THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Tempted to Look Down


The last few posts have been about the temptation as it today’s but I want to look at something different; a very surprising one if I say so myself because it surprised me too.

I was negotiating a payment a while back and had used what I making in business as a base and multiplied it by a factor that I thought was good to go. One of my sisters called and asked what I had settled for  followed by some really hard questions about how I arrived at that figure. I explained it and when asked why I thought it was the perfect amount, I couldn’t really say. I think I had just guessed it. Over coffee she asked a myriad of questions and did some calculations then she drastically increased the asking price, and I mean drastically increased it with solid reasoning behind the rise. I was aghast! 

It wasn’t the price that got me rather how off base I was with what I had thought was adequate. A while later when I was once again negotiating a fee for a job and I gave a figure I thought was fair but was later told I needed to value myself better.

It doesn’t end there; another situation came to mind. 

In a conversation with God when I was changing work situations, He asked me to consider earning twice my then net pay. I almost screamed in shock (well, actually I did). Why? I was already able to do so much with what I was earning so why would I need more? Anyway, after a few days I accepted the amount as a possibility but guess what, the next week He upped the figure to almost three times my current pay. What did I do? You can guess; I stalled. Yes I did!!! I sat there and couldn’t understand why He would have me earn that kind of money. I had never wanted much from life and that may not be a good thing. I was used to settling and making do with what I have never making too many demands.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with money, what I am looking at here is my attitude. In this instance, I had a poor view of who I am in comparison with God’s view of me and agenda for me. It was clear that I saw myself as less than He did and didn’t even know that. I bet you never thought that possible; yet it is the truth.

Romans 12:3 is absolutely clear that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought but very little is said about thinking too lowly of ourselves. It operates like low self-esteem and often stems from the thought that we are being humble. In truth, we must choose not to yield to the temptation to undervalue ourselves and therefore lower our standards in life or expectations. This is worse than thinking too highly of oneself because it is denying the reality of God’s view of us and living our lives on a lower plane…false humility!

Sound strange right? Just give it a moment to sink in!

This low expectation of oneself is often based on a false sense of humility we learn early on in life. We learn to respond to life in a certain way so as to gain acceptance. How do we learn it? By the things we are told to do or not, talk about or not to talk about etc. It also comes from being told girls should behave this way and boys should behave that way or just accept what comes your way  others have had it worse.

What is the solution for this?

It goes back to a question I ask people all the time; Who has God said you are? This is God’s spoken word to each one about how he sees us and therefore must remain the minimum standard to live by. This must become the definition of our lives. When we live by this definition our steps are carefully guided, our choices are made with certainty and our path is secure.

The big question here is; what is your perspective of yourself? 

What has informed your perspective? When did you develop it? Are you on track or off track? How do you get back on track? Have you let yourself believe you are less than who God says you are?

Do not yield into the temptation to undervalue yourself. It is not worth it and will guarantee you become less than all you are slated to be. You are the beloved of God, destined for greatest and impact…don’t sell yourself short like I almost did.

 

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Rom 12:3

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

The Journey to Perfection…


On the soul’s journey to perfection, there are so many things that go on. We go through different stages and grow at different rates. One of the greatest struggles we go through is temptation. There is so much so say about temptation and its different stages. There are people bring clarity about the most complex topics in simple ways…you know those people right? One of mine is Samuel Phillips, the son of my father and my brother.

The first stage is the animal stage where we are content to live in the gratification of our senses, totally unaware to the knowledge of sin or our divine inheritance. We are also altogether unaware of the spiritual possibilities within us.

IMG_20171114_182217-EFFECTS.jpgThe second stage is the dual stage where the mind is awakened to the reality of its animal and divine tendencies and continually oscillates between the two. It is a state of continual fighting, falling and rising, sinning and repenting because we still love our lives yet we aspire to a life of purity and excellence; the spiritual state. In reality we are continually mortified by this inability to choose and the divine life within us makes this stage fraught with pain, anguish and suffering.

The third stage is knowledge. In this stage, man rises above sin and temptation and enters into peace. Temptation is now a passing phase because he has new understanding and he uses this understanding to measure his level of growth. When man fully understands the source, nature, and meaning of temptation, he is able to conquer it. Temptation is simply a pointer to what a man has not conquered and nothing more. It shows where his animal desires beat his soul. For every man is tempted by the desires of his heart and these desires show the direction of that heart.

The greatest place of congregation is the dual stage where people judge themselves and others against a never ending list of do’s and don’ts. The net result is struggling to keep our feet on the ground as well as how to get up when we fall down. You know those times when you do something you don’t want to and beat yourself over and over again until there is nothing but guilt left? So many of us are stuck here judging and being judged and taking pride in pointing out people who we believe aren’t living right.

IMG_20171127_183428.jpgIt is so easy to look down one’s nose at others and talk about all the things we are seeing that could be ‘wrong’ with them. I was there a while back, so confident in myself until the day I did something so ‘big’ that it didn’t leave my mind for years. Today, that sounds so foolish to me because I know there is no ‘big or small’ sin or temptation. Temptation is temptation! Sin is sin! Wah! Just imagine being super confident in your ability to live right then you hit a bump so big that you fall apart and the real you is exposed.

Coming face to face with our mortality and fallibility is important because we understand that our walk with God is not a result of our goodness. It helps us understand that we will face temptation but have a choice to move closer to God or remain in the same place. Remember, “Temptation is simply a pointer to that which a man has not conquered and nothing more.”

 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13

Am I living the way I do because I want to keep people happy or do I live by the word I have heard from God Himself through His word and confirmed by His servants.