This period of my life has generally, by God’s grace, been more or less smooth-sailing, and for now, I’d like to share some nuggets of truth that God has been placing on my heart in recent days.
Earlier in the year, I talked about how friendships that point one another to Christ will last in the long-haul. After Camp Ekklesia, I’ve been meditating on building the church practically by building people up in love, not tearing them down. Recently, God showed me that these two principles are logically equivalent; to build people up is to point them to the Christ who lives in me through love and good deeds, and pointing people to Christ will inevitably build them up, firm up their faith and so on.
This leads me to a season in which God shows me how: by His wisdom. Wisdom is quite different from knowledge of facts. As Pastor Prince once said, “A truth spoken out of season is no better than a heresy.” Thus, in recent meetups with acquaintances and close friends alike, when I’m hearing them out, I’ll pray for wisdom quietly. I’ll ask God, “How can I build up this brother or sister of mine? How can I point him or her to Christ?” This means that while I can give the theologically and politically correct answers, I many a time refrain from doing so, as that is not what they need at that point in time. Knowledge puffs up, but wisdom builds up, and I’m grateful that I’m learning to interact in wisdom.
This by no means imply that I’ve mastered this. In fact, I’ll probably be relying on God’s wisdom for the rest of my life, just as I rely on His grace and love and provision in literally everything I do. I’m helpless on my own; my wealth is found only in the cross.
Speaking of self, in recent times the Lord has given me a key of discernment. Not all sermons are by God, surprisingly, and there is a simple key to decipher whether it is or not. Even if it is chock-full of theology and Christianese, we still need to discern, and there is one ultra-powerful key to do so.
Self-centeredness or Christ-centeredness.
Does (action) point you to yourself or to Christ?
It sounds simple, but if you actually think about it, this is the central tension throughout the Bible. In fact, you can discern just about everything using this principle, whether it is good or not. No matter how attractive or unattractive anything sounds, ask this question: does it point you to Christ?
For example: Our society teaches to strive for our success and that as long as we remain positive, we can achieve anything we set out minds upon. Sounds good and amazing and socially acceptable, right? Yet, it’s a dangerous teaching, because it points us to ourselves. Here’s a negative example: we sinned big-time and feel really guilty about it. We confess our sin to God and condemn ourselves for being unworthy of His love. It sounds holy, and yet it’s an incredibly dangerous mindset, because, once again, it points us to ourselves.
When your leader points out your faults and tell you that you have areas of vulnerability to work on…it can go either way. If the focus is on what you can do, it’s self-centeredness again. Yet, if you both agree that it’s by the grace of Christ that He will change us, and by responding in faith He works in us to bring about the change, the focus is on Christ. Even though it felt incredibly uncomfortable, it still honors God, since it is centered on Christ.
May these nuggets of truth bless you as you go on in your day:
- How can we build people up?
- How can we point people to Christ?
- Choose Christ-centeredness over self-centeredness
-Joel Kindiak, 12 September 2016, 1526 hrs