Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ be ‘no.’

For such a long time, my character has always been that of an extremely cautious and kind person. There is nothing wrong with that, but there has to be a balance. I’ve always been someone who is extremely careful not to offend anyone with my words and at times, I haven’t been firm with my answers. While it is good to measure your words to not offend, the truth is, it is inevitable to offend no matter what you do. I think many Christians today believe that being kind, means saying “yes” to everything people ask or say. While on the contrary, Jesus doesn’t want us to be that way. He wants us to be salt. He wants us to be steadfast and unshakable. He wants us to be firm on the rock. He wants us to not be double-minded. Shall I go on?

I’ve learned so much in this season and God continues to chisel my character. And the way I know this, is due to the countless opportunities I’ve had where my flesh wants to say ‘yes,’ but instead I listened to God and said, ‘no.’ There truly is a blessing in disguise when you’re firm in your answers and you don’t beat around the bush. Take for instance yesterday, I purchased something at a store and the cashier asked me if I had an in-store credit card. I automatically said no and proceeded to take out my card to pay. She looked at me, asked me another question, and I kindly said, “I don’t want to open one, thank you.” Before, I guarantee you, I would have answered all of her questions and considered the “discounts” and all the gimmicks, and finally said ‘no.’ This my friends is what I call, character development. Even in the smallest things, we need to learn how to have a straight firm forward answer. Not only will it save us time, it will save us from future headaches. Can I get an amen?

Below are some reasons why having a firm loving character can really produce good fruit in your life.

#1  You don’t waste time. Believe it or not, if you’re firm with your answers. You won’t have to repeat yourself. It’s that simple and people will simply have to understand your conviction. For example, if someone comes up to you with a different doctrine that does not preach Jesus Christ, you must remain firm on your faith. It’s good practice. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinth 16:13 and “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Matthew 7:24 

#2  You’re secure in your identity. “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”- John 8:59. When the Pharisees heard Jesus speak in this manner, they were offended. With good reason, He was declaring Himself God. You see, Jesus knew his identity and He was not about to compromise the truth in order to get these men to follow Him. So many times we compromise our decisions, just to please people. Jesus was our prime example of having a firm identity. Our identity is in Christ Jesus. You know who you are and because of that, you can get yourself out of unwanted situations. The door of escape is always there.

#3  You establish healthy boundaries. Having a firm character allows you to love God above all, love yourself, and love your neighbor. It’s all tied together. When we stop pleasing man, we gain authority in Christ. We serve people, but we’re not called to be slaves nor to be intimidated by their faces. Galatians 1:10 says, “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.”

#4  You prevent future problems. Many times in my life, I’ve been quick to answer and I haven’t taken the time to process the possible outcomes. Thankfully, God has worked everything out for my good, even my hasty decisions. And while God’s grace is sufficient to help you endure any future problem, why not prevent them before they happen, by making wiser choices. “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:2 

#5  You’re respected. You’ve probably been around someone who always commits to something, says they will show up, but never does. That unfortunately builds a bad reputation and people will no longer believe or listen to what you say. Hopefully that isn’t you, but if it is, today you’re going to turn that around for good. The reality is, if you’re someone who has firm character, people will respect you whether they like you or not. They know your word is accountable and true. 1 John 3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Grace and peace!

Tares be gone?

Most of our lives, we spend it protecting ourselves and building impenetrable walls. And for good reason, we’re not always surrounded by people that want or have the best intentions for us. However, here is what I’ve come to understand about what Jesus intends for us to learn when we’re surrounded by such people. He doesn’t want us to build walls or pray that they go away, He has a much bigger goal to accomplish in you my friend. Today, I would like to introduce to you to those tares, which will indeed be a necessary ingredient with your walk with God.

Now biblically speaking, in the parables of the tares, in Matthew 13:24-30…Jesus distinctly refers to tares as sons of disobedience, in other words, people who are not followers of Christ. But I’ve also come to understand that in life, there will also be people like tares (disobedient Christians), who look like wheat, act like wheat, but are double-minded and will be tossed like the waves. In my personal experience, I’ve learned to identify Christians who are tares. Not saying they’re bad people, but they’re people who do exactly what tares know to do – absorb you and distract you. Okay, so what do we do about it and what does God say about this? In the parable we see how the workers of the field were worried and asked if they should gather the weed up. The owner of the field is very wise to tell them to wait until the harvest is ready, and not uproot the weed or else the wheat will also perish. The day of judgement will be that day of separation. But until now, we have to learn to live in the world and not be of it. The same goes with the people we surround ourselves. Jesus wants us to learn to walk alongside people who are like tares, but He wants us to be wise in how we relate to them. Tares and wheat grow together, but wheat bears fruit, tares are always (spiritually) dry. What we need to be careful with is making sure that we create healthy boundaries and do not allow these people to dry us up spiritually.

I used to believe that praying for the tares to go away would solve all  of my problems, but instead, the Lord highlighted to me that the tares in my life will always exist. Tares of all types and sizes will appear in my field, and in different seasons. People will come and people will go, and I will have to learn how to navigate this life with them in my field. I have to accept that some people will never change, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t or that I will let them influence me. I also learned that I have a godly responsibility in creating clear boundaries and let my ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ be ‘no.’ This is how we create healthy boundaries and form our  godly character. Be imitators of Christ.

If you recall, Jesus chose His 12 disciples, but yet there was a tare with Him all along – ladies and gentlemen, his name was none other than Judas. It was necessary to have this tare alongside Him. Jesus demonstrated what it is like to walk alongside people who don’t have the best intentions for you. Satan will always attack you, either through people or through circumstances, but we need to remember that the fiery darts will always be launched, but they won’t ever prosper. God Himself will make sure you are not destroyed. Today, I encourage you to observe the tares that are around your life and ask God to give you the discernment on how to interact with people who are tares. Ask God to help you endure the process, to form your character, and to help you understand what God wants to do in your life and in theirs. Lastly, ask God to remove them from your life in His perfect timing. Next time you see a tare near you, don’t be quick to remove it, let God remove it for you when the harvest is ready and you’ve matured in character.

God bless you!

 

The processing matters more than the promotion.

   In the church today, we have many Christians who desire position and recognition, but many don’t have the maturity to sustain such calling. Having a high regarded position and sustaining it are two different things. When God calls us to do something great, He will first make sure that you’re put through the fire, to test the authenticity of our faith.  If you recall in the story of the young shepherd boy David, before he actually became king of Israel, he was heavily persecuted by king Saul. David had to defeat many giants before he sat on the throne. If you’ve been called to a great position in ministry, prepare to endure the cost of it.  The good news is that if God called you to it, He will bring you through it.

So why is going through “the process” before receiving a position so important? Like anything in this life, we must first be tested with small things to see if we can handle the big things. If we don’t go through the process, we will not have the grace to maintain what God has entrusted us with. Below are three key points why you must go through the process to see the glory of God manifested in that calling or promise.

#1 Your motives are tested and so is your character. Jesus prays for you and wants you to stand firm throughout the process. God would rather permit trials in your life, than to see you remain lukewarm or stagnant in an area of your life that was never worked or tested. If you succeed against all temptations, you will also strengthen your  brothers and sisters in Christ to be faithful to God. Luke 22:32 says, “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

#2 Embrace the challenges. God does not give anyone something so delicate like a kingdom to someone, if He knows they don’t have the courage to face challenges head on or defeat temptations. Behind every giant there is a great blessing, but behind every challenge, there is another giant already lined up. If you allow yourself to be processed, God will help you defeat that Goliath. This Goliath could represent your ministry, criticism, hate, envy, gossip, strongholds, fear, or persecution . Whatever the giant, God has equipped you to fight it. 1 Samuel 17:40 says, “Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”

#3 God’s anointing qualifies you, but the process prepares you. God can anoint you to fulfill a task or a promise, but this does not mean the promotion will be immediate. It is much better that you are processed than to be thrown into the fire without preparation or covering from the Lord. Many people confuse the anointing with immediate promotion. Just because you’re not there yet, does not mean the promise has not been fulfilled. The anointing gives you the grace to sustain the position and the burden that comes with what God has assigned you to do.  Isaiah 4:3 – “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Today, I tell you the truth. If you’re more concerned about what God has said, rather than what God is doing in you, you will miss out on the blessing. Remain focused on the things at hand, what has God entrusted you with now. Perhaps it may seem small and insignificant in your eyes, but sometimes it those very tasks that will bring you great glory and destiny. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,” says the Lord. I leave you with this verse, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded”- Luke 12:48.

Let God do the processing in you and you will be thankful when you see the maturity you’ve gained to sustain the position. God bless!

 

Why are insecurities detrimental to your life?

In case you thought your insecurities were some form of a “fish hook” to get compliments or affirmations from people to make your life better, think again. Insecurities can actually be very detrimental to your health and life. Before we dive into what insecurities cause, let’s look at the prefix meaning of the word insecurity. “In” means “not”… therefore if you have an “in” in front of security, you’re in big trouble my friend. That means you’re not secure about something in particular. Question for you? When has any insecurity in your life ever brought you any victory? Let’s take a look at six main reasons why insecurities are bad for you and can destroy you slowly.

#1 Insecurities causes dependency – If you’re insecure, you’re always fishing for compliments, hoping someone will affirm you “again and again” and your mood changes based on people’s reassurance or applause. Be careful with this, this is an area Satan knows all too well and uses it as a form of idolatry. Yes, you can idolize having constant affirmations from people in order to feel happy about yourself, your talents, your career, your relationships, you name it. If you’re feeling insecure about something, go talk to your daddy, “Abba Father” to be specific. Now don’t get me wrong, affirmations are good to have once in a while, but they shouldn’t be your bread and butter. Psalm 94:19 – When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

#2 Fear – When you’re insecure about yourself, fear can creep in. Fear about your future, your potential, your purpose, and doubt starts to creep in. You have to be careful how you view yourself. It all begins with you and your thoughts, what type of thoughts do you entertain? Do you speak life over yourself, or do you speak death. A good way of gauging which kingdom rules in your mind is by speaking what you hear in your thoughts out loud (of course whisper it, you never know what may come out that will shock you). When you hear yourself, you will reflect more and be alert as to what goes on in your mind. Speak words of affirmation over yourself so that fear does not creep in and speak the word of God over yourself, which is ultimately the best way to affirm yourself and your insecurity. Keep your mind in check and determine yourself to be in control of your thoughts. Place every single thought under the obedience of Christ. 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

#3 Envy, jealousy, dishonoring others – The people in this life who are the most insecure are the ones who live their lives backbiting, gossiping about others, never happy about other people’s promotions, and envy creeps in. Now, people can be really good at disguising these feelings from others by simply smiling and pretending to be happy for you. However, your inner thoughts and emotions will reflect in your body (body language, actions and your health). If you think i’m kidding, here’s a Bible verse for ya… Proverbs 14:30 – A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. If you do not correct your emotions, it doesn’t matter whether people see it or not, God sees it. Insecurities can actually cause you to dishonor others as well. If you’re jealous because you don’t have a position of authority or leadership, you can be disrespectful to them. Or you could be jealous of someone’s talent or attention they are receiving. This only means one thing, your identity in Christ is unstable. If you know God esteems you and has a great purpose for your life, the spirit of insecurity won’t take over. Insecurities can cause you to also become an “Absalom.” Absalom was the third son of David. In this story, you see Absalom gradually undermining King David, usurping his authority and speaking against him to the people. Under the pretense of honoring a vow, he sent messengers throughout the land, proclaiming his kingship. (Don’t allow your insecurities or selfishness to rule you, let God’s law prevail in your heart. You could likely miss out on God’s blessings if you do those things).

#4 Weak character – Insecurities mean you will foster a weak character. You become double minded and you don’t really know where you stand. I’m not saying that there won’t be times of weakness, I am speaking about character in general. People gravitate towards confident people and of strong character. If you’re always speaking defeat or insecurities, no one will feel secure around you. If you wish to confide your insecurities with someone, be wise with whom you share it with. Not everyone cares and not everyone will give you wise godly counsel. If you’re feeling insecure, let God deal with that in your heart and ask Him to help you overcome it. Also, when you portray a life of insecurity or low self-esteem, people will treat you as such. Why? Because you’ve allowed people to form this concept about you and when people smell insecurity, they think it’s an automatic pass to mistreat you or undermine you.

#5 You can get defensive/possessive-   When you’re insecure, you feel a constant reason to prove to people something. This could be as a result of people undermining you and it leaves you feeling insecure and resentful. Or you’re insecure about something you think you may never accomplish and get defensive every time someone asks you about your dreams, career, children, future marriage. You’re never at peace in your heart because you don’t believe in yourself nor God’s plans for you. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is definitely one of those things that can happen when you let insecurity rule you. Here’s an example, if you’re single and insecure, if you find yourself trying to prove to others that you are happy when you’re single, but you’re not. Then you know something is wrong. Or it could be the other way around, you’re pretending to have a great marriage, but yet you’re insecure about it. You could also be insecure about someone ever seeing you as a potential partner in life, you’re worried that it won’t be you and you get possessive when you see others around that person. Or you can be trying to prove to someone that you earned a position and take every opportunity to explain yourself why you have that authority. Follow what Jesus did ——> Luke 20:8 – Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

#6 You lose your joy – This is probably the one you should be concerned about the most. Insecurities can cause you to be too much in your head. Your lack of identity in a specific area of your life can lead you to lose joy. You can isolate yourself, bury your emotions because you never confronted them with God. Ask God to help you and His joy will be your strength. Remember what God says about you. Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

I hope this post helped you in some way. Remember that God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. And when you’re weak, you are strong. There is no need to highlight nor exalt your insecurities, instead confront them head on. I’m not saying to be arrogant around people stating you don’t have insecurities, but instead of focusing on that…tackle those insecurities by receiving your reassurance/healing from God. Instead boast about how strong your God is… even in the midst of your weakness/insecurities. God bless you, child of God!