Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Stricter Judgment

"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." - James 3:1

People tend to judge those in the spotlight harshly. Often it seems unfair, almost like we forget that they are people as well and that they are entitled to mistakes. This is true about celebrities, famous preachers, politicians, and athletes. I've found myself wondering why we can't give them a break however according to this scripture God also judges them more harshly. 

What is a teacher? According to a teacher is simply "someone who helps others learn new things." In the past when I have read this scripture I have thought of specifically teachers of the Bible, which of course does fit the context of the scripture. However there are many types of teachers. Beyond the obvious (school teachers, professors, teachers in church) there is anyone who has the opportunity to bring new knowledge to other people. When celebrities speak people listen. They don't seem to care whether they have any qualifications in the subject they are speaking about, they only seem to care that they are famous. This puts all celebrities in the place of a teacher whether they mean to be or not. God holds them to a higher standard. 

It's unlikely that a celebrity will run across my post here however we are all teachers at some level. It is important to understand that the moment we step into that role we have a greater responsibility and therefore gain a harsher judgment. On this blog I end up getting about 30 views per post. In the grand scheme of the internet that is nothing, however that is potentially 30 people that I am responsible for how I influence them. I need to be aware of that fact, not to discourage me from posting or from teaching but to encourage me to not take that opportunity for granted. To encourage me to make sure that I am keeping myself in the Word and in prayer. To encourage me to make sure that what I post lines up with God's Word. 

Who is your audience? Who do you reach? Are you taking it for granted? Maybe, like me, you have around 30 people that you have the opportunity to reach on a regular basis, or maybe you have 30,000, or maybe you just have 3. Regardless of how many you influence you need to understand that you have a responsibility not only for yourself but also for those people.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Kingdom of God - Leaven of the Heart

"And again He said, 'To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened." - Luke 13:20-21

Last year I wrote a post about the importance of studying the Kingdom of God which you can read here. In the above parable from Jesus, we get a hint as to how the Kingdom of God works. Most of the people in Jesus' day were expecting the Kingdom of God to arrive in much the same way that earthly kingdoms did. They expected a kingdom that took over in force and conquered Rome in order to win their freedom. However that was no the God's plan. 

Jesus shows us here, in the example of yeast, that the Kingdom of God is much more subtle yet simultaneously more effective than they were expecting. Yeast is something that starts from the inside but works it's way through the entire dough. It is small and almost unnoticeable in itself but the effects are impossible to miss. Once yeast is mixed into a lump of dough there is no way to separate it again, there is no way to pull a piece of the dough off and not have it be affected by the yeast.

In the same way the Kingdom of God works from within, both in the case of the individual and of society. In the individual the Kingdom of God begins in the heart and works it's way to the actions, behaviors, and attitudes of the individual. At first you can not see anything different about the individual until you start to notice the effects of the Kingdom being inside him/her. Similarly in society the Kingdom starts with one individual and spreads to those around them until the entire society is affected. 

Let the Kingdom of God transform your heart today!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stubborness With Flexibility

Often it seems that we get the above statement mixed up. We become stubborn with our methods, our actions, and when they don't lead to where our original goal was we change our goal. That's the easy way out. After all we are 'creatures of habit', but sticking to a habitual way of living, never breaking out to something new, will never get you farther than where you are now. To be clear, I understand that there are habits which are beneficial and can help you move forward towards our goal but we must learn to be flexible in our overall methods. There are always times to break out of those habits. Even a healthy habit of regular exercise, for example, will only get you so far if you are not flexible enough to increase the weights, or change up the type of exercise.

Just as important as learning to be flexible in our habits and routines is staying stubborn towards our ultimate goals. I have written a lot about the importance of vision and it is important to be stubborn as you are pursuing the vision that God has given you regardless of the obstacles. Sometimes we can be sure that we are going after the vision but we hit a dead end. In these cases it is easy to think, "Maybe I was wrong, maybe God didn't give me that vision." But more likely God is just trying to get you to rethink your method. Maybe God doesn't want you to do it the same as everyone else.

One of the biggest hindrances we tend to face in pursuit of our goals and visions is money. There are many people who God has called to step out in faith and just believe Him for the financial support to do what they have been called to do, however He may be calling you to something different. He may be calling you to build your own support through a business or to split your time between a career and the ministry. The same principle applies even if your vision is not ministry in the traditional sense. There are many methods to get where God has called you to, make sure you are using the correct one.

Are there any areas where you are hitting a dead end and maybe you need to change your methods?