Purposeful Faith

Category - envy

Is Showy Christianity Leading You Astray?

Showy Christianity

Entertain me.
Delight me.
Distract me.

We are on a constant hunt to find pleasure in all we do.

We are seeking a God that is palatable, tasty and pleasurable. We go to big conferences, with big screens and big pastors.  All is good as long as it points to Christ, right?

This makes me wonder.
It makes me wonder whether the fan-fare would be a delight or a fright to Jesus?

We know it is all about his glory for his story.
We know it is all about his name and not our fame.

But, somehow the famous draw us, the powerful captivate us and the big lights lure us.

Is lowly and humble Jesus found against the big lights of Christianity?

Is he found in the lights of the big show or in the shadow of the big Father?

I can’t help but think that when we demand church be an experience, we miss the experience that is Jesus. We miss the stillness of a moment where it is just us and him. We miss the quiet heart that says, I don’t need all that – I just need you. We miss the convictions of the Holy Spirit at work within us, because we are too focused around us and we can’t hear what he is saying to us.

Entertainment becomes an opiate to hide us from reality.
A crutch to keep our anxious minds in motion.
Novocaine to dull our suffering.

But, perhaps suffering is just what God has set forth for us to feel in the moment, because it will move us towards deeper love and faith.

It’s not the big lights we need to keep our eyes off of ourselves, but simply the light of Christ to shines truth into the hidden places of our aching hearts.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

But, for us entertainment seekers, silence, quietness and stillness of mind scares us. It’s uncomfortable.

Instead, we become so focused on what others are saying and doing, that we often miss what God wants us to say or do for another. We expect the producers to make the show good enough for us to consume and when we don’t we leave disappointed.

But, did Jesus seek to put on a show to make Christianity glow?

He didn’t seek big followers in order to make new followers.

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?'” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) (John 4:17)

This woman went alone. She went with her thoughts. She went with a simple bucket, most likely. But, what she got was an encounter with Jesus. Jesus, who stepped away from the other disciples, away from the crowds to meet a woman in a simple way, through simple words, that would simply change her heart forever.

Jesus’ approach was simple.

He simply approached man with straightforward truth to let the power of the living Word transform dying hearts.

Jesus knew the Word of the Lord is more than sufficient – and more than capable – to accomplish all it is set forth to accomplish.

He withdrew from the crowds for quiet prayer with his Father. He calls us to do the same – to talk without noise, without pretense and without the show being our idol.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (Ps. 150:1-2)

Our call is to praise the Lord, to seek his soul, to seek his face.

Perhaps it doesn’t come down to what others do, or what people offer us, or who says what or how many people are at whatever event or the amount of lights, but it comes down to how we enter into church and how we approach the Father.

It comes down to who and what we follow.
It comes down to what we expect, to what we demand and what we seek.

It comes down to: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Mt. 22:37) and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mt. 22:39)

 

It comes down to – it’s all about Him.

 

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When God Doesn’t Give (Linkup)

When God Doesn't Give

A unique opportunity was given to me – and then completely taken away.

I could have brought so much to the table. I knew I would have done a great job. I knew God would have used me in a powerful way. I so badly wanted to be used. I so badly wanted to give all I had.

But, I wasn’t chosen. In a sense, I was left behind.

I just needed the chance. Why not me God?
I just needed someone to believe in me. God, can’t you clear a path for me?

Am I not good enough for your blessings? Not special enough to move your mighty hand?

Like a mother removing a treat from a child’s hands, God was pulled away what was mine. I threw a tantrum of my own and wallowed in hurt feelings and disappointment.

God had given, only to rip away.

The moment of his gift- lost.
The sweetness of the moment – handed to someone else.

Bad, bad, bad thoughts rushed in, like:

“One day they will see…they should have picked me.”
“I could have done this better. I would have been different, but more impactful.”
“I will do great things one day and they will say, ‘We made a mistake, we should have given her the chance.'”

God loves reaching curtained hearts,
the ones covered by pounds and pounds of fabric
that hide his show
– and cover his glow.

He opens our eyes. He pulls back the curtains. He places our eyes on him. The one who is center stage. The director of all, so we don’t miss it. So we don’t miss his truth.

So we see what is really at play.

And, what God said to my open, plaint and needy self was:

“(Kelly), are you saying,
‘I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on my mount…,
on the utmost heights…
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High?'” 
Is. 14:12-14

Is that what you are saying, dear child? Because these words sound sadly familiar.

Words like:

“They will see my majesty.”
“They will see my glory.”
“They should have recognized me.”
“I will go so high.”
“I will one day show them.”

My heart was shocked. My eyes were open and his truth was flat out in front of me.

I was bowing down to the antithesis of truth.
To the great opposer of humility.
The enemy Father.

The enemy who says, God will leave you high and dry,
because he is up in the sky.

The enemy who points to your powerless as a weakness.

The enemy who shakes your feet to walk you  straight away from the heart of Christ.

He is effective. Powerful. Cunning.

We are his best target, because if he can hit us, he can momentarily thwart the plans of God in our lives. He can run our heart amuck in fear, worry and worthlessness. How can one living here, truly honor God?

Yet, If I keep God’s truth front and center I realize:

He may not give me the good I want in today, because he is preparing great for tomorrow.

This role may count for another’s soul.

My heart needs to learn a lesson in humility, so I can go to these places with stability.

When we are forced to step down, God steps up to teach our hearts deeper love.

God doesn’t want us reliant on opportunities, he want’s us reliant on him – the King.

He is forming us into a shadow-image of Christ, that should be our highest desire.

When it seems that God has taken away, the truth is – he has always given.

He has given us an opportunity to see his hand work in our heart. He has given us a chance to get on our knees. He has always given us a pliant heart.

He has given me a chance to be a foot warrior of contentment in the face of opposition and defeat. That is powerful.

He has shown me that the greatest victories aren’t in the big things we do for God, but in the small ways we endure, by faith, in defeat.

Now, my eyes are open to the workings of God.

Perhaps my greatest gift was found more in what I didn’t get, than what I did.  For, what I didn’t get forged lessons and a heart condition that will last to eternity. What I could have gotten would have been done in a moment.

God is always giving us his best. Don’t let the devil fool you.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

ON ANOTHER NOTE – 2 Quick Updates/Announcements:

1. I am delighted to tell you that I am introducing a new regular contributor to the fold at Purposeful Faith. This woman has spoken so many times to my needy and controlled heart. Her words have been like a soothing oil on the rough parts of my striving. She is a #RaRalinkup Cheerleader already and certainly a woman I call friend. I know that so many of you already know and love her. Certainly, you will be blessed by her words to come on this site.

Let’s welcome Katie Reid as a regular Purposeful Faith contributor!
Join us this Thursday to support her big debut!

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2. Compel members/future members – Join us tomorrow (Wednesday) on Twitter for the Compel Twitter party. Share a #CompelTip that you learned. On Thursday and Friday, linkup here.

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Who Owns Your Known?

Who Owns Your Known?

Post by:  Christy Mobley

I stood at attention like a toy soldier, fisted hands on hips, and a plastered smile so tight the muscles in my jaws twitched. It was there on the floor of the junior high gymnasium, where I awaited my fate.

In Jr High all I wanted be known for was being a duPont Dragon cheerleader.

But on that day when the names were called mine wasn’t among them.

When I wasn’t chosen, I remember feeling  jealous and bitter toward those who were.

That was 44 years ago. Today at 57, do I still want to be known for something?

If I’m totally truthful, yes I do. And you do too.

You might be thinking, No, I really don’t. But stop, and think about it for a minute. We all do.

For me, I want to be known as a good wife, mom, friend, writer, a good dresser, decorator, tennis player, and Bible study leader. And I like to be noticed for my efforts and applauded for a job well done.

We all want people to know us,

approve us,

like us

and sometimes, yes,

even envy us.

We count Facebook likes and our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and our link-ups on LinkedIn.

We want to be known for something or be known by that “somebody” who is known by everybody.

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts in our youth and continues as we age. Wanting to be known is as natural as breathing and we all have an insatiable appetite for both.

But therein lies the problem. Our appetites.

Just like our appetite for food can lead us to gluttony and diseases of the body, our appetite to be known can lead us to diseases of the soul – greed, jealously, hatred and bitterness.

To keep our appetite in check, we need to recognize and understand the three P’s of known.

1. Provider – who owns my known?

2. Purpose – what’s my known for?

3. Perspective – is it mine forever or only a season?

John the Baptist was a man who could handle his known.

He had a huge amount of followers for his day in age, that is until Jesus took the majority of his following. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked him why people were leaving him to follow Jesus, John answered by saying …“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Ah, here in John 3:27, we are reminded that God gave John his position. It was not something he gained himself.

Only God owns our known.
He alone is the Provider.
We may put in the hard labor but it is God who swings the doors open.

The purpose of our being known is not to point to us ( it’s not about us folks) but to point to Jesus. John 1:6-7 says, concerning John the Baptist, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that thorough him all might believe.” God has a purpose and position for each season of our lives so that we may use it to point to Him.

Most importantly we must keep the proper perspective on our known-ness and not hold too tightly to something we may only temporarily possess. Job 1:21 reminds us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In the wake of losing our known-ness, be it followers, friends, a job, our family or whatever else, our perspective should always be one of joy in living under the wings of God’s sovereignty. There are times we must take a backseat to another for the spotlight to shine on Jesus.

John 3: 29-30 says, …“That joy is mine and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.

John the Baptist knew where his position came from,
he knew what his position was for and he was content in letting it go
when his time came to step aside.

This past year I received an extra portion of known-ness but when I started to fill it slip, I tried to hang on. And in doing so, I showed the telltale signs of not watching my P’s. I slid down the slippery slope of known into a selfish pile of actions that did anything but point to God.

Today as you take the kids to school, go to work, or check your Instagram account, ask yourself two questions.

What position has God placed me in?

And, in this position, am I pointing to Him?

Who owns your known?

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Purposeful Faith Contributor
Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can find Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey at www.christymobley.com

Get Rid of Jealousy (Link-up)

Get Rid of Jealousy Once and For Al

CLICK HERE  TO LISTEN (2)

I could only see the distance God took her.

The places she was set to go.

The open doors she got to walk through;
they same ones that slammed shut in my face. 

The must-have-been joy all on her face
as comments galore flooded her blog.

I could taste the sourness in my mouth
and feel the irritation well up in my heart.

She had everything and I walked away with nothing.

I used to be this kind of girl. The kind of girl that wanted only me to succeed. The kind of girl who couldn’t deal with the success of others. I really hate to say it – because it’s embarrassing to see this always in turmoil, always watching, never happy girl.

Jealous girl. Greedy girl. Needy girl.

I have fought this girl time and time again. I have told her to take a hike. I have told her she is wrong. I have told her she is ungodly.

She normally didn’t care much because she always returned. Despite my best attempts to push her underground, to pretend she didn’t exist – that dang girl kept haunting me.

But, one day, God prompted my heart to make one small change. And, oh my goodness, I just praise him that I listened.

Because this one small step of obedience changed the entire terrain of my heart. It’s as if this one step of obedience invited a landscaper in to level everything. His work left my mouth dropped.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

When God calls us to untraveled, unlevel places of faith, he brings us there to transverse the most astounding, the most astonishing and the most breathtaking terrain of our lives. Terrain that leaves us charged to go to new places.

We leave knowing it was his work, because in this place, we got to behold his glory, perceive his beauty and witness his loyalty. We leave, perceiving life from a different perspective. Our soul is compelled to go new distances and new places.

It feels like the Israelites as they muster the courage to step into our promised land. We get faithful and then he brings us there.

He did this for me.

He called me to more.

He asked me to leave comparison behind.

To wave goodbye to inadequacy.

And to begin encouraging and uplifting.

As I did this, my dry desert heart began to sink away and an amazing thing replaced it.

The more I encouraged my fellow bloggers through
the #RaRalinkup, the more my heart was replenished.

The more I saw each person’s pain and hardships,
the more my heart softened.

The more I lifted another up,
the more my love grew for them.

The more I felt a heart uplifted,
the more mine was.

The more I saw their love for God,
the more I wanted them to succeed.

Christ’s love was taking over.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 Jo. 4:18)

Each step of love, is a step towards life. Each step of encouragement, is a step towards excitement. Each step of faith is a step towards something greater than me and loftier than my sole vision.

God has opened my eyes up to the power of his body – a body working together in unison.

Rather than rallying against them, we rally together on Twitter and the blogosphere in the name of Christ. There is no fear in love. We are so much more effective as a whole than as a part. I see God accomplishing big Kingdom-work through this group of women.

Together we are powerful.

God pushed me to encourage. Now, I only want the best for these women I once envied. I delight in their successes and mourn at their losses – authentically. I truly want God to take each one of them to his greatest heights. I delight in cheering for them. I want to help them.

What a transformation. Am I always perfect, no, but who is? But, I am 99% changed.

I praise God because he is the great Transformer. He is always ready to lead us to more. The question is – are we listening? I saw how one small prompting could open a floodgate of love and change a heart completely.

So, it inclines my heart to wonder, what other small things is he speaking? Am I missing them?
How is he calling me to greater love?
Because I have learned, when he calls us somewhere it will stagger us.

When we let God in, he truly changes the landscape of our heart. He works and reworks everything that is out of place. When we get rid of jealousy, we see God’s beauty.

A Note to the #RaRalinkup Linkup Team,
My heart beats for what makes your heart beat. Thank you for teaching me true love. God has used you mightily in my life. I am forever grateful. You encourage me more than I could ever begin to encourage you.

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