One of the most embarrassing moments in life is when you have been given hints regarding something about you and it doesn’t register.
I’m not talking about the simple things like your pants are unzipped or there is something hanging from your nose. I mean really embarrassing things like you are obnoxious or you dominate the conversation so much that people hate to talk to you. Or something worse like your kids are bad or your spouse is cheating on you.
These things can put us in very awkward positions and it really defines our true friends. I mean after all it’s our real friends who have the responsibility for making sure we are in step. Right?
But what is it that makes us blind to the hints we get from those around us? Why is it that others can see things about us that we cannot see?
There is a blindness that affects our ability to reason and be self reflective. This blindness comes from our inability to keep reality during a reality check. We already dislike when we are wrong. We don’t like when people point out our faults and we really don’t like to own up to any of it. Add insecurity to the mix and we instantly create a disorder.
This disorder I speak about blinds our conscious, not our sub conscious. In other words we know these things are true about us, but the pain of this realization is too difficult to bear. So we lash out in denial and become defensive. We get upset and participate in other destructive behavior instead of just taking the hint.
The hint is actually our help. It helps us to quietly get the information without it being broadcasted all over the place. It’s our last shot a maintaining our dignity and correcting our trouble spots.
Can you take a hint?
I often hear Christians and non-Christians painting a picture of Christianity in a very primitive state based on their understanding. What I mean is that they are still looking at scriptures and saying what they see instead of what they understand. The problem: When you take what you see in scripture and never look beyond it, all you get is a form of godliness. When you study and gain an understanding you get the form and function.
So for instance John 13:23-24, “34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. This is a very “easy” verse to understand, but what you walk away with will depend on your level of maturity. Some people see the fact that there is a “commandment” in the first verse. This same person that sees the commandment will tell you that Christ commands us to do things. They will then begin to process their relationship with God based on a slave/master relationship.
Maturity doesn’t even see the word commandment. Maturity emphasizes the function of this verse and only sees the love. The mature person does not feel “forced” to love. They don’t think that there is a negative consequence waiting on them if they don’t love. The mature person, based on their understanding, has a heart so soft toward God that the willingness to “do” comes from an inner desire to please God and not a fearful expectation of being punished by God.
Spiritual maturity compels us to forgive, not because someone asked us to, but because God has forgiven us. We love, not because the object of our love makes it easy, it’s because God first loved us. We help one another, comfort one another and pray for one another, not because of a command, but because of what we understand.
Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
There is a serious need for Christians to move on to maturity and stop debating the gospel and start sharing it; to stop scaring people to be obedient and start encouraging people to be.
We have all heard the old adage of “fake it, til you make it” and of course we know what this means. This speaks directly to potential. One of the saddest states to be in is to look back at you life and realize that you did not develop to your full potential. The only scenario worse is to be at the funeral of a person who never reached their full potential.
Potential is defined as something that can develop or become actual. It’s not automatic and it’s not always the end of the world when it doesn’t happen. I have a friend who had the opportunity to play professional basketball. He got a college education out of the deal, but every now and then he looks at his life and thinks about the what ifs. He has actually done well for himself, but he can’t see that because he’s caught up looking at what didn’t happen instead of enjoying what did.
There are many people living like this and what’s worse here is that some of them live their lives out as failures. They carry this defeating attitude with them where ever they go. Their view of the world becomes skewed as to see everything as a negative. They are truly wounded.
What they need to realize is the greatest thing about potential is that it’s really never too late to develop into something. The most important ingredient in this equation is our belief system. You are what you believe you are. So if you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you’re right!
Often times these folks of little faith just need someone close to them to say, “you can do it!” Successful people tend to come equipped with this option already planted in their heads. They have a little voice that says “you can do it!” every time the going gets tough. For the doubters this is not so. They take every opportunity to doubt the possibilities of anything positive.
So, for those of us who help, we need to jump at the chance to support the folks around us. We know and understand that some people really need you to literally speak possibility into their lives. In most cases they just need this little push and then they can get going. But without our encouragement, these potentials have no hope.
Upon occasion I like to sit and day-dream about the world being different. I mean if we as Americans had a different way of thinking. What if we never looked to gain anything from anybody? What if the motivating factor for everything we did had to do with the betterment of humanity and not the financial gain of ourselves?
Dr. Jonas Salk was the person credited for the discovery of the cure for polio in 1955. Two years later Dr. Albert Sabin created the oral version. As time went on and the research continued we began to learn more things about polio all in the interest of science and humanity. These two men lived good lives and neither wanted to gain financially from their work. Dr. Salk, when asked who owns the patent for the polio cure said, “the American people own it.” These two vaccines helped remove polio in many different parts of the world. Within the period of 1988 to 2007, the number of cases was trimmed down significantly from 350,000 to 1,652.
By 1994, polio was completely removed from the Americas. In 2000, it was erased in almost 36 countries within the Western Pacific region including Australia and China. In 2002, Europe became polio-free. By 2008, only four countries remained affected by this disease, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. Today, the transfer of poliovirus from one person to another has been widely disrupted. However, wild poliovirus transmissions are still very much possible, particularly in areas with poor sanitation as well as low vaccination coverage.
What if this effort was repeated for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and AIDS? What if the pharmaceutical companies were all not for profits and a successful year for them would be to “break even” with their budgets and not make a profit. What if their sole drive and goal was to make themselves obsolete? What if hospitals were all not for profits with the same goal– to educate people to the point that they never needed to be hospitalized? What if as a country, it mattered to us what we ate, how we interacted with the environment and how we treated one another?
You can’t help but wonder if we, working together, would have figured out time travel, gain the ability to move objects or even learned to fly. We would most certainly have worked out starvation and degenerative diseases. We could even eliminate rich and poor people, make education completely free and enjoy world peace.
And then I woke up.
Have you ever tried to help someone and they didn’t want it or even got angry with you for helping?
I’m thinking of the scene in the movie Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan was injured and wanted to die in the war honorably like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather did. Good ole’ Forrest did what came natural to him — someone needed help and he felt responsible to do what he could. Even though it was much to the dismay of Lt. Dan.
There are many good people like Forrest Gump who will jump in and help when the opportunity presents itself. And on the flip side of that there are those who will seize the chance to help for leverage within a relationship, some future favor, a sense of obligation or even to boost their own self-esteem.
No matter what the reason is for helping, there is one universal rule to remember before helping — there is a time for everything under the sun.
In the old testament book Ecclesiastes (chapter 3) the bible tells us that there is a right time for everything and everything on earth will happen at the right time (verse 1: ERV).
Just imagine chaos in the world. It normally happens because people can’t wait for the right time. Wars have been started, relationships have ended and people have even died trying to make something or someone respond before it was time.
The Lt. Dans of the world can’t understand or are not ready to accept the help. My point is you cannot make someone accept your help before it’s time. In some cases God is still working on their heart, teaching them a lesson or setting the stage for someone else to help. We must understand and respect God’s timing and not force our help on anyone.
So this will mean that some things will happen that we think we could have fixed. Some things will happen to make it even more strenuous when helping. And some thing will happen that now makes it impossible for us to help.
Some problems belong on a bigger platform. These are the situations we are supposed to turnover to God.
Because afterall, we just want the person or situation to get help, right?
Worshipping is woven into the fabric of our very being. Without instruction we will worship anything. Some are worshipping people, animals and things.
It’s not hard to understand exactly why we were given the intellect and the ability to worship. Worship is paying homage to a worthy object of affection. It is an expression of the gratitude we feel for that object based on our understanding.
God, then, would be worshipped because of what we understand about him. Our father’s grace, mercy, longsuffering, love, faithfulness and forgiveness are just a few things in a long list of attributes that should stimulate our desire to show our gratitude and worship him.
True worship, then, would be worshipping God in spirit (that’s your spirit) and in truth (the revealed understanding of who he is). I can attempt to worship God in my flesh. This is when I respond to God based on my senses. So if it stimulates me, I will use it to worship him. Worship before Christ was done this way. There were things to touch, taste, smell, hear and see in worship. The burnt offerings, use of incense and the shewbread were all a part of the ceremonial worship. I can also attempt to worship him mentally which would be based on my own understanding — it will appear zealous, but not according to knowledge. I can attempt to worship him based on my emotions. The philosophy is that it makes me feel good so it should make God feel good.
Today, God calls us to a much higher worship. One that requires the use of my intellect and understanding of who he is. It requires the submission of the heart of the person worshipping and the sole use of things God created and nothing we created with our own hands.
God now wants the sacrifice of praise, which the bible defines as the fruit of our lips praising him. Christ left us a feast to participate in and unconditional love is to be shared throughout. God wants us to have a consuming worship that pays homage to him and stimulates his love between us. It is also the start of a week that should be filled with the true worshippers offering themselves as a living sacrifice for him all week until we are united again together on the first day of the week. We are the lively stones that come together to form a spiritual house where he joins us.
Simple, natural and authorized. God should dictate how you worship if your worship is about honoring him. The father is seeking such to worship him — now what about your worship?
There is something that this world needs more than anything and that is love.
There is not enough love being spread throughout our world. Clearly we are too angry, sad, bitter, envious and covetous to allow love to even come out. The bible tells us that love never fails, but instead of failing it hopes all things; endures all things; and believes all things. Now that’s an interesting combination!
To hope in something is not merely a wish, but it’s a great expectation that something will be a reality. So, if someone fails you, you could demonstrate love toward them that would make them successful. The hope then is not based on their ability to perform, but your ability to unconditionally love.
Love also endures and this endurance gets stronger as time goes on, not wary. This endurance imitates God’s long suffering towards us. Therefore, love not only powers the victory, but it grants patience to those on the sidelines so that they may bear it.
Then, finally, love believes all things. Our failure or final attempt is always the result of disbelief. What makes a person not try again? You guessed it, disbelief! Love always says — try again because victory is coming! Love believes that any situation can be turned around. Love believes victory is always an option.
So my friend, as the song by Take 6 says, “spread love instead of telling lies. Spread love because the truth needs no disguise.”