Category Archives: Reconciliation
The natural mind understands NOT the things of God…
The elect, providence, the cross, running the good race, saved from sin, eternal life, regeneration, sanctification, Holiness, redemption, leaven (puffed up) and the contexts of sound doctrine cannot be completely understood by the natural mind alone. Rather it is by “Faith Alone” through the atoning blood of Christ that we are made complete.
If we attempt to grasp our faith in Christ by intellect alone, we will become frustrated in discovering we have no power over sin! Yet, more often than not many believe they play apart in their redemption – and eternal security by works; and yet works without faith is dead!
It has been my experience that Salvation is in “quantum mechanics” or a Spiritual issue, (as it is conceived in the mind of God) and therefore has no beginning and no end, so it cannot be grasped through our natural understanding of the scriptures alone, but only by faith which also is spiritual and God inspired.
I believe Paul understood this, and is why he preached Christ, and Christ Crucified “alone” then instructed the brethren to move in faith beyond what is elementary.
Yet men still contend and are content to argue the essence of what Christ has already accomplished at Calvary! In my opinion, this is because men refuse to try and fathom the infinite love and mercy by grace our heavenly father has given to all who would believe on the only-begotten son of the living God, who suffered on a cross and given as a ransom for all who would put their faith in him.
Salvation seems to be a never-ending argument (like many others) in using men who founded many different “denominational” positions and beliefs’. Often the later imperfect founders are scrutinized for their brutality in pushing their beliefs on others, “and rightly so”. Yet this does not negate nor diminish the power of the Gospel in any way shape or form!
By FAITH, we are saved by GRACE, and not of ourselves, that any man may boast.
We are Bridesmaids and are to remain FAITHFUL, not out of fear but because of our love for Christ. Are they’re those who will be lost: absolutely – but not because of their human efforts, it is simply because they would not remain faithful to Christ – and Christ alone for salvation. This boils down to the heart, not dogma nor our personal failings, but rather our love for the Bridegroom. Which is all based in God inspired faith, not religious works of the flesh.
Is a tool of Satan in manipulating our emotions to carry a burden around that we need not be carrying. So, we seek relief by trying to atone for it! Yet the Bible teaches that we are only accountable for our own sins alone before the Lord, and that Christ shed his blood for the sinner that we might be set free! If we confess OUR SINS, he is faithful and just to forgive us, as we are redeemed by the atonement on the cross alone, and not of our own efforts!
Who will be on top? That is the consistent question I have experienced with every human being within my life, and it is a carnal need to reign over others.
From sibling rivalries to the workplace, from the job site to the pulpit, from ethnic groups to politicians, it always the same power struggle – especially in an election year.
1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
People used to be a little more gracious and even respectful of their fellow man and (woman). Children used to look up to older and wiser people – even the elderly… but not so much nowadays.
The content of one’s character used to make the difference; and it was not just in hollow words, but rather in action. As a whole, most people who merited a position – as a doctor for example, had to pay the price of hard work and study to rise to the top of their professions, and they could not skip corners while doing so.
Once you start compromising with meriting a position for the appeasement of others – you have just destroyed the integrity of that position earned. I was a marine engineer, so I will start first with the field which I am most familiar with.
I started off learning to be a sailor, I was taught the ropes by my father. As a teenager I experienced a hurricane while at anchor in a cove of my family’s sailboat. The hurricane force winds picked up a two-man lifeboat tied on back and used it just like a kite above us. I tried to pull it back down, but my Dad just grabbed he knife and cut the line, sending it rolling over the water like a tire rolling downhill! When we got back into port the next day boats from marinas were beached and crushed in all fashions, I am sure costing the owners millions of dollars.
My point is, I had to learn how to be a sailor first by experience and then by some more formal training I learned later in the Coast Guard. I bounced back and forth from my shipboard positions from a boatswain’s position to an engineer. Each time I learned more and more what I was doing and became more proficient at whatever it was I focused upon.
What really started to annoy me after my time in the Coast Guard was human politics. I often think about the (liberal) leadership of the men who hired me at the Maritime Museum, they loved my work as it made them look good to others; their vessels being well painted polished and most importantly functional. Then came the social programs, senior aids set up by the City, youth training and work for the more unfortunate high school students.
For the most part this was fine with me, and I was able to develop some deep friendships in generally guiding people in different tasks of deck maintenance, and an understanding of basic shipboard piping systems and machinery.
One day an old inland buoy tender took on some water rather quickly; I grabbed Patrick who was a rather big kid, and he helped me haul dewatering pumps to the scene, and running the equipment as I frantically resealed the seems leaking between the planks!
Patrick and I were very satisfied with what we had achieved in saving the old boat from sinking! But then came in the “Who’s going to be on top” political posturing; I couldn’t believe the results when the museum supervisors returned the next morning. It turns out there was a big scene made on the pier in front of patrons of jumping up and down by the woman who took care of cleaning inboard. It seems in my rush to grab Patrick to dewater the boat, that he was sorely missed in his deck swabbing routine!
I was called to the office; it seems they wanted me to apologize for saving our little inland buoy tender from sinking! First it was the museum director which I explained I simply had no choice but to act immediately to save the boat. I thought it was settled; until the assistant director called me into his office. I told him the same story I told the director; but tears soon fell from my coworker _ and I was told “now, now, look what you made her do”!
The next problem of “who going to be on top” was from an older man, a veteran of WW2 in Saipan. Our relationship started off well enough, but he was a very proud man who knew little about seamanship, engineering or maintenance, in which I was instructed to perform years prior to the gentleman showing up on site. Incidentally, the old inland buoy tender later sank at the pier – as I was pulled off from taking responsibility for it!
I don’t wish to get too personal, but he liked to drink; I guess like many an old veteran who have seen the horrors of war. But all I knew at the time was that he wanted my position aboard ship. I showed up two hours earlier and left two hours later than the rest. But I didn’t mind, I needed the job, and loved the old ships, and never had challenged the wisdom of my supervisors. I was still young strong and dumb – as far as what I was forced to do, and sometimes beyond safety standards of the day (like going up in the rigging without a safety harness), yet I did what I was told to do in my 20’s. One day I had to organize a paint party aloft (on a raft) in painting the side of our submarine. The problem was I had a student who refused to out on a life jacket, so I let him board our raft without it. That was a big mistake, yet nothing was said and we went to painting. If memory serves me correctly, the raft hit a wake from a power boat. The big kid suited up in work coverall fell overboard; and to make matters worse, I soon discovered he could not swim!
I knew enough not to jump in after him, (for fear he would pull me under with him) so I grasped for him as he surfaced for air. It was only upon the second try that I was able to grab him as I knew where he would surface the second time!
I pulled him aboard the raft, and we secured operations. The good Lord was with us that day, for if the teen had drowned, well I’m not sure what would have happened to me or the supervisors of the museum. I can tell you one thing however: they were not happy that OSHA was called in the next day! The Captain was hit with the safety violations that were consistently overlooked, and as the inspectors exclaimed; we have heard it all before, “I’ve sailed the Seven Seas” nonsense!
It only got worse for me, the senior aid who lived aboard was given charge over me; I resented how he sharp-shot all that I did, and I was even asked by him “what project I was going to do the next day”, then he started the job himself to purposely undermine me. One day I was told to go do a job by the old soldier, and I did it. When I got back, he asked me if I had any questions? I said, Yes, why couldn’t you have done that job? With that he picked up a wooden chair and came after me; nothing happened to him, but I was told to wear my hard hat! Real funny hu? Have I mentioned all the workforce was Black besides myself, it shouldn’t make any difference, but it enevidably did. The next day the senior aid (who was not even a City Employee) was made the work supervisor, he started ranting and raving about his perceived racism on my part. I think, it was simply a case of me not liking (the stunts that he pulled on me at every opportunity to aggrandise himself). So we all just sat and listened to our new boss of the job, as I looked over to another black man who I worked with quite frequently.
The Captain came down the ladder and was terribly angry that no work was being done. Then he immediately was told by the senior aid that I was a racist; then my coworker spoke up (who was also a senior aid) exclaiming – “Captain, I never had a problem with Roland”! He saved my job that day, and I am most grateful to the man who stood up for my character when I most needed him! Sometimes perception is everything, but it may not be the truth – but only a perception. Racism has always been a problem with humanity, just take World War Two as an example, it was filled with racism on all sides.
Unfortunately, it is inherent in the hearts of fallen man, and has always been divisive. And like any noble undertaking, it takes work within individuals of all ethnic groups and cultures to overcome. No one despite their “virtue signaling” is above falling victim to this condition, if for no other reason than growing up in a specific culture, or perhaps just insensitivity towards others; which is often the result of youth. Politicians use it to swing votes, tyrants use it as a mien to sow discord and cause political uprisings, and all for that same old reason — WHO WILL BE ON TOP.
I was a trained Equal Opportunity Representative to the Commander while in the Army, we were taught when cultures collide, people divide. I was chosen (I believe) as a favor from our Black First Sergeant, in a predominantly African American unit. He understood my character and he also understood the stress soldiers would have, some of which would use racism as an excuse to get out of being disciplined for shirking from their responsibilities. I later became a Chaplain’s Assistant which also required Equal Opportunity training.
The Bible teaches that Nation is translated ETHOS (in the Greek) and is where we get the term Ethnic Group from. In Matthew 24:7 “For Nation will rise against Nation and Kingdom against Kingdom and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers’ places” –  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. prior to the return of the Lord.
In the end of days the Bible speaks about wickedness and lawlessness, perhaps this “New World Order” championed amongst many politicians who are pushing for this (“new world orders leader”) – who will eventually pose as God before the end of the age?
This is what Satan has always wanted; to be GOD upon the earth, and I suspect he will soon be getting his wish – at least for a short time, prior to 2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Peace on earth, Good will towards men – from another fallible human being…
When one sees themselves as alway in the right, the need to forgive and love others as yourself fades away, this is commonly referred to as legalism! Matthew 24:12 speaks to this, and why folks have no more use for others!
The Righteous Live by FAITH – Not by sight. In other words, what you believe does not affect the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit within you. Remember, we are God’s work, and not our own, once we have been sealed for the day of redemption!
Oswald Chambers teaches on his April 7th devotional the following quote…
As the disciples were commanded, you should also say nothing until the Son of Man has risen in you— until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you truly understand what He taught while here on earth. When you grow and develop the right condition inwardly, the words Jesus spoke become so clear that you are amazed you did not grasp them before. In fact, you were not able to understand them before because you had not yet developed the proper spiritual condition to deal with them.
Our Lord doesn’t hide these things from us, but we are not prepared to receive them until we are in the right condition in our spiritual life. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). We must have a oneness with His risen life before we are prepared to bear any particular truth from Him. Do we really know anything about the indwelling of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His Word is becoming understandable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we don’t have His Spirit. And our own unyielding and headstrong opinions will effectively prevent God from revealing anything to us. But our insensible thinking will end immediately once His resurrection life has its way with us.
“…tell no one….” But so many people do tell what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration— their mountaintop experience. They have seen a vision and they testify to it, but there is no connection between what they say and how they live. Their lives don’t add up because the Son of Man has not yet risen in them. How long will it be before His resurrection life is formed and evident in you and in me?
How tragic to think that you are so spiritually spot on in your understanding, that you simply discard the discernment of others who have tried to share with you.
It is frustrating and almost laughable when we see a Bible study leader who “thinks” that they are so “very exclusively sanctified” in Christ; that no one else can move their heart towards seeing God move, beyond anything bigger than their own Cognitive Dissonance!
This is not Spirituality at all, but simply stubbornness and bull headed when even the closest of brethren are powerless to help, until one repents from such a comfortable yet prideful position of the mind, the one who is so blinded in their own conceits! (Proverbs 26:12), (Romans 12:16)
It’s a good thing that I don’t make my videos to receive a thumbs up! Plato said: “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth” … And Plato did not even know Jesus Christ! Yet it is the fallen human condition which Plato recognized.
The pollens now out, and I’m dealing with my Sinusitis – oh, what I would give to be a smooth talker!
All of those who have been indwelt by the Holy Ghost and sealed for the day of redemption need to understand that NO man is saved of their own efforts, while being sanctified in Christ – by Grace (alone).
Anyone who condemns their brother or sister in whom the Lord has started a work within, also condemns the Holy Spirit’s work of Christ within others.
Satan is the only one in the scriptures who is called “the accuser of the brethren” so it is important we understand NOT to be taken in by such teachings!
I dedicate this video to a “diamond in the rough” old waterman I knew,
who never compared himself to others.
We would often speak about the Lord while fishing.
See you again my brother!
Cognitive Dissonance or Gobbledygook … Do we really Seek the Lord in all things? Do we go to Him when we don’t understand his way in our lives? Or are we content within our own conceits, biases, concepts, and dogmas? Most people will choose the ladder, and it takes great humility to seek the Lord, so that he can show us his greater will in our lives, and understanding by faith. This issue here is our hearts, and not just our understanding between our ears, Amen?
As, Christ will never leave us nor forsake us! A dear brother I knew once told me NOT to follow a “prescriptive religion” about Christ, but rather Christ himself. Absolutely correct, yet we must be aware that oftentimes our perceptions of who Christ is to us, and the workings of the Holy Spirit within us, are understood in the light of scripture, instead of just our “perceptions” as we grow.
Like little children, we are powerless, handicapped and disabled to enter in with Christ within our human (or natural) abilities.
Rather, we are totally dependent in faith on the love grace and mercy of our heavenly Father, who provided his Son Jesus in our behalves!
Without Salvation by Grace alone in what Christ has done, we are powerless to enter into the kingdom of heaven by simple childlike faith. This is why many will be gathered up and cast into the fire to be burnt, as they had not believed upon the only name which we might be saved; Jesus Christ.
You have heard it said that “one man’s cult is another man’s religion”… This is only true to the natural mind; however, the Bible teaches in Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Our relationship with the Lord is key, as in Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart”. This is not “necessarily” speaking about fleshly desires of the heart, rather it is speaking about being shown the infinite mercy, love, and truth in being grounded in the Lord, and sometimes in receiving what we desire.
This is a spiritual condition which only the Lord can show us, (often in doctrines) and is not found in the futility of our natural understanding.
Proper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s attributes; is the critical part of being able to “discern the spirits” accurately. Without understanding the Holy Spirits attributes correctly – as given to us within scriptures, we have handicapped our discernment.
Jesus said: The greatest of all the Commandments is to love God first, then others as yourself. This is the first step in discerning the Holy Spirit from false teachings about the Holy Spirit. This first commandment covers a multitude of other commandments, to include the proper discernment when dealing with others.
I struggle to make this point in my video, we must have a balanced understanding of who the Lord is, and how the Holy Spirit functions. If we are ignorant of this proper relationship between men and God, we are at a much greater risk of being deceived by a “silver tongued Devil” which deceives many!
Below I have pasted some verses in helping others understanding with the identifying attributes of the Holy Spirit.
In this video, I’m attempting to contrast the “Fruits of the Holy Spirit” with our natural tendencies, in missing key factors when making proper judgments concerning others. We must be careful we haven’t overlooked our own fallibility when identifying the Holy Spirit within others.
Galatians 5:22-23 with Hebrews 12:15
Believers are commanded of God, to love Him and to love others as ourselves; as disciples in promoting the Gospel. Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected for our redemption from sin.
The Bible does not say that we should add to – nor take from the basic tenants of the faith, but to simply move forward by faith in what Christ has accomplished in our behalves. You know what’s really disturbing to me, I was once accepted on this YouTube channel, when my viewpoints of the Lord working in my life was from an Armenian viewpoint. I gained allot of followers who were very supportive of me and quick to hear what I had to say!
Many had said that I had more experiences of God than anyone they had known… But now, many look at me as an Apostate, although a very large portion of the body of Christ confirms my theological position on salvation!
It seems to me that many are unwilling to be moved in their beliefs about the Lord’s workings, as it does not fit into one “particular” framework of theology!
I have said before that you cannot put God in a theological box, as he won’t be able to show you anything more within your Christian life, and I am not speaking about going outside of Biblical texts!
It is simply tragic to me that there are so many who will not be moved from a dogmatic positioning as disciples – who should be willing to learn (more) from actual brethren even if they may disagree with some viewpoints “scripturally” from others.
A balance in one’s understanding is greatly needed in using the Bible for reproof and correction concerning other believers. An Arminian viewpoint is fine if that is where one’s convictions lie. Also, a Reformed viewpoint of the scriptures falls well inside of these two different viewpoints scripturally.
Yet many problems arise when we take our personal convictions and overstep what the scriptures teach (or don’t teach) within the confines of our understanding. So, do we condemn our brother for seeking out the Lord in greater sanctification? Of course we wouldn’t, at least not knowingly!
But if we take our personal convictions to an extreme (known as dogma) this greatly reduces our ability to see beyond ourselves and love our brother as we love ourselves; one of the most relevant teachings of Jesus.
Perfect love casts out fear (God’s love). So, to me, fear is the greatest single dividing factor within the body of Christ! The greatest fear being walking away from the Lord as an apostate! This fear, is why the extreme religious viewpoint of Lordship Salvation is so destructive within the body of believers!
It drives a demonic wedge between brethren in creating judgmentalism, legalism, and even hatred of others, be they actual believers, family, friends as well as foe.
This is exactly contrary to the principles we are COMMANDED by Jesus to follow as believers! Religious pride like the Pharisees of old is what this type of thinking produces! And there can be NO room for it as a follower of Christ.
I have even heard my words twisted in this regard, in saying that it is human Pride and Rebellion to NOT follow Christ within the confines of such a rigid legalism as that of Lordship Salvation!
Like I said, Armenian conviction is fine, provided it does not condemn other brethren who may not see their walk with the Lord in the same way. And Reformed (Calvinist) convictions are also fine, as long as we don’t pe-judge others away from the cross of Christ. Even a “Cal-menian” viewpoint is not outside a Biblical viewpoint when applying the scriptures, so we must be careful to discern between our own convictions and sound doctrine.
I do believe that Universalism is unscriptural, if simply for the fact that the lake of fire cannot be ignored in sound Biblical teaching. However, we should never condemn an individual to hell for lacking balance within their natural understanding. With that being said; neither should we allow any distorted view to be “taught” outside the realm of “so called orthodoxy”.
The bottom line is; Jesus Christ (the God-Man) the Son of the living God, was crucified dead and buried, ascended to the bows of the earth, and resurrected on the third day for the remission of sins.
That is the Gospel, and weather real (as given by the Holy Spirit) – or fabricated within the hearts of men, only God knows, and will judge the book of life.
THERE IS NO CONFUSION IN CHRIST!
Allot of people get very upset if you challenge their faith, (and I do too) but what is more important is the truth which is only found in the person of Jesus Christ. I have always gone to Jesus to teach me greater truths, and unlike theology; what Christ shows us stays with you always!
In this video I attempt to explain the difference in man showing you something, and the Lord showing you! It will always be scriptural; but true understanding is always spiritual; thus tying together other parts of the scriptures and creating greater understanding!
Romans 2:1-3 God’s Righteous Judgment
1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
In all humility I wish to share with others what I have learned about “conceivably” being wronged or hurt and my natural reactions to this.
My perceived wrongs has caused me to react in sort of a defensive posture, I have at times aggressively lashed out at the perpetrator in thinking I was doing right; but what I didn’t see was actually that I had been wounded in my pride, and had even justified myself thinking I was correct to do this “in the Lord” even when applying Bible verse in shoring up my positions! This was due to years of hurt, but now I realize in humility just what Romans 2:1-3 is speaking about; namely my pride of life, and feeling I needed to defend myself!
Yet, what I have learned is that I needn’t have to defend myself, even if I have been wronged!
My Lord Jesus Christ was wronged by the worst, and sometimes by the best of humanity. He never lashed out in his human pride, but rather “took it on the chin” so to speak; and He was God incarnate! The Lord understood that all of us had no idea about what we are doing naturally – and asked for our forgiveness from the Father, even while hanging on the cross!
Pride will not allow us to love others as ourselves, as we justify ourselves in independence of what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us about our great need for Christ in our lives! Pride allows us to become as the Religious Pharisees had become, and no amount of human dictating the truth, love and mercy of God to a fallen word, has any effect upon a hardened heart.
Therefore, if we are truly following Christ, we must practice this in (true) humility realizing that we are no more able than another to be totally devoid from our own fallen natures – no matter how pious we attempt to be! We cannot truly look past the faults of others and love them unconditionally like Christ did us; without first coming to the point of being broken, crushed, and even humiliated within the confines of our own soul!
If one is unwilling to yield to this type of correction of God, they can never truly forgive others nor even forgive themselves, and as a result, are unable to “love others as themselves”.
That’s what I have recently learned, (perhaps none too late) as my almost 90-year-old father sits in his hospital bed with fluid around his heart and battling pneumonia.
May the Lord forgive me in not understanding my great need to turn over all my pain and misgivings of a man who has always given of himself to the fullest measure; despite his own needs of his soul: which in some ways – are just like me!
I’m simply jotting some thoughts down today about this subject, primarily to share with others what they need to understand about less then honorable motivations often used, (yet not often realized) by allot of people which would rather have you follow them, than the Holy Spirit of the Lord.
Today I am 61 years of age; and one thing I have learned over the years through experience is that even well-meaning people will often use the Lord and the Bible to win people over to a particular type of thinking and actions. Years ago, the late Pastor Gross, D.D. Th.D. PhD (in psychology) would always tell us that never to believe anything he said, without having the Lord confirm it to you first!
He also said to NEVER put God in a “Box” (a belief system about the Lord) as, he would never be able to show you anything! Outside of foundational Bible truths of our faith, we must learn not be swayed by other’s viewpoints which may stray outside of the Biblical texts.
It is fine to learn how to walk in the Holy Spirit by faith alone, and it is even a good thing to understand the cunningness of our enemy Satan, his demons, and his tricks. One important thing to know about the enemy, is that he normally attacks the mind and emotions first, and then the rest of the body only after he is unsuccessful (for the believer). Put on the full armor of God Ephesians 6 10 24 and also remember, the Lord will not give you more than you are able to “stand”, so this normally never becomes a problem for one who is attempting to live by faith in Jesus Christ! Praise God!
Matthew 24: 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Our understanding of the Bible in balance, both in teachings and contexts is very important so as not to become deceived by the enemy; even an ignorant but well meaning soul when espousing bad Bible doctrines may unwittingly fall into this trap. The Lord is well able to protect his people from heresies taught in the scriptures within the providence of our lives; yet it may take some time for our Lord to weed out false doctrines in our lives, even for the most committed believer.
Rather, it is mush better to be instructed in the faith, just who Christ is to us, and how he functions with his Disciples indwelt by his Holy Spirit.
A proper understanding of the Lord in accordance with the scriptures, is the first step in living a healthy spiritual life devoid of what I will call “superstitions”. Remember, Satan simply attacks the emotions and intellect first, so we must learn to “cast down imagination” to a more rational understanding of the God of the Bible. We must never allow our fears to cripple our balanced understanding of the scriptures and our Lord. In my opinion, this is critical to our understanding so that we don’t go off thinking everything we don’t understand or feel within our lives is demonic: as in most cases it simply is not, rather it is a result of poor understanding, and our emotionally charged thought life.
Often times people who are unbalanced in their understanding of the Bible have distorted to various degrees it’s contexts. It almost goes without saying that, this is how most “Cult” leaders (perhaps unwittingly) deceive others!
I for one have learned this the hard ways to various degrees, and is why the late Dr. Gross always told us to check out what he taught us with the Lord, and not to believe it on face value alone. The reason he said, was that anyone who was more convincing then himself, could lead you down a path that was deceptive. I think that is very sound advice, and it has served me well throughout my Christian life.
It is only natural for most people to have a love for themselves first, and then others. This is why we must not get prone to following men. I have met very well-meaning people who love to share with others their faith in Jesus Christ; and that is a wonderful attribute! Yet one of the principles for an Elder in the Bible is to run their own household well! This is very important for several reasons, but foremost is how they are in dealing with other people, besides themselves. The wisdom is in these texts: Titus 1:6-9 & 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
I have put Titus 1:6-9 first, as it focuses on not being self-willed, loving his wife, and faithful children. Verse 9 speaks about; knowing sound doctrine, as it is (properly) taught, encourage others and being able to refute (Bible) error by those who would oppose it.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 says much the same thing, but Titus 1:6-9 has fewer words; and I will emphasize verse 6, as it talks about not being filled with pride, and a good testimony with others so he won’t be disgraced or snared by Satan.
Those are some very tough standards for an Elder, yet all of them are present for very good reasons, not the least of which is our testimonial to Christ. We have all seen charlatans preach on T.V. a distorted and self-aggrandizing Gospel, which takes on a kind of carnival (Carnal) atmosphere. Most mature believers find this repulsive, and yet oftentimes these selfish preachers love taking pot shots at other ministers, even some who are sound in the faith because of their own pre-conceived beliefs; yet if they are unfounded by scripture it may be just a matter of different opinions.
We see this throughout the scriptures as well, and is why we must be careful that we build up the body of Christ (in love for God) – rather than simply propping up our own beliefs in the flesh. The best answer for not overstepping ourselves, is in accountability not only to the Lord, but to others brethren in humility, rather than a self-righteous pride which many may struggle with, even unknowingly.
How can I write these, things you may ask? That’s very simple to answer, I have done it myself!
If we truly love others more than ourselves, we must understand that we all struggle with similar “conditions of the soul” and be willing to make allowances for others shortfalls, with this we can grow and be of even more help to the Lord as well as edifying our own walks.
I am not speaking about allowing sinfulness in a fellowship at all; rather I am simply addressing that we do not become dogmatic in our Bible doctrines to the point that it destroys others!
From the widow’s mite to the washing of feet; Jesus always alluded to the paradox between the world and the kingdom of God in this manner. Christian, why do you look down upon your brother or sister as being beneath you?
- “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” -Gandhi
- “Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.” -Albert Einstein
- “I know one thing: that I know nothing.” -Socrates (via Plato)
I have found that hidden self righteous pride, is much more detrimental to ones spiritual growth, than being humble and honest enough to go to the Lord for help and forgiveness! To me, it is much more important to be a friend rather than just a rigid instructor of the faith.
I’ve witnessed those who have allot of zeal in attempting to serve the Lord, yet people who attack others in their faith (aside from addressing sin) is unmerited and abusive, often from a deep seated and self righteous pride, which is obviously not detected from those who practice such pettiness…
Romans 2: 1-4 speaks of how the Lord views such people.
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
The Lord moves and works when he wills in accordance to his plans. The most important thing we can do is to “Stay in the Net” (network) with him, to keep the channel open in listening for Him who loves us.
Are we receiving…? No one else can tell you how or when to listen, we just simply keep listening, and then moving in obedience when we are called to do so.
Men may make plans for movements, but it is the Lord alone who directs our paths.
On board one of my tugboats I had a man tell me once that I have had enough experiences for three lifetimes! Of course, I ate up that recognition, especially when constantly made to feel like I was the lesser early in life.
The Character of a person I have always felt was worth far more than earthly accomplishments, and yes, you can have both, but most people get “puffed up” in ego by their status in the world with few remaining humble enough in realizing that most of their personal gains are but a gift from God, and not of themselves!
You will remember that Jesus told Pilot that all the authority he was given on earth, was by his Father who was in heaven. With that, Pilot attempted to wash his hands of the Lord’s condemnation by men!
I have known a few men who remained humble, despite their outstanding success in the world, one was a cousin of mine who had been a paratrooper during World War Two. He understood the value of a man’s character despite his station in life.
But then we will always have the ones who I call the “smoke blowers”; these type people create an illusion of grandeur while projecting their importance onto others. This is not to say that they have not had their successes and experiences in life, only that they tend to be creative in over-dramatizing themselves, often at the expense of others. This is what allot of politicians do, they enhance their importance and sometimes will even fabricate stories, thus drawing more attention to themselves.
Like most people who have known some degree of struggle within their lives, I find these types of people repulsive. I had once met a man who served in the infantry during the First World War (The great War) in France under General Black Jack Pershing; I was humbled and amazed at what was most important to him: wool blankets which he pointed to on our museum ship, he got very excited exclaiming how wonderful it was to have a wool blanket while in the trenches of WW I, in keeping warm from the snow and rain, and then he added, if you had two blankets; boy you were in heaven!
I then realized just how spoiled our society has become to those who had lived 100 years ago! The character of these old timers often embraced the very basics of life’s necessities, as if they were of a great prize, which was very sobering to me!
One thing which remains consistent to me, is that the one who struggles in life, seems to develop a greater character then people who have simply been given earthly wealth and status. And oftentimes people who increase their prominence in the world tend to forget either wear they came from and will often look down upon others, who may have overcome even greater obstacles within their lives!
This goes far beyond race, gender, beliefs, or place of origin; rather I am speaking about the character of the individual soul, the merit of an individual and what they do with what they have been given yet overcome. Jesus Christ, (my Lord) exemplifies to perfection the Supreme character of what a man or women should actually be; he was God incarnate yet was humble enough to wash the dirt from others feet!
This should be the nature exemplified in all of us who claim his Glorious name; yet “blowing smoke” in the face of others we consider as “lesser” should be shameful to us who have been given so very much in being redeemed.