A fellow blogger inquired about this post. I’m so sorry I failed to update. Truth is, I’m working on other projects and blogging is at the bottom of my To-Do list. But I was so blessed to know someone read and wanted to know how I’m doing. Thanks!
Here is the original and below is what I can report…
Before you congratulate me or question why, let me add, “That’s my besetting sin.”
Yeah, I thought you’d hold off on the congrats but I do hope you are forming some questions.
James MacDonald defines prestige as a subcategory under pride. The following quote is taken from page 81 of Downpour.
Prestige. “More ‘atta-boys’ for me, please.” “Tell me again how much you appreciate me and what I’ve done for you.” “I want prizes and bonuses and thank-you notes and public acknowledgments.” Prestige is a consuming need for recognition. It’s the feeling that others are always watching and the insatiable thirst for others to pat you on the back. It’s the insistence that nothing you do be overlooked or unrewarded by those in a position to do so. It’s dropping names of prestigious associations; it’s letting others know of your accomplishments; it’s the constant concern that everyone know who you are.
The saddest part of my sin is that its root comes from an incredibly addictive insecurity problem. I’m often this little four-year-old girl begging for her father’s affirmations that never came. I want people to tell me I did a good job. I want people to think I’m special. I need to know someone knows I’m here and I did something good.
How horrible that insecurity and pride are such close sin cousins.
If you can relate, you’ll want to read on. God’s grace covers this sin. His grace offers power to overcome it. God’s grace heals and matures the broken little girl’s spirit. I’ve spent years fighting those inner thoughts and trying to control my tongue. I’ve had moments of victory. I remember more agonies of defeat.
Today, God spoke a prayer into my heart. I know that if He spoke it, then this alone will be my weapon and salvation. Here’s the plan:
Stop each thought instantly with this prayer, “Father, glorify your name through others, not me.” The others being anyone in my presence when I’m seeking prestige. I’m excited. Actually, I can’t wait for the test run. Just think I’ll get to see God glorify another in my presence just because I asked in obedience to His plan. Wow!
It reminds me of the time in 1996 when the Spirit taught me how to overcome jealousy. I was to pray the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.” My translation became, “Here is what I want you to do for me BUT do it for others first.” The others were always the people that stirred my jealous heart. My journal records some ‘awe’ moments throughout the years.
Now, here I go again. When I’m tempted to name-drop, list my accomplishments, or draw attention to myself, I have the power of His spoken Word to lead me to victory.
I’ll try to remember to post a praise or two in coming weeks.
What I’ve learned…
All believers can overcome jealousy, insecurity, and pride using my new favorite words in the arsenal of God’s kingdom: Believe and Yield. First believe in the accomplished work of the Gospel. The complete Gospel says: Jesus walked a sinless life to show us that “yes it can be done.” Jesus’s death on the cross absorbed ALL the wrath for our sins. His burial and resurrection give us victory over death and assures a new life in Him. He now sits on the Throne interceding for us and assuring our victory.
That is amazing but there’s more…He gave us His righteousness, therefore we are no longer guilty of sin but we actually hold the identity of Christ. He poured out His Spirit to fill us with all the power, strength, love, grace, mercy, compassion, and whatever is needed to live the victorious life until we are forever united in Glory. Now that’s the Gospel. If we believe only the parts that say our sins are forgiven and He’s coming back for us THEN we are not believing the parts that we need to live each day. He insures our sanctification. We must believe He saves us from the penalty of sin but we must also believe He gives us victory over sin each and every day.
In the blog, I used the term: besetting sin. But once I began to live out what I wrote and believe the complete gospel, I began to see I should never ever have a besetting sin. In God’s opinion, the only one that matters, I don’t!!! I only have Jesus’ record and it is perfect as He is perfect. So once I begin to believe this truth then jealousy, pride, and insecurities die as I yield to the God that lives in me.
Oh how good He is. Oh how He loves me and you.
Now how is that lived out practically, Get up each day and declare with all the faith of a mustard seed, “God loves me as He loves His Son. Jesus paid it all. It’s done. He lives in me to complete His Kingdom work. He receives all the glory when I yield to Him. So therefore, may the God-in-me love others, may the God-in-me serve, may the God-in-me move mountains. I believe your promises. I put my faith in your Gospel. I yield to Your presence. Your will be done this day. Amen”
Last night I did the unthinkable for many Americans. It was not intentional. It happened so quickly. One moment I was telling the greatest story ever told to a room full of eager children, and then the next moment, I announced, “Santa is not real.”
Gasps from the children and adults assured me I had made a huge mistake. It went something like this…
Me: An earthquake shook, the soldiers fell as if dead, and the stone rolled away. Guess what Jesus did?
Kid: He walked out of the tomb.
Me: He is alive! God raised Him from the dead. He died for our sins so that His perfect blood could save us. He rose from the dead so that we could have new life. Isn’t that the most wonderful story ever?
Boy: But how did He die again?
Me: He didn’t! He’s still alive!
All Kids: Really? Where is He?
Me: He’s in heaven sitting beside God the Father. Guess what he’s doing?
Kid: Watching over us?
Me: Yes, He’s watching over us but He’s also praying for us. Right now, He’s praying that each of us will open our hearts to Him, love and obey Him.
Same boy: Does He watch us in the shower?
All kids: giggles
Sharon, other teacher: He watches your heart.
Me: Jesus loves us so much that He died so we could be free from sin. He prays for God’s children and He watches over us.
Girl: Just like Santa.
Me: OH, He’s so much better than Santa. Jesus is real and Santa is not.
It went downhill from there. A perfect moment when the kids were so engrossed to my words that they are almost in my lap with anticipation. How did Santa come into the picture and ruin everything? It was a God moment. Everything in me cringed when I heard Jesus compared to Santa. I couldn’t let it stay in their minds like that.
I wanted the kids to leave there knowing the amazing love of their Savior, instead they left wondering about Santa. And of course within 10 minutes, I had an irate parent rebuking me for my ignorance. Shaming me for what I did. Informing me that though her daughter loved coming to Kids Club, she would never be allowed to return.
Then the mom said, “I know Santa is not real but it’s my place to decide when to tell my children the truth.” Yes, it is the parents’ responsibility to tell their kids the Truth, not mine. Someday she (and a million other parents) will stand before Almighty God and before His Glory they will wonder why they ever chose to lie to their children.
I struggled all night. The people-pleaser me was devastated by her attack. The fearful me was afraid of more attacks. The insecure me shamed myself for not having more control over my tongue and ruining everything. The Spirit in me prayed.
Father, take my blunder and make it wise. Open the hearts and minds of the children to see Jesus as Real. Your name being honored is all that matters. Heal the hurts. Crush the lies. Bring us into unity with You. Protect the children and the truths stored in them. Give me wisdom to face the attacks. May everyone involved see Your glory. Amen
How has Santa become such a force that when exposed for the lie that it is, rage ensues? That young girl’s simple statement showed me that in her mind, Santa is a god equal to Jesus. Has Santa become an American birthed religion?
How is this child going to feel when she realizes she is banned from hearing the truth? How do children cope once they learn every adult they trusted has lied to them? I was never taught to believe in Santa so I have no experience to relate.
Will you share?
This week’s news reported two women whose jobs are in jeopardy for telling the truth about Christmas. One, a teacher, refused to lie to her students about an imagery Santa and elf factory on the North Pole. She taught a valid geography lesson. Would she be fired if she had taught 2 + 2 is 5 just because some want to believe it is? Public school teachers are paid to teach the facts.
The other, a news reporter, made an interesting point about how we are training our children to seek beyond their means by asking Santa for what their parents can’t afford. Later she said in her apology that she hated having taken the magic out of Christmas when she said Santa did not bring the gifts.
She took the lie out of Christmas. The awe is still there; it’s in the truth.
At our Kids Club Christmas parties this week, neither the biblical cartoon nor my own teaching of the birth of Jesus did justice to the AWE of that night. But something sparked in one young girl when she said,
“If that were true, it would be, like wow!”
Her eyes were dancing with excitement. My heart soared.
“But it is true and it’s, like WOW! It’s the greatest story ever told.”
I have a vivid imagination. Well let’s just say it, I’m a professional daydreamer. But as hard as I try, using every fiber of my imagination plus all the fantastic special effects I’ve seen in movies; I still can’t come close to describing what happened the night God became a baby on Earth.
How does one paint the image of a mighty angel bursting into an earthly scene from the spiritual realm and only one young girl seeing him?
I can’t even attempt to put into words how the Spirit, a person of the Triune God, conceived within Mary’s womb Jesus, God in a babe. How can our feeble minds comprehend all the majesty, power, and glory of God confined in a babe in the womb?
I smile, wondering what that ultrasound would have looked like the very second God passed from Heaven’s throne, split through earth’s atmosphere, and landed inside a womb. Awe!
Fast-forward nine months to the birth. (Of course that requires us to leave out more miracles: the angel appearing to Zachariah who remained mute for nine months, Elizabeth’s baby leaping for joy in her womb the instant Mary and Elizabeth embraced. Wow!) But here we are, the night Earth nearly explodes as heaven invades.
A star is formed. It was never there before and suddenly at the birth of the Christ child, a star is created to mark the event. How it appeared I can not explain. I only know that it was powerful enough to cause the wisest of men to leave their homes and give up their wealth.
Close your eyes and try to see yourself outside the city of Bethlehem in the pitch darkness of night with a blanket of stars above your head. You’re instantly blinded by the brilliance of an angel whose voice is trumpeting the arrival of your Savior. Before you can comprehend one angel, the sky is suddenly filled with a host of worshiping angels. Somehow I believe those shepherds were given a glimpse into the glory of heaven’s worship before The Throne.
Yes, God had come to Earth. Trying to describe the event is nearly impossible but comprehending why He came, well that’s where the awe is overwhelming.
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
He came because He loved me. That whole supernatural event was for me…and you.
How could I ever pollute such majesty with the lie of a fat man in a red suit, riding in a reindeer drawn sleigh, to bring gifts that were bought at the mall? Blasphemous.
Next week: Who is really taking Christ out of Christmas?
That’s as likely as the Pope meeting with my pastor husband. The first century paparazzi would have swarmed that meeting.
One was Nicodemus; a member of the elite Jewish order of the Sanhedrin and the other wasn’t just any young upstart preacher; it was Jesus, the Son of Man.
There are no coincidences in the Bible, the meeting had to be at night. The Almighty Father orchestrated every word and divine appointment in Jesus’ life. Was it to avoid a media storm? But whose reputation was being protected?
Before we examine the characters, let’s focus on why the meeting had to be at night. As the two sat face-to-face in the lamp light, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter with this verdict.
Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Jesus has a way of cutting through the pretense and nailing the truth to your heart. It’s painful but effective. Allow me to paraphrase how He has made this personal to me.
Jesus said, “I AM the laser beam sent for heaven to cut through the façade of your life. You hide in the muck and mire of this world because you are afraid to let me burn away your sin and lies. But if you will stop hiding in the darkness and stand boldly in my Light, I will burn away the filth and make you new.”
The Sovereign God of the universe caused Nicodemus to walk the night streets, to feel the fear of the darkness, to sit opposite the blinding Light from Heaven. He knows we need to face the truth of ourselves before we will allow Him to perform the necessary surgery.
But be assured of this, whatever God brings to the Light, He is ready to Lasik.
Who are you afraid will see the real you?
If you believe, why are you ashamed to come into the Light?
Does God have you in a situation where your emotions are frayed and your nerves are frazzled?
Run into the Light. It is best for your soul to sit under the interrogating Light of His Truth. Nicodemus learned this and it changed his heart.
The next two times Nicodemus is mentioned in scripture, he is no longer hiding in the darkness. You find him defending Jesus to his peers (John 7:50-52) then unashamedly defiling himself as he prepares the body of his Lord for burial (John 19: 31, 38-42). Please don’t miss the amount of myrrh and aloes given to the Lord by Nicodemus. It was fit for royalty. I propose Nicodemus no longer saw Jesus as just a Rabbi.