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I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world. (Jeremiah 1:5 NLT)
In Jeremiah 1:5, we’re taught that God created Jeremiah to share the Creator’s message with the nations. In the same way, God created you to share yourself with those around you.
You are diminished if you hide yourself under a bushel, keeping your skills, talents, insights, joy, and pain hidden away from others. God wants you to share yourself. He created you with a uniqueness that enriches the world when you give yourself to the community around you.
Maybe you’re a great singer, or a great cook, or a great mechanic, or a great teacher. Whatever gift God has given you, he gave it to you to give away in service to him.
Talk About It
Ask God why he created you and what you’re supposed to give away. Whose life will you influence by giving of your time and talent?
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. “ (Matthew 7:24 NIV)
We all want God to bless our lives. For God to do that, we need to get into his Word. Over the last few days, we’ve been looking at the four ways James 1:22-25 says we should interact with the Bible in order to have a life God blesses.
Read your Bible. “Whoever looks intently …”
Review the Bible. “… and continues in it …”
Remember the Bible. “… not forgetting what they have heard …”
Respond to the Bible. “ … but doing it …”
If you read, study, and memorize God’s Word, but you never apply the Bible to your life, you’ve missed the point. James 1:22 warns us not to deceive ourselves when we read God’s Word. Instead, we’re to turn what God teaches us into actions. You only believe the part of the Bible you actually do. If I shared with you biblical principles about balancing your family budget, but you never do it, you’re simply deceiving yourself. You don’t really know what the Bible is teaching.
You only believe the part of the Bible you actually do. In almost every message I share at Saddleback Church, every point has a verb in it. Why? God wants us to be doers of the Word not just hearers. Too many times we hear good Bible teaching, but we don’t know what to do about what we’re learning.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:24, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (NIV).Applying the Bible to your life will give your life stability during the storms of life.
We don’t know which storms will come into our lives in the next year or two. But I do know this: You’ll crumble when tough times come if you’re building your life on anything other than God’s Word. Contemporary culture changes like shifting sands. Instead, you must build your life upon applying the unchanging Word of God. No storm can overcome that rock.
Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 (NIV)
Receiving, reading, researching, remembering, and reflecting on the Word of God are all useless if we fail to put them into practice. We must become doers of the word (James 1:22 KJV).
I understand this is a hard step, because Satan fights it so intensely. He doesn’t mind you going to Bible studies as long as you don’t do anything with what you learn.
We fool ourselves when we assume that just because we have heard or read or studied a truth, we have internalized it.
Actually, you can be so busy going to the next class or seminar or Bible conference that you have no time to implement what you’ve learned. You forget it on the way to your next study. Without implementation, all our Bible studies are worthless. Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NIV)
Jesus also pointed out that God’s blessing comes from obeying the truth, not just knowing it. He said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17 (NIV)
I cannot overstate the value of being a part of a small Bible study discussion group. We always learn from others truths we would never learn on our own. Other people will help you see insights you would miss and help you apply God’s truth in a practical way.
The best way to become a doer of the Word is to always write out an action step as a result of your reading or studying or reflecting on God’s Word. Develop the habit of writing down exactly what you intend to do.
This action step should be personal (involving you), practical (something you can do), and provable (with a deadline to do it). Every application will involve either your relationship to God, your relationship to others, or your personal character.
Talk about it –
- What has God already told you to do in his Word that you haven’t started doing yet?
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9, NLT, 2nd edition)
Did Jesus suffer? Was Jesus sometimes lonely? Was he tempted to be discouraged? Was he misunderstood, maligned, and criticized unjustly? Of course! None of us are exempt from suffering, loneliness, discouragement, or unjust criticism, because God is developing within us the character of Christ, and, in order to do this, he must take us through all of the circumstances in life through which he took Christ. Does this mean God causes tragedies? No. God is good, and he will not cause evil or do evil. But God can use dark and stressful times for good. He’ll use them to teach us to trust him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), to show us how to help others (2 Corinthians 1:4-6), and to draw us closer to other believers (2 Corinthians 1:11).
So, what should you do when you’re going through difficult times?
- Refuse to be discouraged.
- Remember God is with you.
- Rely on God’s protection and guidance.
We all go through difficult times. The difference for those who believe in Jesus is not the absence of the shadow but the presence of the Light.
“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (Psalm 25:9 NIV)
The Bible says there are several things we need to do to receive guidance from God, but the very first thing is this: We need to admit we need a guide!
Most of the time we don’t want to follow God or anybody else. We want to go our own way. We don’t want to admit we need direction or that we need a guide.
Sheep, by nature, tend to wander off the path. The Prophet Isaiah says, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own” (Isaiah 53:6a NLT).
Another thing about sheep is that they have poor vision. They can’t see very far ahead. That’s why they need a shepherd.
God made you so that you would not be able to see into the future no matter how much you try. Why did God do this? He did it so you would depend on him.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (NIV). We’ve all made decisions that at the time seemed right but later on turned out to be wrong. Some paths lead to dead ends and we end up off track. That’s why we need to admit, “God, I need help.”
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by casting a clear, compelling, and challenging vision along with values, goals, and strategy that are easily understood.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by valuing people for who they are, and not for what they can produce.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by being authentic and vulnerable.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by celebrating the success of those they lead.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by affirming those they lead.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by trusting, honoring, and respecting everyone in the entire organization.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by giving those they lead responsibility and accountability.
Leaders create a winning organizational culture by resourcing, developing, and have realistic job expectations for the people they lead.
At the core of this type of leadership is grace. A transformed leader leads out of the love they have received from Christ.