Sunday, May 1, 2011

Self Confidence or God Confidence?

For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. ~ Proverbs 3:26

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. ~ Proverbs 25:19

Thinkin' about Simon Peter and our mission some today.

What will this mission require?

Do you remember the time when the Apostle Peter became self confident inside.. and how that condition led to him fallin' into sin as he denied the Lord three times?

Maybe you've failed bad like that before.

Ever been there.. so low that you felt intense grief, rad-disappointed with yourself, with much anguish of spirit to have denied your best friend.. so dirt-level-down that you wept and couldn't even look up?

This event has been on my mind lately. Please know that Christ didn't come to accuse or condemn us. He cares and can forgive, restore, and lift you up again from the ground again.

Doesn't it seem like believers who become self-confident are always the last ones to recognize it? But what a precarious situation they put themselves in. They set themselves up for a horrible stumble, for a gravel-tasting kinda face-plant.

I hate that and I hate pride!

It's what also led to Mr Lu-Cifer's down fall. Now that dweeb seeks to exploit us in that wicked state ever time he finds one of us self-confident.

Yes, he wants company. That's why the devil and his gang are still vigilantly on the look out to sift believers as he did with Pete. Not to scare you with some bad fear, but the enemy keeps an eye out for these types of "witnesses" who aren't fully depending on God.

The cool thing in Pete's story is this.. the Lord had pre-prayed for him and therefore Pete did turn back to became more like his Lord. He then went out to spread the Gospel and strengthen his brethren with the Word as Christ said.

Perhaps you've read about the well-known 20th century Methodist Christian missionary and theologian to India, E. Stanley Jones before?

This man was not known for being self-confident.

No, but this man spent much time with Indian leaders such as, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Nehru family. And God really used him to reach people there as he uncompromisingly and appropriately contextualized Christianity for India's culture at that time.

Yup, and what I love is how this vessel of honor was God-confident, rather than self confident. Are you like that?

On one occasion when Mister Jones was meeting with, Mahatma Gandhi, he was sharp enough of mind to ask this revered leader of India a very important missionary question. Do you know what that specific inquiry was?

Jones asked Gandhi, "How can Christianity make a stronger impact on your country?" And Mr. Gandhi very thoughtfully replied that three things would be required for this.

First, Christians must begin to live more like Jesus Christ.

Good answer. Can't beat that for a response huh.

You recall Christ's strong, Father-focus, pure character and how His ministry actually played-out down here on this planet. I'm sure you remember.. how Jesus loved to steal away to be alone in prayer, in fellowship, and in close communion with His Father.

His ministry went basically from one prayer meeting time with the Father on to the next prayer meeting time and what happened in-between? Sound life-changing teaching of truth motivated by genuine love and authentic need-meeting miracles happened in-between these times. Christ never did a miracle for Himself. He thought of others. He was practical.

How is your ministry? Are you led.. or pushed as believer? Are you "in it" for you?  

You know that Christ always represented His Father well. Man, I would say we've all got to become more focused on the Father as we go tell ..yeah, as we refuse to rely upon self and our own abilities. We never want to misrepresent the Father!

Listen, as you continually put your personal worshipping of God ahead of all other ministry that you seek to do.. then God the Father will indeed transform your thinking and life by His Spirit. He'll change you thoroughly so that you not only come off more like His lovely Son, but actually are like Jesus in your character.

The Apostle Paul explained that this can happen through the Holy Spirit, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18, nkjv).

Second Gandhi said.. The Christian faith should be presented without any adulteration.

Today there are many high and low profile Christian ministers who are unfortunately playing fast and loose with the truth. And man, this is so easy to do when we become self-confident.

They fail to prayerfully put their noses in the Bible regularly for the purpose of applying, and so they sadly end up trusting themselves like Pete did ..and subsequently let the Lord down every time.

Ad-libing as you communicate can be good. To verbally improvise and deliver extemporaneously is by far more natural. Billy Graham did this in soul-winning. But wingin' it minus being accurate with God's Message is not good at all. That is not how we are to represent the Father. Hey, if this describes your ministry, stop it! Study better. Refuse to adulterate in any way. Reprioritize for Christ's sake.

Third Gandhi exclaimed that, Christians should emphasize love, which is at the heart of the Gospel.

After personal worship, the second most important reason for you and I being here, believer, on this terra firma a.k.a., solid earth, is to clearly reflect Christ's agape love, pure light, and likeness to the lost!

Are you salty and filled with God's love today? Are you a real worshipper and good witness? You certainly can be! 

Called to be salt and light in this world, called to righteously persist and persevere, called to shine and reflect the glory of God—Oh, what a calling is mine! 

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
 ~ Malcolm S. Forbes

Think about Peter after his mega-blunder, he needed more love and loyalty inside and God poured it in if you will.

Jesus appeared to Simon Pete post-resurrection for that purpose, yes, in order to help him again.

We all could potentially deny and desert our Lord in unfaithfulness as Pete did, but on the other hand we could also choose to put our confidence in Jesus instead of in self, so that we never have to feel devastated as Pete did.

Opt for the later!

Don't let your world come crashing in on you due to this type of denial. You don't have time for all the regrets. Resurrection power basically says that you don't need to experience all the shame.

Can you imagine how good, uplifted, and encouraged Peter felt when he heard that line, "But go…"? Yes he was still loved.. "But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."

Jesus took Pete's doubts, discouragement, fears, and deep regrets to heart like He takes yours to heart. His message was not, "Go tell the disciples and James…" No, and it wasn't "Go tell the disciples and John the beloved…" It also wasn't, "Go tell the disciples and My dear Matthew..."

Nawww, it was, "Tell the disciples and Peter He is risen." Relief-city! Pete was the one with the need at that time. God doesn't play favorites with us, except in the sense that each one of us is His favorite!  

Yes, more than all the other disciples or their friends, Simon Peter needed some TLC, special attention, reassurance. And Christ was out of the tomb for that very thing. He longed to restore Peter in his faith as only He can do. He's also there for you!

Hey, if you are backslidden but contrite? Will you simply humble yourself and repent? If so, then Jesus will comfort and fully restore you as well. So what are you waiting for? Run back into His strong arms ...and then be sent out with His Message for others.

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