True to Self

“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” [Galatians 6:3-7 NIV]

Photo by Steve Ford

Photo by Steve Ford

I love this piece of Scripture. How many of us compare ourselves to others all the time? Either in the positive — thinking we are doing much better than them, or in the negative — thinking we are nowhere near good enough. Both of these, when stripped back to their roots are based in pride. The sinful kind of pride, a kind of self-deception.

But according to this passage, we should not compare ourselves to others, but only to ourselves. We need to be able to look at ourselves with honest scrutiny, admit our faults, acknowledge our strengths. Then we can work on improving our weaknesses and use our gifts and talents to produce fruit in our lives.

The warning comes at the end of this verse. Because if we cannot be honest with ourselves, though we might fool others into thinking we are something we are not, God sees all. He knows our heart and He cannot be made a fool of. The way we sow into our lives and those around us, is the way we will reap, whether we live a life of pretense or not.

What kind of lie have you told yourself about yourself lately? Perhaps it is time to admit the truth and make a change.

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Published in: on 18th March, 2013 at 10:25 am  Comments (4)  
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What do you Expect?

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” [Luke 17:7-10 NIV]

Photo by Jesper Noer

I found this passage to be a bit of a challenge this past week. Sometimes we’re taught that we can boldly claim answers to our prayers. And that is correct because the Word says ‘ask and you shall receive’. BUT, when I read the verses above, I realised that we need to watch our attitude when we do so.

If we come to the Lord with a heart full of pride and arrogance, I don’t think we can expect much. If we think that somehow we deserve His favour or His immediate response to our requests, we are starting on the wrong foot. If we list in our mind all the things we have done for Him and sacrificed for Him, like we should be repaid for such goodness, then we are dead wrong.

As the Scripture above says, we are His servants, we only do our duty and should not expect anything in return for our service. Indeed, He already gave His all when He sent His son to the cross on our behalf.

Photo by Felipe Daniel Reis

Rather, when we approach Him, it should be as a child to a loving parent. We know that because He loves us, He wants to bless us, and abundantly so. When we come to the Lord in THAT humility — not that we deserve, but just because we are loved — then yes, we can expect a loving response.

Just as Jesus said on another occasion:  “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” [Matthew 7:9-11 NIV]

It’s all about the attitude!

Published in: on 8th October, 2012 at 10:51 am  Comments (4)  
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Who gets the glory?

At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still.” [Psalm 75:6 NIV]

I have been reading through the Psalms lately. So often I find Psalms of praise to God for victories in war. Now, I’m sure, in most cases, the Israelites took their army out to the battle field and fought hard. There were a few miraculous times, where God actually went before them and smote the enemy before the Israelites even arrived, but mostly they fought their battles the hard way.

However, what astounds me, is that even though they worked hard for their victory, risking life and limb, they attribute the victory to God. All of it. They don’t say ‘God put strength in our arms,’ or ‘God aided us in our success’. No. They simply say ‘He broke the flashing arrows, the shields and swords, the weapons of war.’ [vs 3] The victory is directly attributed to the Lord.

That leaves me wondering. In my successes and victories in life, do I attribute it all to God? Or do I want to take some of the glory for myself? I know it is easy to blame God when things aren’t working right, but when they are, we tend to hold back the recognition of His work in our lives. In pride, we can think ‘well, I did all the work.’ I pray for the humility of the Israelites. It is all because of God’s grace and love that I have success. Without Him, I can do nothing. [John 15:5]

How about you? Do you give God the glory for your successes?

Published in: on 14th December, 2011 at 4:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pride, Prejudice and Humility

In respect of the fact that my new novel was released today(that’s it over at the top of the right hand side-bar), I wanted to write about one of the themes it contains: humility.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” [Philippians 2:5-8 NIV]

Photo by H Dominique Abed

Pride is such a prevalent thing in our society. We look down on others in lower socio-economic situations or those with shameful pasts. We think people are less-than if they don’t wear nice clothes, or if they smell different, or if they have a disability, or if they have an opposing belief system.

None of these attributes, however, can actually measure the value of a person. The value in a human life lies in the fact that they are created by God, in His image, no less. Why then, do we use the world’s measuring standards? Too uncomfortable? Embarrassing?

But, the Lord Himself, lowered himself to the lowest form – that of a servant – and even allowed Himself to be punished and abused for that which He did not do, to the point of an unspeakable execution. He did that in order to have relationship with all kinds of people, be they high-class or low, healthy or sick, rich or poor, clean or unclean, sinner or saint. Including you.

In the same way, we need to be able to befriend and care for those in any circumstances, from any backgrounds, without disdain and without condescension. In God’s eyes, we are all equal – of equal value – and that is a priceless value. We need to look at others through His eyes.

How can you reach out to someone this week, who is normally looked over by most people? Just a thought.

Published in: on 1st November, 2011 at 3:51 pm  Comments (2)  
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