This growth message is a continuation and part two of my previously posted “Examine Yourself” message. Thank you Lord for Your direction, and preparation as each and every reader moves through this message and collection of verses from Your Word. Please open our hearts as we read through, and listen to The Holy Spirit speaking to each and every one of us individually, in Jesus Name. TYL PTL TGBTG
John 1:12 - “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to BECOME the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His Name.” [Isa.56:5]
Mark 1:17 – “And Jesus said to them, “Come after Me and be My disciples, and I will make you to BECOME fishers of men.”
Let’s examine what it takes to BECOME fishers of men. Firstly, we will need to peel back our current state, why/what/where/how are we? Why are we the way we are? What is our makeup? Where are we in our growth process? How do we BECOME fishers of men?
Why do I need to BECOME anything in order to become a fisher of men. Aren’t I already that now that I am a Christian; or by choice? Good questions, logical thought process. Think of this as you are in school, learning, building skills; the world looks at it as Intellectual Quotient. The Bible speaks of Wisdom. Wisdom is different than intelligence, although woven together, let’s look more at Emotional Quotient, Spiritual Quotient, and Biblical Quotient.
Okay so What do I do? Where do I Start?
We are born self-centered, just by nature; human beings are self-centered biologically. You Are A Human Being. So naturally selfish. We are born selfish (in the flesh), and Born-Again in the Spirit to BECOME as Jesus, fishers of men. Today lets self-examine if we are still selfish and operating in the flesh.
What does that mean? Okay, so Think about what do your children want. They want what they want without an understanding that is potentially not going to be provided; and you give it to them when they are infants and as they grow up you begin to teach them to recognize there are other people and variables to consider and so on.
[[ Unless you choose to spoil them; in which case you should ask yourself, “Why would you spoil them, does it make you feel good to give them things, what is your true objective, to raise adult children or solid, ethical, moral, contributing and happy adults”. Said differently if you are spoiling your children, you need to realize that is selfish, not the opposite. It is easier, it makes you look good, it impresses other people… so selfish. Its okay you can reverse that, in a joining in way; engage your children and discuss openly. Just realize – Just Remember – Don’t make it a fade! Don’t make it feel like a punishment! ]]
Back to point Think about that – your first job is to train them how to recognize their self-centeredness along with their strengths, and teach them how to BECOME great people. Through what – through having passion and having a great heart and if you are Christian’s raising your children or grand-children you prepare their hearts for the Lord. Are we making sure to keep our own hearts in check? Don’t you know Father God is doing the same thing with His children, i.e. us. Yes that is exactly what He wants for us, to grow up through those same elements of maturity, as well as our spiritual and biblical wisdom.
Let’s start with the basics… me-ism, or the I syndrome. It is so prevalent in our entitled society ask yourself; I wonder how many times when we are praying it is “me-ism”, are we being selfish? Are we teaching selfishness? I believe we even see some churches today are interestingly preaching the very pattern outlined below in the Book of Matthew as the thing “to do”, where those verses Jesus specifically taught as the thing “to NOT do”. Suggesting we can mold God into being whatever we want is not only ridiculous it is a very dangerous mentality.
Just in case you think somehow that entitlement, or seeking to be most important is a new thing – go to Mark 9:33 - Jesus asked the disciples what was it you disputed among yourselves. Of course Jesus knew they were on the road arguing who was going to be the best, the greatest. He asked them about it – read these verses – imagine the conversation. Then what did He say, if you seek to be first you will be last! Do you think if we seek to be the best dressed at church, the ones that Pastor likes the best, the ones that prays the best, speak the best, even when Pastors want to be the best themselves. Who are they naturally preforming for – self. You can justify it all day – however it is the enemy keeping us from truly BECOMING who the Lord wants us to be, receiving all He has intended.
There is a major difference that I would like you think on – pray on – and truly be honest with yourself and the Lord. If your heart, your desire is for fame, for any performance or popularity detail, to be on the pulpit – just realize it. It is okay, the Lord has already forgiven you. He knows our nature. He is just waiting for us to recognize and confess it. Get past pride – and GROW.
Be careful not to swing all the way to the other side. The Lord’s objective is not to have a group of under preforming, sad and underutilized victims in His flock – NOT AT ALL.
So is being competitive is a no no? For heaven’s sake that is not the case at all, the Bible clearly encourages us at all levels to strive to be the best. But, not to satisfy our own egos, and gain some form of higher authority over everyone else in front of the Lord (i.e. seek to Rule). To actually set a good example, and show our humility, give the credit to the Lord, let our testimonies shine.
Why does He want us to Grow – well a lot of reasons of course but for the purpose of this thought message is – so we can BECOME Fishers of Men. To BECOME who He intended us to be, reap the rewards He wants to give us. How often do you find yourself attracted to a show-off, to an arrogant or self-centered person. Pretty much NEVER right – you are repelled by that. You may even walk away and say wow that person has so much potential – if they could just get past their own pride. Yep.
Here is another way to get there. How about all the messaging that we listen to like, “you have to look after number one”, “I need MY space”, “I need to have time to find Myself”, “I need to keep MY focus”, “They/Him/Her don’t meet MY needs”, “they/him/her don’t care about Me they only care about themselves (that is double)”, “I don’t Feel like doing that”, or even “I am working on me and going into a selfish phase”. Me – Me – Me – Me
I don’t know about you, but I have heard some rather smart people say these phrases with a straight face. My answer wants to be, seriously, you need to find yourself.
Can you blame them – all marketing is geared toward “Me-ism”. Although again it isn’t new – look at Mark 10:35 – the disciples wanted Jesus to give them WHATEVER they wanted. (during that time frame it was all about slave or ruler) Then they showed their desires, and saying we want to be #2 next to you on the throne. They wanted to be rulers! Then they even sent their Mother to ask Jesus again Matthew 20:22. Well the answer will surprise you, self-centered sitting on the right and left side of the leader of the world is what they were thinking. They wanted to Rule, they wanted to Take Over Rome. But they didn’t know what they were asking; Jesus had said to many all to the right will be Sheep and all to the left will be Goats. Meaning heaven or hell bound. Bottom line, is we need to see ourselves as the senior servant. Not the senior person in control.
To BECOME like Jesus
John 3:30 “He must BECOME greater and great, and I must BECOME less and less.” This is not about God, He can’t become greater, He already is the All, the Greatest. John the Baptist is saying, BECOME less in Self and greater in Spirit! Meaning, I must chose to have the Lord BECOME greater and greater in ME, and I must chose to BECOME less and less in Me (or, in self, in flesh). So people, see Jesus in you, not your flesh in you.
Look at this John 13:12-16
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
So did Jesus say, you ought to also wash MY feet? NO. He said one another’s feet, meaning everyone, be willing to be a servant to all.
We need to BECOME ‘Others-Centered’
Not be martyrs, be positive, happy, and ready to serve others – regardless as to how high up you are. In fact the higher up you are in ‘people standards’ the more you need to keep yourself humbled. You see today, our pride (thanks to satan) creeps in and tells us if we lower ourselves people will not respect us. That is NOT the truth at all!
A great example of this is in the corporate world, say for example a CEO must take personal credit for everything. Verses lifting up all the executives and managers that are being the execute team. What is truly what the CEO should be seeing – is lifting up, empowering, and edifying those team members to be even more successful – is the CEO doing his/her job. Net result is by that CEO shining a light on everyone else instead of himself/herself that CEO was raised up by the overall success. When you strive to have all the light on yourselves and treat your team members more like slaves – what happens – collectively you fail. Of course most people in leadership do not even personally realize this Biblical and very powerful approach. They instead focus on the short term numbers, the short term fame, so they can go take another short term gig. The Net Net of that pattern creates a tremendous vacuum.
Good you get it now, you totally see the message – so today let’s make sure we have examined and been very honest with ourselves and the Lord and turned the light on where we have that Pride. Where we need to make sure our hearts are in the right place. You have to put Christ on the throne – be in charge of your entire life – be humble. Remember that doesn’t mean you become mush. We are to be leaders of men (meaning all people); the message here is we seek to Serve. We seek to Lead through Service – not through control and power.
A Growing maturing Christian will BECOME less and less self-centered and more and more Christ-Centered.
Romans 1:1 “Paul a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle.” You see the verse is saying, what he is – is a SERVANT. What he does is serves as an apostle. Would you say Paul was a Fisher of Men? I believe we would all say, Yes. Or maybe even a Super Yes! Right. What did he do, he grew out of self, even the disciples as scriptures pointed out were still absorbed with self. In fact even after years of preaching, of even healing, Jesus said He didn’t know them. That was because, they were still filled with SELF.
I am not going for the worldly version of this, i.e. the opposite of self is selflessness. NOT AT ALL. We are meant, as stated throughout the WORD to have His Power, Strength, Might, and so on. That is not wimpy selflessness – letting everyone run over you – or allowing defeatism to consume you.
We want to BECOME like Jesus, we want to BECOME a follower of Jesus, so the World can see Jesus. When Jesus was asked tough questions, did he cow down? NO. Did He confront, Yes. When here in the flesh was He bold and clear, Yes. Does His Word suggest otherwise, NOPE.
The critical difference is attitude, heart, our core motives. What is your agenda. Ask yourself those questions today. Pray Holy Spirit what is it do you want me to get out of this message, what area can I realize I haven’t yet given to the Lord?
I believe this area is so so critical for Christian’s today, with the media spin, the political spin at such a high place. It is dangerous. Let’s not be fouled, focused on which side wins, lets focus on what is right. Focus on accountability; and start at home with yourself and your personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Samantha Living Live
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