Marks of a True Christian (4 of 12)

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Outdo one another in showing honor/give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all

Honor speaks to admiration for what is good, valuable, or important. Attempting to ‘outdo’ one another shows the importance of improvement in this quality. We must continue to always keep our eyes toward what is good, valuable, and important. What encompasses these qualities better than the most important and valuable relationship we have with the source of all good? We must keep our eyes on the things of this world that glorify God and advance His kingdom. We must find joy in the admiration of His work in us and through us. This show of honor toward things that exceed the fallen nature of this world will draw the lost to God’s light. God’s way is honorable in the sight of every person, sinfulness blinds them to His truth. Our goal has to be to show them what honoring God looks like in real world application. Only then will the value of God’s presence be understood.

God’s Beauty In US

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                Why do we feel the need to hide who God made us to be? Each one of us adds so much value in our unique ways. If you think about it, even evil people come into our lives and leave us with valuable lessons. Those lessons may be personal, or ours to share when others struggle. The value of each person is found in your ability to see their beautiful gifts. You might see a gift that they aren’t even aware of, or a gift they are trying to hide but it fights its way out in their weakness. God brings all kinds of people into our lives. Some people are there to guide us toward a path, some to push us away from the wrong path. Some people are there to influence us positively so that we can grow, some to show us qualities we are meant to avoid. Some people will love us, some will pretend to love us, some will reject us, and some will try to cause us harm. The beauty is that they are all part of a plan much bigger than the small moments that we have to interact with them. Even years of love or pain are a blink in the eye of eternity. Let all people be a source of sanctification. Let all people draw you toward your Godly purpose. Let all people give you the chance to show love and to be God’s light. Be an example as you rise above the world that reacts in selfish haste. Be the reaction that God put in you to be. Brighten the world around you. Let God set your coarse and don’t allow the people of the world to draw you away. Let the hard times mold you to be stronger and the beautiful times fuel your spirit.

Let God Finish Your Fight

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                How many times do you find yourself caught in a struggle where you can’t seem to find resolution that lasts? Maybe it’s an addiction or a relationship with a loved one. You try everything you can think of and never get the satisfaction that your heart is looking for. That’s because your desires come with emotions that cloud your ability to hand that struggle to God. He is the only one that knows how to truly fill the void in your heart designed to fit Him perfectly. If you let God fight your battle, you won’t have to fight that battle again. Our God is a God of completeness. Along with His resolution He will impart the wisdom to see other struggles from a better vantage point, closer to His. It’s when you fight under your own power that you find yourself hopeless and exhausted. Hand the struggle and pain to God and take up His yoke. Let Him walk you through your battles to the resolution He has waiting for you. (Matthew 11:30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Serving God, His Way

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                God equips each of us in a unique way to serve Him and to glorify Him. In His infinite wisdom He molds us through our troubles in order to strengthen us for our journey. When troubles come into our lives, our first instinct is to run to our friends and family for counsel or consoling. That can be useful some of the time but we must use discernment with their advice. The important thing is that we give God’s word precedence over all other counsel. This all became clear when I was reminded of the story of David fighting Goliath.

                David came to the army camp to bring lunch to his brothers. They were not accommodating to him coming to them. He then hears the army’s trouble with a giant Philistine named Goliath. David approaches King Saul while all of the other soldiers are afraid to fight. The king reluctantly says ok to this undersized minor fighting the giant. Saul then proceeds to give David his armor and weapon to fight. The problem was David could not use Saul’s weapon or armor (advice) to approach the battle God had for him. He had to use the skills of a shepherd to fight the way God had equipped him. He approached the Philistine with the power of the God of Israel made whole in David’s faith and weakness. David trusted God and ignored the advice of his brothers to return home and his king to use a sword. In his obedience to God he glorified the Lord and solidified his own place as the future king.

                Listen to the wisdom of those around you and accept their love. But in those moments of weakness give the highest position to God and let His power be made complete in your weakness. Discern the counsel of the people around you and lean always on God’s word always faithful to His word made flesh in Christ.

Conviction vs Guilt

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Conviction is from the Holy Spirit, guilt is from the deceiver. We should understand the difference. One leads us forward and one breaks us down. One grows us in maturity and one holds us stagnant. God uses conviction from the Holy Spirit to guide us away from sinfulness and to lead us in righteousness. When we don’t turn toward God in our troubles we develop sin as we struggle in our own power. A genuine understanding of God, the loving Father, allows us to accept His conviction and walk in His light. Misunderstanding the love of God causes us to withdraw from God and get lost in our struggle which holds us stagnant, and away from the freedom of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. Be willing to accept God’s love. Especially when it come to you as correction through conviction. He guides His children in love with patience. Don’t turn from Him and let the guilt from the deceiver keep you from that love. When you find yourself in a place where you feel the conviction of the Spirit, seek to know the difference between that and the guilt that drives many people’s reactions. Grow in the positive reaction to conviction and not the clouded reactions made in the emotions of guilt. (Romans 8:1-2) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

 

The Real You

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                We all have a tendency to show the world the side of us we choose to reveal. We smile when we’re sad, we laugh when life hurts, we show strength when we are falling apart. Living like this over long seasons of life cause us to feel isolated both from people and from reality. We get so use to being accepted in certain ways that we develop a persona for different people based on how we feel we relate to them. It amazes me to see the undue stress we put ourselves under to be accepted for the things we are not, and losing focus of who we were designed to be. How much more beautiful is it to live in the fullness of who God designed you to be before time began, and to let the right people accept who you are without struggling to be someone else? I think we should all choose to be rejected by the people that would deny us in our authenticity. We have a God that sees through what we pretend to be. He knows what our hearts really desire and what they need to thrive. We have an idea of what we want, God’s wisdom knows without a doubt what we need. Be authentic with God and feel His acceptance of you. He created you to be the way He finds you. He will never be surprised by you. God knows every hair of your head and every sin you have or will ever commit. As you seek The Lord in prayer let him into the fullness of your heart so that He can make you whole. Let Him put the things that seem out of place back in order in your life and in your heart. You have to give Him all of the pieces if you want Him to work in completeness in your life. Don’t hide what you consider ugly or shameful. He sees you as His beautiful child, washed clean in the blood of Christ. He saved you so that you could come to Him. So go! Find the authentic relationship that both God and your spirit long for. No acceptance of people or things of this world will ever take the place of His love.

What is a Leader? (9 of 9)

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Conclusion

Trustworthy, Guiltless, Set Apart, Discerning, Humble, Consistent, Prosperous. These qualities are impossible to perfect on our own. Exhibiting them is proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in that leader. As a leader who seeks Christ-likeness we must realize that it is not our time to reign but our time to serve. It is not our goal to be right, it’s our goal to be sympathetic and unconditionally loving. It is our time to be set apart and rise as the world falls into turmoil and darkness. Look to the counsel of God and lead in a way that brings glory to Him and recognition to the source of your leadership. (Luke 12:48) Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

What is a Leader? (8 of 9)

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Prosperous in Multiple Environments– The world and circumstances change but God remains the same. God is the same now as He was in the beginning and will remain so for all time. The environment where a leader is led should not change their ability to thrive. This is even truer when the leader is led into that position by God and has been equipped from previous reliance on God to move into any role. The bible is full of people who thrived in impossible situations through their reliance on the God of the universe. (Romans 8:28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

What is a Leader? (7 of 9)

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Consistent (Someone who can stand in front and take the most damage) – The true character of people is made clear in the difficult times. When people look to a leader they want one that doesn’t falter in the difficult times but rises to the occasion an takes his followers through the struggle. The hard times build trust. It’s easy to look good when the seas are calm but turbulence allows a true leader to be proven. Repeated resilience in turmoil is what separates leaders from the pack. The Christian believer follows a leader that will conquer all and has seen the storm before it ever existed. Our reliance on God makes us leaders of men. (Philippians 1:27-28) Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.