I’m frequently asked this question when people aren’t sure which way to go. The answer is … it doesn’t matter what you do; it matters what spirit you do it in. It’s never the do; it’s the spirit of the do.
The Pharisees couldn’t grasp this. As far as their judgement was concerned, they deduced they were good and therefore Jesus was evil. What most Christians don’t realise is that they operate under the same spirit of pride-analysis as the Pharisees.
“I think I’m pretty good, or at least, not too bad” … are actually thoughts directly from Satan, not Holy Spirit. Everyone has these thoughts and everyone thinks they’re normal thoughts, but they’re actually primed to lead you into pride. If you base your judgments on these thoughts you will always make your decisions out of pride and therefore everything you do that you judge as good, is actually judgment from your own selfish evil.
A committed Christian doesn’t listen to those thoughts; rather, his thoughts are … thank you Father for your mercy and grace. How can I serve my Lord? How can I live for Him?
Whatever is not of faith, is sin … Romans 14:23
Every judgment you make out of pride, is sin. Every judgment you make out of faith, is God.
The disciples asked Jesus the question … ‘what shall we do?’, and Jesus replied … believe on the Father (John 6:28). It’s not the ‘do’, it’s the faith that counts. ‘Faith’ first, ‘do’ second.
If you want to change your pride to faith, you have to face the demonic
As much as we hate hassles and evil, they are actually God’s tools to shake you from your pride. You actually need evil to challenge your pride and force you to yoke to Christ. You can never do it with your own mind or will. Only God, Himself can change your pride to faith and He uses evil to do it.
If you want to truly know Christ and serve Him with all your heart, your pride, which you don’t think you have, has to be broken, and the only way it can be broken is by confrontation with evil. It’s evil that forces you to give up your pride and trust the Creator.
Christians aren’t born to have; they’re born to serve. If in that service you get things, that’s God’s blessings for furthering your service for Him.
Ephesians 6 … We’re not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and darkness
It’s a journey and everyone’s path is different
No one knows they’re selfish. Everyone thinks they’re not too bad. So, God uses incidents, accidents, failures, relatives, fake Christians, sickness, employers, work mates, friends, family … in fact, any process necessary to expose you to your pride and crack it, so you become faithful to Him. It’s our own lustful stubbornness that hinders or even blocks this process.
The world is opposite to faith. It’s numbers and money before principles. It’s grace and compromise before obedience. It’s the economy before morality. It’s business with China before human rights. It’s animals before humans. It’s women’s rights before male authority. It’s fornication before marriage. It’s image before one’s neighbour. In fact, the modern church sounds very much like the world.
Friend of the world = enemy of God … James 4:4
Yes, we live in the world but we are not to be comfortable living here. The world should disturb our spirit, and our hearts should crave heaven, not the goodies of the world. We can enjoy them but we can’t love them. We should be disturbed by the evil that’s growing in the world, but we should not be overcome with it. We all want the comforts of this world, but Jesus prophesied the time is coming when His elect will all be hated for his sake (Matthew 24). We should be consolidating our faith in Him, we should be disturbed about the sickness of the world, but not worrying or fearful, but rather letting that sickness drive us further to His bosom.
You can’t seek FIRST the kingdom of God if you think you’re ‘not too bad’ … Matthew 6:33
Whether you agree or not, the truth is, you can’t seek first His kingdom if you seek first your own kingdom through pride-judgment and being comfortable with the world. Double-mindedness = comfortable with the world + comfortable with God, and double-mindedness is confusion. It’s either the world or it’s God; you can’t have both (Matthew 6:24), and if it’s God, you’ll know because the world will hate you.
Separate and live, or conform and die
We live in the world, but you have to be separate from the world to be saved. You can’t get comfortable with abortion, or fornicators, or homosexuality, or divorce, or pornography, or adultery, or covetousness. If your family members or friends are practicing it, your heart has to be separate from them, and if they object to your heart then you will need to separate from them, physically (Ezra 9). If you don’t separate, you’ll compromise and conform and become comfortable with the world and lose your salvation. Cool is not acceptable with God (Revelations 3:16).
Unless you hate the works of your father, mother, brother, sister etc. you CANNOT be My disciple (Luke 14:26). You are called to be separate from anyone or anything that would entice you from obedience to Christ. If you won’t pay the price of conceding to this instruction, then don’t kid yourself that you’re obedient to God’s instructions. The modern church teaches that love is being nice to everyone and not offending anyone, but that’s a lie from hell. Jesus spoke the truth and offended many. The modern church teaches ‘grace’ so you can be comfortable with the world, but it’s a deception of God’s truth. Grace only applies to those who’ve separated themselves from the world (1Peter 5:5). Humility isn’t being nice to everyone; it’s separating from the world to be separated to Christ.
Separation sets you apart from the world
Without the principle of separation set in your heart, you’ll never find the right way to go. You’ll never make a faith decision. Your thinking will always be contaminated for self.
‘I think I’m pretty good’ might get you position and friends, but it won’t get you heaven
‘I think I’m pretty good’ is just a comfortable way of being accepted by the majority. It’s just a comfortable way of not stirring up trouble. It’s just a comfortable way of defending your rights. It’s just a comfortable way of justifying wrong actions and thoughts. It’s just a comfortable way of convincing yourself that you’re a Christian. It’s just a comfortable way of being comfortable with the world. It’s just a comfortable way of resisting correction and not being told you’re wrong. It’s just a comfortable way of being liked and protecting your image; but it will be exposed as fraud the moment someone offends you and you judge them as ‘not good’, or the moment someone becomes more happy than you. You’ll never find happiness if you can’t be happy for someone else to be happier than you.
If you truly want heaven, give up your goodness and trust His faith … Father, have Your way with those who offend me and have Your way with me, and help me to be grateful for someone else’s happiness.
Pastor Clive Douglas