One Thing 2/13/18
Phil. 4:11, Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
2 Pet.1:3, seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
For those of us who live in the West, the temptation for discontentment is far greater than those who live in Third World countries, even though our possessions are vastly greater than theirs are. You those places where most people are poor, they are not tempted to live under the stranglehold of comparison. It’s not that they don’t long to have more for themselves and their families, it’s just that there’s no one around them that they fear might judge them because everybody is kind of on the same level in terms of material wealth. As Americans, we are constantly bombarded with visual comparisons and a false narrative as to what it means and looks like to be successful and important. The result is because there’s more stuff accumulated around us, we have a tendency to live with embarrassment and humiliation because what we have how we look doesn’t measure up to what our culture says is successful. Westerners live with more ingratitude towards God than those who live among the less privileged. I remember in the early days when I was going to Africa often how aware I became when I would come home of how grateful we are because we live in the atmosphere of comparison. Most Africans that I have ministered to and with are not consumed with what they have, instead, they are very concerned with how grateful they are that they are part of the kingdom of God, and try to steward well with joy and thankfulness the blessings that they live with materially. I have African brothers who are bishops would love to have a car to travel throughout their diocese, and pray for one passionately, but they are very grateful for the bicycle that they have to use on which they travel many miles to check on their churches until the car comes one day. When we live comparing ourselves to others in terms of material wealth, or even in terms of anointing’s and ministry, the result is always discontent which cultivates humiliation and embarrassment. That passage in Peter’s epistle says that God has granted us everything that pertains to life and godliness. Think about what that Scripture is saying about what God has blessed you with, spiritually as well as materially, or physically. It is true that the Holy Spirit may have put something in your heart, a promise concerning something that you do not yet possess, or do not yet manifest, but we should never be humiliated or embarrassed in the now, because what you have, and what you were walking in in terms of ministry is a blessing from God and we should always be grateful. It’s a funny kind of balance biblically that we should always long to manifest more in light of all the promises of God being yes in Christ, but at the same time, we are called to give thanks in and for all things. The Psalms says that we are to bless the Lord at all times. In terms of material wealth or possessions, instead of being embarrassed or ashamed of what we don’t have that a lot of what others possess, you should practice an attitude of gratitude, so that every time you are attempted to be humiliated or embarrassed, you should start praising God for the blessings that you see until the warfare in your mind and emotions go away. See what you have as anointed provision, not lack. The enemy is a thief, and if you are being attacked with the spirit of discontent, then he knows that you are blessed, and he is trying to rob you of seeing that, and celebrating that. If you are in Christ, then you are living in the favor of God, and instead of comparing yourselves to others, either spiritually, or materially, then you should look at everything in front of you and give God praise for his favor. I believe that if each of you who struggle in this area would start praising God; standing firm in the truth that you are already blessed, it will transform the way you feel about all the things in front of you, that have caused you to be discontent in the past. The enemy will stop tempting you with ingratitude and discontent because he hates to promote praise in the hearts of God’s people. Remember, Satan’s original assignment was the worship leader of heaven, and he led the praise of all the angels before the throne, and he loves to steal praise from the people of God, and one of the ways he does that is through comparison that makes us feel embarrassed and humiliated, instead of grateful. Start praising God for his blessings in the now, and he enemy will crawl back into the darkness, because he can’t live in the light of those who are thankful.