I’m not an old and wise guy. I haven’t had a ton of life experience, but believe it or not, people do ask me for advice quite regularly. One of the things that bugs the heck out of me is when people ask for my advice and choose to do what they wanted to do in the first place.
Intelligence must be accompanied by application. I know a lot of really smart people that know a lot more than I do. I know people that have increased their intelligence through schooling and I also know people that have increased their intelligence through life experiences. However, neither matters without application. Application is what makes intelligence useful.
During my short life and my short time in ministry, I have seen how the work of God can often divide people. Many times, the divided people are the ones that aren’t actively involved in the ministry because it’s easier to criticize after God moves than to be involved in the process.
One of the things that drives me crazy is when someone tries too hard to fit in with other people. I think we’ve all met people (you may be one) that tries so hard to fit in with other people that they have completely lost all sense of identity. These people spend all their time doing what other people do. They spend all their money buying what other people own. These people often change who they are on a whim, simply because they begin to try to act like someone different. They have such a low sense of identity, they have lost their ability to settle on who to act like.
These people drive me crazy because they often compromise what they believe in order to fit in other people’s molds. Many college freshmen are raised in Christian homes, involved heavily in their youth group throughout high school, but quit attending church their freshman year because they are too busy trying to fit in with another crowd on Saturday night. (Unless they’re in the “cool Christian” crowd that no one can sneeze in without hearing, “May God richly bless you.”). I heard a stat the other day that 85% of college freshmen raised in the church quit attending once they go to college!
The problem seems to get no better as people get older, it just happens on a larger scale. Adults begin to try to fit in with people of a certain status and go in debt doing it. They get a larger house and decide they have to have a better car. They get a better car and decide that they have to move again. They are never satisfied and they never catch up with the people they’re chasing. They begin to sacrifice their kids and families in order to be associated with certain people. Pretty soon, they find themselves in positions that they had no intention of getting in. They find that they have debt to their eye balls, their unmarried daughter’s pregnant, they are in the middle of an affair, and they still haven’t fit in with the right people. All because they weren’t confident in who God made them to be.
We have to find our identity in Christ. We have to address and supress the insecurities that cause us to try to be like everyone else except ourselves and Christ. We have to teach our children and teens that God created them with their OWN identity and He wants them to complete the purpose He gave them. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you are a nerd, be a nerd sold out for Christ. If you look like a model and say all the right things, we hate you, but be the best you can for God (just kidding about the hating thing!). If you are poor, use what God has blessed you with for Him. If you’re fat, be fat for Jesus. Just be yourself for a purpose!!
After yesterday’s post about taking risks, I figured that it would only be appropriate to post today about how to deal with failure…
- Why are you taking the risk? Has God placed a desire in your heart, or is it from selfish desires? If it’s God, it’s worth the risk!
- After failing, don’t try to cover it up. Part of leading is being willing to admit failure. Part of following is forgiving your leader for failing and thanking them for being willing to take the risk.
- If you fail, evaluate why. Did you enter it without fully committing? Did you place all possible resources, energy, and time possible to help it succeed? Did you give adequate time to prayer?
- What’s next? After failing with something, try something else. God’s a God of change and movement, if one idea failed, what was meant to be the next step?
I’ve always been a person willing to take risks. As a matter of fact, sometimes I’ve been known to take stupid risks without thinking them through. However, I like this fact about myself. I firmly believe that as Christians, we are to be risk takers. That’s what Jesus did.