An agendified driver

knows what’s best for himself, and others, and gets irritated with a little old lady in a Buick ahead of him on a two-lane road with no-passing lines, driving five miles an hour under the speed limit.  So they both have to wait at the next traffic light.  Grrrr.

AgendifiedDave/JudgeDave/ShepherdDave ain’t got a humble bone in his body.  He knows what’s best.  Wants Jesus to bless his agenda.  Knows what’s thankable and what’s not, so he never thanks for the harrrd in his life.  And forgets to thank for the easy.  It’s all about Dave and his agenda.

–DumbSheepDave, taking baby steps in healthier-and-more-clueless directions, because folks have been praying, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making

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Satan doesn’t want me to see,

the sickness of the Church, but once I see it, he changes his strategy, tempting me to feel good about myself for my insight, smug in my superior and radical commitment, tempting me to self-righteously go about trying to make a difference as a radical, in the power of me.  Like the Pharisees: so confident, so right, so strong.  My flesh loves this confidence.  I am no threat to the enemy’s kingdom when I operate by human power, self-confidence, independence, even though I use the name of Jesus while doing so.  I can proclaim the Gospel in radical fashion all I want, and live in radical fashion all I want, but there will be tiny conversion fruit as an independent/adultlike operating by human power.   Pre-believers are not wowed, convicted, when I operate by human power, like them.  They don’t say to me, “Surely God is with you and there is no other; there is no other God.”  Isa 45:14

But by human power I can gather other human-powered believers to follow me.  Way easier to influence believers than to see pre-believers converted, especially the turned-off.  Humility, childlikeness, fruitfulness, is a product of the Spirit, not something I generate.  No credit to me.  Only to Jesus.

–DumbSheepDave, freshly contrite for the moment, because folks have been praying, but no predictions for an hour from now

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The pride nobody confesses.

From mentoring lots of believers over the years, especially grace-junkies, I’m struck by the prevalence of unconfessed self-contempt.  Why is self-contempt not viewed as the prideful sin it is?  I think it’s because it seems right to hate yourself when you sin.  But it’s not.  A humble believer extends grace to self, just like Jesus extends grace to believers as we sin.  And we never stop sinning, because there’s a dark side of our motivation to every seemingly-selfless thing we ever do.  We’re much-more likely to extend grace to other believers, than to ourselves.   Especially other believers we like.  But not to self.  Pride.  We wannabe different.  Whyzat?  Good motive: for the glory of Jesus.  Dark motive: so we can feel good about self.  But Satan works hard at keeping us from seeing our dark motives.  Why are we so vulnerable to Satan’s deception?   Worthiness addiction.  Dissatisfied with the imputed worthiness of Jesus.  Dissatisfied with Jesus Himself.

Believers with self-contempt for every failure, don’t really care that God loves us unconditionally.  We want something more.  A humble believer cares not one iota for having zero worthiness of his own.  Jesus and His worthiness are enough.  Humble believers don’t mind being considered losers, failures, nobodies.  Don’t mind being pitied.  And aren’t enamored with their own successes, somebodiness.  Enamored with Jesus, no matter what.  And are not deflated by getting new large glimpses of their pride.

–DumbSheepDave, more self-aware than ever, confessing more than ever, enjoying Jesus, others, self, and circumstances more than ever, because folks have been praying

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Terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad

experience, living in this world as an independent who was made for dependency.  The Creator didn’t do a halfway job when He cursed the world.  It really is an awful place for an independent to live.  Except.  For those moments of sanity, those tastes of Heaven, when created-dependents are returned by the convicting work of the Spirit, to the peaceful bliss of Jesus-dependency.

Independence is exalted outside the Church, and inside too. “What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Lk 16:13

–DumbSheepDave, who just experienced the best year of his life, because folks have been praying, hoping that 2013 will be a year when pre-believers will be wowed by the difference Jesus makes, and want his Shepherd too

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“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,

which is hypocrisy,” said Jesus.   Hypocrisy?  Trying to appear strong/together.  Dishonest about weaknesses, failure, neediness.  Invisible pride.  Appearing strong/together/un-needy has unconsciously been my main core value all my adult life, I now see.  Nurtured by the society around me, outside the Church, and inside too.  Satan loves the Church operating just like the world around It, by human power, like the Pharisees, so It’s neutralized, impotent, fruitless, saltless — of no use.  Independent, not Jesus-dependent.

How do I change?  Impossible.  I need Jesus working in me, exposing more and more of the yeast-like independence that seeps into every area of my life.  So I can confess more.  Invisible pride.  Satan hates me confessing, and loves me trying harder to change, trying to believe better, depend better.  And hate myself when I fail.  Pride.  Jesus-dependency is impossible without Jesus working by His Spirit, freshly convicting me of the sin of independence.

–DumbSheepDave, having the best year of his life, because folks have been praying, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing

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I’m bored with Jesus,

at Christmas, and the rest of the year too, except when I’ve been freshly convicted of the sin of independence/judge/self-confidence/pride.  Jesus is only a big deal to big sinners, only a little deal to little sinners, and nothing to non-sinners.  The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for this kid of His, is to freshly convict me of the sin of independence, so Jesus is the big deal in my life again.  Even at Christmas.

–DumbSheepDave, experiencing more dependency than ever, because folks have been praying, and hopefully the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference

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Jesus changing Dave in surprising ways.

One example is my latest tire purchase for my car.  My Subaru wagon is an authentic sports car in disguise: very fast, and corners amazingly.   So the tires I have purchased for it in the past, have been ultra-high-performance summer tires, that enable one to corner like a race car.   I have always loved to go fast around corners.  Why?  Proving myself worthy, I now suspect.  Satan has had a grip on me in the form of a worthiness-proving addiction, all my adult life.  Fast acceleration, fast cornering, prove I’m worthy.  I know, silly isn’t it?   Idolatry/addiction is irrational, silly.  Fruit of emotional dysfunction.

So when I went to buy new tires, I researched the ultra-high-performance summer tires, but I decided I didn’t need to prove myself worthy anymore, didn’t like going down that path, that trip, that addiction, and so I bought some boring all-season touring tires, that handle well, but nothing like the kind of tires I usually buy.

Sometimes I still accelerate rapidly, go round corners rapidly, because it’s fun.  But not so much.  Only fellow car nuts could appreciate the change Jesus has made in this big area of my life where I was so blind.

–DumbSheepDave, having the best year of his life, because folks have been praying

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An ingrate believer,

has been forgiven much by DaddyJesusSpirit, and has the perfect, precious, pricey righteousness of Jesus imputed to him, but — wants something more.  An ingrate believer is unsatisfied with Jesus and His righteousness, wants some righteousness/performance/worthiness of his own, so he can feel good about himself.  IngrateDave.

Grace is for ingrates who know they are ingrates, flows downhill to the ingrates at the lowly sinner’s place at the foot of the Cross.  Does not flow uphill to the together, strong, successful, proud.  Grace is for losers who know they are losers, accept themselves as losers, enjoy themselves as losers.  Needing no worthiness of their own.  Grace is not good news to winners, the worthy, the proud, who have much to lose.  Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy.

–IngrateDave, confessing more, and more in love with Jesus, because folks have been praying

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