Tag Archives: John 15:5

Reflections in a Mirror – How do you see you?

Have you ever seen that cute poster that shows a little cat sitting in front of a full length mirror and the reflection is that of a huge lion? The point that this image is conveying is that how you see yourself is of utmost importance. But is that really true? Isn’t that a bit self-centered and egotisical?

With all the focus on “self esteem” and “self worth” and the “look-at -me” social media lifestyle we live with today, I took issue with this mind set. I took issue because God doesn’t teach us to be so self-centered and ego-driven. His Word tells us to be humble and modest and to place others before us. But when we look around and see the drug abuse, eating disorders, violence in schools, hazing and peer pressure and all the pain and suffering caused by negative self-image, poor self-worth and the desire for acceptance, I had to rethink my position.

I looked into the Word of God and found somethings I’d like to share.

   Psalms 23:7 tells us that:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

   There are many examples in the Bible of those who had either a very low self esteem or a prideful sense of self and God dealt with both accordingly. In Judges chapter 6 we see the angle of the Lord address Gideon as a “Mighty man of Valor!” yet, Gideon reveals very clearly how he sees himself in his response;

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel?

My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

  Gideon says that in all of Israel his family is the smallest, weakest and least powerful family and as if that wasn’t enough – he is the least of them! He just opened his mouth and declared himself to be one of the least powerful, important or capable people in the whole country!! Wow! talk about a poor self-image. But keep in mind that this is not how God sees him. Thankfully, this is not the end of Gideon’s story. He goes on, with the power of God, to fulfill his destiny as a mighty man of valor and saves Israel – see Judges 7

But lets look at how Gideon could say such a thing. Jesus gives us insight into where such things come from –

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Like 6:45

   So we see that Gideon said this about himself because that is what he really believed deep down inside himself. Regardless of what anyone else thought or said about him – he felt helpless and small. Thankfully God was able to turn his thinking around.

But lets look at an example of an over-inflated ego – King Saul

 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.  And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Sam 9:1-3

   Unlike Gideon, Saul was a handsome man who came from a powerful family and was taller than anyone else around. Add to that the fact that he was chosen to be King of Israel and you have a formula for pride, self-reliance and disobedience. 1 Samuel records the story of how Saul, ordered to kill the Amalekites and not leave alive or take anything. He did not obey. He let the men take the best of the livestock under the pretense of making a sacrifice to God with them. His pride and concern for public opinion among the men of Israel caused him to disobey God and that cost him the crown. He was rejected by God as king over Israel and later, a small, skinny boy would be chosen to take his place – David.

Young David is an example of a healthy self-image.

  With Saul rejected as King the Prophet Samuel is sent by God to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Jesse has seven of his sons stand before the prophet but God says no to each of them. Only after the young skinny son that Jesse overlooked was brought before Samuel did God command – Go, anoint this one! David began his journey as King of Israel. David, who even as a child had a good self image and knew how he stood with God. This is clearly seen in the way in which David stood up to Goliath even though the entire army shook with fear of that giant.

David declares that no one should be fearful about this man because he (little skinny boy David) will fight and defeat him! On the surface this might seem like a prideful statement but David was drawing on the confidence inside him because of his relationship with the One True God and past experiences.

But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:24-37

  David trusted in his own ability coupled with the power of God with him. Much like Daniel in the Lion’s den who trusted, come what may, in God’s Love to see him threw the situation ahead of them. Hopefully, you know how both these stories end. If not please look into it.

So, you see it’s all about a balance. You are not the lowest of the low no matter how you might feel and likewise, you are not he greatest one to walk the earth, even if you think you are!

Getting back to that cat looking at it’s reflection in the mirror.

He should see a great and mighty Lion in the mirror

as long as he also sees The Lord Jesus Christ beside him

otherwise it’s all and illusion!

Jesus said it best –

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

  Be blessed today as you go forth in the Power of the Holy Spirit to stand confidently in your place with Jesus by your side. Al

Further verses on this subject are listed here for our consideration.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Pr 16:18

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1 Peter 5:6

A Formula For Success

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from youJames 4:7 TLB

   We all strive to be successful. Whether it’s success in our profession or our personal lives we want to be our best at whatever we do. How can we insure our success in all of our endeavors? What can we do to have an edge?

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race,

but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize1 Cor. 9: 24 HCSB

   If you have run in a race you know that there is a wall that you hit that seems impassable. It can stop you in your tracks or motivate you to push threw. But, it requires calling on ever last ounce of effort. Sometimes that extra effort isn’t enough. Sometimes our best efforts and shear strength is not enough.

What do we do then? Give up? Make excuses?

Jesus gives us insight into how we can succeed in life.

 “I am the vine, you are the branches.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;

for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 NKJV

for without Me you can do nothing

   Wait a minute! That’s got to be a misprint! I am an adult who is able to do anything. How can Jesus say such a thing? He can say that because He knows that we are only able to do so much while we live this life. We can get by for awhile but to be successful in this life – in a way that is important to God – we need to be connected to the source of power and strength.

Jesus is that source

and He uses the example of the vine and branches to illustrate His point.

   The Word of God is full of people who were incapable of great things in their own strength but will God did mighty works. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Paul, Peter and many more. His grace is sufficient for them and is also for me – and You too!

  So the next time you are tempted to sin (no matter what that might look like) remember the formula for success –

  1. Humble yourself before God

  2. Resit the devil (the temptation)

  3. Rest in the assurance that you and God have sent the devil fleeing

also consider this

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13 NKJV

and this

 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15 NKJV

and finally always remember

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it  Phil 1:6b NKJV

Thank you for stopping by and God Bless, AL

Counting the Cost – Part 2 of the Hard Words Hard Work Series

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

Matthew 5:44 KJV

Really? How? Why? The answer to these questions can be found in the next verse recorded during our Lords’ address which came to be called – The Beatitudes.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (vs 45-48)

This is also where we find the famous “turn the other cheek” quote as well as “go the extra mile” and, as we see from the verse shown above, if you do these things we will be perfect! Ok, so maybe this doesn’t answer the question of How? and Why? But it does put to rest any doubt that this is a commend from God. Jesus said it and He meant it. Elsewhere our Lord tells us that if someone steal our coat we should find him and give him our shirt also. Yes. Really. Just such an example is illustrated in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel in which an ex con (Valjean) is taken in by a benevolent Bishop (Myriel) and returns the hospitality by stealing the silver that night.   When the police capture Valjean, Myriel pretends that he has given the silverware to Valjean and presses him to take two silver candlesticks as well, as if he had forgotten to take them. This act of Christian kindness is the catalyst for Valjean to change his life and live for God. This is a fictitious example of what our Lord admonished us to do but an example nonetheless.

So, How do we do such a thing? Well, the answer may be found in the acceptance of the truth that we are incapable of doing such things. Yup, that’s what I said. Hard as it is for us to hear, we are limited in our ability to do anything that the Lord has asked us to do – BUT that’s because we try to do it in our own strength.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Without Me (Jesus) you can do nothing. Nothing. Hard to hear that isn’t it? So how have we done whatever it is we have accomplished so far? Well, perhaps, with the help of God you have done things you thought you couldn’t do even if you didn’t ask for his help. But to answer angry with love, to give to someone who stole from you and to love those who hate you takes help. Help that is available 24/7 and is only a breath away.

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But what about the question – Why? That’s an easy one – because He said so. But if it helps, try to remember that we battle not against flesh and blood. Meaning, our fight is not with the people we see. It is a spiritual fight against the invisible forces behind them. Spirits of fear, addiction, anger, poverty, perversion and such can influence and control people to do things that can hurt us. Jesus knew this and encourages us to love because Love will conquer all.

If we can love them we will be the children of your Father which is in heaven

How wonderful is that???