Articles from the Blog
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. — Hebrews 12:15One of the most powerful verses in the New Testament is Hebrews 12:15. It says, “Looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” I want you to especially notice the words “looking diligently” in this verse. This phrase comes from the Greek word episkopos, taken from the two words epi and skopos. The word epi means over, and the word skopos means to look. When these two words are compounded into one word as in Hebrews 12:15, the word means to look over or to take supervisory oversight. The word episkopos is the same Greek word translated “bishop” in First Timothy 3:1. As you know, a bishop has oversight or responsibility for a group of churches. As the chief overseer for those churches, it is the bishop’s responsibility to watch, direct, guide, correct, and give oversight to the churches under his care. As long as he serves as bishop, he will be held responsible for the good and the bad that occurs under his ministry. Hebrews 12:15 uses the word episkopos to alert you and me to the fact that we are the bishops of our own hearts. The use of this word in this verse means it is our responsibility to watch, direct, guide, correct, and give oversight to what goes on inside us. As the bishop of your own heart, it is your responsibility to guide, direct, and give oversight to what goes on inside your emotions and thinking. You alone are responsible for what you allow to develop inside your head and heart. Like a bishop, you are personally responsible for both the good and the bad that occurs within your thought life. Why do I make this point? Because we are often tempted to blame our bad attitudes, bitterness, resentments, or feelings of unforgiveness on other people. But the truth is, we are responsible for our own emotions and reactions! If a person does something that has the potential to offend us, God holds us responsible for whether or not that offense takes root in our minds. We can choose to let it sink into our souls and take root, or we can opt to let it bypass us. We are not able to control what others do or say to us, but we are able to control what goes on inside of us. It is that “inside” part — the part you control — that God will hold you responsible for. Why? Because you are charged with a personal responsibility to oversee what goes on inside your soul. That means you have the last word. You are the one who decides whether or not that wrong settles down into your soul and starts to take root in your emotions. Anger is an emotion that comes and goes. You choose whether or not irritation turns into anger, anger into wrath, wrath into bitterness, bitterness into resentment, and resentment into unforgiveness. You choose whether these foul attitudes and emotions take up residency in your heart or are booted out the door! When the devil comes to tempt you with an annoying, hounding thought about the person who offended you, at that moment you have a choice whether or not to let it sink in. You are the only one who can give permission for these attitudes to make their habitation in your mind and emotions. If you’re filled with bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, you permitted the devil to sow that destructive seed in your heart and then you permitted it to grow. Remember, you’re the bishop of your own heart! There is only one reason weeds grow out of control in a garden — because no one took the proper time and care to uproot and remove them. When the garden is choked by weeds, the gardener can’t complain, “I just don’t know how this happened! How did this occur right under my nose?” It occurred because he was being irresponsible with his garden. If he’d been exercising the proper amount of diligence, he would have known that weeds were about to get the best of him. His lack of diligence is the reason his garden got into this mess! Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently.…” It takes diligence to keep your heart in good shape. The only way you can stay free of the weeds the devil wants to sow in your “garden” is to be attentive, careful, thorough, and meticulous about the condition of your own heart. Don’t expect others to take care of your heart for you either. It’s your heart! Also, don’t make excuses for the rotten attitudes that fill your thoughts about people who supposedly did you wrong. Even if they really did commit a wrong against you, was it necessary or beneficial to permit the devil to fill you with putrid feelings of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness? Get over it! What good does it do to let the offense fester inside you until you are inwardly eaten up by its bad memory? As long as you blame everyone else for the bitterness that rages inside, you’ll never walk free. The only way you can get over the offense and walk free of your emotional prison is by accepting responsibility for your own heart. If someone deliberately sows bad seeds in our “garden” in an effort to hurt or destroy us, God will deal with them. But if we know bad seed has been sown in our hearts and we just ignore it, allowing it to take root and grow unchecked, God will deal with us.
- God will hold others responsible for what they do to us.
- God will hold US responsible for what we allow to go on inside our minds and hearts.
- We cannot answer for the actions of other people.
- We will answer for our inward responses to what others have done to us.
My Prayer for TodayLord, help me keep my heart free of offense! You have given me authority over my own will, mind, and emotions, so I know I have the authority to tell offense that it has no right to dwell inside me. I refuse to blame everyone else for the mess I’ve allowed to grow inside my heart — and today I am asking You to help me, Holy Spirit, to quit making excuses for the wrong attitudes I’ve permitted to grow in my life. With Your supernatural help, I am making the choice to repent, to turn from these destructive thoughts, and to replace them with thoughts and words of kindness for those who have caused me hurt or grief in the past.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I deal diligently with my heart to keep it in good shape. I don’t make excuses for rotten attitudes that try to fill my thoughts about people who have wronged me. Even if they really did commit a wrong, I refuse to let the devil use it to eat me up and ruin me. I am the bishop of my own heart, so I refuse to let wrong attitudes fester, take root, and begin to produce bad fruit in me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Is there any feeling of bitterness, resentment, or unforgiveness that you have held on to and allowed to grow in the soil of your heart? Has the Holy Spirit been trying to convince you to forgive and to let it go? 2. If the Holy Spirit is dealing with you about forgiving someone, what are you going to do about it? Will you resist the Spirit’s dealings and develop a hard heart, or are you willing to forget it and go on with your life? 3. When you hear that a person who hurt or wronged you is being blessed in his job or in some other way, can you rejoice with that person — or do you find yourself inwardly seething that he isn’t being punished because of what he did to you? If you can’t rejoice with him, it’s probably a good indicator that you have some unresolved issues festering on the inside that you need to take to the Lord!
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. — 1 Corinthians 4:1When you are serving faithfully and trying to obediently do what God has asked you to do, the devil hates it! He’ll do everything he can to dissuade you to stop. Often he attacks your mind with allegations, such as, “Why are you doing this? No one appreciates you anyway! Here you are, working, striving, sweating, and slugging it out while other people are having a good time. If no one else cares, why should you care? Come on — you’ve done enough!” If you’re not really committed to staying in place and doing what God asked you to do, those allegations from the devil may pull you off the bench where God called you to serve. This makes me think again of First Corinthians 4:1, where Paul says, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” As noted earlier (see August 13), the word “ministers” in this verse is the Greek word huperetas and referred to the slaves or servants who were placed into the bottom galleys of huge ships. A huge oar was placed in the hands of these slaves, and they began to row and row and row — literally becoming the engines that moved those ships through the sea. If you had been allowed to peek into the bottom galley of those huge ships of New Testament times, you’d have seen that these prisoners were all chained to a post near their respective benches. There was a good reason for this heavy chain. Because their work was so difficult and their destiny was sealed in the bottom of that ship, these men’s minds would wander to more beautiful, restful places where palm trees overlooked sandy seashores or tall pines swayed in refreshing mountain breezes. Had the “under-rowers” not been chained to their posts, they may have attempted to escape from their bench to find a more restful lifestyle somewhere else. Therefore, chains kept the men where they belonged — right in the bottom of the boat, tied to their post with oar in hand, compelled to effectively do their job. Likewise, you must know that as you seek to do God’s will for your life, you’ll have to take on all kinds of assaults and challenges that inevitably accompany obedience. And let me warn you, there will be times when your flesh tries to find a way to jump ship and get out from underneath the pressure of obeying God! Your flesh would love to be “led” somewhere else where faith isn’t required and the crucifixion of flesh doesn’t seem so necessary. You see, it’s easy to start obeying God. Initiating a project is fun and exciting, and it’s always the easiest part. The difficult part is sticking with that project and seeing it through all the way to the end. The real test comes when the excitement is gone and the reality of hard work and commitment begins to dawn on you. That’s always the golden moment when the flesh is tempted to forget you ever heard from God and to start looking for a way out! If you are not really committed to go all the way in fulfilling your God-assigned task, you probably won’t do it. Therefore, you must be absolutely committed to do what God has called you to do, “chaining yourself” to your decision to obey so you cannot flee in hard times. If God has called you, don’t jump ship! He needs you in the bottom of the boat in order to keep the Body of Christ moving forward toward maturity. You are very important! I’m sure there were times when the under-rowers said, “I’m tired of rowing! Get me off this boat!” They probably had to be reminded, “You are the engines of the ship. If you get off the boat, the boat will stop moving. You are too vital to jump ship now. We can’t go on without you!” There were also probably times when these men in the bottom of the ship said, “No one appreciates us or says thank you for what we do! We work, work, work, and work, and yet we are treated like slaves! I just wish someone would occasionally show some appreciation.” We all want to be appreciated. I like to be thanked when I work hard, just as we all do. This is a natural, normal desire. If we’d all just treat each other with good manners in the Body of Christ, it would solve a world of problems and remedy a lot of hurt feelings. But people are people, and sometimes they forget to say thank you. It’s absolutely true that people should be more thoughtful and appreciative. But the bottom line is this: Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether or not those around us ever show us appreciation for what we do. If the boat is going to move, we must row the boat! Just like these “under-rowers,” if you stop rowing — if you stop doing your job — it could possibly jeopardize the destiny God has called you to fulfill. If the boat is going to move, you must row, whether or not you ever hear the words “thank you” from anyone. That is the hard reality of life for all of us as servants of God. Yes, it would be nice to hear “thank you” from time to time. But lack of appreciation must not affect our determination to row our boat and do what God has called us to do. When you said yes to the will of God, you surrendered to Him, agreeing to pick up the “oar” He has placed before you. For you, that oar may be a ministry God has given you or a position serving in the local church or a certain business. Perhaps God has instructed you to give money regularly to a ministry. Whatever responsibility God has set before you, it’s time for you to grab hold of that oar! Like the under-rowers who rowed in order to move those big ships, you must begin a lifelong occupation of “rowing” to advance the cause God has put on your heart. From now on, your lifelong slogan needs to be “Row, row, row your boat!”
My Prayer for TodayLord, help me today to keep a right perspective of what You have called me to do. When I get tired and the devil tries to convince me to quit, please help me remember that if everyone stops rowing the boat, it won’t go anywhere. Even if no one else notices what I am doing, I know that You see every move I make. Whatever I do, Lord, I do for You!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I have a job to do and that I’m going to do it! I will not jeopardize my destiny by succumbing to the discouraging voice of the enemy. If the boat is going to move, I must do my part to move it. Whether or not I ever hear the words “thank you” from anyone, I am the servant of God and I will do my service as unto Him!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. When do you most easily get discouraged? For instance, does discouragement strike when you are physically weary? Have you found that if you stay in prayer, you stay stronger and more encouraged? 2. When you’re slugging it out and pushing forward with every ounce of your might, what helps you more than anything else to keep pushing ahead? 3. Does the knowledge that you are willing to do something no one else is willing to do motivate you? Do you get satisfaction when you know you’re being obedient to God, even if no one else is willing to stick in there and be obedient with you?
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. — Revelation 2:6Have you ever wondered who the “Nicolaitans” were, mentioned in the book of Revelation? Whoever they were, Jesus loathed their doctrine and hated their deeds. Let’s delve into this subject today to see if we can ascertain the identity of this group. What was their damnable doctrine? What deeds were they committing that elicited such a strong reaction from Jesus? Let’s begin in Revelation 2:6, where Jesus told the church of Ephesus, “But this thou hast [in your favor], that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Jesus was proud of the church of Ephesus for their “hatred” of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also “hated.” The word “hate” is a strong word, so let’s see exactly what it means. It comes from the Greek word miseo, which means to hate, to abhor, or to find utterly repulsive. It describes a person who has a deep-seated animosity, who is antagonistic to something he finds to be completely objectionable. He not only loathes that object, but rejects it entirely. This is not just a case of dislike; it is a case of actual hatred. The thing Jesus hated about them was their “deeds.” The word “deeds” is the Greek word erga, which means works. However, this word is so all-encompassing that it pictures all the deeds and behavior of the Nicolaitans — including their actions, beliefs, conduct, and everything else connected to them. The name “Nicolaitans” is derived from the Greek word nikolaos, a compound of the words nikos and laos. The word nikos is the Greek word that means to conquer or to subdue. The word laos is the Greek word for the people. It is also where we get the word laity. When these two words are compounded into one, they form the name Nicolas, which literally means one who conquers and subdues the people. It seems to suggest that the Nicolaitans were somehow conquering and subduing the people. Ireneus and Hippolytus, two leaders in the Early Church who recorded many of the events that occurred in the earliest recorded days of Church history, said the Nicolaitans were the spiritual descendants of Nicolas of Antioch, who had been ordained as a deacon in Acts 6:5. That verse says, “And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch.” We know quite a lot of information about some of these men who were chosen to be the first deacons, whereas little is known of others. For instance, we know that the chief criteria for their selection was that they were men “…of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom…”(v. 3). Once they had been chosen, they were presented by the people to the apostles, who laid hands on them, installing and officially ordaining them into the deaconate. Stephen Like the other men, Stephen was of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. However, Acts 6:5 makes a remark about Stephen that is unique only to him. It says that he was “…a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost….” This stronger level of faith may have been a contributing factor to the development recorded in Acts 6:8: “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” Stephen was a God-called evangelist, and he was later privileged to be the first martyr in the history of the Church — killed at the order of Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as the apostle Paul (see Acts 7:58-8:1). The deaconate ministry was vital proving ground to prepare Stephen for the fivefold office of the evangelist. The name Stephen is from the Greek word stephanos, and it means crown. This is worth noting, for he was the first to receive a martyr’s crown. Philip Philip was ordained with the other six original deacons. However, Acts 21:8 informs us that Philip later stepped in the ministry of the evangelist. He had four daughters who prophesied (v. 9). Just as the deaconate was training and proving ground for Stephen to step into the office of the evangelist, it was also Philip’s school of ministry to prepare him for evangelistic ministry. The name Philip means lover of horses. This name often symbolized a person who ran with swiftness, as does a horse — a fitting name for a New Testament evangelist who ran swiftly to carry the Gospel message. Prochorus Very little is known about this member of the original deaconate. His name, Prochorus, is a compound of the Greek words pro and chorus. The word pro means before or in front of, as with the position of a leader. The word “chorus” is the old Greek word for the dance and is where we get the word choreography. There is a strong implication that this was a nickname, given to this man because he had been the foremost leader of dance in some school, theater, or musical performance. There is no substantiation for this idea, but his name seems to give credence to the possibility. Nicanor This unknown brother was found to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Other than this, nothing is known of him. He is never mentioned again in the New Testament after Acts chapter 6. His name, Nicanor, means conqueror. Timon Like Nicanor mentioned above, Timon was known to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Nothing more is known of him outside of Acts chapter 6. His name means honorable or of great value. Parmenas We know nothing more of Parmenas other than what is mentioned here in Acts chapter 6. His name is a compound of the words para and meno — the word para meaning alongside and meno meaning to remain or to abide. Compounded together, his name came to mean one who sticks alongside and conveyed the idea of one who is devoted, loyal, and faithful. Nicolas Acts 6:5 tells us that this Nicolas was “a proselyte of Antioch.” The fact that he was a proselyte tells us that he was not born a Jew but had converted from paganism to Judaism. Then he experienced a second conversion, this time turning from Judaism to Christianity. From this information, we know these facts about Nicolas of Antioch:
- He came from paganism and had deep pagan roots, very much unlike the other six deacons who came from a pure Hebrew line. Nicolas’ pagan background meant that he had previously been immersed in the activities of the occult.
- He was not afraid of taking an opposing position, evidenced by his ability to change religions twice. Converting to Judaism would have estranged him from his pagan family and friends. It would seem to indicate that he was not impressed or concerned about the opinions of other people.
- He was a free thinker and very open to embracing new ideas and concepts. Judaism was very different from the pagan and occult world in which he had been raised. For him to shift from paganism to Judaism reveals that he was very liberal in his thinking, for most pagans were offended by Judaism. He was obviously not afraid to entertain or embrace new ways of thinking.
- When he converted to Christ, it was at least the second time he had converted from one religion to another. We don’t know if, or how many times, he shifted from one form of paganism to another before he became a Jewish proselyte. His ability to easily change religious “hats” implies that he was not afraid to switch direction in midstream and go a totally different direction.
My Prayer for TodayLord, after what I’ve read today, I don’t want to allow any spirit of compromise in my life! I now understand that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is compromise with the world. Lord, I don’t want to live with one foot in the church and another foot in the world. I want to break free completely from the world and its influence so I can give myself completely to Your cause! I want to be holy, to live in a way that pleases You, and to experience Your power in my life. Today I am renewing my commitment to You all over again! I turn from the world, and I am running to You!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am free from the world! I do not walk in compromise! I am determined to live a committed and holy life before the Lord. As a result of my firm determination to walk with God, I have power over sin, power over Satan, and power when I pray. God’s Word promises that if I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me. I am drawing nearer and nearer to God every day, so I am confident that His Presence in my life is getting stronger too!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of any area of your life where you have allowed yourself to be compromised by the world? If so, has that compromise hindered the power of God from operating in your life? 2. Do you know any other believers who thought they could live with one foot in the church and another foot in the world — but in the end, the world ensnared them and they backslid into a life of sin? 3. If you know someone who is on the verge of backsliding, what do you think the Lord would have you do to help bring that person back to where he or she ought to be?
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. — Ephesians 6:11What I am about to tell you is so simple — yet it is also life-changing and revolutionary. I want to help you understand how the devil tries to work in the realm of the mind and emotions. If you grab hold of these truths, they can set you free from the devil’s lies forever! In Ephesians 6:11, Paul explicitly tells us how the devil operates. He writes, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” I want you to especially pay attention to the phrase “the wiles of the devil.” The word “wiles” is taken from the word methodos. It is a compound of the words meta and odos. The word meta is a preposition that means with. The word odos is the word for a road. When the words meta and odos are compounded into one word, as in Ephesians 6:11, it literally means with a road. You’ve probably already figured out that the word methodos is where we get the word “method.” Some translations actually translate the word methodos as the word “method,” but the word “method” is not strong enough to convey the full meaning of the Greek word methodos. Let me make the meaning of this word real simple for you. As I said, the most literal meaning of the word “wiles” (methodos) is with a road. I realize this seems strange, but when you connect this to the devil as Paul does in Ephesians 6:11, it means that the devil is like a traveler who travels on a road. He is headed in one direction and has one destination. Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you’re going to take a trip, the logical thing for you to do is get a map and chart your journey to your destination. You don’t take just any road; rather, you strategize to find the best and fastest way to get where you’re going. Right? It would be pretty foolish for you to jump in the car and take off with no sense of direction. Taking any road could lead you in a multitude of wrong directions. It’s just better to use a map and stay on track. Correct? This is precisely the idea of the word methodos. The devil isn’t wasting any time. He knows where he wants to go. He has chosen his destination. Rather than mess around on a bunch of different routes, he has mastered the best way to get where he wants to go. He is not a mindless traveler. And when he arrives at his place of destination, he has one main goal he wants to accomplish: He wants to wreak havoc and bring destruction. Therefore, we must ask: “Where is the devil traveling, and what does he want to do once he gets there?” Paul answers the question about Satan’s destination in Second Corinthians 2:11 when he says, “…we are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] devices.” Pay careful attention to the word “devices” in this verse. It is the Greek word noemata, a form of the word nous. The Greek word nous describes the mind or the intellect. Thus, in one sense Paul is saying, “…we are not ignorant of the way Satan schemes and thinks.” But the word noemata also denotes Satan’s insidious plot to fill the human mind with confusion. There is no doubt that the mind is the arena where Satan feels most comfortable. He knows if he can access a person’s mind and emotions, he will very likely be able to ensnare that individual in a trap. One writer says that the word noemata not only depicts Satan’s scheming mind but also his crafty, subtle way of attacking and victimizing others’ minds. I personally like this because it identifies the primary destination of the devil — to get into a person’s mind and fill it with lying emotions, false perceptions, and confusion. It was for this reason that Paul urged us, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The words “bringing into captivity” are from the Greek word aichmalotidzo, which pictured a soldier who has captured an enemy and now leads him into captivity with the point of a sharpened spear thrust into the flesh in his back. The captured enemy knows that if he tries to move or get away, the Roman soldier will shove that spear clear through his torso and kill him. Therefore, this captive doesn’t dare move but remains silent, submissive, and non-resistant. However, when Paul uses the word aichmalotidzo in this verse, he writes in a tense that describes the continuous action of taking such an enemy captive. This is not a one-time affair; it is the lifelong occupation of this soldier. He constantly has a spear in his hand, and he is always pushing it against the flesh of an enemy’s backside as he leads him away to permanent captivity. Because the devil loves to make a playground out of your mind and emotions, you must deal with him like a real enemy. Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, you must make a mental decision to seize every thought he tries to use to penetrate your mind and emotions. Rather than let those thoughts take you captive, you have to reach up and grab them and force them into submission! You must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! But if you’re going to beat the devil at his game, you have to put all your energy into taking every thought captive. If you’re not really committed to seizing every thought the devil tries to inject into your mind and emotions, he’ll strike you again! So once you make the decision to do it, stick with it. It’s time for you to take charge of your thoughts and drive his lying insinuations right out of your brain!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I don’t want the devil to fill my mind with insinuations and lies. My mind belongs to You, and the devil has no right to flood me with false perceptions, vain imaginations, or lies about who I am or what I will never be. I refuse to let him operate in me any longer! You have provided me with the helmet of salvation, and by faith I put it on to protect my mind against the devil’s assaults. He can strike as hard as he wishes, but Your Spirit and Word protect me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! When the devil tries to invade my mind with lies, I capture those lies and drive them clear out of my brain! Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, I seize every thought that he tries to use to penetrate my mind and emotions. I grab each lie and force it into submission! Because I stand firm on the Word, the enemy’s lies are not able to exert any power against me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of one area in your mind where Satan repeatedly tries to attack you? What is that area, and how long has he been attacking you in this area of your thought life? Has it gone on for a day, a week, a month, a year, or for many years? 2. When you feel heavily assaulted in your mind and emotions and you need someone to pray with you, is there someone you know you can go to for prayer and support? If so, who is that person? If not, don’t you think it would encourage you to find a friend to whom you could talk and who could help you resist the lies of the devil? 3. What is the most successful tactic you’ve learned to shut the devil up when he’s trying to roar loudly inside your head?
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 3:13,14Every once in a while, my wife and I take time to seriously and thoughtfully review what we are accomplishing and what we are not accomplishing in our lives and our ministry. We do our best to be very honest with ourselves and each other about these questions. Taking this kind of look at ourselves and our work is not always pleasant. Sometimes we find areas of glaring failure or areas where we know the Lord expected more of us. But in order for us to see the truth about our lives the way God sees it, He requires us to lay down our pride and be honest with ourselves. In the end, we’re always glad we did the review because it helps us repent for the times we failed, rejoice over what God helped us to accomplish, and make sure we’re on the right course where we will be the most focused and effective. When other people say,“Wow, you accomplish so much!” we are always glad that they can see fruit in our lives. However, the most important question to us is not what other people think, but what the Lord thinks of us and our accomplishments. Maybe it’s true that we accomplished a lot compared to what others have done. But how we compare to other people and ministries is not the measuring stick we are to use to determine how we are doing. In Second Corinthians 10:12 (AMP), the apostle Paul wrote that when people “…measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they…behave unwisely.” This means our measuring stick should never be how we measure up to other human beings. Compared to them, we may have done well, but the real issue is how we “measure up” to the goals the Lord gave us. When we stand before Jesus, He isn’t going to judge us by how we did in comparison to others. He will judge us for how we did with the assignments He gave us to do. Therefore, you should ask yourself on a regular basis:
- Am I accomplishing the goals the Lord has given me?
- Can I stand before Him with a heart free of condemnation, knowing that I gave my very best effort, work, and faith to achieve His will?
- What, if any, changes do I need to make in my life, schedule, commitment, and financial resources to do what the Lord has told me to do?
- He had preached all around the Mediterranean Sea.
- He had preached in the imperial palace.
- He had started churches all over Asia Minor.
- He had written most of the New Testament.
- He was one of the greatest apostles of his generation.
- Yesterday’s victories were for yesterday.
- Yesterday’s good reports were for yesterday.
- Yesterday’s accomplishments were for yesterday.
My Prayer for TodayLord, I am so very thankful to You for all the progress I’ve already seen in my life. But today I am turning my eyes to the future because I know You have so much for me to do. I don’t want to miss anything You have designed for me, so I am choosing to turn my attention to the vision and to run my race with all my might! Help me remove anything that would hinder my race so I can press forward toward the prize of the high calling of God for my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI boldly confess that I am focused, concentrated, and determined to run my race! God has called me and anointed me; therefore, I can do exactly what He has asked me to do. I have no excuse for failure or any reason to slow down or quit, for God’s Spirit in me is ready to empower me to run this race all the way to the finish. Doing it halfway will never do, so I am committed to seeing this all the way through!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!