When the Son Shines, Lives Are Changed

A few months ago the ground had a pretty layer of snow covering it, preserved by the cold temperatures. Then it started to get warmer. And as the sun shone on the freezing ground, the snow started to melt, exposing the ugly, lifeless grass. You could almost sense how shameful the dead grass felt. Longing to be covered; disgusted that you could see what it really looked like under the pristine mask provided by the snow.

It hurt to see the ground so weak and dead.

As time passed, the grass was starting to get a little greener. And with the new life, a new attitude of joy emerged in my life.

As I reflected on the life cycle of grass, I was confronted with the thought that maybe the grass didn’t want to be exposed from under the snow because it knew that people would look at it differently and not enjoy laying down or playing on it like they did during the summer.

But all the grass needed to grow and thrive was nutrition from the sun and encouragement from the soil.

Only because the grass was exposed, and the dead patches were made visible could the sun restore it to an even greater glory than the mask snow provided.

The grass outside my apartment got me thinking about how I sometimes try to cover myself up to hide my weaknesses. I don’t like showing and sharing my mistakes to others because of the fear that they might see me in a negative light. But like the grass, if I don’t uncover the things I feel shameful about then I won’t be able to grow and change. The grass showed me in a new way that only when I let down my walls and take off my mask can the Son (of God) really change me.

The Son of God died on the cross so that we didn’t have to be bound by shame anymore. He died for us to be free.

When we allow the Son to shine on us, only then can we be released from our captivity and insecurity.

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.  This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”- Ephesians 5:13-14

May the Lord open us up to the reality of His redemption. For when we illuminate weakness in our souls we can become a light for someone else to see that they can be redeemed too.

In what ways can we encourage our brothers and sisters to uncover themselves so that Christ can shine on them?

How to Judge Well

Most people who have a negatively skewed sense of Christianity feel that way because of how they see Christians live. There are generally two ways a Christian can enhance the negative perception of others. The first way is to become legalistic and judge people based on rules that the other person has not put themselves under. The second way is by acting against the rules that the Christian has voluntarily put themselves under (hypocrisy). Because of these inconsistencies, I have put together a few steps to correct and walk along side our fellow Christians.

Embrace Humility

In order to effectively and rightly judge others, the first thing we have to do is heed the words of Paul to the Church in Philippi, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Philippians 2:3 NASB)”. This is vital to be faultless in our critique of our brothers and sisters. Thinking of others as more important than ourselves will allow us to put a wall of defense up against pride. Sure you may have studied the bible longer than a certain person and maybe they are completely out of line according to the bible but no one has ever become a Christian from an attack. I am not saying that we can’t defend our faith, but what I am saying is that arguments don’t change people. If we are telling people what they are doing wrong simply because we want to be right we are not showing humble love. Humility requires us to listen rather than speak. We must come to an understanding and then guide to the truth. This mindset leads us into the next step of righteous judgment.

Find Out What They Know

Much of the New Testament was written to churches that needed be reminded of the truth they already knew. The New Testament writers were personally involved with the early churches, hearing the things they were doing gave the writers the ability to write to the churches in Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Rome, etc, and tell them that they needed to change in certain areas. Moreover, the writers usually planted and taught these churches. So they already knew what the people in the church should have known and were already taught. But for us in this time we have not taught our brothers and sisters and do not know what they know so we cannot easily point out where they fall short because they may not know what they are doing wrong. This is where humility comes in. We have to ‘be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;’ (James 1:19 NASB) When we listen we may be convicted in our heart that we are in the wrong, or we may be able to understand where they are coming from and where they went wrong in accordance with Scripture.

Pray Over Our Convictions

Is this conviction significant? – Am I being zealous for the wrong things (Pharisaical)? Am I putting too much weight into this issue instead of looking at the bigger picture? Will this issue take away from their relationship with God or with others? What does the scripture say about this? Is this a bigger issue than issues going on in my life?

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3 NASB)

What is the best way to bring up the issue? – What ways could I loving show them the issue? Does this require confrontation because they have already been reminded of the truth? Can I guide them in studying scripture to figure out for themselves the dangers of their actions?

‘But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, (Ephesians 4:15)

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.’ (Matthew 18:15-17)

As we pray over these verses we will be able to better recognize what the actual issue is, as well as how to best help them see the error in their ways.

Take Action

Our culture has a tendency to determine the significance of a mistake. When one person takes a jab at someone, the surrounding ‘vulture’ culture will quickly take more jabs at that person’s mistake. Christians can become vultures too. But in following the example of Jesus, we need to step out of the shadow of our culture and stick to the Bible when it comes to being graceful about people’s mistakes. Then if we have done everything we can to bring them into a closer personal relationship with Christ and they still are in their sin then confrontation might be needed. Even though we may not think confrontation is worth the effort, if we test the issues with Scripture and through prayer, we have to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is leading us to say to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

You Shall Judge Your Brothers and Sisters

Looking at the life of Jesus Christ we see a call to love and grace as we follow His example. But we also see how harsh he was to the religious leaders of the day. He called them vipers and whitewashed tombs that look good on the outside but are only good for housing dead bodies.

As I have examined my heart in light of the above scriptures and in juxtaposition with judgment and hypocrisy I came upon a few scripture passages that struck me as odd. One passage in particular is from 1st Corinthians 5:9-13 (NASB):

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

While I was reading this scripture the first thing I noticed was that Paul implores us to Judge people who claim to be Christians. I noticed this because it is posed as a rhetorical question, ‘do you not judge those who are within the church?’ Paul’s question struck me as odd because our American culture emphasizes the ‘don’t judge me’ attitude, which has infiltrated our churches. So much so that the church’s emphasis for the last few years has been on the verses like Matthew 7:1-2, Luke 6:37, James 4:11-12, Romans 2:1-3 etc. These verses are incredibly important to Christians because without these verses we can become incredibly prideful in our obedience to the Bible.

I was put off by the rhetorical question Paul posed because it seems like he is telling them that we can judge people based upon what we see. But what causes Paul to encourage us to judge people who are within the church? The answer if found in another one of Paul’s letters; the letter to the Roman Church:

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3 NIV, emphasis added)

The reason Paul encourages those in the Corinthian Church is because of that 3rd verse in Romans 2. If we do not judge hypocritical Christians how can they know that they are not following Jesus? They are not denying themselves by indulging in things that they judge others for doing. For when we judge as Christ judges, we speak the truth in love. To let hypocrites know that they are being hypocritical is the most loving thing we can do for them. We can show them that they are condemning themselves by their own words and restore them in the truth.

Jesus said some harsh things to the religious leaders because they were putting so much weight on the people and not doing anything that the Old Testament said of them to do (Matthew 23:4). Therefore if we do not judge hypocrites, they will put heavy weights on people, or push them away from Christ because of their hypocrisy and the perceived acceptance of hypocrisy by the church.

But when we talk to those outside the church we have no right to judge them because they do not claim Christianity. Therefore let us win them to Christ by our love for them and our love for our brothers who claim Christianity, just as Jesus spoke to us, ‘”As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 ESV).’ If those outside the church first deny our testimony of Jesus power to change our personal lives, then as we emanate love in our actions toward others they might recognize the transformation brought on by Jesus. That power will certainly show that we are following the example of Jesus by denying ourselves, picking up our cross and counting others as more important than ourselves (see Philippians 2:3).

To that end, we must leave judgment up to Jesus, for we do not know the motivations of the heart like He does. Yet He has given us His selfless example to follow if we claim to be His. So when we see our brothers and sisters falling we can help them back up.

The Dangers of Making Inferences

Most of us have heard the old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but my favorite new adage is: ‘don’t judge a movie by its trailer.’ We have all read books or went to movies that looked better on the outside, but the content was lacking in several areas. I’ll be the first one to confess that I only buy books or watch movies that look like they will be interesting based upon the cover. The truth is, if I didn’t judge movies or books by the trailer or cover artwork, I would be spending a lot of time, money and energy reading and watching things that I don’t actually enjoy.


[Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders, Adult Leadership Training, Personal Assessment Workshop]

Judging is an action that everyone performs on a daily basis. We make judgment calls about things or people in order to save time and energy.  We take note of what a person is wearing, what they are saying, their piercings, tattoos, and the way they smell. Through these exterior attributes, we somehow come up with an idea of that persons character, work ethic, family, financial situation and so much more. Experts call this The Ladder of Inference (see above diagram). “We adopt beliefs based on the conclusions we draw, which are based on what we observe, which are influenced by our assumptions and experiences.” (GRILeadership, Adult Leaders Training) This is a very natural process for most people.  We see or experience something or someone, and through our experiences and beliefs, we try to put labels on situations and people groups. Otherwise known as stereotyping.

These Labels and stereotypes often lie. Physical appearances or previous mistakes don’t define people. The problem is, humanity doesn’t operate well when there are no definite categories in which to make judgments on. When we get to know individuals from different tribes and nations we notice that they can’t be shoved into statistics and definitions or analyzed based upon our own prejudices and experiences.

I would hope that people wouldn’t label me, and I know I’m not the only one who struggles with going up the ladder of inference and making judgments about people and labeling them. So as a person reaching for maturity I must heed the Bible about judgment.

Jesus Himself says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2 NIV)

Just imagine being face to face with Jesus during our time of judgment. He lovingly reminds us of Matthew 7:1-2 and then kindly starts judging us by our appearance and the labels we used because that’s the way we judged others. How terrifying that will be for a lot of people! Every one of us has judged people with labels that are so disrespectful and demeaning that we would not be able to stand on judgment day, all because we look at the appearance rather than the heart.

When a person judges solely on looks he has turned his heart away from God’s heart and accounted God’s words as false. For when God tells Samuel to go anoint the King of Israel He tells Samuel, ‘“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”’ (1st Samuel 16:7 NIV)

If we judge based on appearance we disregard the dignity of human beings. The very dignity we received when God deemed us all worthy of His sacrifice on the Cross.

As we examine our hearts let us also look deeper into the word of God about Judgment.

Open-Air Evangelism & Hypocrites

I visited downtown Grand Rapids recently with friends who were ‘open-air’ evangelizing. Stereotypically, this is when people stand outside talking (occasionally yelling) about Jesus. The men that I went with know the good news of God, and were preaching it unashamedly. One of the main reasons why I wanted to see their method of evangelism was because I knew the hearts of these men.

Many people are immediately turned off by open-air evangelizers because of the shouting and hypocritical condemnation of sins that they themselves indulge in. But the mastermind of this specific operation is a good friend of mine who led us in a way that I did not expect.

Before we started evangelizing we went to a local coffee shop to warm up with a hot drink. While we were waiting for our drinks we discussed our goals and hopes for our endeavor:

  1. Preach Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead for us.
  2. Show people that we are sinners who have been saved by God’s’ great love for us.
  3. We want to talk to at least one person about the Gospel, and we would praise God for that opportunity.

As we were preparing to evangelize, my friend led us in prayer. The message in his prayer was clear: God is love, but love is not God; who God is defines what love is like. Our God is a God of Justice and Mercy. There are many bad things happening in the world; our own city is sick. We murder and rob our own people; we destroy the gift of life. We need to turn from these things. Our City NEEDS Jesus Christ. We need God’s justice. However- by the agency of Jesus’ death on the cross- whoever repents of their sins will be saved.

So we took that mindset into our time of evangelism.

We handed out some Bibles while my friend spoke about our need for the love of God. There were not many people walking by us, so as my friend was speaking I used that downtime to reflect upon and pray over our efforts.

As I reflected, my heart was broken over the people who use the Bible to beat down those whom the Bible tells us to love. The Word of God that so many people use as a weapon against sinners says

As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:24 NIV).

God is blasphemed because of hypocrisy (Romans 2:21).

Those who preach condemnation to people have clearly not read the Bible because the Jesus in the Bible said this, ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.’ (John 3:17 NIV).

I have heard of too many people twisting Scripture to condemn others, while other Scriptures communicate the exact opposite. This is indeed hypocrisy. Although box preaching may not be the most effective way of evangelism, the real enemy is hypocrisy. I know because I was the worst of hypocrites.

I remember one time in particular when a friend of mine confessed a sin that had been weighing on him heavily. This would have been a perfect time for me to share with him the good news of Christ’s forgiveness, but instead of communicating this truth of God’s word – ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’ (1st John 1:9 NIV) – I condescendingly asked him how it felt to know that God was watching him consciously disobey Him.

My friend was on his way to being purified of his unrighteousness but my hypocrisy put an even heavier weight on his already downcast soul. And while I apologized later, I had almost permanently damaged our spiritual relationship.

Hypocrisy can do unbearable damage. If you have been a hypocrite I suggest you humbly admit it to whomever you have burdened. Too many people have rejected Jesus because of unacknowledged hypocrisy.

Remember, if we confess our sin of hypocrisy ‘[God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

As we examine our life for signs of hypocrisy let us walk humbly in the grace of God, by the blood of Jesus Christ who has taken the sin of hypocrisy upon himself for those who have shown genuine repentance.


My next few posts will be about hypocrisy and judging. Judging is often followed with hypocrisy. I realize these are hard topics that are very heavy. So I will pray for us as we walk this journey of purification, so that our testimony may be free of hypocrisy while we spread the Gospel of Christ!

Are there any topics related to evangelism, judgment, and hypocrisy that you would like me to address in a later post? Comment below!

Shame Perverts Intimacy

I recently read Donald Miller’s book, Scary Close. In his book, Miller is transparent about his journey to true intimacy. But what is intimacy? Our culture has been showering us with perverted versions of intimacy for many years, resulting in most of us having no idea what true intimacy looks like.

If you haven’t experienced intimacy, you don’t know what it means to be intimate. That’s why I really appreciated Scary Close. Miller admitted he was very weak in that area. His honesty helped me put words to my own problems with intimacy.

I knew that something was not right with me but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I thought I was pretty good at reading and showing my ‘feelings’ but something else was holding me back.

Throughout this book, Miller shows how shame is a barrier to intimacy. Shame was holding him back from intimacy, and as I continued to read it became clear to me that my shame held me back as well.

My shame started when I was very young. I saw pornography when I was 5 years old. As I became addicted I brought many of my young friends into this bondage. Intuitively I knew it was wrong, but the secrecy made it even more exciting. As time went on I started to learn more about the dangers of pornography, but I was hooked. I was losing sleep, losing friends, and afraid of losing more if anyone found out. I knew God loved me and I knew my parents loved me, but in this trauma I felt unworthy of their love. So I kept hiding from everyone around me.

That shame experience is what made me decide that I needed to be an actor. I thought I needed to put on a show to get others to like me and accept me. So I started acting in all of my relationships; I became almost a completely different person depending on who I was around. I knew all the right answers to fit in with the church people, I worked out often and hard enough to fit in with the athletes, I also sang and listened to enough variety of music to fit in with the artistic crowd.

I never knew that I had been acting out of unacknowledged shame for all these years.

My shame told me that I didn’t deserve to let go, that no one could love me if they knew what I was hiding. Shame ruined relationships because I didn’t know how to let people in without trying to perform for their acceptance. And I suspect Donald Miller and I are not the only ones.

Shame drove me away from being transparently honest, and away from being free of my shame.

Consequently, my view of intimacy was warped.

Shame breeds fear. And if we’re being honest, most of us live life afraid: of others’ opinion, of change, of surrender, and so on.

Miller’s transparency helped me see that fear and shame don’t cultivate intimacy.

Scary Close reminded me that the Bible has a lot to say about what intimacy looks like. The Apostle John had experienced true intimacy with God. He details his experience in 1st John, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18 ESV)

That passage is so freeing. God never wanted us to operate out of shame and fear, but out of love.

Shame destroys us.

But God has other plans; He sent Jesus to die for us according to His great love (Rom. 6:23, Eph 2:4-5). He wants us to open ourselves to His redeeming love so that we can experience true intimacy with Him and with others.

God’s perfect love covers our shame and frees us to live a free life for His glory.

How did you break free of your shame?


You can order Scary Close here 


Our Plans and God’s Purpose

My wife and I just became parents; Britt labored for 38 hours before they opted to perform a cesarean section. I was able to watch most of the surgery; it was pretty disgusting but also incredibly amazing. They made an incision, cut the muscles and then started stretching the incision apart. I looked away for just a moment and by the time I looked back I saw the doctors pulling out our son’s head, and then they (not so carefully) pulled the rest of our son out of Britt.  As they dabbed him with a towel he peed on the doctor (I was so proud!).

Before the surgery I was just concerned about Britt rather than anticipating the excitement of the moment. But when the moment came I looked at him and started crying, I was so overwhelmed! ‘That is my son!’ I couldn’t explain the instant connection I felt with him. It was love at first sight.  

But up until the delivery I wasn’t necessarily feeling anything at all.

Britt and I were not planning on having children until we had been married five years. Financially we planned on paying off our debt in three years, then move to New York City and continue working with urban youth. God saw fit to shatter our plans, but not without protest.

There were many nights the first few months of the pregnancy where I was praying to Jesus, asking him why he would do this to us. In my head I would say,

‘God we don’t have enough money to do this. We can hardly pay down our debt and still pay our other bills. I don’t know how we are going to do this.’

It was in those moments late at night where I felt God reassure me, as if to say, ‘have you ever gone through a problem that I did not help you through? I provided then, I will provide now.’ He brought to mind the name that Abraham first used in Genesis 22:14 [Jehovah Jireh] – ‘The Lord will Provide.’

From that point forward I did not question how we would do this. I decided in my spirit that no matter what happens, no matter how hard or how crazy it gets, I need not worry because God will provide for our needs. Especially when we seek first ‘His kingdom and His righteousness’ (Matthew 6:33).

But it’s easier said than done.

If you know my wife, you know she is a planner. She has a type A personality, where I am more of a laid back type. I knew that if I was worried about finances and being prepared for a baby, she must have been struggling even more than I was. A conversation at a coffee shop about our living situation confirmed my suspicion. We both wanted to be on top of things, to go to the next plan, to be in control.

We all struggle with control issues. One of the symptoms of our need for control is planning. Not that planning in itself is bad, but the amount of hope we put in our plans can be.

When we found out we were pregnant our plan changed, and for us we felt stuck. So naturally we started to make different plans. All of our new plans involved getting a bigger place for our family. We even started to look into buying cheap houses, or renting 2 or 3 bedroom apartments. But the reality was we couldn’t afford to lose the deposit and break the lease at our apartment. And as I informed Britt of this at the coffee shop we both felt helpless. We couldn’t make more plans yet, and we cried.

As we sat there together in emotional turmoil, I asked if we could pray together. Britt and I prayed for us to give up control of our lives to God, to realize that He is our provider and will help us get through this. As we prayed we started to feel more gratitude for the things He already provided for us.

We went from being bewildered to being thankful.

God changed our perspective, and gave us a different hope. We will still plan but we know that the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

How has God provided in your time of need?

Without Wilderness, There is No Power

As I look outside the window I see lifeless trees, dead grass, and a more expensive electric bill. When the seasons change from spring to summer and summer to fall, it’s not nearly as drastic as the change from fall to winter, especially in Michigan.   Winter is coming and I can’t do anything about it.

Winter is depressing to me, but whenever we see the hope of summer at the end of a long bleak winter wilderness, it suddenly doesn’t matter what the thermometer reads. Winter has tried its best to drown out hope, but hope is hard to eradicate.

The truth is that we all face a winter of sorts in our lives. Whether it be marital conflict, spiritual deadness, loose living, lost friendships, abusive past or present relationships, or maybe winter could be a sports or school related issue. When our winter wilderness arrives it seems our lives become devoid of warmth, and we go through the motions. We get tempted to push away our friends because they don’t understand what we are going through; we get tempted to take short cuts and to blame others for how we are feeling.

Jesus himself was led into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil; He ate nothing and became hungry (Luke 4:1-13).  At the end of the temptations in the wilderness the bible records in Luke 4:14 that, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.”(Emphasis added).  Jesus was led into the wilderness and was tempted; after the wilderness (maybe because of or through the wilderness) he returned ‘in the power of the Spirit’.  There is hope for those of us in a winter wilderness.

But why did Jesus come back with power?

For some of us we’ve been in the wilderness so long that we start to question the meaning of life or the reason to live, maybe we are unsure what it would be like to come out of the wilderness. For others, we are convinced that the wilderness is the only place for us because of things that we have done or are doing now. But the truth is that Jesus didn’t come out of the wilderness just because of his personal strength; He came out of the wilderness because He knew what he had to do to bring others out of the wilderness too.

Later on in Jesus ministry He was betrayed over to those who wanted to kill him. His friends abandoned Him and he was strung up on a cross to be killed (Luke 22-23).  He was buried and rose again on the third day. He conquered death so that we could live! He brought us close so that we could feel his warm embrace. He loves us so much that He accepts us where we are, but He loves us much too much to let us stay that way.

The only hope that leads us out of winter and into spring is the warmth of the Son. Others may seem to have it all together but the only true hope is through Jesus Christ.

Whatever you are facing today take heart in Jesus, for He has overcome, and so can you.

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Entitlement: The American Struggle

It seems to me that society encourages entitlement.

Seek what pleases yourself rather than living for anyone or anything else

Don’t we all feel like we have a right to pursue pleasure over worrying about anything else? I confess, I often feel entitled to pleasure.

My childhood was full of entitlement, illustrated best at Christmas. I remember being upset with Santa because I didn’t get what I wanted and told my mom more than a few times that Santa had failed that year.

In high school, I saw entitlement in my friends. I often watched them yell at their parents for perceived slights and eventually get what they wanted.

As I have gotten older it’s turned into a more subtle form of entitlement. Taking the form of, ‘I’ve earned my paycheck, so I should treat myself. I’ll still give 10% of my income to the church, but I deserve a few lattes and a date night with my wife..’

There is a story in the Bible about a rich couple that lied about being generous. They wanted to have the same recognition others were getting by being falsely generous. They tried to deceive the church leaders and the Holy Spirit over the amount they sold their property for, then fell down dead (Acts 5:3-11). While that may seem harsh, it illustrates the severity of their entitlement.

I realize that I am not lying to nor deceiving the Spirit by thinking I’m entitled to certain pleasures, but I may be lying to myself. My self-deception comes through saying that I am fully committed to God yet neglecting others through indulging my own desires. Though my deception is not as serious as lying to the Holy Spirit, it is nonetheless blocking me from a real commitment to God.

And I suspect I am not the only one.

Entitlement can masquerade as many things, but it usually looks like self-justification. The harsh reality is that no matter how much we justify our spending and living habits, it does not change the fact that we need to be sold out for Jesus. The couple in Acts 5 died because they wanted people to think they were sold out for Jesus. They wanted the recognition without the sacrifice. Personally, I’m also tempted to want the results without the discipline.

Such is the American lifestyle.

Thankfully the God of the Bible sent Jesus Christ to cover our selfishness. All we need now is to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit leads us to do.

Should I desire to buy an overpriced coffee drink (thus ignoring our perfectly fine coffee machine at home), and feel led to buy lunch for a homeless man instead, I need to be obedient and follow that lead.

If I feel led to give away half of my clothing to people who need it more than I do, I need to be obedient to God’s leading.

Thank God that we are not stuck in entitlement. We can be educated through the Bible by the Holy Spirit to transform our world away from entitlement towards sacrifice. That sacrificial transformation will likely look different for us all.

Unfortunately for us being American automatically makes it easier to act entitled. In what ways can we fight against the entitlement that is encouraged by our culture?