. Emotions can feel out of control, and things that were planted in your brain can try to thwart what God is doing in your midst. This is yet another reason we’re exhorted to cast down imaginations and renew our minds. The renewal process, or renovation if you like, expels those thoughts which are contrary to the Mind of Christ.
A number of thoughts we have did not originate with us, and they most certainly did not come from God. We tend to act, react and respond according to what we believe to be true. New times and seasons are useful for exposing strongholds that we’ve been carrying for years. Sometimes you don’t know what’s in a cup until it gets bumped. People often say hardship builds character. Maybe, it would be more accurate to say it reveals the character of the individual. In other words, it will bring to the surface what we’ve been trying to suppress. If your comfort zone is avoidance of fear, it has no real comfort or peace. Some are fearful of things that don’t actually exist. They dread events they’ve created in their minds, because they believe them to be true. That is how powerful thoughts and imaginations can be. They can absolutely cripple your walk of faith, so long as you chose to hang onto them. Don’t believe the lie; believe God! Have you ever played the “what if game,” and you found fear knocking at the door of your heart? Don’t open the door. There is no such thing as “what if.” Going further, did you find that what you feared never happened, and in essence, you wasted a lot of energy. There are the adrenaline junkies who love this game. They love the sense of relief when what they feared never happens. Why would they do that? It’s another form of self-medication, which is a different topic.
When things feel out of order, stop and ask Holy Spirit for clarity. “Why am I feeling this way?” “What am I supposed to do?” “What are You trying to reveal to me in all this?” Stay open. Above all, trust Him. Clarity will assuredly come, but do be patient.
Proverbs 1:7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
While it is true God is Love, we must never forget He is holy. And that means it is vital to treat Him as holy. Grace never vacated the fear of the Lord. If anything, it helps us maintain it. From Whom did grace come? Jesus (John 1:17). One of the things Scripture revealed about Him is, “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2). Part of the Spirit of the Lord resting on Him involves the fear of the Lord. Keep in mind that we are to conform to His image. While God greatly loves us, He still expects us to be a holy people. 1 Peter 1:15But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. The fear of the Lord and the fear of punishment are two different things; although, without the fear of the Lord, repentance may have never come to lead us away from the judgment to come. Part of the fear of the Lord includes holding ourselves accountable to Him.
In some Christian sub-cultures, accountability scarcely exists. This is one reason they lack power and do very little for the Kingdom. This is especially true if they’re not representing the Lord very well at all. You may recall, Moses was not allowed to enter the promise land. Why not? In a second occurrence when the children of Israel was in need of water, God told Moses to speak to the rock that it may yield water for them. But what did Moses do? He struck the rock twice with the rod. How did God respond to him? Numbers 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” By succumbing to anger and doing it his own way, he lost out on the promise. He was allowed to see the promise land from the distance, but that’s the best he would experience. Some fail to enter into their promise because they decide to do things their way. Part of the issue is unbelief, but the other part is not giving God His proper due. They are closely tied together. Whether or not it is evident to some people, they will discover everyone is ultimately accountable to Him.
In one sense, the fear of the Lord helps us with boundaries. Because of our love for Him, there is part in of us that does fear missing Him. How differently would we treat other people, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, if we were mindful that they belong to God. They’re not merely our peers, they are our Father’s children, and He will hold us accountable to the way treat them. Don’t believe it? Search the Bible and see if it is true. Would we be better stewards with what we’ve been given if we fully embraced the fear of the Lord? Ultimately, true obedience is accomplished by love. Think about it, we live by faith, and without it, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith, however, works by love (Galatians 5:6).
Romans 14:10-12But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Here’s a bit of irony: a number of those who complain about the entitlement mentality, often feel entitled themselves. Oh, they work hard for what they have, and are diligent at what they do for a living. A strong work ethic is commendable. No one gave them anything, they earned it! A laborer is worthy of his wages, there is no argument there (see 1 Timothy 5:18); but, how many actually want more than they deserve? Jesus said we shouldn’t expect to be commended for doing what were supposed to do or what is expected of us. (see Luke 17:5-10). How many want a pat on the back for showing up to work on time and doing their job? Look, some say they don’t want anything they didn’t earn, but how many expect paid holidays, vacation or sick leave? Nothing wrong with receiving these or any other benefits, they play part in many compensation packages. Nonetheless, are you grateful for them, or do you just expect it? Have you ever heard someone complain about their bonus being smaller than they anticipated? Was it you, perhaps? Hello, it’s a bonus! It’s not something an employer has to give you. It’s “icing on the cake.” How many of you employers expect your employees to do extra work for free, because you feel they owe you for giving them a job? Do you expect them to care about your business as much as you? It would be nice if they did, but they are not as vested in it as you. Have you considered profit sharing? Of course, you can only do what you’re capable of doing. You may afford them a living, but they don’t owe you their souls. It would be nice if both employee and employer appreciated each other.
If you are unthankful, you carry the entitlement mentality. When you demand something because you “deserve it,” you’re feeling entitled. Who deserves all glory? The obvious answer is God. Why then, do some look for the pat on the back? As disciples of Jesus Christ, why do we work? One reason is so we have something to give or share with one who has need (see Ephesians 4:28). That is not to say we shouldn’t possess things, but they should never possess us. Can you give your possessions away, if the Lord were to ask it of you? Remember, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world and they dwell therein” (Psalms 24:1). So, do your possessions really belong to you in the first place? If you really feel deserving for all your hard work, who gave you the ability to gain wealth? Again, the obvious answer is God. Are you grateful? What’s the purpose of wealth? To confirm His Covenant which He swore to our forefathers (see Deuteronomy 8:18). Do you give God glory and offer the first fruits of all your possessions? If you’re withholding what rightfully belongs to God, which is everything and not merely 10%, you may have the entitlement mentality. Granted, some don’t give because they’re afraid, but that’s another issue. If a person withholds out of greed, he or she has the entitlement mentality, also known as lust.
1 Timothy 6:6-8But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
Philippians 4:11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.