I never thank Jesus for my problems,

challenges, scary opportunities, when I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best/worldly/INdependent/pride-filled, wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding.  If I pray at all, it’s to ask Him to bless my agenda, get me outta this harrrd/suffering/scary.  Pride, not humility, to know what’s thankable and what’s not.  And I’m never happy/content in this confident-I-know-best mode of living.  I feel ALONE.  Pressure.  But I’m typically not very self-aware in this mode, because I’m focused on a goal, so I don’t REALIZE I feel pressure, alone, up to DAVE.

The ONLY time I thank Jesus for the negative/harrrd/suffering in my life, is when I’m clueless-I-know-what’s-best, childlike, dependent on Him to lead me, because I believe He’s totally sovereign over every detail of my life, and knows what’s best for me and those I love, and what’s thankable and what’s not.  So I thank Him for everything just as it is, and everyone just as we are, as per His genius plan.  And that’s only when I’ve been freshly convicted of my sin of INdependence.  I get zero credit for being freshly convicted by Jesus’ Spirit.  It’s called grace.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, that we believers — especially Dave, might have a contagious Jesus within us, that is compelling to the seculars around us

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The essence of worldliness is,

fixing my eyes and thoughts on my performance/worthiness, instead of Jesus and His imputed performance/worthiness.  Worldliness is contagious.  Outside the Church, and inside too.  A worldly feels pressure, alone, UP TO ME.  An alien/stranger to this world, on the other hand, feels contented, happy.  An alien/stranger is never defensive, never failure-avoidant, never feels the need to prove worthiness, never feels embarrassed in humiliating circumstances.  An alien/stranger experiences an amazing other-worldly peace, unknown to worldlies.  And loves unconditionally — actually enjoys, those around him/her, including jerks and enemies.  And loves/enjoys Jesus and His genius plan for us all, including the suffering necessary to grow worldlies into aliens/strangers.  Only worldlies are competitive — rejoicing in the failures of the opposition.  Only worldlies need to feel superior, are divisive, go to war, are clear-sighted about the weaknesses of the opposition, but tend-to-be blind to our own.  Only worldlies are confident-we-know-what’s-best.  So we’re confident-we-know-what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who doesn’t know any aliens/strangers, but knows gobsa worldlies, outside the Church and inside too, including himself

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Much harder to experience the benefit

of being curious/expectant to see what Jesus does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances, when I feel lousy physiologically.  So He’s been retraining me to be compassionate toward myself when I feel lousy, and lower my expectations for the joy and peace that’s mine in Him.  Lower my expectations for getting comfort from believing in His sovereign reign over my life, and everyone’s life.  When I feel lousy, I just don’t CARE, am easily irritated, critical-judgmental, ready to bite your head off.  Well, on the inside.  I’m still nice on the outside.  Usually.  Confession helps, but I still feel lousy.  Thanking Him for the harrrd helps, but I still feel lousy.  Harrrd to be an enjoyer of others when I feel lousy.  Or an enjoyer of Jesus and His genius plan for my life that includes suffering.  Suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency.  Nothing compares with Jesus-dependency.  Costly, but a bargain.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, whose BIGgest idol has become feeling-good-physiologically, and when he does, and when freshly convicted of the sin of INdependence, he finds the Christian life soooo-much easier, and everyone around him benefits

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Happiness comes from

getting my way.  WRONG.  Misery comes from getting my way.  Getting my way is addictive.  Getting my way is the essence of worldliness/INdependency/pride/arrogance.  When Jesus is Lord, I find happiness in HIS way, HIS leading, dependency on HIM.  But Dave’sFlesh is totally convinced that getting Dave’s way will produce happiness for Dave.  Fool’s errand to pursue Dave’s way, Dave’s agenda.  Happiness comes from Jesus-dependency/humility.  INdependency is asking Jesus to BLESS MY AGENDA.  Prison of misery.  Each time I get my way, my addiction/INdependency is strengthened.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who doesn’t practice well what he preaches, but that doesn’t stop him from preaching, cuz he needs to hear it more than anyone, having learned the hard way that he’s happiest when dead to his agenda, curious/expectant to see what Jesus does NEXT, in him, others, circumstances

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What the Sixers have not-yet experienced:

How to live fearlessly while under great pressure.

How can a sports team, or an individual, under the pressure of a big game, even a championship playoff, live with freedom, reckless abandon?  You need a healthy-indifference to the outcome: willing to fail, succeed, whatever.  The outcome cannot be the focus.  Winning is not the goal.  Playing with excellence is the goal, and it’s impossible to play with excellence, to play your very best, when you are unwilling to fail, when you MUST win, MUST succeed.  A healthy indifference to the outcome, enables you to play with reckless abandon, uninhibited, to play your very best.  Only the humble are willing to fail, are unbothered by losing.  Only the humble see loss, mistake, failure, as a learning experience.  Only the proud are eaten up with failure-avoidance, risk-avoidance, are unwilling to fail and learn from the failure.  Only the humble have the patience to take the long road to achieving excellence.  The proud wanna win TODAY, are unwilling to fail and learn from the failure.  So only the proud get uptight, feel pressure, are prevented from playing their very best.

How can a proud Christian become humble?  CONFESS your pride, your dissatisfaction with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, wanting some worthiness of your own.  Humility is a fruit of the Spirit’s work, not something I generate.  I get zero credit.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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It seems WRONG

to not know what to do in a situation.  UnAmerican. UnChristian. We’re trained from an early age to KNOW what to do.  INdependence, not [shudder] DEpendence.  Activism applauded, while anything remotely passive is negative, pathetic.  No wonder we Christians are hardly any different than the seculars around us.  We’re not the aliens and strangers we’re called to be.  Adults should KNOW what to do.  It’s embarrassing to admit I don’t know what to do, how to do, when to do.  Pride, not humility.  A humble person has no problem admitting s/he doesn’t know what to do.  A humble CHRISTIAN asks Jesus what to do.  And THANKS Jesus for the uncertain situation, with a curiosity and expectancy to see what SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in the believer, others, circumstances.   Ahhhh.  Jesus-centered passivity, leading to Jesus-centered activity.  Humble activism.  Characterized by an other-worldly peace that clearly surpasses the peace provided by human-centered understanding, power, activity.

“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Pet 2:25  Really??  Seems to me we’re sheep going astray, needing to be returned.

 — Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who doesn’t know ANY humble Christian leaders or followers, including himself, which convinces him of the need for a widespread awakening in our day, empowered by the Spirit of Jesus, so the seculars around us want something we have

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I love saying “So WHAT?”

to the things that matter to my flesh, and the world around me.  Dave’sFlesh and the worldlies around me dunno nuttin about how to deliver happiness to Dave.  But they sure THINK they do.  And they are convincing, COMPELLING.  They use every one of my idols against me, tempting me to look to my idols instead of Jesus, for LIFE.  So it helps me enormously to say out loud — or internally, “So WHAT?” when I recognize one of my idols working on me, pressuring me to perform with excellence, or notice weakness in others, so I feel good about myself apart from Jesus.  The more self-aware I am, the harder it is for my idols to influence my life.  I can’t CONFESS what I don’t see.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, in hopes that Jesus will be the biggest deal in the lives of Christians, so the seculars around us might be wowed and want what we have

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When I have harrrrd circumstances,

it’s so helpful to THANK Him for them, instead of asking Him to remove them, change them, because THANKing is commanded in Scripture, and because THANKing Him for the harrrd reminds me that He’s totally sovereign over them, and I am not, which helps me be curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.  This kind of passivity, this waiting on Jesus, seems so weird, so other-worldly, to ActivistDave/WorldlyDave.  The knee-jerk reaction of ActivistDave is to jump right in and try and fix my harrrd circumstances, or maaaaybe ask Him to remove/change them, instead of THANKing Him for them.  Even asking Jesus for something demonstrates confidence-I-know-what’s-best, which is pride/INdependence, the opposite of Jesus-dependency.  Sometimes after I THANK Him for the harrrd, He gives me a great idea to try this or that, to alleviate things, but sometimes the harrrd remains, though I’m greatly comforted by seeing a purpose in the harrrd/suffering — I’m reminded that Romans 5 says suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency, and there is NOTHing I need in life nearly as much as Jesus-dependency.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness and sovereignty-awareness, hoping the Spirit transforms us Christians so much that the seculars around us want something we have

To receive my Tuesday posts, email me, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com