Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Leverage is a valuable thing. If I am a wrestler and I have leverage then I am probably going to win the bout. If I am looking for a raise and I have leverage, the higher ups are going to be much more motivated to consider it. Leverage is power. When someone has leverage over you they have power in your life.
Leverage is a reality and whether you recognize it or not it exists in your relationships. You have leverage in some people’s lives and others have leverage in yours. The key is being very careful who you let have leverage in yours. If you allow negative, overly critical people to have leverage in your life they will bring you down. They will distort your view of things and it will negatively effect your attitude. You may not be able to avoid these people but you should not give them leverage (power) in your life.
I choose to allow people like this to have leverage in my life:
Giver of godly advice over lover of human wisdom
Encourager over discourager
Positive over critical
Realist over drama queen or king
Non anxious presence over spastic
Honest over flatterer
Silence over gossip
Prayer warrior over try and quickly fix it
These are just a few qualities that come to mind but I am very intentional and extremely careful on who I let have leverage in my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
I know username and passwords are necessary but they plague me! I know what you are thinking. Why don’t you just do the same username and password for everything so you don’t forget it? Well, quite frankly, I am not that smart! I have what feels like hundreds of different variations of the same word as my user name and password. Anything from my children’s age to blood type being added in the digits. It is a complicated mess!
But usernames and passwords are an evil necessity. Without them our valuable information would not be secure. It would be susceptible to evil doers.
The Word of God is my security software. It protects my mind and heart from evil. I need the security of God’s word to protect my thoughts and my motives. Without it I would be vulnerable to sin. Psalm 119:11 says I have hidden your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you. Is it easy to find the time to read and meditate on His word in the business of life? It’s not. Like usernames and passwords it can be frustrating to find the time and effort to mess with it. But you can’t afford not too! The blessings that come from drinking in the word is powerfully refreshing. It satisfies the thirst of our souls and keeps our well from running dry.
Don’t read the word today but let the word read you!
Learn from children. They have something to show you about how you should live.
Let me first say that children are precious. God sees children as invaluable. He promises divine retribution to those who hurt children. Civilized society rages against anyone who harms a child. Children must be protected at all costs. That is a timeless principle.
Now what can we learn from these precious children. Children don’t worry. They don’t worry about tomorrow, or health, or social status, or anything else that plagues adults with stress and worry. Kids just trust. Sure this trust can be misplaced. That’s why we have to protect them. But they trust those who love them. You teach them early about God and they will remind you of how awesome God is.
My six year old constantly let’s me know that no one measures up to God. God is stronger, taller, the best vegetable eater, greatest basketball player, colorer, bed-maker, and the cleanest entity in all the universe. God is His hero. He trusts Him with complete abandon. No questions asked. And my son expects me to do the same.
Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
That is telling! Children trust and we should trust too: feet first, all in, no holding back. Children don’t worry because they believe that someone capable will take care of their needs. Adults, it’s time for us to quit stressing and trust the Heavenly Father, who is more than capable, to take care of us.
I dedicate this post to Children’s Pastors and Directors, to Children and Nursery workers, to churches that help children in need, to programs like Jumpstart that shows the love of Christ in concrete action to kids. To all those who sacrifice so that children can learn more about their God.
Legalism is alive and well in churches today, and none of us are immune from its ways.
At the root of legalism is selfishness and pride. Legalism feeds the selfish nature. The legalist relies on willpower to do rightly, believing this pleases God and earns His favor. This makes sense to our mind, but it is not the way God measures value. We all need to be very thankful for that!
Legalism is appealing. We like it because it appeals to our self-reliant nature, but self-reliance is antithetical to all that Christianity stands for. The Gospel condemns our acts of righteousness. Our righteousness leaves a stench to God.
It is not because we cannot do anything that is good. It is because anything we do that is good is tainted by a wicked, glory-hungry, heart. All our attempts at goodness are tainted by sin.
This gets to the heart of legalism. The problem is motive; our actions are not enough. Motive is essential. Even Jesus said follow what the Pharisees teach, but do not live like they do (Matt 23:3). The Pharisees did good works by following the law, but their motives were impure.
Everything the legalist does in the name of God, feeds their hunger to gain value. And that is the problem. It is impossible for man to earn enough value to be found worthy of God’s standard (Rom 3:23).
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being clean on the outside but rotten on the inside. It’s all about the heart, the motive behind what we do. When Christ has transformed our lives by the Gospel, we have a new heart, a new motive, that looks to honor God. Christ becomes the motivating factor of our actions. The Christian desires to give glory to God through his actions. The legalist desires to give glory to self by their actions.
Legalism is alive and well today and takes many forms. From style of music to versions of the Bible to facial hair to dress. It’s vital that churches preach the importance of relationship and not rules, that Jesus is exalted and not man, that grace abounds and not works-righteousness. It is the call of the Church to safeguard the Gospel from anything that lessens the centrality of Jesus.
“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
― Ronald Reagan
I have come across this quote from Ronald Reagan several times over the years. It leads me to contemplate the hypocrisy of abortion. You might say it’s the choice of the parent. Even for the parent making the decision of life or death, it is hypocritical. By hypocritical I mean behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards in action than is really the case. Let me explain: Parents contemplating abortion would never have been willing to give that power of choice to their parents. They would be horrified by the very thought of their life being left in the hands of their parents to choose whether they live or die. To say that I am fine with my parents having the ability to choose whether to have me or not is ridiculous because of the fact that they DID choose to have me. When I know what the decision will be of course I am fine with saying I would allow them to have a choice. That is without risk for me. The only other option is to say: I would be fine with my parents’ decision to abort me. If that is your answer then you lie to yourself or you find absolutely no value in being you.
Abortion murders something priceless so that we do not have to deal with the consequence. I can think of no other area in life where that kind of thinking is acceptable among moral people. To write off a person, everyone being of great value, as an obstacle to what we perceive as our enduring happiness is beyond egotistic.
We are so easily manipulated by sheer numbers. It is amazing how we allow the masses to help justify such atrocity. If enough people can buy into a belief then it must be right? If others feel this way then I must be justified in my action. That was the ploy of Hitler! He convinced the masses to feel right about what was so extremely wrong.
It comes down to this: we are deciding the fate of a person so that we may live as we wish. But one might say: the obstacles of having the child are so great upon me. Are they great enough to allow you the right to take their life to avoid the potential burden? How blind we are as a nation to God’s will in this!
It is hypocrisy to say you give value to life at all if you advance the cause of abortion.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.