“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (proud notions).” (Romans 12:16) Where there is contention, (arguing, controversy, disputing, contesting, quarrelsome) there is the spirit of PRIDE! This is a very important revelation to absorb into our character so that every time we are being drawn into conflict, we can examine our intention and ask Jesus to check our attitude. The proud are convinced that they know more, are smarter and can do everything much more effectively than the ones they are attacking. Webster’s New World Dictionary describes it as: “an overly high opinion of oneself. Exaggerated self-esteem, haughtiness; arrogance; inflated dignity”. I do not believe that any of us have conquered every fault or can “walk on the water” so to speak with having “arrived” at total perfection. We all have certain problems that we must battle more than others and sometimes these trouble areas can grow more severe like a wound that becomes infected. I personally believe when someone gives these bad habits free reign, they can expand into an open spiritual door with a warm invitation to demonic influence which can establish the bondage of control. Pride was the deception that caused Lucifer to fall and be cast out of heaven and I am convinced it is his number one device for stirring up every type of evil on earth. For example, when someone has an aggressive personality that instigates and is contentious, they would definitely be vulnerable to being oppressed with spirits of MANIPULATION, STRIFE, ENVY and CONTROL. There is a difference between standing against something that is wrong – and being used as a “wrecking ball” under the spirit of rebellion. The awareness of God’s presence includes the sensitivity of our own level of humility. Selah. “For I say, though the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more HIGHLY than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

How eager and excited we are to devote so much of our time to the reform and “education” of others. Those who are held captive by this dark power are convinced the masses of the world are waiting for them to correct and “set them straight”. Judging others comes naturally to those who spend their time thinking about how wonderful, intelligent and spiritual they are. These individuals can do wonderful things for the Kingdom of God and at the same time be at odds with those they are working with. They have no problem rising to positions of authority but have not learned the responsibility of watching their words that creates controversy and division. I would love to say that I personally do not know anything about this character flaw but I must be honest. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and was just as deceived when the bridges were burning as I was during the conflict. I have asking the Lord to reveal to me why I have had so many problems over the years and why things have not “blossomed” like I had envisioned. I have been having some serious heart to heart talks with Him lately and I have pleaded with Him to “give it to me straight”. It has been difficult for me to watch as He turns the pages of my blindness, slowly revealing to me the way I look through His eyes. Selah. It has not been pretty. I have wept and been humbled in His presence. Yes, another crucial revelation of how to WALK as His disciple and just like all the other ones, it is my decision whether to ignore it or – absorb it. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear – slow to speak slow to wrath: for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19)

Our personal interpretation of someone’s character is dangerous because usually we are looking through the eyes of the flesh instead of the eyes of His Spirit. Which is a good indicator that we are more FULL of ourselves than the holy spirit. We convince ourselves and justify our confrontations with those who are in authority but most of the time our instructions are to sit down – be quiet – and pray! Yes, there are times when God might choose to use us in a divine appointment to “enlighten” someone about something but with those who are led by their emotions it is usually – trouble. Talking negatively about people behind their back and rebelling against their decisions is strife. If we are committed to serving under someone’s leadership then we are obligated as a Christian to operate under the influence of LOVE! Constantly fighting, disagreeing, railing and undermining against those we have been called to support are the attributes of the dark side and a terrible witness to those who are observing the character of those representing Christ. It is prayer that can change circumstances if they need to be changed and what if we are wrong in our opinions and God desires for things to go in another direction? Just because we are persuaded by our own understanding about certain decisions does not mean we are WALKING in God’s Spirit or have heard His specific will. “

We carry around all this strife and chaos and wonder why Father seems so distant. “For in many things we offend all. If any man offends not in word, the same is a perfect (complete) man, and able also to bridle (control) the whole body. Behold we put bits in the horses mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, wherever the helmsman desires. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a FIRE, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set of fire of hell.” (James 3:2-6) No matter what we are facing, talking about or thinking about, the two principals we will always face in the crossroad of spiritual growth are; we must see our need to change and we must have the desire to change. Selah. Our sin nature is very strong because it is governed by our will which is the king on the throne of our heart. It is easy to live independently because it is the default system within our soul. Change occurs when we ask Christ to become the Lord of our entire LIFE and He takes His place in our heart as our new King. His divine reality is the new “operating system” that governs our thoughts, our words and our deeds. We cannot manage our old habits and character faults because doing things our way is a part of the old system! Jesus needs to be the MONARCH of our physical, mental and spiritual life that transforms us from the inside out because when He is in control – We are WALKING in Him! A huge part of abiding in His Spirit is allowing the Holy Spirit to help us watch what we say. “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can NO MAN TAME; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7-8)

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging her clothes outside on the clothesline. “That laundry is not very clean”, she said. “She obviously does not know anything about how to wash clothes correctly. Perhaps she needs instruction!” Her husband looked on but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same critical comments. About a month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look she has finally learned how to wash correctly, I wonder who taught her this?” The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the windows through which we look. Selah. Most of us are always more deeply concerned over the reform of others – but hardly concerned at all over the reform of ourselves.

Recently I was praying on the way to work and was thinking about how I measure people and how quick we can form a thorough opinion about people we do not even know. With as much experience we have in psychoanalyzing others, we seem to be not only experts in human behavior but judges as to the motives of everyone’s heart. I had read a quote from Napoleon recently and he had mentioned about “those in the struggle of life” and when I heard this phrase I was reminded how there could be more conflict than we could ever imagine going on inside other people’s lives that we meet everyday. I do not usually even consider that my fellow laborers in the Kingdom of God are “struggling” with serious issues. My brothers and sisters in the Lord are trying to put on a happy face and attempting to work through the pain of problems that maybe no one but God knows and here I am being critical or feeling disappointed in them because they did not seem “nice” enough to me. And what about my lack of sensitivity to the lost who are looking for answers and stumbling around in the dark? I have the solution – it’s Jesus! I know the one who has all the answers – Jesus! Yet, I am more worried about how people treat me and how well they “perform” in my self-designed method of acceptable standards, that I am completely missing the opportunity for God to use me in His divine appointments.

For an old nature that is supposed to be dead, I am amazed at how influential a corpse can be! He is making demands from the grave and for some reason I am listening. I am still trying to establish my own identity and instead of becoming LESS OF ME and MORE OF GOD – I have become spoiled, comfortable and satisfied to live with SOME of me – and SOME of GOD! I have come to the conclusion that I love myself way too much. If we are not being as effective for God as we think we should be, it is NOT His fault. He can only rule our life when He is our King.


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