The Danger of Comparing (part 4)

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Translated that would be it is God which energizes you to determine and do what he pleases to be.

God desires something to be done.  Because he is no longer physically present, he chooses to work his will through us. Remember how Jesus said that he is the light of the world?  We find that in John 8:12. He still is the light, but now he chooses to shine through our lives. (Matthew 5:14)

We are his vessels to be used for his honor and glory. As each of us have a different purpose for our lives, we also each have the Lord working differently in and through us. If we allow him, God will perform his will and work in our lives. He’s able to accomplish this by his Holy Spirit and through the equipping that he brings. Some of the equipping is gifts of the Holy Spirit. Other equipping comes through trials of life. James tells us that the trying of her faith will make us perfect or complete so that we will be wanting for nothing.

Each of our lives is different because the circumstances in them are different. Remember God intends for all things to work together for good. God uses each circumstance in our lives as it is coupled together with all of the others to perform that which is good.  The good that he is creating equips and enables us.

How many of you have buried a close family member? Because of it, you have an equipping to reach out to others who are experiencing the same and in fact, you may have a passion to reach out to them.

But at the same time, there may be other people who were only slightly moved by another’s great loss. Are they backslidden and cold? Of course not. The difference between the two is there equipping.

Many years ago, I had an earnest passion to serve in the bus ministry and to reach children for Christ. I was so earnest that I judge those who were not burdened for the bus ministry as being backslidden Christians. Sometime much later, I learned the error of my way. I also came to realize that the reason I was so burdened and faithful to the bus ministry was because of my equipping.

I cannot set a standard to which all believers should be measured and neither should anyone else. When they do as I did, they count themselves as one of the number and measure all people to themselves.

We must recognize that we are distinct individuals whose purpose for living will be determined by God. He will equip us for that purpose and empower us to accomplish his will.

Your life may look and be completely different than mine and that is okay.  You are distinctly different.  What you must not do is allow someone to set a standard of their imagination and expect you and everyone else to measure up to it.  You may hear and see people do this and if you fall for this trap, you are unwise.

God made you in your distinct way.  Seek his face.  Ask him if you are reaching the potential that he has set for you.  Thank him for the work that he is doing and has accomplished in your life and as you walk with God, yield to him and the work of grace that he wants to perform distinctly in you.

The Danger of Comparing (part 2)

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14)

As we look at this passage we can see that there are keywords to be identified: praise, fearfully, wonderfully, and marvelous.  

Fearfully – to fear or to frighten. 

Wonderfully made – to distinguish, to put a difference or to set apart.

Marvelous – to separate, to be great, to make singular or to distinguish

Knoweth – to understand

Right well – vehemently (strong emotion), greatly, sore (knowing that affects you emotionally).

If you take these definitions and then use them in place of the words, you can paraphrase the scripture in your own words to help you better grasp the meaning.

I will praise thee, because it is frightening how I am distinctly set apart as a singular person and I am emotionally stirred by this understanding.

From this, you should recognize your distinctness.  You should see that because you are distinct, you have a distinct purpose.  Because you are distinct, you should not compare yourselves to anyone else because they are distinct with their own distinct purpose.  This should cause you to lift your heart in praise to God because of the distinct work that he has done and is doing in your life.

In 1 Corinthians 12:4-12, the Apostle Paul speaks concerning gifts of the Holy Spirit.  From this passage, we learn some important truths, which will aid us from falling into the trap of comparing.  Coupling these truths with what we have previously discussed, we can come to the following list of conclusions.

1. I am a distinct person.

2. I have a distinct purpose.

3. God has equipped me with gifts. (vs. 7)

4. These gifts match my distinctness.

5. God willed me to have these gifts and not me. (vs. 11)

6. God has declared that church members are not the same. (vs. 12)

7. God placed me in a church to fulfill a distinct purpose.

So, if God created you to be unique and equipped you with a gift or gifts to be used to fulfill his unique purpose for your life, why would you compare yourself to others?  Comparing yourself to others, would cause you to draw conclusions that would be wrong and that is why it is unwise.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (II Corinthians 10:12)

What is being spiritual?

What is being spiritual?

Is it knowing the bible very well to where you can quote large amounts of scripture or at the least scripture to pertains to life’s problems?

Is it demonstrating a faith attitude while in the midst of life’s dark circumstances?

Is it being separated from the world so that you don’t look, act, or speak like them?

Are you spiritual when you overcome the hurts, fears and abuses of life?

I am glad to say that the answer to all of these questions is, “No!”  Satan memorized scripture and then quoted it to Jesus, so that knocks out the first.  The outward appearances of man are not nearly as significant as the inward.  Just because a facade of faith is demonstrated on the outside does not mean that it is possessed on the inside.  Being separated is not an indication of spirituality because countless cults around the world, who deny Jesus Christ, have stringent guidelines for conduct and appearance, yet these people are not spiritual.  In fact, they are still lost in their sin.

Finally, we will look at the overcoming of hurts, fears and abuse.  I know many spiritual people who have not overcome.  This may surprise you, but it is true.  Many may state, “What about greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world?”  I John 4:4 is a good verse.  My reply to that is a question.  How can it be expected for people to overcome in Christ if they have not been given instruction in truth or have been given an incorrect manner of going to God for deliverance.  It is just like countless millions who have been told that they must serve Jesus with works in order for him to save them. These individuals may work tirelessly for years and never obtain salvation.  

In like manner, what victory would be obtained for those who have been hurt and abused if they were given the following advice.

If you want to get victory, sell out for Jesus, live holy, give, separate from the world and pray.  

What a legalistic approach.  How much selling out will be enough?  How can I know when I am holy enough?  Is tithing enough or should I give more? If so, how much?  Hair, clothes, words, actions, entertainment: I am separated…should I turn off my electric too?  After all this, there is no victory.  And then we wonder why people only stay in churches for five years.  These hurting people have done everything they were told to do and came up empty.  No wonder they leave…no wonder they give up.

It is time for us to be spiritual and make a difference.  Let us start with Galatians 6:2: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.