Most people want to be listened to and encouraged, not challenged and corrected. Most people are not interested in gaining understanding, they just want to be understood. Most people don’t want to listen, they want to be heard. For these reasons most people will never reach their full potential. Many people want purpose but not pain. Many people want prosperity with no sacrifice. Many people want pleasure with no commitment. Honestly, I hope you are different. I am writing this in hope. Hoping that some people are hungry and want more for their life than mediocrity. If you are interested in reaching your full potential it will take your complete commitment. You will need to be willing to be teachable. When you become teachable, teachers appear. You will have to refuse to become complacent and call it contentment. You will have to determine if you are a pioneer or a settler. Settlers are sloppy and lazy. They are procrastinators and excuse makers. Pioneers are powerful and purpose keeps them moving forward. You will need to be willing to be challenged and corrected. You will need to be courageous and allow yourself to be confronted and held accountable. You will have to choose your commitments over your conveniences.
“As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” – King Solomon
This is a parable rooted in my observation of life in Uganda, Africa.
There is a huge bull, with large pointy horns. He is about 800-1200 pounds. This huge guy is held by a tiny thin rope. There is a small girl. She weighs less than 80 pounds. She has a big stick. When she whacks the bull it moves in the direction of her choosing.
In your mind and life you are either the little girl with the big stick or the huge bull that is held by a tiny thin rope. The bull believes it is stuck and that belief then becomes it’s reality. The bull is not aware of its potential so it remains stuck. The girl believes she is in charge of that bull, and she is. Your beliefs and choices shape your reality. For better or worse. So when you choose to believe something make sure it’s the truth because the truth sets you free while lies keep you stuck.
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Self pity is self destructive. Feeling bad for ourselves usually makes a bad situation worse. The longer we linger in self pity the longer the situation lasts. We often sabotage our own success with self pity. Self pity will keep us stuck in the past or present and will not allow us to see a hope filled future. Self pity tries to block us from what could be based upon what was or what is. As followers of Jesus we must remember that Jesus is the great I am, not the great I was or the great I will be. If we are breathing there is hope. When bad things happen to us, or when we make bad decisions and don’t like the consequences of those decisions, we often feel shame. If we don’t deal with the shame self pity can grow out of the soil of shame. Shame most often tells us that it’s time to change. Not dealing and responding correct to the shame results in self pity. Not dealing with self pity can be costly. Self pity, self bitterness, and self hatred could even lead to self destruction. If you are struggling with this right now ask Jesus to help you. He always hears a sincere and humble heart that reaches out to him for help. Just know you are not alone and there is hope. God is omnipresent which means he is there when you cried and he even bottles your tears. He is there to help. Allow the wisdom that you find on his word (the Bible) to guide your thoughts, words and actions and you will not stay stuck in self pity. I have visited self pity street and it’s worse than a boarded-up, run down neighborhood. There is no life or shelter there. Ask God for help and he will be there. He often sends help in the form of things we don’t want to hear. Listen, absorb it and make the necessary adjustments so you can break free and help others. Remember this, you can’t help someone with something that you are in bondage to yourself. If hurt people hurt people then free people help others get free and it was for freedom that Christ set us free. [Galatians 5:1]
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” [Proverbs 29:15 NKJV]
You don’t have to be a parent to gain wisdom and understanding from this proverb. You may not have a child to discipline or nurture, but if you don’t receive disciple and correction and if you don’t nurture what you are responsible for you will live with shame. Correction is often protection. Correction and discipline are both ways we gain wisdom. Spanking a child, not out of anger but out of love, is actually one of the ways God gives a child wisdom through his parents love and discipline. Correction is one of the ways we gain wisdom. If a child doesn’t feel the consequences of their actions they will feel that there will be no consequences to their actions later in life. When someone rejects correction they are actually rejecting wisdom. Most people will choose feelings over wisdom, I hope your are not like most people. When a child is neglected and left to themself they bring their mother shame. If we neglect what God will hold us accountable for we will have shame. Shame announces to us boldly that it’s time to make a change. Any area of our lives that we neglect will probably lead to shame in some way. It is essential to receive correction if we want to gain wisdom. Wisdom is necessary to make the right decisions. It is equally essential to nurture and care for and be attentive to what we will be accountable for. Be faithful to receive correction and nurture what God has blessed you with.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:3 NKJV]
The poor in spirit possess what money can’t buy. If you are possessed by what money can buy you will not possess what money can’t buy. The kingdom is free but not cheap. What Jesus paid for on the tree we receive freely in the kingdom. It’s not earned or deserved but it is inherited by faith. When you become aware of your need for God you realize that he is and has everything that you really need. Everything we receive in the kingdom only becomes manifest when we are aware of our need and God’s unending supply. Do you know why some people don’t really read, study and pray? Because they are not truly and deeply aware of their need. They believe they need Jesus to not go to hell, but they are not truly aware that if he isn’t actually leading them the will live like hell now. They take their needs elsewhere and they are only temporarily met. When someone is poor in spirit they know exactly where to take their needs to – Jesus. Talking to a Pastor friend of mine recently we discovered that all of the problems that we are encountering in church and ministry are due to a lack of being poor in spirit. When you are unaware of your need for God because all of your needs are met you don’t press into him because it doesn’t feel urgent. One of the great dangers of prosperity is that it can lie to you and make you think things that are serious and urgent are actually not because you have a little savings. Remember this your savings can’t save you. We must not allow our abundance to lie to us. You never have to force, coerce, manipulate or guilt a hungry person to eat. Those who are really hungry won’t be stopped from eating. Are you aware of your need? Are you hungry for Jesus and the kingdom? Do you feel complacent and stuck? Ask God to speak to you so that his word can give you a clear direction to move in.
The Christian life must be built upon and centered around Christ and his teachings and commandments. Many Christians live defeated and disappointed lives because they think that the Christian life is about them, let’s be clear it’s not. The Christian life is not about us achieving our dreams in Jesus name. Jesus is not a representative of our kingdoms, we are called to be ambassadors of his. The Christian life is about Christ being formed in you and Christ being expressed through you.
- The Christian life is about sacrificial love not self preservation.
- The Christian life is about self denial not self gratification.
- The Christian life is about Christ’s significance not our security.
- The Christian life is about the Savior not our savings account.
- If your savings is your security mammon is your God.
Our security comes from knowing Christ intimately and our significance comes from serving Christ faithfully. Do you really know Jesus? Have you committed to serving him?
Cancel culture is not new but it is more aggressive than ever before. Often we label people so that we don’t have to listen to them. We need to learn to listen better. We need to learn to be slow to speak. We need to learn to love people we don’t agree with. People need to know that we don’t hate them just because we disagree with them. That false narrative needs to be exposed for the lie that it is. If you still feel the need to cancel stuff and people here are a few suggestions below.
- Cancel your preconceived notions of others and learn to listen.
- Cancel your feelings and fulfill your commitments.
- Cancel your doubts and believe what God has said.
- Cancel your fear and choose faith.
- Cancel complaining and choose to be thankful.
- Cancel greed and be generous.
- Cancel talking about people and talk to them.
- Cancel the need to live to please people who don’t even like or care about you.
- Cancel the lie that if you had ________ you would be happy.