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1st May 2017 - Would the real you please stand up!

Mark Twain is credited with saying, “The two most important days of your life are, firstly, the day you were born, and, secondly, the day you discover why you were born.”

Galatians 6:4-5 – Passion Translation: Let everyone be devoted to fulfil the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others. Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.

I was arrested by these verses in my reading the other morning and maybe because the discovery of our true identity in Christ, who we really are and what we are called and equipped to do is a critical element in all of our lives. We are all confronted by the question ... who am I really and what am I really meant to do?

Some things I have learnt ...

1. It takes most of us a lot longer than we think to work out who we really are and what we are meant to do.

Discipleship is a commitment to life-long learning, growing and changing.

Psalm 84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. There is a special “blessing” for those who trust the Lord and have “set their heart” on completing the journey.

The reality is that many come to Christ but never commit to completing the journey so never become all they are meant to be and so never achieve all they are meant to achieve. They are sidelined and drop out for one reason or another. God in His wisdom and grace has provided all we need to discover who we really are and what we are equipped to achieve. The key to that journey of discovery is found in maintaining a humble and teachable disposition together with a hunger for more of the presence of God in our life.

Pastors and the other Gift Ministries are there to provide wisdom, guidance and oversight that assist us in our journey of discovery. We each choose to make ourselves accountable or not to those who can provide wisdom and help guide us to become all we are meant to become so that we can achieve all that we are meant to achieve. Who is coaching you? Who have you made yourself accountable to?

2. Comparing ourselves with others is evidence of an identity issue.

2 Corinthians 10:12 NLT Oh, don't worry; we wouldn't dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!

Message: We wouldn't dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.

Comparing ... we all do it, but it is unhealthy. Learn from others, appreciate their gifts, abilities and uniqueness but don’t be intimidated by them or try to imitate them ... be yourself and imitate Jesus.

In Romans 8:15-17, (and numerous other passages) Paul clearly identifies Believers as “sons” of God, adopted into His family ... born again into God’s family ... our life secure and ‘hidden’ in Christ. It is this revelation that is to stabilise us in life and give us a new identity, security and confidence.

When you have committed your life to Christ and received Him as your Lord and Saviour, God is not like a father to you, He IS your father; you are not like a child of God, you ARE a child of God ... live and function from the revelation of that truth.

3. Constantly needing affirmation from others is evidence of a confidence issue.

A clear sense of identity leads to a sense of security which in turn leads to confidence. Not confidence in your own abilities etc but confidence in who you are and Whose you are.

Hebrews 10:35-39 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Strongs Dictionary defines “Confidence” as being ‘Free (deep inner sense of being free from every restriction) and fearless, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance … the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity.’

This is not arrogance but the confidence we are to walk in as we embrace our true identity and “the spirit of love, power and a disciplined mind” that Paul reminds Timothy of in 2Timothy 1:7. This is the domain of Spirit filled disciples of Christ, carrying His presence and power throughout the earth in the authority of His Name.

Be true to yourself and all God has called you to be.

Dare to live your life to its fullest potential.

Maintain a clear conscience before God and others.

Winning Ways 10

Taking your life to the Next-Level always involves personal growth ... taking your business, career, profession to the Next-Level always involves personal growth ... taking your relationships, ministry and health to the Next-Level always involves learning, changing and growing.

Larry Stockstill:  “Excellence is the relentless pursuit of the next level.”

There is an old adage ... somewhat cynical but nonetheless true ... “People change, but they don’t change much.” The reality is that to be increasingly successful at doing life you must be committed to learn, grow and change ... and that is a whole lot of hard work ... and most of that work is on yourself!

In our highly materialistic and indulgent modern world, lifestyle issues and the pursuit of pleasure and comfort take preference over an effective, productive God honouring life. Even Christian people are often seen to be living more by their ‘preferences’  than by Biblical convictions.

Here is our final spectrum of mindsets that will either propel us forward to an effective and productive life or lock us in mediocrity.

  • Highly effective people are conscious of the need for personal growth and are constantly thinking about growth opportunities 
  • Less effective people are not motivated to learn and grow and change ... they don’t think about it.
  • Highly effective people understand they are only growing when they are outside their comfort zone.
  • Less effective people are comfortable in their comfort zone and so miss the opportunities to grow and develop.
  • Highly effective people embrace the challenge of confronting interaction and challenging, different perspectives because it forces ‘reality’ checks.
  • Less effective people avoid uncomfortable discussions, confronting topics, thought provoking interaction and so they avoid the ‘reality’ checks essential to growth.

Where do you fit in that spectrum? Here’s a simple check ... how much have you spent on personal development in the last year? How many thought provoking books have you read, CD’s have you listened to, DVD’s have you watched in the last year? Do you actively seek out and interact with mentors, coaches, etc? Do you make yourself accountable to others who can correct, adjust and instruct you? Do you look for people who have gone further than you have in your field of endeavour and glean from them? 

The marketplace establishes the value of a person’s contribution ... you almost always have to learn more in order to earn more. To earn the best income in your field, you must become the best in your field.

Until next time ...

Winning Ways 9

For several weeks now we have been considering some of the different mindsets that form a spectrum of thought which will either propel you towards greater success or lock you in mediocrity. The ends of these continuums of thought are what separate the high achievers from those that are less effective in doing life.

I often ponder the great passages of the Bible and meditate on the way God dealt with peoples thinking. Joshua 1 and Jeremiah 1 both reveal God dealing very specifically with the mindsets of these two great Kingdom leaders ... dealing with their thoughts of insecurity and low self-esteem ... removing negativity about who they were, their identity and destiny ... establishing a positive perspective based on the grace of God in and through their lives.

The Biblical process for changing our internal and sub-conscious thoughts, self-esteem, sense of identity and perspective of the future is meditation ... chewing over and digesting the truths of God’s Word.

 In Winning Ways 1, I made the following statement ...

Training and managing your mind is probably the single most important skill you can develop in order to realise your potential and fulfil your God-given purpose.

Sometimes you’ve just got to stop and think about what you’re thinking about.

  • Highly successful people take action in spite of feeling the fear.
  • Less successful people allow fear to stop them taking action.
  • Highly successful people understand that to feel the fear is normal and that they can control the fear ... it’s just a thought ... just a possible outcome.
  • Less successful people are overwhelmed by the feelings of fear ... the fearful thoughts dominate their thinking and paralyse their progress.
  • Highly successful people recognise that fear is a self-preservation mechanism but the thoughts that project fear must be evaluated and responded to.
  • Less successful people do not evaluate or process the fear generating thoughts ... the feelings of fear dominate them ... full stop.
  • Highly successful people understand that it’s not necessary to get rid of fear in order to succeed.
  • Less successful people don’t know how to succeed in the face of fear.

So ... as the title of the book says, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’

The reality of life is this ... if you’re only willing to do what is easy then life will be difficult, but if you’re willing to do things that are difficult, life will eventually become easier.

Until next time ...

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