Getting Too Big For Your Britches

The origin of my title, ‘Too big for your breeches’ or ‘too big for your britches’, is an American phrase, and one I heard growing up during the “instructional” moments as a young boy.

If you are unfamiliar with the metaphor, here is one meaning of the phrase:

“Conceited; having too high opinion of oneself.”  [The New Roget’s Thesaurus]

It is first found in print in An Account of Col. Crockett’s Tour to the North and Down East, 1835, written by Davy Crockett:

davy_crockett_by_william_henry_huddle_1889

“I myself was one of the first to fire a gun under Andrew Jackson.  I helped to give him all his glory.  But I liked him well once; but when a man gets too big for his breeches, I say goodbye.”

THIS BLOG’S SCRIPTURE VERSES:  Jeremiah 45:4-5  New Living Translation (NLT)

[4]  “Baruch, this is what the LORD says:  ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted.

[5]  ‘ Are you seeking great things for yourself?  Don’t do it!  I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go.  I, the LORD, have spoken.”

This message from God was given by Jeremiah to Baruch in a time of great personal discouragement in the scribe’s life.

WHO WAS BARUCH?

baruch-serving-jeremiah-320x400According to Josephus, Baruch was a Jewish aristocrat, a son of Neriah, brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, and chamberlain of king Zedekiah of Judah.

Baruch became the scribe of the prophet Jeremiah and wrote down the first and second editions of his prophecies as they were dictated to him.  [ See Jeremiah 36:2, 32 ] – [See footnote [i] ]

Because of his background and current position to God’s prophet, it seems that his own personal aspirations had not been fulfilled.

Boy, I’ve been there before!

His DESIRE to seek great things for himself had met without success, leaving him dejected; passed over for promotion:

Jeremiah 45:3 (AMP):

“Woe is me now! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and sighing and I find no rest.”

It’s at this point that, through Jeremiah, God asks Baruch a soul-searching question:

V. 5:  “And you should seek great things for yourself?”  Seek them not!”

God’s WORD to Baruch is a strong message and play’s a role familiar in normal human life today, and yes, even in our churches–that, of having to take second place, having to play second fiddle to an already established assembly.

Considering all that Baruch was doing to make Jeremiah’s prophecies permanent by recording them for posterity, it’s not surprising that he seems to have expected to share at least some of the prophet’s rewards.

When realization set in, Baruch couldn’t hide his frustration, slipping into despair, “groaning and sighing”–whining all along, as he wrote down Jeremiah’s words from God.

Have you ever found yourself muttering while in service for God?  “GUILTY!”

Many people today, who profess FAITH in Jesus Christ, have been caught up in the COVETOUS spirit of the world in the “more for ME” or “great things for ME” philosophy.

The Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10):

“Oh, that You would bless ME and enlarge MY border, and that Your hand might be with ME, and You would keep ME from evil so it might not hurt ME!”

Though God granted Jabez his request, his prayer was not a petition in behalf of anyone but himself.  No thought for anyone but himself!

Oh, how it would be good today for Christians to consider God’s admonition to Baruch “…seek not”.

Somehow, some way, we’ve lost sight of the motto “God first…Others second…Self last!”

Living in the last days…

This just might be my opinion, but in these last days, we should all strive, as children of God, to live on a plane much higher than our own selfish ambition.  In this materialistic generation, the tendency is to put both the youth and adults into slavery.

The Apostle Paul’s reproach in Romans 15:1-3 tells us…

[1]  WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak;  [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others]  and not to please ourselves.  [2] Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].  [3] For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written,  The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me.  [Ps. 69:9.]

Lets look at Scripture and do some COMPARISONS of the “great things” the world can offer WITH… the “greater things” God provides for His children.

FIRST, let me share some “GREAT THINGS” we shouldn’t seek:

  • Great Worldly Honor – 1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV):

[25]  “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

rewarded-saint

Great Worldly Riches – Acts 12:21-23 (NIV):

[21]  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 

[22]  They shouted,  “This is the voice of a god, not a man.”

[23]  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Christians should NOT SEEK Worldly HONOR, RICHES and POWER to the neglect of one’s soul.

The things that the WORLD offers are but temporary in nature whereas the things of God endure forever!

“Yeah, BUT…I have needs as much as any non-believer,” you might be saying to yourself.

Even when thinking about the temporal things, the child of God is promised in being supplied with every need.

God really promises His children ALL of their needs?

Matthew 6:33 (AMP):

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then ALL these things taken together will be given you besides.”

Now, let me share the “GREATER THINGS” God has in store for us.

  • Far greater HONOR – 1 John 3:2 (AMP) and James 4:10 (NLT): 

1 John 3:2:  “Beloved, we are [even here ans] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He (Jesus) comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.”

James 4:10:  “HUMBLE yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

“True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us” ~ Tryon Edwards.

  • Far greater RICHES – Romans 8:16-17 (NIV) and [See Proverbs 22:4]:

[16]  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

[17]  Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Far greater POSITION & POWER – Revelation 3:21 (AMP):

[21]  He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down besides My Father on His throne.”

Feeling “too big for your britches” lately?

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING–Get over yourself–get into God so that you can start living a LIFE bigger than you are and experience the BLESSING of God, so that you too can find your REAL value in the eyes of the LORD as Baruch did.

jeremiah45_5
GOD’S BLESSING FOR YOUR LIFE

 


Footnotes & Credits —

Footnote [i] :  Wikipedia – Baruch 

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Commentary:  Enduring Word Bible Commentary Jeremiah Chapter 45.

Bible Translations:  New Living Translation (NLT);  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV); English Standard Version (ESV).

What Are the Motives Behind Our Serving God?

jehurides SCRIPTURE READING – 2 KINGS 9:1-37; 10:1-35

Before grabbing your Bible and diving into this story, let me give you but one definition for the word MOTIVE:

“An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action; causing an action.”  [The Free Dictionary by Farlex]

We will be returning to this definition throughout this bible study.

“HOUSE CLEANING” –

My wife’s “desire” for an entire house cleaning, most often, does not necessarily incite action.  It is much like my DESIRE to exercise, knowing it’s physiologically healthy, but almost never causes an action on my part.  I am glad to get that off my chest before getting into this particular Blog Bible Study.

JEHU’S Commission from God –

A PROPHET was sent to pronounce God’s death sentence on AHAB (1 Kings 20:42) because of his DISOBEDIENCE of not killing Ben-Hadad, king of Aram.

Elijah later prophesied AHAB’S doom in 1 Kings 21:19 after he had murdered Naboth and seized his property (vineyard); the results in 1 Kings 22:38. 

Elijah prophesies AHAB’S descendants would be cut off and his wife JEZEBEL would be killed (1 Kings 21:22-24).

Because of AHAB’S subsequent humbling of himself before God, God took notice (as He always does), choosing to bring about these promised disasters during the reign of his son Joram, instead of in AHAB’S lifetime (1 Kings 21:27-29).

JEHU, a commander in the Israelite Army, is anointed king and commissioned to exterminate AHAB’S descendants (2 Kings 9:6-10), fulfilling the prophecies against the house of AHAB.

JEHU’S “ZEAL FOR THE LORD” in Cleaning House–the house (dynasty) of Omri and his son AHAB (2 Kings 10:16) –

The Killing Fields ~

  • JEHU kills Joram, king of Israel and AHAB’S son (2 Kings 9:24-26).  Joram’s body was thrown on Naboth’s plot of ground, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah (1 Kings 21:19).
  • JEHU kills Ahaziah, king of Judah, one of Ahab’s grandsons (2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 22:7 explains how Ahaziah’s visit to Joram was used by God to bring about his downfall).  He also kills some of king Ahaziah’s relatives who were coming to visit (2 Kings 10:12-14).
  • JEHU has JEZEBEL thrown out of a window.  She is then trampled and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:32-37).
  • He incites the officials of Samaria who were rearing 70 sons of AHAB, to kill all the royal princes (2 Kings 10:6-9).
  • JEHU KILLED ANYONE RELATED TO, OR ASSOCIATED WITH AHAB IN JEZREEL (2 Kings 10:11) and ALL his family in Samaria!  (2 Kings 10:17).
  • His final achievement was his killing of ALL THE BAAL PRIESTS, destroying the Baal Temple to the point it became used as a latrine–an outhouse.  (2 Kings 10:25-29)

For all of JEHU’S enthusiastic ZEAL, God rewarded him with the longest dynasty in the history of Israel (2 Kings 10:30).  But, did JEHU have an alternative MOTIVE behind his ZEAL?

JEHU’S MOTIVES EXPOSED and JUDGED!

The prophet HOSEA gives us a glimpse in exposing something I thought was quite interesting.

Hosea 1:4 (NIV):

Then the LORD said to Hosea,  “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.”

God was going to punish the house of JEHU for a massacre He had sanctioned and rewarded JEHU for (2 Kings 10:30).  

I thought to myself after reading this, “Wait a minute.  Jehu seemed like an obedient servant of the Lord.  What’s the deal?”

Outside Appearances Are Not Always As They Seem! –

2 Kings 10:28-29, 31 (AMP):

[28] JEHU rooted Baal out of Israel,  [29] BUT…

JEHU did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin,that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

[31] But JEHU paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord the God of Israel, with all his heart.  He did not quit the sins with which Jeroboam made Israel to sin.

At my first reading, I found that strange, being that JEHU had exterminated Baal worship.  What happened to his ZEAL ( 2 Kings 10:16) that alone, should have led him to ridding a nation of every sort of idol worship?

I believe it never was purely there to begin with.  I also believe that JEHU’S AGENDA didn’t really include God.

JEHU, by cleaving, against the will of God, to Jeroboam’s SIN, which served his own political ends, showed that, in the slaughter of his master, he acted not as he pretended, out of ZEAL for God’s will, but served his own will and ambition.  [See Footnote [1] ]

Getting rid of Baal served his interests but getting rid of the Jeroboam calf idols cut in on his own political gains.

A sure sign of God’s immediate JUDGMENT on JEHU is found in 2 Kings 10:32; His reducing of the size of Israel.

[32] “[So] in those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel…”

While JEHU might have “slept with his fathers” as V35 says, meaning his physical death, I can assure you, that is NOT descriptive of what has been taking place for thousands of years in hell with his soul.

My JUDGMENT?  No, GOD’S JUDGMENT!

THE MOTIVES BEHIND OUR SERVICE TO GOD –

Some examples of SERVICE with impure motives is serving God out of SELFISH AMBITION.

The apostle Paul gave examples of selfish ambition in Philippians 1:14-18 (NIV):

[14]  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

[15]  It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

[16]  The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

[17]  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

[18]  But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this, I rejoice.

Although Paul is speaking about preachers trying to make a name for themselves in his absence,  A. W. Tozer says,

“Many a solo is sung to show off, many a sermon is preached

as an exhibition of talent; many a church is founded as a slap to

some other church.  Even missionary activity

may become competitive and soul-winning’

may degenerate into a sort of brush-salesman project

to satisfy the flesh.”

[*See Footnote [2] ]

Serving God out of GREED –

Paul wrote about FALSE TEACHERS in 1 Timothy 6:3-10, who saw financial opportunity in the Gospel.  Unfortunately, that is still in place in the 21st Century in record numbers.

Serving God without LOVE –

HIDDEN MOTIVES
HIDDEN MOTIVES

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (AMP):

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing.  Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Our SERVICE to God is but an empty service…a service without LOVE for others.

IMPURE MOTIVES –

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.”  ~ A. W. TOZER

GOD KNOWS YOUR MOTIVES!!

God is examining your MOTIVES.

Proverbs 16:2 (NLT):

“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.

God will reveal your MOTIVES.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV):

[12]  The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  [13]  Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

1 Corinthians 4:5b (NIV):

“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”

Over the years, I have noticed how some people treat God like a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card that they discard after He gets them out of their problems.

Some people climb the Church ladder of success much like folks climb the Corporate ladder.  They truly don’t care who they step over.

They wear their RELIGION like a cloak over their desires–camouflaged hearts– for 4-x4-camo-camouflage-heart-gas-cap-bumper-sticker-decal-window-stickers-decalsfolks to see them as spiritual.

They may speak in tongues and be used in great gifts of the Spirit, but their lack of LOVE for others reveals a HEART with impure motives.

So, why do we do, what we do, in SERVING our heavenly Father.

Why Are You Serving God?

Are you serving God out of interest in His plan for you, or, are you SERVING HIM to the extent that what He does benefits your plan for your life?

Why we SERVE won’t mean a hill of beans in the end, unless we truly had ZEAL for the Lord, rather than wearing a Cloak of sorts over who we really are.

Therefore, check your MOTIVES FOR SERVING CHRIST…today!!


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [1]:  Barnes – Notes on the Old Testament – (2 Kings 10)

Footnote [2]:  Draper’s book of Quotations for the Christian World – A. W. TOZER; by Edythe Draper.

 

CREDITS:

Commentary:  Why Did God Condemn Jehu?  By Troy Lacey and Tim Chaffey on April 8, 2011 – The Misconception Series.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP);  New International Version (NIV); New Living Translation (NLT).

 

 

 

 

CAUTION: Careful Thinking Before Walking On Thin Ice!

BLOG’S TEXT–1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (AMP):

[19]  “For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].  [20]  To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to men under the Law, [I became] as one under the Law, though not myself being under the Law, that I might win those under the Law.  [21]  To those without (outside) law I became as one without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.  [22]  To the weak (wanting in discernment) I have become weak (wanting in discernment) that I might win the weak and over-scrupulous.  I have [in sort] become all things to all men,in a that I might by all means (at all costs and by any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ].  [23]  And I do this for the sake of the good news (the Gospel), in order that I may become a participator in it and share in its [blessings along with you].”

THINKING BEFORE YOU TAKE A RISK IN THE “WHAT If’s” OF SOCIETY:

Spectator Sports are a big part of people’s lives everywhere.  Whether it be Soccer, Cricket, Tennis, Golf or in the Pacific Northwest this past week–Playoff Professional Football–the Seattle Seahawks.  Personally, I’m more of a baseball fan, but with Seattle’s lack of success in that area…maybe more of a Football enthusiast of late.  And you are right, just a “fair-weather” sports fan.

5887222774_7f1ccc9f3aCareful Thinking Before Taking Risks–

MY PURPOSE:

My purpose for writing this blog is NOT to “throw rocks” at churches in communities for doing things out of the ‘ordinary’ ; in being transparent ‘real people’ for Christ.  For the apostle Paul did so on many occasions.  My only purpose is to remind church leaders to READ THE CAUTION SIGNS; to THINK first before taking a risk of going against the gospel truth–stepping out on the ice regardless of what the results may be.

A few definitions of the meaning– On Taking Risks

(“Exposure to) the possibility of loss, or other adverse or unwelcome circumstance; a chance or situation involving such a possibility”~ Old English Dictionary.

And… “RISK can be seen as relating to the PROBABILITY OF UNCERTAIN FUTURE EVENTS.”

I ran across a few comments in The Seattle Times, a Seattle based newspaper on how churches would respond on a Sunday morning; when a local sports team was playing the ‘BIG GAME’ at 10 AM PST –[the set-aside time for Worship and Praise for many churches–and not the a pastor’s Message on a stage].

Let me give you just a few of their comments before I proceed with a ‘”Word detective” investigation; on THINKING FIRST before you speak or act in the community of non-believers and… the believing “sheep” of the church.

Seattle area pastors response after holding earlier services on Sunday– that will finish before kickoff and followed by a football watch party:

LOCAL PASTOR:  “…and we will get crap from other churches.”

Just a few miles from Notre Dame University, the lead Pastor  at a local community church noticed that attendance at Saturday services dropped dramatically whenever Notre Dame was playing.  So this season he invited people to watch the games at church on a big-screen TV and attend worship services just before or after the games.  The pastor quotes Scripture, noting that the apostle Paul became “all things to all people” to connect with as wide an audience as possible.  “You adjust your ministry to reach out to people in the most effective way in their culture,” he said.  Is his THINKING incorrect?  That depends and I will investigate in God’s Word regarding actions taken in the ministry of the local church.  Then you can decide.

Now you might be wondering where I’m going with all of this and what does it all have to do with 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and that is a good question.  For quoting Scripture without putting it in CONTEXT might be seen as relating to the PROBABILITY of uncertain future…taking risks in the outcome.

Different priorities?”–Maybe…

If I saw a sign with the word “CAUTION”, I would be sure to read it in  context–thinking first before ignoring the “why’s” and “the what for’s”before ignoring the warnings.

Before returning to the Bible verses in 1 Corinthians, turn to The Gospel of Matthew to see how Jesus prioritized in a lesson taught:

[24] “When they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher pay the half shekel?  [25] He answered,  Yes.  And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him [about it] first, saying,  What do you think, Simon?  From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or tribute–from their own sons or from others not of their own family?  [26] And when Peter said,  From other people not of their own family, Jesus said to him,  Then the sons are exempt.  [27] However, in order not to give offense and cause them to stumble [that is, to cause them to judge unfavorably and unjustly] go down to the sea and throw in a hook.  Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel.  Take it and give it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself”  (Matthew 17:24-27 AMP).

Now Jesus certainly wasn’t libel to pay any tribute, but a lesson needed to be understood by His disciples.  I love the word, HOWEVER ” in Scripture.  It tells us that ‘in spite of what was just said…’  there is more to come.  And JESUS continues the conversation…in order not to give offense and cause them to stumble…”  (verse 27).

So the FREEDOM that comes with Christianity also comes with cautions/warnings.  And thinking about the cautions before taking a risk in an outreach ministry, can sometimes put you in a place of inaction in the community of believers.  Everyone, and I mean everyone is watching!

It’s Like Walking On A Razor’s Edge–

1 Corinthians 9:19, 22:

“I’ve made myself slave to all” (verse 19)   AND   “I have become all things to all men”  (verse 22).

CAUTION: You are on the brink of idolatry, compromise and worldliness to sin–you are walking the razor’s edge between fruitless separation and unprincipled expediency.

If you fall one way, you are no use–no connection with the world; fall the other way, you are no use because you are just like the world.

How then does a person keep their FAITH and their FREEDOM and their RADICAL ZEAL to win people to Christ and not just copy people?  The answer is, thinking hard about your relations to the Law of God–the way Paul did.

Long ago, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the philosopher prophet of the twentieth century, warned us that America had become a part of “the post-Christian culture.  Today we have almost been silenced by anti-Christian forces claiming that we are trying to impose moral values on this rampant decadence.  The truth is that they have tried to impose their immoral values on us.  They are generally doing a better job of corrupting society than we are of cleansing it.  May God help us to become the restraining influence we should be on a corrupt world.   From Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkins’  A 90-Day Devotional PERHAPS Living Every Day In The Light Of Christ’s Return TODAY-page 60.

A “Priority”–

If the church spent as much time and effort on preparing to WORSHIP and PRAISE on Saturdays and Sundays–regardless of the clock–, as the world prepares to celebrate and give glory to football teams, then the churches in America would be filled to capacity–without gimmicks, or new programs.  Ask yourself the question: How are we prioritizing in ministry to reach the city for Christ?

“Gut Check”–

I once invited a co-worker to attend a morning church service with my family.  His response was somewhat shocking to me at first because I wasn’t thinking that I would get the following response:

I’ve been there done that before.  Get up on my day-off and go to church and noticed that the people in church were not any different in their actions than the people I hang out with at the local PUB on Saturday nights.  So why bother to get up on Sunday?  I’ll just have my own church at home.  Thanks for the invite, but I’ll pass.”   OUCH!

“My priority is to win unsaved people in the community and bring them to Christ–at any cost!”

A noble statement, but is it the real reason of your actions, are you thinking of the outcomes before you become an ambassador of Christ?  Is your FAITH in the outcome of your ‘doing’ activated by LOVE (Galatians 5:6) or is SELF the activator?

The ‘Frank Sinatra Syndrome’:

A lawyer asked Jesus a question to test Him:  Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principle kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light–which are heavy?]    And He replied to him,  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.    This is the great (most important, principle) and first commandment.    And a second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.  (Matthew 22:36-39).

What Human Needs Are–

Unless our entire body, soul, and spirit are totally in love with Jesus–we will be ineffective in loving ourselves.  And if you can’t love yourself then how can you be effective in your city, your church, etc.?

The psychologist Abraham Maslow has given us a theorist list of human needs, essentials in society:

1.  Safety/Security–the need for structure, predictability, stability and freedom from fear and anxiety.

2.  Belongingness/LOVE–the need to be accepted by others and to have strong personal ties with one’s family, friends, and identifying groups.

3.  Self-esteem–the need to be recognized by oneself and others.  Also includes the need to know that one has some effect on her/his environment.

4.  Personal fulfillment–the need to reach one’s potential in all areas of life.

5.  Identity–goes beyond a psychological “sense of self'”.  Theorists define identity as a sense of self in relation to the outside world.

6.  Cultural security–is related to identity; the need for recognition: one’s language, traditions, religion, cultural values, ideas, and concepts.

7.  FREEDOM/Liberty–is the condition of having no physical, political, or civil restraints; having the capacity to exercise choice in all aspects of one’s life.

8.  Participation–is the need to be able to actively partake in and influence society.

Now are these “HUMAN NEEDS” inclusive in TAKING RISKS?  Maybe.  When I first investigated this area of basic human needs, something jump off the viewpoints of the theorists:  SELF–“I have a need to be LOVED, to have IDENTITY, SELF-ESTEEM, ETC.”  I like to call it The ‘Frank Sinatra Syndrome’--I want to do it “my way”.  That only edifies your/my SELF IMPORTANCE and not the LOVE OF JESUS.

“CAREFUL THINKING [IN LIBERTY/FREEDOM] BEFORE TAKING RISKS”:

Galatians 5:13 AMP:

“For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom (liberty); only [do not let your] FREEDOM [LIBERTY] be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.”  (I added the word “liberty”  to the AMP).

What then is our Liberty, our freedoms in our cities as Christians?

1.  Liberty is constrained by our love of Jesus–if you do not LOVE Christ, forget all the rest of the principles and do it your way.

2.  Liberty/Freedom SHOULD NOT cause another person to stumble, be made weak, or turn from Christ–This is a MAJOR POINT!  It’s the only one that says that a person sins against Christ.  And “that person” can be a “non-believer” or a “believer” in Christ.

3.  Liberty should be edifying–does your liberty build up the body of Christ?

4.  Liberty should not be enslaving.

5.  Liberty should always glorify Jesus–does your freedom truly bring glory to Jesus?

6.  Liberty should help you toward your goal Goad has set.

7.  Liberty should be worthy of the TRUTH–the Gospel–does your liberty hinder the gospel of Christ?

Are you a C.I.N.O.? (Christians in name only):

The principles I have laid down for you [‘recognizer of God’s truth’ contained in the Gospel message] and are but CAUTION SIGNS to make you think first before stepping out on the slippery ice and taking a risk of  falling through.  There’s no such thing a “part-time Christians’ recorded in the Bible.

Self-denial first–

God’s Word confirms this principle, when the apostle Paul tells the believers in the city of Corinth:

“For the LOVE of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died;    And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake”  (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 AMP).

One important characteristic for all of us who profess our belief in Christ Jesus and so necessary for church leaders is self-sacrifice: giving up our rights for the benefits of others and for the glory of God.

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Why?  Because a leaders life is so determinative, influential in the cities and on other people.  And you know if Christ Jesus and His Word are being emphasized– and it’s not all about you, then wearing a button on your shirt won’t be necessary.  The city will know who you represent.  Careful thinking first and  LIVE LIKE JESUS–SHARE HIS LOVE!