40 Days of Challenge – Day 6 Positive Practices and the Danger Zone
Posted by truthoughts on September 29, 2013
40 Days of Challenge
Positive Practices and the Danger Zone
Philippians 2:14 (KJV) “Do all things without murmurings (grumbling) and disputings”
Have you ever found yourself making an effort to go out of your way for someone only to find that they respond without the spirit of gratitude? How did this make you feel? Did you feel put out or resentful?
When we come across this type of scenario, and find that it makes us feel upset because of the response or lack thereof, it is time to question our motives. Are you serving others to be noticed or feel appreciated… or are you serving them as a result of serving Christ?
If you are serving them as a result of serving Christ, then their reaction to your efforts will not so easily affect your perspective or mood. If you are in fact serving others to receive something yourself, it may be time to check your love in action meter.
When we truly submerge ourselves in Christ and the things of Christ, we become filled and do not experience the type of lack that the world does. This changes our motivations, as we no longer need to do things to get things, because Christ becomes our everything. We begin to give from the overflow, rather than as a desperate attempt to fill needs not met. For more on this, please read the challenge from day 4 “Self Control andThoughtfulness“.
If our expectations are self focused, we more than likely will become disappointed, which in turn discourages us from continuing the positive practices we have committed to through this process. We must keep in the forefront of our minds, the sacrificial love that Christ Jesus gave to us, and follow His example through the love that He empowers us with by His Spirit. We cannot accomplish this through our will power and human effort, as He reminds us when He states in Zechariah 4:6 that it is not by might, nor power, but by His Spirit. These selfless, sacrificial acts of love is how the Lord impacted the world during His time here, and as our example, we must follow His lead.
There is a saying that “practice makes perfect”, yet this is not the case. Practice does not make perfect, it just makes permanent. Only perfect practice, makes permanent perfection. If we want to live as Christ, as we are called to do, we must make a practice of His works, because only His works are perfect. We are told many times through His Word that He requires good fruit (works) from those who follow Him. The Lord also shares throughout His Word that His works are what He saw the Father do, and He repeated in the world. The same example is for us, we do what we saw Him do, through His Word.
Again, this must come from the overflow of Him in us, His love, His Word, His work. The Lord made it very clear that our attitude and motivation is very important. He speaks often of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who focused on being recognized rather than serving in love for the purpose of serving. The Lord makes it quite clear that they have their reward, acknowledgment of the people. However, for those who serve without seeking recognition, it is those whom He will recognize in the end. Their reward will be great and eternal, given by Him and of Him. This far outweighs public pronouncements and accolades. So, when you go forth to serve in love, remember who it is your are actually serving, “as ye did unto the least of these My brethren, ye did unto Me”, and keep a positive attitude with gratitude for all He has done for you (Matthew 25:40).
One challenge for today is to seek out whom you may serve, without expectations or acknowledgements, merely being satisfied by serving Him through serving them.
Pray that the Lord will help you to have His servant heart, able to bear witness to those around you through your overflowing acts of love from His blessings. Pray that these positive practices will both deepen your relationship with Him through understanding and discernment of His Spirit, as well as open doors to share His Word with those you serve. Pray that He will fill your every need so you can freely give without needing in return, all for His glory and the good of those being served.
Proverbs 16:32 (KJV) “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
This life can be difficult and tends to build resentment that overflows to those around us at any given opportunity. Have you ever noticed someone who is faced with a situation that seems small, yet they blow their cool as though someone had threatened their life? Their rage meter seems to be jammed on the danger zone, and at times these end up on the evening news for going one or more steps too far, according to the rules of society. This is something we can expect from those in the world, without the hope of Christ, yet what happens when those who claim Him are in this Danger Zone?
We are told in Scripture that this life is a race, and we are to run it in order to obtain a crown. We are also told that we are surrounded by witnesses, which mean those around us who are paying very close attention to us and our actions, being we claim the name of Chirst. What witness are you bearing?
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (KJV) “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth (competes) for the mastery (prize) is temperate in all things (has self control). Now they do it to obtain a corruptible (perishable) crown; but we an incorruptible (imperishable).”
Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV) “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
With this in mind, changing our focus from that of the world who says “Live it up now because tomorrow we may die”, to that of the Scriptures which reveals that we are living for eternity and we must be conscious today for tomorrow is our reward. This mind-shift changes our race from a sprint to a marathon, and we must adjust accordingly, while remaining conscious of the witness we bear to those watching.
The way we begin this adjustment is by slowing things down a bit and redirecting our focus to the more important and long lasting aspects of life. Instead of pushing ourselves to gain finances, obtain earthly rewards and acknowledgements from accomplishments valued by those around us, we take time to equip ourselves with the tools that will gain us endurance for the task ahead. We enhance our discernment by filling our arsenal with the Words of God, as they are like a double-edged sword in the spiritual battles we face. We begin to run with the purpose of carrying those around us when necessary, instead of just leaving those around us behind in our dust. We do not focus our time and efforts on climbing a corporate ladder, but rather focus on the ladder that Jacob saw that reached to the heavenly realm.
Our battle is not with those around us, as they step on many around them to gain momentary monopolies, but rather on the spiritual realm that influences them in their destruction. With this understanding, we do not react to circumstances, but take the initiative to control the spiritual atmosphere that reflects in the physical. This mindset allows us to remain in control, minding what matters most, and being effectual in the influences of the witnesses around us to His glory. Through Christ and His Word, we escape the danger zone which captures so many in the world through its false expectations of success.
Through the positive practices of our growth in the Scriptures, we gain permanent, positive results that are eternal.
Your second challenge for today is to take some time and examine your motivations and focus. Are you living your life for a sprint or a marathon? Are you concerned with carrying those around you or leaving them in the dust to gain what your heart of flesh desires? What changes can you make to run in the eternal race effectually and obtain the incorruptible crown of righteousness?
Also, take the list of questions that you answered in day 3’s challenge, and create a positive practice mission statement. Claim who you are in Christ, using present tense words such as “Iam” rather than “I want to be” or “I will be”. Place this mission statement where you can read it daily and ponder it throughout the day.
Acts 24:16 (KJV) “And herein do I exercise myself (this being so I myself strive), to have always a conscience void of (without) offense toward God, and toward men.”
*Day 7: Coming Soon*