Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P50 (08-11-20)
It is so easy to generalize, or put people in categories or boxes. We form conclusions, perceptions of people from misinformation or no information. So what happens? I am going to respond through that perception, instead of listening. The issue is what does a person say? I cannot match psychology, men are always like this, women are always like that, “my husband is lazy”, “my wife is critical”, or “Oh, he is a Nazarene, so I am not going to talk to him” against the word of God but I can match what they say up against the word of God just like I can match a preacher or myself up against it. So if I take time to listen to what the person says and match what is said against what God says, now, I am dealing with what is being said instead of a false perception of something. A false perception will produce an adverse response. Why do we have bad responses to each other, in marriage or business? False perception of each other.
So what is the answer to these altercations and confrontations, such as when a wife nags at a husband because she has concluded he is lazy or when the husband responds to her, to show he is not a wimp, by being abusive to her? First, realize what we are dealing with. What we are dealing with is the thinking of the world, of Satan up against the word of God, and in how we are going to respond to circumstances and people.
All of this categorizing is totally the characteristic of the flesh. We love to make a conclusion and put the person in a box. Now I do not have to deal with him. I do not have to think about him. I do not have to interact with him. I already have him categorized. He is already in my box. If I need to go to that box, fine. Otherwise, I can walk by him and ignore him. That does not make an ounce of difference to me. We love to do that
Listen as Bob contrasts the wisdom of the world in contrast to the wisdom of God. He first explains the condition of the flesh in accordance with scripture, as in 1 John 2:16-17. God does not call you or me to form a conclusion about somebody. Who are we going to listen to, the flesh or the Spirit? Is someone an alcoholic or a drunkard, or is he a child of God who happened to drink too much and got drunk. Do not form a conclusion about someone“s identity by what they do. Judge the actions, in accordance with what God calls it, but not the motives. When God calls some action a sin, then it is sin.
Go on to test the inward attitudes of your own heart. You know whether or not you have bitter envy or selfish ambition. And, if you fall into that, be honest with yourself and do not deny the truth about it. It is a sinful, fleshly attitude, of the world and the devil. God calls to separate ourselves from that and live in the new wayHe desires for us to live. And how can you do that if you deny the truth of what you are doing? So, if we do not deal with it, when the Spirit confronts us on that, what happens, disorder and very evil practice.
So what are the attitudes of the heart God wants to form in us? How does He want us to deal with others? First of all, realize that someone in Christ is your brother or sister, a part of the family of God. He is a child of God. He is not a lazy bum, an alcoholic, a Baptist, or whatever label you have put on him, which is a false identity or not an identity God has for him, but what man has placed on himself. A person may call himself a Baptist, but that is not what God calls him. God calls him a child of God. Those are labels man has put on himself. So let us get away from manmade labels and identities.
Now, if someone is not in Christ, he is not a child of God. So what should your attitude be toward him? You should have compassion, and do what you can so that he does become a child of God. That is the only solution to his real problem. Anything less than that would only be a temporal solution.
Now, in regard to those who are in Christ Jesus. Suppose this child of God just griped about something I did. If that is the case, how do you straighten that out? By trying to get him to quit being a griper? No, because he is not a griper. He is a child of God. So should someone stop me from being critical. No, because I am a child of God who criticized.
The reason people are constantly searching for ways to fill up the deep longing that they have within them is because of a substitute for what love really is, and trying to meet that need by worldly wisdom, resulting in envy and selfish ambition. That deep need in the human heart can only be met by God. If we try to get that from other people, then we are placing both of us under the law. We want the person to approve of us, so we do things to make sure the other person does not disappoint us. So now we are operating in the flesh, and the other person is tip-toeing around you so as to get a desired response. We have now put each other under law. The law only stirs up sin and makes matters worse.
When we try to get our identity from others, what do we do? Have we not become man pleasers instead of God pleasers? When we are pleasers of men then we are not servants of Christ. We are instructed from the scriptures to be God pleasers. How do we do please God? Is it by doing, trying to imitate what love is? No. We please God by our faith. We trust Him in what He says what the truth is. We let His wisdom renew our thinking. We rely on Him and His wisdom, leaning not on our understanding but acknowledging Him. What happens when we walk by faith? We do not carry out the desires of the flesh. Faith will express itself through love.
We live by faith, relying on the Holy Spirit, for our every need. He is our life, not the other person. We spend that necessary time getting to know the unconditional love and grace of God, sitting at the feet of Jesus. When we come to grips with the love of God, now we are not needing that from others. We are amply supplied, and are free to give to others in that agape love we received from God. We do not need the love of others. Yes, we would like to have it, but we do not need it.
As we get alone with God, we have this wisdom from heaven that is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. So, to counteract the flesh, that we are so prone to fall back into, is allowing God to form these attitudes of heart in us. We all have faults. Be at peace with each other. We all have faults. Be considerate of one another. We all have leaders. Be submissive to one another. We all have parts of us that are yucky. Be full of mercy toward one another. Be impartial and be sincere. Those are the counteractives to being bitter and envious and to functioning in selfish ambition.
If I perceive my husband is lazy, I am going to respond to everything my husband does through that perception. If he wants to watch the last five minutes of a radio broadcast instead of taking out the garbage that you asked him to do, you will not perceive that situation as, “Oh, bless his heart. He wants to watch the last five minutes of the ball game.” It makes no difference if he takes the garbage out five minutes later. Or, “that lazy bum will not take out the garbage.” So you are going to respond according to perception. People put perceptions on each other. You do not have to go to a psychologist to put on a label on someone. People do that all the time.
I see this sometimes in marriage. Men are basically non-confrontive. I do not like confrontation. Now, if you disturb me enough, you will get a good confrontation. The way guys handle that deal is to punch somebody in the nose. That is how intelligent we are. The issue is we do not like confrontation. But women, through the liberation movement, we have twenty solid years of input in female minds that they are to be strong and bold and confrontational. So many times women have gotten confrontational. Yet, we are preoccupied as men are to be confrontational. After all I am, and I am this little woman, and I am confrontational. Most women can be confrontational because they do not have to worry about somebody punching her in the nose. Whereas if a man gets confrontational with another man he is liable to be in a fist fight with him. No wonder men are not so confrontational. The issue is, we run into this, and this perception has come.
All of a sudden, if I am married, and I am just as bold as brass, and I am a woman, and my husband is not confrontational, so I see him as a wimp. So I got all these things that need to get done. He will not get them done and he will not fight for these things. My husband is a wimp. So if I perceived my husband as a wimp, then everything he says and does, I am going to respond to everything he does through that perception that he is a wimp. Is that true he is a wimp because he is not confrontational? No, not at all.
As a woman starts expressing that, either quietly or just innuendo, the husband is thinking, “my wife thinks I am a wimp.” What do you think will happen? The husband will say, “I will show you I am not a wimp.” This is how this stuff can fall together. He shows her he is not a wimp and abuse takes place. There is more abuse going on today than there has been in the history of the world. There has never been in the history of the world where women have been bombarded on television and all kinds of media, that you are to be equal with a man and stand up and be somebody. So a woman, instead of being a loving, quiet spirit, as the bible says for a woman to be, they become bold as brass and become aggressive. We think it is wonderful and are proud of that type of thing. Because my husband is not that way, I perceive my husband as a wimp. Then an altercation happens in the home. What happened is you are functioning from a false perception.
My wife is criticizing me. That is a perception of her. If I think my wife is critical and that is my perception, then I am going to respond to everything she says as if she is critical. We do that. If you think I am critical, and I say to you, and you have eggs all over your chin slobbering in front of you. “Boy, you got egg on your chin.” If Bob George is critical, do you know how you will respond to that. You reply back, “You drop stuff too.” We become defensive. Why? Perception. This guy is critical and he is criticizing me, so I will go right after him. Why? False perception.
You cannot get away from these types of things. Recently we have been thinking these things through. I see the validity of these things as I have been thinking these things through. A false perception will produce an adverse response. Why do we have bad responses to each other, in marriage or business? False perception of each other.
I hear the word “psychiatrist”, and the first thing that comes to my mind is, he who needs help. That field drives me crazy. So when I hear somebody say something, my perception is wrong, and I am going to respond through that perception, instead of listening. Psychiatrist means nothing. The issue is what does a person say? I cannot match psychology against the word of God but I can match what they say up against the word of God just like I can match a preacher or myself up against it. So if I take time to listen to what the man says and match what he says against what God says, now, I am dealing with what is being said instead of a false perception of something.
What we are dealing with is the thinking of the world, of Satan up against the word of God, and in how we are going to respond to circumstances and people. For some reason, we as humans, we like to put each other in our egg crates. We feel secure that way. If I can put you in this slot and you in that slot. We also do that with personality types. This person is choleric. This person is sanguine. We love that type of thing because now I have a box to put you in. “That person is a Baptist. That is that guy who believes in that eternal security.” “This guy is a Methodist, and he does not believe in that.” We like to do that instead of taking the time to ask a person, “Hey brother, what do you think about this? What do you think the word of God is saying in regard to your eternal life that you have in Christ Jesus?” I do not want to do that. I do not want to take time with somebody. “Oh, he is a Nazarene, so he does not believe in eternal security, so why talk to him.” In other words, it is all of this categorizing, that is totally the characteristic of the flesh. We love to make a conclusion and put the person in a box. Now I do not have to deal with him, I do not have to think about him. I do not have to interact with him. I already have him categorized. He is already in my box. If I need to go to that box, fine. Otherwise, I can walk by him and ignore him. That does not make an ounce of difference to me. We love to do that.
I believe that is one of the things 1 John 2:16 is talking about.
1 John 2:16
16 For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
So what are we thinking about here? I want to grab a hold of an eternal truth or do I want to grab a hold of a temporal truth that is worldly in nature? Again, whose voice are we listening to? Is God telling you to categorize your husband or to categorize your wife or to categorize your employees, to categorize your boss, to categorize your preacher, to categorize your congregation? Is God calling you to do that? There is the issue. Does God call you to form a conclusion about somebody, period? I do not think so.
What God is saying to you and me is what we need to do is deal with the facts. Deal with the facts, man. When a person is insulting you, my flesh says there is that old insulter. But the Spirit says to deal with the insult. You go to that person, and ask “Did you mean what you said? Is there something I have done to offend you?” So you straighten it out that way. But if I already have it categorized, I do not need to straighten it out. I do not need to straighten it out because you are a griper. You have always been a griper and you will probably go to heaven as a griper. So I do not need to deal with you if you are griping about something because you are a griper. That is how our relationships are so shallow. Oh, that is just a woman. Oh, that is just a man. That is just a black. That is just a white. We want to categorize everything. What God is saying to us, that is the thinking of the world. That is the old flesh that is craving to do that so you do not have to interact with people or love them.
How does God want you to look at these things? How does God want you to look at your wife? As a child of God. If she is not in Christ, then she needs to be a person who is a child of God. Her problem is down here and not in what she is doing. Her problem is her identity and who she is. There should be some compassion if she is not a child of God. Try to get them to become a child of God, for that is the solution to her problem regardless of what she is doing.
Your wife is your sister in Christ, a child of God. She has good points and bad points. She has pluses and minuses. She has strengths and she has weaknesses. Incidentally, so do I. We look at each other through the identity that God gave us. If God gave you an identity of being a child of God, then I cannot sit there and say, “yes, he is a child of God, but he is a griper.” No, that is a double identity. He is a child of God. And this child of God just griped about something I did. If that is the case, how do you straighten that out? By trying to get him to quit being a griper? No, because he is not a griper. He is a child of God. So should someone stop me from being critical. No, because I am a child of God who criticized.
As another example, are you an alcoholic or are you a child of God who drinks too much? Are you a drug addict or are you a child of God who went back to a misplaced dependency on your drugs? That is where we must hold on. The subtlety of where we have gone is that we missed these identities we put on people. We must think with God’s mind and let God’s mind say, “if someone has done something, go deal with what was done, but quit identifying and coming to a conclusion based on misinformation or no information, and trying to categorize that person and come to a conclusion about that person that is not based on fact.”
The conclusion that we should have with each other, as born again believers, is that we are all children of God. We are all members of the same family. We have good points and bad points and we are going to show them at different times. But never call someone other than who they are, a child of God. That is where most arguments happen in marriage. We call them by names we have come to conclusions of. One of the things I see in all of this is the difference between listening to God and His voice and man and his voice.
We are right back to this. Who are we going to listen to, the flesh or the Spirit?
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Now many people confuse love with approval. They believe that if they can get that special someone, a boss, a parent or a spouse, to approve of me, then I will have their love you see. But that keeps people in an unending cycle of trying to get the approval of others. I am going to try to get you to approve of me. That means I have got to be in bondage of making decisions to make sure they are pleasant to you so you will approve of me. Then you are putting others in bondage to have to approve of me if I make a bad decision. So we got both of us under the law. So we have to come to the conclusion that we have to stop trying to be men pleasers. We have to see that I am not a servant of Christ. He said, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” That is a shocker. How many of us are serving Jesus to be approved by men?
I can certainly remember a time in my life, where I was serving Jesus totally for the purpose of being approved by men, having an insatiable desire for acceptance, even though I do not think it is in my nature to be a compromiser. I would compromise slightly, but not by changing what I believed. I just did not talk about it. If someone talked about something I did not agree with, I just did not talk about it. But I wanted to be approved. I wanted people to approve, to bring me in the fold so to speak. Let me be one of the biggies. If I was called in to be in the same group with some of the well known Christian leaders, why that was really something. Why? Seeking the approval of men. I see people walking around in a mist today, walking around in bondage with that type of thing, being in bondage, trying to get the approval of men.
If I was trying to be pleasing to men, I would not be a servant of Christ. That tells me something. Am I trying to win the approval of men or of God? We need to quit trying to please men and to please God. How do you please God? By faith. Faith is the only thing that pleases God.
6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
If we are going to please God it is going to be by trusting Him. It is not going to be by trying to please Him. I do not have a goal of trying to please God. I have a goal to abide, to walk in faith in God, knowing full well that is what is pleasing, but my goal is not to please. My goal is to walk by faith. If we would get a hold of that truth. We put the wrong emphasis in some place. If my goal is to please then I will always be saying, “I wonder if I have done enough. No, my goal is to walk by faith.”
This did not work out too well. When you made that decision, doing what I was doing, were you trusting the Lord with it? Yes, I was trusting the Lord with it. Then why not just stop worrying about the results of it. The results did not work out too well, so I must not have been pleaing. No, if you were walking by faith you were pleasing. That is what Hebrews is about. They walked by faith and were sawed in two. What made you pleasing to me was you were trusting me to do what I told you to do. I cannot do that to be a man pleaser. Man is not necessarily telling me to do that. Man is telling me to go to this campaign, but God is telling me to go to this eunuch on a chariot. (Refer to Acts 8 about how God told Philip to go to a eunuch in a chariot. There were apostles God told to speak to the crowds. But to Philip, he told him to be available to be used for one man to come to faith in Christ, and that from reading a passage from the book of Isaiah). I cannot please God and try to please man at the same time.
We are continuing on this subject of Substitutes for Love.
14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Do not boast about it and do not live in denial that that is what you were doing. Who knows if you are harboring bitter envy or selfish ambition in your heart? You do. That is why it says to not boast about it or deny it. You do not have to live in denial of it. God knows it. You know it and people around you might suspect it. You know in your heart if you are having bitter envy or selfish ambition in your heart. You know that. You know if you are doing what you are doing trying to get ahead at any cost and at any expense to you or to anyone else whom you may either help for the purpose of getting ahead of them or hurt to get rid of them. You know that. Bitter envy and selfish ambition. Do not boast about it. Do not deny the truth of it. If you deny the truth of it, you will continue in your envy and selfish ambition.
That kind of wisdom is the wisdom of the world. The world tells us to be ambitious. The world says do unto others and then cut out the golden rule. The world says selfish ambition is good. “It is good to be ambitious.” Does it not? “That is the way you are going to get ahead”, with selfish ambition. “Look after yourself. If you do not look after you, no one else will.” That is wisdom of the world. That wisdom does not come down from heaven. It is earthly, unspiritual, and of the devil.
15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
Bitter envy and selfish ambition are of the devil. Where you have envy and selfish ambition there you find disorder and every evil practice, not some, but every.
16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Now that gets away from labeling doesn’t it? That gets totally away from the concept we are talking about. Whenever you are labeling or perceiving people with a wrong perception then you aren’t, dealing with what they are doing, and your response to them is going to be through that funnel. It is not going to be of God. It not going to be peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
What you are looking at, whether it is in your home, to a degree it is like an organization. You have more than one person there. You have to learn how to cooperate with each other, whether man and wife or with children also. You have a family. All of this is part of this family we have been called to in God. This is certainly true in a ministry and certainly true in the home. It is true when there is more than one person gathered together. When there is more than one person gathered then there is opportunity for bitter envy and selfish ambition. All you have to do is have a parent and two children and see if sibling rivalry does not take place. What is sibling rivalry. Bitter envy that he is getting more attention than me. Or selfish ambition, you watch me and what I will do to them. That is children stuff. That is immaturity in children. He says something about that. Whenever you have envy and selfish ambition there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Let me ask you a question. If you have selfish ambition, one child over another, and you are looking to be the number one child on the block. This number one child does something that he knows the parents are not going to like. Do you think he is going to tell you the truth? He is probably going to lie and blame the other person for what he did. That is called an evil practice. That is called disorder.
These truths are not something to blink at. We have to spot bitter envy and selfish ambition in your home, in your ministry, in your business, wherever it is. According to scripture, I see that you are not to be looking to have these two qualities, if they are going on above anything else. The reason for that is that if you allow that to continue in your heart or allow your children to harbor these things, or employees to harbor these things, there is a promise of God. You will have disorder and every evil practice going on. I have seen this.
I saw it happen in our own ministry and it almost destroyed it. That is not the wisdom of God. The wisdom that comes from heaven is pure and peace loving. We all have faults. Be at peace with each other. We all have faults. Be considerate of one another. We all have leaders. Be submissive to one another. We all have parts of us that are yucky. Be full of mercy toward one another. Be impartial and be sincere. Those are the counteractives to being bitter and envious and to functioning in selfish ambition.
You know people who are constantly searching for ways to fill up the deep longing that we have within us. No matter how hard we try to fill this need, we cannot provide the kind of love and acceptance our hearts are craving and we cannot give it to others, to hearts that are aching. No matter how much we try or pretend, our surface joys normally end up in pain and heartache if the deep longing within us is not satisfied. God wants us to know we are already completely loved and accepted by Him. His unconditional love and grace is our only source we can find to meet the needs of the human heart. There are no substitutes for that. Anything we substitute for love, as listed in 1 Corinthians 13, we do. We end up in frustration. That frustration, many times, comes from our own sense of inadequacy and it is what makes us so critical of others. In essence, we are critical of ourselves and then we become critical of everyone else. We need to learn to relax. We need to learn to not take ourselves so seriously. We need to realize that only by the grace of God we are anything.
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