There is a number of people living frustrated lives. They are not fulfilling their God-given destiny because they have failed to grant themselves the permission God has already given them to move forward. One reason is they keep comparing themselves with others, and then question whether they’re “good enough.” Needless to say, self-doubt has set in, even though true confidence is found in The One Who lives in us. God is the Standard, not people. And since He sets the standards, when He gives the green light to fulfill one’s calling, He has already taken care of the “good enough.” If the Lord says we’re qualified, why would we need man’s approval? When you place humans ahead of God, you cripple your ability to live your full potential. It influences your ability to believe.
John 5:32-34, 44There is another that beareth witness of Me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
When we compare ourselves one to another, we have a tendency to mimic each other. We look for trends, and patterns of success. Not that some of these things are of no value, but we run the risk of putting ourselves in a box. Have you ever noticed the ones who really make changes in society, or stand out in tremendous ways are the ones who do things differently than all the rest? Yes, they take risks, but they also reap rewards. Perhaps, the Lord wants you to do what some might consider unconventional. People become immune to the same old same old after a period of time, which means you could lose your effectiveness by doing what everyone has been doing for a while. Your assignment is to be unique to you. It would be difficult to stand out and make a difference, if you were to try to blend in with the rest. Even though society may have encouraged you to blend in, be courageous and stand out in the way God has called you. Trust Him, it’s okay!
Without naming them, where do current events stand in relation to your walk with God? There’s been a call to the Church for repentance, and yet, many have allowed the noise of the times to drown out that call. Why? Are they more interested in keeping the status quo than making changes, which in turn influence what’s taking place in society? Are they more interested doing things their way than God’s? Squirrel! Distractions are a useful tool to keep oneself from drilling down on the important things. Spiritual procrastination is not spiritual; it is carnal. Current events are significant, but the way we navigate through them far outweigh their importance. They have a shelf-life, they’re not eternal in nature. And yet, some are allowing them to hinder what is eternal in nature from affecting their lives for the better. They’re losing out on untold rewards. They are becoming unfruitful.
Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful.
It’s easy to caught up in the affairs of the day, and lose sight of the spiritual elements of the times. Some get swept into the spirit of those times. For instance, in the election season, they take on the political spirit and reason from the standpoint of politics. When some sort of chaos breaks out, they lean on their own understanding, and take on the chaotic spirit. Whatever the event, they lose sight of true spirituality, and forget the Mind of Christ. How can we affect Kingdom influence if we lean on the arm of flesh and human understanding?
No matter what’s going on in the world, it’s important stay grounded in the Word and stand firm in the Faith. Some questions are essential to ask: “How does God see things?” “What’s He doing in all of this?” “What are His intentions in relation to everything?” “What does He desire of me?” “Are the issues we see, really the issues?” There is a Kingdom perspective to everything. The spiritual does precede the physical. When studying the Bible, we discover there is a correlation between what the people of God are doing and what’s takes place in a nation. When they’re walking in obedience, the land prospers; and the opposite is true when they’re in disobedience. Here’s an example in relation to a political season: we can talk all day long about whose policies are the best and who’s “an idiot”; but, are these the things that are really going to make a difference? Consider what the Word has to say. Proverbs 14:34Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Let’s not forget one verse that’s commonly quoted during chaotic times: “If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Repentance changes things! The Gospel changes things! Only God can truly change the hearts of people and those in authority. Proverbs 21:1The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.
Some evoke spiritual warfare in times of trouble and distress. However, those word’s aren’t found together in the Bible, and of course, that’s a different lesson. Notwithstanding, our warfare as disciples of Jesus Christ is stay spiritual. That is submitting and allowing Holy Spirit to lead us in all times; which is far better than mindlessly jumping on some bandwagon.
Revelation 12:10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
How often do we pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven?” Considering our opening passage, it’s important to note there are no accusations in Heaven. This prayer expresses the desire to have the same atmosphere or ethos as Heaven on earth. For that to happen, we as the Body of Christ must put away accusations, especially false ones. What would happen if we actually did?
Interestingly, the verse first states, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God and power of His Christ,” before revealing the accuser of the brethren being cast down. It’s very significant and should not be lost on us. How can we express salvation, strength, the Kingdom of God and the power of Christ, if we maintain a culture of accusation? Think hard: if we were to cling to accusations, we would be opening a door to the devil, which is one way he’s allowed any power on earth. At the Cross and Resurrection, he was stripped of his power and authority. One of the ways Satan tries to gain advantage over us is by tricking us to agree with him. That is employing his weapons, speaking his words and taking like actions as his. But, we have been given the grace to resist him, and so we should (see James 4:6-12).
This truly is an issue of the heart. Some might say, “You’ll never hear me accuse anyone!” That may be true, but what about in your heart? Have you ever mentally accused anyone? If you did, how did it affect your relationship with the other person? Remember, we don’t know everything about everyone, nor do we know the totality of every situation in which people find themselves; therefore, we need to be careful about making assumptions. Have you ever been proven wrong after making an accusation (verbally or mentally)? Even if you “called it,” did you know the heart of the individual in question. Not all actions follow the heart. Some people unintentionally get caught up into things, and it’s easy to judge them without knowing their true intentions. Actions don’t always reflect the true character of people. Even if their heart was in the wrong place, we’re still not their judge. Our call is reconciliation. Moreover, accusation breeds contempt and division; not to mention, slander. A good reputation takes longer to build than for it to be torn down. If we’re mindful about honoring one another, we will not be so apt to point the finger. What does it mean to speak the truth in the love, anyway?
An old saying goes something like this: “The more things you have, the more they have you.” Have we become possessed by possessions, especially us who live in affluent societies? There’s a tension between the desires of the heart and the lust of the flesh. The latter is more about self-gratification and is by far less fulfilling than true desires birthed in our hearts by God. Furthermore, the lust of the flesh causes a war inside, which at times, bleeds into relationships with others.
James 4:1-3From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Here’s a simple recipe to wreck some families. Put money and possessions in the middle of the members. Have you seen a family torn apart over an inheritance? Perhaps, you’ve been one of the unfortunates who have been caught in one those squabbles over who gets what, or even worse. Of course, another way to put stress on relationships is borrowing money from each other. On a side note, a way to avoid this is simply not lend any; rather, give it away if have you the ability. Stating the obvious: pray about it first.
If you find jealousy or envy cropping up over what someone has; if you find yourself hanging onto things for dear life; if you find it difficult to say, “Yes, Lord” because of the fear of loss or how people may see you, or if you get angry at the thought of losing your possessions, you may be possessed by the things of the world. What exactly are the things of the world? The answer is found in 1 John. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever(1 John 2:15-17). In short: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are the things of the world.
Jesus tells us these things choke out the Word. Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (see also Matthew 13:7; Mark 4:7,18-20; Luke 8:7,14).
Is it wrong to possess things? Generally, no; however, filtering things through lust and pride is problematic. Our call is being content in whatever state we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11-13). That doesn’t mean we become complacent about our condition, nor say we should never possess anything. Even Paul said he knew what was to have much and to have little. Either way, he learned to be content in whatever condition he found himself. Remember, this earth is temporary -everything is going to burn. The things of this world hold no eternal value.
Obviously, the cure to jealousy and envy is love. Submission is another one. Galatians 5:16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. If Holy Spirit has you, the world cannot!