Let It Burn
"For you will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks." Psalm 18:27
The Lord is more concerned with the content of our heart than ours years of experience, education or accolades. Yes, even if our exploits and achievements are done for HIm and by the Power of His Name. God is more interested in the quality of our bank account (meaning our inward man or woman) than the "bank" we use or the type of "account" we have. So, what does that mean? You may be thinking it such a strange way to begin a writing, but this post is meant to be concise and straight to the point.
I want to disclaim that I have no person or denomination or organized entity that I direct this at. What I am about to say is what I believe, based on my extensive education at the School of the Holy Spirit, and His Marvelous Word. As always, take what I say, think about it, let it roll around in your head, pray about it, and search it out for yourself and see what the Holy Spirit has to say to you, too.
I consider all of life for a Believer to be ministry. I have never considered "ministry" as a category for people who get paid for it and go to specialized schooling for it. I Beleive; therefore, my God expects me to lead on whatever level, zone or persons He desires to send me to. It should be this way for all of us. Honestly, Christianity, in a way, is like the first direct sales company! We are self employed entity that voluntarily goes to work and we reap a reward of blessing from our heavenly Father. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
God can use anyone He wants. He doesn't care about education, background, how big your past seasons of fruitfulness have been. He doesn't really care what denomination you associate with, as long as it points to the Resurrected King of all Kings and accepts the Holy Bible as His book of education. He doesn't really even care if you go to Bible college or not. I am not downgrading how wonderful education in ministry is, nor any education. I value it. However, God wants us to be a reflection of HIS Righteousness. Education, field experience, denomination, these things have wonderful merit, but we are human and I don't know if you've noticed, we can tend to become prideful in our resume, so to speak.
God is more interested in our reflecting HIs Righteousness than our Self-Righteousness.
How can you tell if you have become self righteous? That is a tough question. I am not sure I have an answer, but the question is more to be reflective. Each individual can ask the Lord themselves, with a genuine interest in His answer. That, my friends, is the essence of humility.
A humble person lacks ego, arrogance, and self importance. A humble person is more concerned about building others up that demonstrating their own knowledge or expertise. I am sure that many who struggle with pride get there by accident. There is a certain amount of healthy pride one can take for accomplishing a goal or achievement. Titles and positions are given to those who are believed to be of notable worth to accomplish a given task. One should feel a sense of pride in accomplishment. However, it is so important for all of us, I include myself in this, to check our heart daily! We must humbly submit ourselves to the foot of the Cross and petition the Lord, "Search my heart!" We must want God to show us our flaws so that He can correct them and we can be a continually clean and pure vessell for His use. He can get down even deeper in our hearts when we do this. Here is an analogy:
Think of a round, pillar candle...the kind that gets a deep well in it when it has been burned a lot. When the candle is first time lit the flame is on top where you can see it from far away. That's how the Light of Christ is in a new believer...fresh and on the surface for everyone to see! Excitement reaching out for all the Lord has done for them. As the candle is mature, having been burning a long time, the flame gets in deep and illuminates the outer rim of wax, causing the candle to glow from the depth of the wax. This is the seasoned and mature Christian who has allowed the Lord to do a deep work in their life and they continue to walk with Him and allow HIm to come closer to their heart. They glow with a warmth that younger in the Lord Christians can learn from and be mentored from. But the number of years one has been a believer is not a far measure of their depth or breadth of maturity. For every individual grows differently. It depends on the hunger of their heart, the purity of their desire, how they are gifted spiritually and what kind of deliverance from demonic oppression they require.
So, I do not write this to point fingers and call religious people self righteous. However, I do believe there are a lot of very well meaning and loving Christians out there who have a great deal of "self importance" for whatever reason and this only hinders greater fruit in their own life and the lives of those God intends to use then to help. One big set back it causes is that those who are less confident in their walk with God, or maybe a babe in Christ, will adopt and attitude that they cannot achieve all the "Super Christian" has achieved, so they don't even try. They are defeated before they begin. A self righteous believer is usually more focused on their accolades and all they are doing for the kingdom instead of noticing what others are doing. Kind of a "look at me and how wonderful I am" philosophy.
I think we also have to be careful about denominational pride. The Bible is the Bible and Jesus is Jesus and he died for all of us. Our loyalty should be to Him and not a brand of worship or style of teaching. We all have a preference, but that is all it should be really. I believe God can "call" you to a church. There is always a specific way God would like to use your unique gifts and abilities and He would very much like to select where to use you. I think He would like to be involved in every intimate detail of our lives. I know by experience that most Christians allow God into their decisions in layers. Many think if its good and God and isn't breaking His word, then it doesn't matter. This may be true, but the truly capture the sweetest fruit you have to climb to the top of the tree because that is where the best sunshine is! Obedience is the only way to climb.
I don't know about you, but I don't ever want to be haughty or self important. I want God to use my gifts to showcase His Glory, like the candle with the deep burning. This is my desire...to one day walk into Eternity and hear those glorious words, "Well done, Good and Faithful Servant." I don't ever want it to look like, "Well done, Good and Faithful Servant, you cast your net and caught many fish, but look over here at all the ones who slipped through the net because of your own pride and arrogance." Ouch. I don't want that!
Here is what I do know. You have captivated the heart and eye of the Father. You are, in fact, the apple of His eye. that means he isn't turning His eye away from you. You are in the center of His gaze. He wants nothing more than to amaze you with His goodness, then wrap His cloak about you and send you to those who are hurting and hungry for spiritual food that goes down deep and satisfies the soul. Do you yearn for this as well?
Take a few minutes today to check your heart at Heaven's Gate and receive instruction from the best ministry school available. Any one can go, even if you are not called to a ministry profession. It is The School of the Holy Spirit.
You are a blessing and I am praying for you always. My heart is for the Overcomer and my desire for all the spoils of an obedient life for you. the key to your Joy is found in humble thinking and a servants heart. The perfect formula to captivate pure JOY and fight against a self important spirit:
J ~ Jesus
O ~ Others
Y ~ You
Place God, Jesus, first in your life. Put others after that and yourself last. For the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
Be Blessed! The Lord got me up at 3 am to write this! I hope it ministers to someone. I love you with the Lord's bond of Unity. We are the Church and a unified body cannot easily be broken.