Leading by Example
Old Man or New Man? Passion can be a good thing when it means living by our convictions; but how do we know if our convictions are coming from a spiritual source or if we are just having another one of our “old-nature” reactions to a person or life situation? Here are additional questions which may even be more pressing, “Do we even care to know the difference?” or “Do we understand how our actions or reactions can help or hurt others?”
The Choices? When faced with a difficult event, person, or decision, we do have choices; and in the process of exercising those options, we can lead people closer to God or farther away by our own actions and responses. For instance, in a rise of unchecked emotion we can recoil to shadowy corners to instigate or entertain gossip, we can size people up & presume to know their motives (otherwise known as judging); and we can of course, spread contempt based on carefully selected partial information designed to show others in a bad light (otherwise known as slander.) Then there are options such as practices of “shunning,” or “shaming,” quite popular among effete-ists (secular or religious), which often takes on the form of boycotting events or even gathering places and churches where difficult people might show up. (Proverbs 18:21 – KJV)
*WWJD? But….what if we were go to God when we find ourselves stirred up and ask Him for Guidance before actions are taken or words are spoken? What if we were to ask to see into the heart of the situation and seek to be a healer, even if it is only with our prayers? What if we were to remember that we have already been blessed by Mercy & Grace; and so we have the amazing opportunity to lead by our own example and offer love, not based on what we get back, but based on the fact that God loves us all and loved us first before we even knew Him? (Romans 2:11 – KJV)
What if we were to honor the terms of having received a clean slate by our own moment at the Cross? (Matt-18:23-35 – KJV) The terms by the way, of receiving mercy, include a commitment to leave behind the knee-jerk ways of the old, to learn how to love and how to forgive (Matthew 6:14 – KJV) as well as to submit to the transforming power of Grace (Holy Spirit) in the day by day learning and purification experiences, often referred to as “the baptism of fire.” (Matthew 3:11 – KJV)
Looking into the Mirror: How about these choices? What if we were to get into the habit of looking at our own behavior in the middle of a challenge, to see where perhaps, the problem or person of interest “du jour” is acting as a mirror to show us something about ourselves that might need correction? (James 1:14 – KJV)
As for what to do about it, if and when we discover an opportunity for our own growth… we can always seek other Godly people to help us deal with a challenge who likely would prayerfully support us in “moving the mountain” of bitterness & unforgiveness off of our own hearts. (Mark 11:23 – KJV) After all, every one of us on the spiritual path has experienced what it is like to be utterly convinced of ourselves only to discover later, that darkness had once again, snuck into our own mind based on a lust that still remained within us….lust to envy, lust to be right, lust for revenge or vindication, etc. (Hebrews 12:15 – KJV)
Helping or Hurting? So since we cannot serve both The Light and The Darkness at the same time, then we do have a choice as to what we do and listen to. (Matthew 6:24 – KJV) We can use Grace as a powerful tool for wisdom or we can squander it on a lust. We can become “vessels of honor” (Romans 9:21 – KJV) or “workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7: 21-23 – KJV) We can embrace Grace or depart from it.
Our first choice in every matter as those who believe that “God comes first in our lives,” is to therefore, “Seek first,” which includes denying the self-nature in order to pick up our cross and follow the Shepherd who gave Himself so we could have a snapshot of what Mercy really looks like. (Matthew 16: 24 KJV)
I openly ask my family in God to help one another stay on task throughout our spiritual transformation process with love and patience and most certainly during pressing times when the temptation to return to bitterness is high. Let’s bring the best out in one another as we ourselves remain willing to undergo the “baptism of fire,” which process is burning away all that is not of God from each of us, in heart, in motive, and deed. After all, what the “spirit of darkness” means for our demise and confusion, God can work to the good, if we seek Him, that is. (Genesis 50:20 – KJV) Hence, when confronted with a difficult situation or person, let us pray for spiritual wisdom to undergird all knowledge, so we ourselves might enter into Godly responses to life’s challenges and so that our love can become a source of inspiration and comfort to others. (James 1:5 – KJV) & (Romans 2:11 – KJV)
With love, your sister in Christ,
Ann M. Wolf
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:6 (KJV)
Disclosure: This post is about recognizing the motive in our own hearts as we respond to emotionally-charged life experiences. This is not about tolerating what should not be accepted or becoming a doormat, but simply keeping our focus on God as we lead by our own example. (1 Corinthians 15;10 – KJV) & (Galatians 5: 14-26 – KJV) However, it is also understood that there are situations in life where we must respectfully “withdraw” when consistently presented with an absence of important values or if one feels in danger; it is also necessary for some to seek professional help when working through major emotional pressures. It is the intent of the author to simply suggest that we go to God (Grace/Spirit within us) in order to discern what is in our own hearts and thereby position ourselves to be the best support possible for others during difficult times.
*WWJD: Used as a caption in the Blog, this term, “WWJD” refers to “What Would Jesus Do?”
Scriptures From This Article
Proverbs 18:21 - KJV
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Romans 2:11 - KJV
“For there is no respect of persons with God.”
Matthew 18: 23-35 - KJV
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15 - KJV
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 3:11 - KJV
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”
James 1:14 – KJV
:But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
Mark 11:23 – KJV
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
Hebrews 12:15 – KJV
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Matthew 6:24 – KJV
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Romans 9:21 – KJV
“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
Matthew 7: 21-23 – KJV
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 16:24 KJV
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Genesis 50:20 – KJV
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
James 1:5 – KJV
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Romans 2:11 - KJV
“For God shows no partiality.”
1 Corinthians 15;10 – KJV
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Galatians 5:14-26 – KJV
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.