I spend quite a bit of time and effort preaching the gospel and communicating as clearly and effectively as I can our perfect and complete acceptance in Jesus. I’m so entrenched in the grace that poured out from the cross that I legitimately don’t regard “success” or “failure” when observing my nature or heart. The works-based, self-effort version of misinterpreting the gospel is repulsive and detrimental. We don’t earn anything.
That being said, there is absolutely a standard on us when it comes to the things God has entrusted to us, be it anointing, gifting, calling, ability, opportunity, etc., To whom much is given, much is expected.
There’s a stigma in the world against “self-help” books and success books. In my experience, that stigma typically comes from people exuding cynicism, fear, control issues, paranoia, and typically they have been hurt in the past by their own disappointments. Instead of healing, they fold over on their pain and attack other people who don’t share their particular limp or propensity to recoil at possibility.
I love the Church. I’m so grateful to have been raised in an environment that values constant learning, reflection, community, worship and accountability; being a church-goer ultimately led me to encountering the living God who radically changed my life. As any church-goer knows, the Church is also messy. A couple of things I despise about church culture is the sloppy approach to personal mastery and the fear of truth that is packaged in unfamiliar forms.
I’m getting more and more passionate about daily habits, mindsets and practices to help set me up with the ability to handle what I see in my future. What many church-goers don’t understand is that habits and work ethics, things like diligence, persistence, courage and discipline are all service-oriented installments purposed to assist us in carrying out our God-given assignments. When God is looking for faithfulness and we’re stewards of things entrusted to us to manage for someone else, I should think our value for practical application on HOW to effectively take care of our charge would be quite high.
I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on things I see stealing from Christian’s ability to succeed in carrying out what God has asked of them. Let’s be real, if all of these sons and daughters were living out their potential, the plans God has for them for them to prosper, have hope and a future, the world would look very different.
Disclaimer! I am no expert. Here are four things I personally think have stolen from the church-goer’s ability to exercise dominion in their work life and personal assignment.
1. A lack of competency in the soul
A lot of believers in the Church begin with a degree of ignorance in spiritual matters. We can use the words of spiritual talk but we lack the experience and the understanding to authentically engage spirit from a place of understanding. With that starting point, people tend to focus on spiritual matters to bring meaning and purpose to their pain or difficulties. One of the problems I see with this practice is most of our pain and difficulty is actually stemming from a lack of competency in our soul, the place we think, feel, decide, desire and choose. We undervalue consistency and keeping our word and overvalue esoteric experiences and appearing spiritually mature.
2. An emotion-based measurement of success
As a culture, we are driven by how we feel. We misinterpret our emotions as spiritual insight. We get a “feeling” and think it’s guidance from God when that isn’t always the case. Don’t get me wrong, our intuition and our feelings do pick up legitimate information and God does affect our emotions. The problem with this as a litmus test is God is operating from somewhere higher than our emotions and He doesn’t seek permission from our feelings when communicating with or instructing us. We can tend to be shallow in our depth perception of the spirit and short-sighted in our ability to partner with wisdom because we’re looking at the cleats of our opponent instead of the 10 yard line, let alone the field...let alone the stadium. We notice our opponent didn’t tie his shoes the way we would have and pass judgment on him and forget that we’re wearing a jersey. We forget there’s a football. We forget we’re in the middle of a game. We forget this is the third down. We forget we’re on a team, that we’re heading in a direction, that there’s an objective. But we’re confident his shoes are tied wrong.
3. Fear of money
I still can’t believe there are Christians in the world who believe God wants us to be poor. It blows my mind. Poverty is a spirit and it’s not coming from God. Poverty wants us to be poor. Poverty wants us to lack, to suffer, to struggle through difficulties, accentuate our victimhood and pine for a rescuer. The religious spirit comes to the poverty-laden soul and infuses every lack facet with the invitation to take pride and reinterpret the lack as a deposit toward some heavenly investment that will hopefully accrue interest over time. This is a lie. God did not inspire lack, it wasn’t His idea and it doesn’t come from Him. Ever. In any form. He never engineers lack. Then we bring the money element into the equation. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” So many Christians hide their self-hatred and lack of faith with this mantra so as to excuse themselves from faithfulness in stewardship. They consequently adopt of fear of money to protect them from loving it. Last I checked, God didn’t give us a spirit of fear...
4. Lack of vision
Because of our short-sightedness, we don’t invest in a year from now, let alone ten years from now, let alone ten generations from now. We can’t see that far ahead. A lot of Christians are still of the belief that Jesus is going to come back and rapture us from a polluted, sin-laden, satan world. Everything that goes wrong in the world is further proof to them that “the end is coming.” This is a demonic eschatology that promotes negligence, ignorance and selfishness. When I hear the older generation of Christians say they’re ready for Jesus to return, it typically comes after a lament or as an ugly, brittle bow to finish the thought of a despairing situation. This worldview makes me sad and kind of angry, they’ve already given up on us and are content to abandon our state to ruin.
Increasing our emotional intelligence and self-awareness will help us grow in governing ourselves competently and recognizing how we’re meant to carry out what the Holy Spirit is leading us to, especially in relation to other people. Learning to value and perceive deeper than our feelings will allow us to understand what God is saying more completely. (To increase your spiritual intelligence, take my Discerning Spirits Course http://www.mikemaeshiro.com/course/) Break up with the religious poverty spirit and learn to overcome money instead of letting it push you around. (There are SO many resources on how to change your mind about money.) Changing our eschatology to line up with the Holy Spirit is doing in this day will open our hearts and eyes to see further than our own experience. (A couple of books in this area, “Victorious Eschatology” by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench and “Raptureless” by Jonathan Welton)
Success in carrying out our assignment is not measured by comfort, it’s measured by faithfulness. Let’s get to work.
I have a team of spiritual life coaches whom I’ve personally trained who are uniquely equipped to help our clients practically identify harmful spiritual agreements, align with the truth and demonstrate dominion in their lives. If you’re looking for an increase in how you manage what has been entrusted to you, you can apply to work with one of my coaches here: http://www.mikemaeshiro.com/coaching/