Tag Archives: courage

Success Secret from Jesus – Day 9 – Courage

COURAGE

And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the table —John 2:14–15

Jesus was indignant when he discovered that the temple had been turned into a business office. Even so, he did not allow his anger to turn into blind rage but was able to control his anger – as evidenced by him taking his time first to make a whip of cords. His anger served to accomplish a righteous purpose – return the temple back to its purpose as a place of worship. Thus in purging the temple of traders, Jesus shows us the following:

Righteous (good-breathed) anger can be an effective tool when used in a controlled manner in appropriate situations (as determined by the Holy Spirit) for the purpose of correcting a wrong.

If we shift our focus away from anger, we see that Jesus acted courageously and in a godly manner. Whereas others may have felt that the temple was no place for merchandising, Jesus was the only one who was courageous enough to stand up to the money changers. Although he had no direct authority over those he chased away, he did not allow that to stop him from doing what was right. He took a bold stand and acted courageously while leaving the consequences to God. And so he righted a wrong.

COURAGE UNDER PRESSURE

Being believers, we ought to be filled with courage, for we know that God is for us. We should not allow our fear of the unknown to keep us from moving courageously toward the vision God has given us. Rather than focus on our obstacles, our niggling doubt, and the persistent whispers of naysayers, we must exhibit courage and press on toward our goal.

As evidenced by Rosa Parks, the African American civil right activist who has been touted as ‘the mother of the freedom movement,’ a single act of courage at the right time can change the course of history.

GODLINESS

It would have been easy for Jesus the “nice guy” to rationalize and justify the traders’ activity in the temple. He could have convinced himself that the oxen and sheep made it easy for the populace to give their burnt offerings; that the doves made it convenient for anyone to purchase them; and that the money changers made it easy for everyone to pay their tithes in the correct currency. No! Jesus the “godly guy” showed up. He did not condone bad behavior, but instead, he put an end to it.

While a nice person may enable bad behavior through inaction (often to his or her own detriment), a godly person always focuses on what is good and allows the chips to fall where they may.

Choosing godliness is not always popular. It does, however, command people’s respect and promote their confidence in you because of your adherence to high moral standards. Furthermore, godly people tend to attract other godly people who operate in the highest levels of integrity. So stand your ground today and walk in godly courage.

Check out Looking to Superman – The secret to success in life on superchampinc for more practical tips the experience of Jesus teaches us on being successful.

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Called and Chosen to Influence – Ezekiel the Watchman

A priest is an ordinary person who has been called to be in a position of influence! Though priests exert considerable influence today, they were the pinnacle of influence in times past when there was no separating religion from politics; when there was no distinguishing between ‘church’ and ‘state’.  

Ezekiel, being a priest in the house of the Lord was called to be influential. Though he had no formal authority (for he was not a king), he had plenty of power to influence the elders of Judah and the overall population.

Now, since the scriptures tell us that we are a member of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) in Christ, it is clear that we are now all priests! This means that we have all been called to be people of influence in our society. Therefore, we can no longer idly stand by in our communities while circumstances deteriorate! We cannot simply say ‘there is nothing I can do’. No, there is something we can do!

Light-bulb moment: As believers, we are all called to exert positive influence over our society.

While we may not have the authority and resource to change the world around us, the least we can do is be a watchman! This is what God called Ezekiel to be in a time when there was seemingly nothing he could do – for he was in captivity with the rest of Judah. Here is what the Lord specifically spoke to Ezekiel about being a watchman:

 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways

Light-bulb moment: We can exert positive influence over our society by being watchmen

Here are 3 important truths this passage of scripture tells us about watchmen.

Responsibilities of a watchman

  1. Watchmen are responsible to speak only what the Lord relates to them; they are not to be originators of their own words. In other words, we have to take ourselves out of the equation – it is not about what we think or what we want to say, it is about listening to God to receive what He says. Just as God gave Ezekiel the words to speak, He will give us the words to speak as well (Ezekiel 3:10).
  2. Watchmen are not responsible for the outcome; they are responsible to obey God in doing and saying what God has asked of them. The outcome depends on the individual or the society the watchmen are responsible to guard
  3. Watchmen are held responsible for their disobedience. In other words, they bear the guilt for the demise of the society or of the individual if they fail to perform their duty. Hence, failure to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to speak into the life of an individual is a costly matter. When God tells us to act, societal norms need to get out of the way. But ‘he is my boss’ or but ‘I am shy’ are no excuses! ‘What will people think if I do this or say that’ many times is what leads to the prolonged suffering and unnecessary deaths of people we have been called to watch over. Friends, you and I have been called to be watchmen!  Indeed, we must pick up the mantle of being a watchman and exert positive influence on our societies if we are ever going to see the world change.

Light-bulb moment: The society perishes when there are no faithful watchmen.

Characteristics of a watchman

While God has called all of us to be watchmen, not everyone is chosen to be a watchman. As an analogy, just because we have passed all the qualification exams in school does not mean we automatically get hired. We have to go through an interview process where we are evaluated.  The same is true of God. He will choose only those who have passed the evaluation. The evaluation that Ezekiel passed is hidden in the following verses:

The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.” Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.” “Very well,” He said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.” – Ezekiel 4:13-15

Here are 3 important truths these passages reveal about the characteristics of watchmen

  1. Watchmen have a proven record of obedience: Ezekiel said that he had never defiled himself even from his youth. This shows he was obedient to observe all the ordinances of a Nazirite. If Ezekiel would not compromise his Nazirite vow, God understood that he would not compromise His word.
  2. Watchmen are bold and courageous: Ezekiel spoke back to God and objected to God’s initial prompting to defile himself. How bold and courageous! By this, God understood nothing was going to move Ezekiel into rebellion. Unlike the other elders of Judah, He was going to stay steadfast no matter the situation.
  3. Watchmen have a heart of love and integrity: Ezekiel could have cowered and done what the Lord wanted Him to do disdainfully. Instead, He was bold and courageous to entreat God not to defile himself. In essence, he was saying: ‘God, I love you too much and love myself too much to defile myself’. As a result, God changed His mind for Ezekiel. By this God understood that Ezekiel had a heart full of integrity.

As a side note, we should ask God if we are not sure about His instruction. Moreover, just like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, we can ask him to change his mind about what He is asking us to do. Of course like Jesus, we must say ‘not my will, but Your will be done’.

Food for Thought: To be successful watchmen, we must be strong and courageous to obey the voice of God in love no matter what!

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Godly Vision: A Pitfall to Avoid on the Road to Success

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

In ‘How vision is critical to success’, we examined the importance of vision in navigating us through the travails of life and propelling us towards the good life that God intends for us. When we receive a vision of the plans that God has for us – plans to prosper us and to give us a future – the natural response is to begin running towards it with gusto and vigor, knowing that we shall inherit the promises if we do not grow faint and weary. The snag is that Satan also knows this and so tries to get us to become faint-hearted over time as we run. He understands that we inherit the promises through faith and diligence; hence that is what he attacks. He will try to get us to doubt the vision that God has given us. If he cannot stop us from seeing the vision, he will try to convince us that we are not worthy of the vision; that the vision is impossible for us to attain. He will stop at nothing to prevent us from reaching the high calling of God on our life. He knows our race only continues for as long as we live, and so he does everything in his power to dissuade us and to stall our progress. Of the many weapons in his arsenal, the one he likes to use often is discouragement – the bullets of which include comparison and time.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: One of the biggest pitfalls to achieving success is discouragement

If our goal is to chop down a tree, we may begin to compare ourselves to others whose task is also to cut trees down. If we see others felling their trees in record time and obtaining their prize, we may start to wonder whether something is wrong with us. How can others do it in a short time while we are taking so much longer we ask ourselves? Instead of focusing our on attention on what God would have us do, we try to carbon-copy what others are doing and so fail miserably – because we fail to understand that just as each person is unique, each tree (although still being a tree) is unique in its characteristics. At first, seeing the success of others may galvanize us to work harder on our task, but then we get discouraged when we seem to be making little progress.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Ungodly comparison stalls our progress by causing us to take our eyes off our own vision but rather to focus it on others visions.

The mind-set of copying exactly what others are doing leads us to be task-oriented versus being goal-oriented. It leads us to try to fit a circular key into a square lock! But when we keep our eyes on our vision; we are more likely to see the obstacles to success. Many times, we realize that although we started cutting the tree at the same time as our friend, his/her dagger was already sharp while our dagger was blunt to begin with. Perhaps our friends took the time to sharpen their dagger while we did not! The truth is this: In all things, we must sharpen the tool of our mind with the Word of God, for it is the double-edged Sword of the Word of God (see Hebrews 4:12) – whether read, watched, listened to, or spoken to us – that helps us achieve our vision, when we allow its iron to sharpen our iron.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Just as we have to sharpen our dagger if we are to fell a tree, our first task upon seeing a vision is to correct what is wrong (the bluntness of our mind) so that we may achieve the joy that is set before us.

Once we have sharpened our dagger, the second bullet Satan unleashes against us is time. He will say to us: ‘You and your friend started at the same time with a sharpened dagger and yet you have been at it for ages. This God of yours has given you an impossible task. See, you are sweating like a pig over there and getting nowhere fast. This tree is too big! Why don’t you just stop and relax yourself. I have provided you with a shaded tree, so why don’t you just come and rest a bit!’

If Satan has ever said this to you, rebuke him immediately! He does not want you clearing the path to your Father’s house but wants you to stay in the hot and sticky wilderness of your circumstance. He is lying to you about the shaded tree, for the leaves fall off as soon as you lay underneath it and it dries up. Hold on to God’s word and persevere. God cannot lie; whatever He has spoken becomes truth.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Time is simply a tool God uses to help us build the muscle of our character before Him so that we do not waste our inheritance once He gives is to us.

Food for Thought: While God always encourages us to never give up on Him; Satan always discourages us so that we give up on God.

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