All of us at some point lose our confidence. It could be through a hurtful comment, unwarranted criticism, unrealised dreams, disappointing performance or overwhelming circumstances.
Truth is, we don’t have to stay in that place of insecurity and doubt. We can live with confidence in every arena of life regardless of how life may look right now. It comes back to our convictions in God and his Word in our lives.
I find such confidence from knowing that God has spoken into my heart specific things for the details of my life. I can live with a fresh and joyful outlook on life because I know that God is for me and not against me. I can enjoy each day knowing that God has already gone before me and made a way even if I can’t see it nor understand it all.
Confidence comes from knowing God and who you are in Him! Leonard Ravenhill once said, ‘He who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by man.’ How can man or circumstance be intimidating when we come into a deep realisation of who our Father really is.
My prayer for you is that you would know the hope to which God has called you and you would encounter the reality of who God is at the core of your being. Out of that place of revelation you can live with an abundance of humble confidence.
God’s saved you, loves you and favours you BUT he is not into letting you take shortcuts at the expense of your character and relationship with him. Too many of us presume upon God’s grace and see it as a license to get away with stuff that others are accountable for.
Thank God for his grace, favour and love but don’t think this means you don’t have to take practical responsibility for your life, health, relationships, finances and work.
We are living in a day and age where, unfortunately, some people walk around with a victim mentality, misunderstanding God’s role in their lives, blaming others for their circumstances and in a quandary as to why life isn’t working out as they expect.
Unfortunately, some believers fall prey to this mindset and their lives downward spiral to the point of spiritual paralysis. Life is always moving in one of two directions, towards God or away from God. Interrupt negative momentum in your life by thinking of yourself and life with sober judgment.
Stop making excuses as to why you can’t do something and take responsibility to change the theme of your life. God’s grace is there to empower you. His word is there to fuel your faith and His Spirit is there to sustain you across the finish line of whatever it is you are pursuing in Him.
All of us at some point make a decision but don’t always see that decision through. The decisions we make are significant because they shape our lives but there are some decisions that define our lives more than others.
One of those defining decisions is answering the call to follow Jesus as one of his disciples. It should be life defining and yet I’m observing a trend in the church that has been consistent throughout the ages. People put their hand up to make a decision but don’t necessarily follow through to actually becoming a disciple. Jesus didn’t call us to make converts but disciples.
You can make a momentary decision to follow Jesus but never actually discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said, ‘Many shall come in that day and say Lord, Lord, did we not preach in your name and cast out demons in your name and I will say depart from me, I never knew you.’
In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus gave three examples of people who seemingly made a decision to follow Jesus but didn’t actually follow through to becoming a disciple. When the cost of discipleship presents itself, some people simply cannot pay the price and follow through.
There are stages of spiritual maturity that we must navigate if we are going to move from decision to disciple.
- Comfort – When we decide to follow Christ we grow quickly and we are excited about everything in God’s kingdom that we come across. There is an element of initial comfort attached to the new discoveries we are making about God.
- Connection – We start to connect with other like-minded people in Christian community and lifestyle changes are starting to take shape.
- Cause – We become aware of the cause of Jesus and respond in 1 of 2 ways: Either we commit to the cause or we retreat to comfort and connection. Our revelation of the cause is a line in the sand that defines whether we move from decision to disciple. Unfortunately, some church attenders go backwards and forwards between the first 3 stages of spiritual maturity.
- Commitment – If we respond to the cause with commitment we become aware of our gifts and call and we’re moved to action. We start to serve in the life of the church as a priority.
- Crisis – Once committed to the cause life will always present us with a crisis. This crisis can range from disappointment, loss of a loved one, broken relationship or financial pressure to name a few. In this stage we start to question our theology and we have a choice to make, do we respond Godward or man-ward?
- Conviction – If we respond positively to the crisis we form internal convictions that shape our ideas, beliefs and actions in line with God and his Word.
- Consistency – If we get to this final stage, we mature to a pattern of consistent testimony. A life driven by convictions results in a lifestyle of consistency. Consistency is measured by your stickability to what God has purposed in your heart and what you’ve learnt along the journey.
I exercise and train my physical body early each morning. I run, bike, swim, lift weights and stretch. Some days I move my body quickly and efficiently and other days more like a turtle, very slowly. But the one thing that makes a difference in my fitness is not the initial decision to get up in the morning and train but the consistent showing up, day in and day out and actually doing the training.
Consistency demonstrates maturity and ultimately victory. What about you? Do you tend to make decisions but don’t follow through. Break the pattern today. Move from a decision to a disciple and watch what happens in your world.
Luke 18:8 ‘When the Son of Man comes , will he find faith on earth.’
There is much to be said for the need of believers everywhere to persevere in their faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many people grow cold in their faith and passion for Jesus and slowly drift away from their commitment to Christ.
We are in a spiritual war zone and distractions abound. Temptation is relentless. Social media hounds us. Opportunities to compromise and become distracted from Jesus bombard us daily. How are we to persevere in our faith?
Firstly, note that your faith is a gift from God and it contains within it the capacity to persevere but you must tend to it and not neglect it. Romans 10:10 says, ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.’ Hebrews 12:1-3 offers us much hope to fight the good fight of faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
- Remember, others have persevered before you. When we struggle we tend to get a microscopic view of the world around us and forget that there have been countless millions of people throughout history who have faced perilous challenges to their faith and have persevered.
- Get rid of excess weight and sin which will drag you down. Too many of us tolerate complexity and unnecessary weight in our lives and it needs to be identified, rooted out and cut off. Sin is an energy drainer and a soul destroyer. Don’t entertain it and seek God’s help to get free from it.
- The race of faith is a marathon, not a sprint. As a former competitive athlete and personal trainer I know the difference in muscle fibers, training and mindset required for both events. A marathon runner needs a stronger mind than a sprinter, whereas a sprinter needs a stronger body. We need endurance to fight and finish the race of faith till the end of our earthly lives. Endurance requires you to repeat the same movements over and over again without stopping. The same is to be said for tending to our relationship with God and the basic activities he calls us to engage in on a daily basis.
- Who you have your eyes focused on really does matter. Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith and he needs to be the object of our desire and fascination. Focusing on yourself or some other earthly entity above Christ will only lead to disillusionment and pain. Jesus founded our faith and he knows how to perfect our faith.
- Let Jesus’ example give you perspective. Jesus set all of us an incredible example in how to respond to opposition to him and his cause. He loved, he sacrificed, he served and he endured and as a result, he ultimately won.
Are you thinking of walking away from your church, your family, your ministry? Have you grown cold in your passion for God and his kingdom? Are you disillusioned by your circumstances and discouraged by your relationships?
It’s time to get your eyes back onto Jesus and your relationship with him. It’s time to remember those who have gone before you, cut off excess weight in your life, repeat the fundamentals over and over again like a marathon runner, focus on Jesus and get perspective on your life by considering Jesus example.
Here are the top 5 trends that will define our culture’s future more than any other:
- Speed – Life is getting quicker and quicker and it’s only going to increase in momentum. The blinding rate of change will touch every aspect of your life.
- Complexity – Life is becoming increasingly complex and multi-dimensional. The complexity of life will impact every sphere of society including your personal life.
- Risk – As much as we seek safety and security, life in the future will involve greater risk. We will all be exposed to new risk and higher risks.
- Change – If you don’t adapt quickly to an ever-changing environment you will simply be overwhelmed by the force of change. You need to embrace flexibility.
- Surprise – Life is full of surprises and they will come almost daily in the future. Your sense of logic and process will be interrupted by sudden-lies.
How do we respond to the interplay of these challenging dynamics in our lives? I think it’s so important to be informed and forewarned. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. If you know something is coming your way, you can better anticipate it and prepare for it.
I think it’s important that we place our faith in what will stand strong in the midst of the cultural upheaval that is happening around us. Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have tribulation but take heart I have overcome the world.’ Faith in Jesus is going to be an even bigger issue in the future as cultural super-shifts test our anxiety levels and undermine our shallow values.
The future is fast approaching and the church needs to be prepared for it. A new wineskin is needed for the new wine that God wants to pour through the church to meet the needs that will surface as a result of the massive forces that will shape our world.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
I love and esteem God’s Word and I can understand you thinking that with my blog titled, ‘God’s Letter to the world’ I was going to be speaking about the bible. However, I’ve discovered like you have, the world doesn’t read its bible but it does read its Christians.
Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth didn’t need to send a reference letter to them because the people themselves were his letter of recommendation. The credibility of Paul’s ministry was found in the people whom he’d ministered to.
The canvas of ministry is people. A ministers work of art is people. Every minister should look at people like Picasso looked at a blank piece of canvas and see incredible potential. Recently, I had the privilege of baptizing a new believer into the life of the church. At his baptism his family and friends came up and expressed with heartfelt emotion their appreciation for us investing into their loved one’s life. They shared how amazed they were at the difference in the young man’s approach to life and priorities because of the time and energy I and others had invested into him. This is what winning looks like in God’s kingdom. When God takes a person who is broken and restores them, he is sending the world another letter of his love, power and grace.
Your life is a letter from Christ delivered to the world. God is writing on the tablet of your heart. Your heart is the canvas God writes his story upon. He doesn’t use ink but he uses the Holy Spirit. This means you need to pay attention to your story because your story is your brand, your message. Every one loves a story, especially kids. Every night before bed, my youngest son, Joshua, will ask me to read him a story. As we get older, we become weighed down by information but a good story will snap us back to life straight away.
What’s your story? What has God written on your heart through the different experiences you have had in life? Take time out to pause and reflect on your story. Where has God taken you in the different seasons of your life? What have you learnt? What has the devil meant for evil that God has turned into good?
Your story is your work of art and it’s God’s letter to the world!
2 Chronicles 5:13 God’s steadfast love endures forever.
What is started in the flesh has to be sustained by the flesh. What is started by the Holy Spirit is to be sustained by the Holy Spirit. If God is the author of your ministry, then he knows how to perfect it as well. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, the beginning and the end of everything. Too many of us start things based on good ideas, rather than God ideas and we wonder why we don’t have more fruit to show for our labor.
God is a master of momentum. The Prophet Isaiah declared, ‘Of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end’ (Is 9:7). People may come and go out of your life but God’s promise and purpose will remain. That’s why we need to get out-of-the-way and let the Holy Spirit have his say.
I’ve discovered my biggest problem isn’t someone else, it’s me. Your biggest problem isn’t finance or criticism, it’s you. At the same time, your biggest opportunity is getting out-of-the-way, so the Holy Spirit can have his say.
I talked to a church consultant several years ago whom commented on the challenge for pastors to not try to control what God has started by his sovereign grace. What God starts, never ends. If we corrupt the momentum by adding our good ideas to what God has started, then we abort the process of what God is trying to achieve in our lives.
What has God started in your life? Don’t fret, nor fear cause God intends to bring it to pass. The present day Church is the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham thousands of years ago. What God starts never ends.