Sadly, there comes a time in ministering to the unrepentant rebel when no more needs to be said, where no counsel has lasting effect and we must now turn away to minister to those that hunger for truth. To be an effective minister of the Gospel of Christ, we must come to terms with the unfortunate reality that in refusing the grace of God -
…all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s (Philippians 2:21)
Three things that are required to sustain a healthy relationship with the Lord:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Self-confidence is encouraged and admired by most people. Strongly self-confident people are often societal role models who are frequently financially successful. The more self-confident a person is, the more positive affirmations and even workplace promotions he may receive from other people. Unfortunately, the more we depend upon that self-confidence the less dependent we become upon God.
When confronted by difficult situations most people will hold desperately to confidences which are grounded in humanistic principles – a confidence derived from experiences with people, institutions, personal abilities and events in their life. This type of confidence eventually becomes a controlling dynamic in their life which dissuades them from trusting God.
The most effective antidote for this is humility.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
For Christians, loving others primarily to reap the benefits of their affections is, for the most part, godless sensuality. And yet, for many people, this kind of love is the most important aspect of their life. For these people, love is mostly about sentimentality. Their commitment to relationships is only as long as their experience of positive emotions within that relationship.
This is why Jesus spoke of love as a command when he said,
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Sometimes, actionable godly love for others is demonstrated by insisting that they take active personal responsibility for their behavior. Then we must refuse to continue enabling them in their behavior by no longer allowing ourselves to be the object of their dysfunction.
I have had a number of counseling clients in the past, who were hyper aware because of their own personal insecurity and imagined I was thinking something negative about them. They would be judging my every facial expression and tone of voice to determine whether there was “something wrong.” Occasionally, I have had to discontinue counseling with those who refused to deal honestly with their insecurity and were continuing to transfer these imaginings onto me.
This behavior cannot be fixed by any amount of empathetic sympathy. In fact, sympathy usually only validates their dysfunction and encourages them to continue in this behavior. People with these insecurities of shame and fear are often obsessed with an endless striving to control their personal relationships.
Many Christians have been lured from the goodness of their own hearts into sympathetic relationships with people who have these issues and have become ensnared in an endless maze of conflict and intrigue as a result. Stress, fatigue, and ministry burnout is a common outcome.
This is not God’s plan for our lives.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
The pastor sings too loud.
Why can’t we use worship flags here?
We have the best worship musicians in town!
We lose touch with God when we pay too much attention to the means of worship rather than the One we worship.
John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
The devil is a defeated foe. Nevertheless, he still has power in our lives wherever we believe lies. He is the father of lies. God is the Father of truth.
Wherever we believe lies and still live from them in our thinking and our emotions, we give territory to the devil to tempt and torment us. When we identify and repent of believing the lies and begin to live according to the truth the devil loses his power in those areas of our life.
John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”