Why am I unfruitful with pre-believers?

I have many pre-believing friends, that I hang out with, but no one’s asking me yet, about how they can know Jesus like I do.  None of them appear to be seekers, most are turned-off, some antagonistic, some atheist, but they all know what Jesus does for me, they enjoy me, and they feel my enjoyment of them.  Is there something missing?   I think so.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus says that “the cares of this world” keep the believer from being fruitful, reproducing.  The biggest “care of this world” for any human — Dave included, is feeling good about self based on performance.  This is the human condition, rooted in puny human power, from leaning on my own understanding.  Conversion — contagious faith, requires a miracle: supernatural power.  Until I have been more retrained in Jesus-dependency, so there is more of Him living His life in me and through me, making more of a wow difference in my life, I don’t see why God would use me fruitfully, among my pre-believing friends.

The nicest, kindest, sweetest, most-loving thing He ever does for me, is to freshly convict me of my sin of independence/pride — leaning on my own understanding, trying to feel good about myself based on my performance.  He typically needs to thwart my plans and then open my eyes to my disappointment, before I’m able to even recognize my independency.  When I’m Jesus-dependent — experience Jesus living His life in me, I have a healthy indifference to the things humans care about most: performance.  Whyzat?  Because we humans assume that performance will fill the love-vacuum in our lives, enabling us to feel love from others and self, but it doesn’t, because it’s conditional love, on the condition of performance.  We humans have an unconditionallove-vacuum, and only Jesus delivers that.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by the difference Jesus makes in the life of DumbSheepDave, and want what he has (please pray now)

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To whom do I feel superior?

Politicians, bigots, the sanctimonious, lovers of big government, abusers of the poor, corrupt executives, mainstream journalists, child molesters, drug dealers, murders, criminals, gangsters, deceivers in high places, mobsters, terrorists, abusers of power, elderly abusers, child abusers, women abusers, animal abusers, environmental abusers, litterbugs, texting drivers, oblivious drivers, loud cell-phone talkers.  To name a few.

When I feel contempt for others, I’m seeing more and more how that indicates an unconscious contempt for myself.  And interestingly, the more I extend grace to myself, the easier it is to extend grace to others, even those my flesh loves to despise, so it can feel good about itself at their expense.   “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  By yourself.  When I’m in the mood to judge others, I’m also unwittingly in the mood to judge myself, and this is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad way to live, with self-contempt always hovering over me, waiting to strike.

Extending grace, unconditional love, to myself and others, just as I have received grace, unconditional love, from my DaddyJesusSpirit, is a fruit of the Spirit’s work in my life, freshly convicting me of the sin of self-contempt and others-contempt, returning me to sanity, joy, peace as I am enabled to enjoy myself and others and my ShepherdJesus.  Only shepherds judge others.  Dumb sheep leave judging to their shepherd, and just have fun.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of sin, so he’s momentarily transformed into blissful and beloved DumbSheepDave, with amazing humility, amazing love, amazing joy, and amazing peace, so the pre-believers around him will want what he has (please pray now)

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Why would anyone want a Jesus

who leads people to external religious observance, but who does not change them on the inside, into being amazingly humble and amazingly loving and amazingly joyful and amazingly peaceful?  Who would be the first to throw a stone at those outside the Church, who laugh at us who claim to follow Jesus, because they see us just as circumstance-dependent for our joy and peace, and just as independent/self-reliant/prideful, as any other human?

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he will be momentarily transformed into blissful and beloved DumbSheepDave, doing nothing on his own, evidencing a Shepherd directing his life (please pray now)

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Blame bad circumstances on Satan,

and credit God for the good ones?  This produces fear and instability in believers, in my experience.  Is God sovereign over everything, or not?  We give Satan waaay too much credit/power/glory, by attributing hardship, adversity, suffering, to him. The problem is never with our circumstances, but always with the way Satan tempts us to view our circumstances: fearfully, as though there is a battle going on between good and evil and if we don’t pray hard enough, evil will win.  Or.  Peacefully, thankfully, believing that God is carefully working out His sovereign and perfect plan for our lives, working all things together for the good of us kids of His.  Suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency.  Suffering is painful, but good painful.  Especially for us spiritually-learning-disabled believers.

–ShepherdDave, who thinks he knows what’s best for himself and those he loves, but needs prayer for more-dependent moments as DumbSheepDave, following his ShepherdJesus, so the pre-believers around him will want this peaceful dependency too (please pray now)

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Teacher needs prayer.

Here’s what she wrote to her Pray-ers: “Dear Friends, I have the exciting opportunity to substitute in a k4 classroom this week.  However, the classroom is very needy with lots of difficult kids.  It is totally of Jesus how this all came up.  Anyhoo, please pray for peace to come over this classroom as I’m teaching.  For me to bring the atmosphere of the Kingdom to this small little place.  I will be teaching Tuesday through Friday and will need your prayers for strength and to be able to love these little ones.  There are 3 that are super difficult.  Thanks for praying.  I’ll let you know how it goes…”

Here’s what I wrote back.  Love for any reading this to join me in praying for her this week:

“Excited to pray.  You’re a miracle-needy lady, Nancy [not her real name], so it makes sense you would be recruiting prayer for a string of miracles this week, and the BIGgest miracle of all, would be if Jesus so captures your heart and imagination throughout the week, that you are aware of Him living His life within you, instead of Nancy trying desperately to live the Jesus life.  So each time you feel stress, pressure, you will know that this is Nancy trying to live the Jesus life, but each time you feel a peace that makes no sense, because of a curiosity and expectancy to see what Jesus does next, in you and through you, you’ll know a miracle is happening.  Now, pay attention: if you are ever irritated with yourself when you catch yourself trying to live the Jesus life, you are not loving/accepting yourself unconditionally, but are filled with self-contempt for your failure to perform like you willfully wanted.  Jesus is never ever contemptful/irritated/angry about your failure: only ProudNancy.  Count on me to be praying daily for a string of miracles, and especially that Nancy will be extending grace to herself when she fails.  Now this is LIFE, Nancy.  This is FUN.  No pressure on Nancy.  Nancy’s performance in the classroom is not Nancy’s problem, or Nancy’s job.  Jesus’ problem, and Jesus’ job.  :)”

–DumbSheepDave, having the time of his life because folks pray

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Are you okay with being fearful?

Or do you dislike yourself when fearful?  This is not self-love/self-acceptance, but self-hate/self-contempt. Does Jesus love you when you’re fearful?  Of course He does.   His love for you is not conditional.  But your love for yourself, is conditional, your acceptance of yourself, is conditional, if you are irritated with yourself when you don’t perform up to your expectations.  And fear is never allowed.  Failure is never allowed.  Fear of failure is never allowed.  Fearful feelings typically result in self-rejection/self-hate.  This is sin, to hate what God loves, and the enemy could not be more pleased, than to get you hating yourself.  Why?  Because you cannot love God, and you cannot love others, while hating yourself.  Giving yourself permission to be fearful, imperfect, while not living in denial about your sin, while still loving/accepting yourself, is giving to yourself the same kind of unconditional love, that your DaddyJesusSpirit gives you.  Ahhhh.  Being as loving to yourself as your DaddyJesusSpirit is to you.  Glory.  Ecstasy.

If you try not to sin, you don’t understand sin.  Sin is not something you try not to do: sin is something you confess.  In the Church we have dumbed down the law, and dumbed down sin, to where it’s outside-the-cup kinda stuff, that’s manageable.  Like the Pharisees.  The Christian life is impossible.  There is never anything you’ve ever done, simply and only because you love Jesus: there’s a dark side, a sinful side, sinful motivation, to ever seemingly-noble, seemingly-selfless thing you’ve ever done.  You have never done anything, sinlessly, even though your flesh, the world and the devil want you to think so.  Why?  So you can feel good about yourself, based on your performance, and not need the imputed performance of Jesus, which you find unsatisfying if you can get some of your own.  And this self-righteousness/self-performance is what keeps you from enjoying God, enjoying others, and enjoying yourself, another way of describing loving God, loving others, and loving self, especially the impossible to love.  And for emotionally-wounded adults, self is the most impossible to love well.  Self-love is not selfishness/idolatry.   Selfishness/idolatry is self-hate.  I know, it seems wrong, but the devil has done a number on us.  Why?  To keep us from loving God and others with a contagious humility and a contagious love, especially pre-believers with values most different from our own.

–DumbSheepDave, smiling at himself more than ever, because folks have been praying (please keep praying, and please pray now)

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Becoming a dumb sheep is a repulsive concept

to a shepherd.  Why would any shepherd, want to be a dumb sheep?   Ultimate humiliation.   Moving from being the lofty, respected, wise and resourceful independent, all the way down to the most dependent of all: a dumb sheep, not having enough sense to come in out of the rain, needing to be shepherded, needing to be protected from self, like a toddler.   So why would any Christian or nonChristian, functioning as a shepherd, want to walk away from that high and lofty place, and go down, down, down, to the lowly, humiliating place, of functioning as a dumb sheep, dependent for everything?

Only one reason.   Life isn’t working anymore, trying to be my own shepherd, so I’m looking for something else, something better.  Only failures who know they are failures, are even remotely interested in the notion that life as a dependent offers priceless advantage over life as an independent.

–DumbSheepDave, giving up on the notion that his worldview is appealing to all the shepherd pre-believers and believers around him, for only the failures who know they are failures, seem at all interested (please pray now for more dependency in his life)

Financial update: A number of folks gave surprising gifts in December and we ended the year in the black by $3500, which is a needed help for 2012.   Thank You, Jesus!    🙂

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All my life I’ve been living in denial,

of how worthless I’ve felt, of how much I’ve hated myself.   Wow.  I would never have guessed or believed it.  But now I am learning that suppressed feelings of shame/worthlessness from childhood, lead adults to the kind of drivenness, intensity, competitiveness, trying to prove myself worthy, to myself and others, that has characterized my life.  I mean, I’ve had glimpses of this, but never saw its root as self-hate.  Wow.

Performance-based conditional self-love/self-acceptance, is the opposite of the unconditional love/acceptance of Jesus for me.  Performance-based conditional love, is what Satan offers, and what the world offers, and what the flesh offers, and this is not “love” but conditional-hatred, the opposite of the unconditional love/acceptance Jesus gives me, and I’m beginning to give myself.   Amazing difference it’s making in my daily life, even though my default mode is still failure-avoidance.   It’s always seemed so natural for me to be in a hurry, efficient, intense, that I’ve seldom given it much thought.  And now I find myself more self-aware when I’m hurrying, or intense, realizing that this intensity is rooted in self-hate, not self-love.   I have nothing to prove to myself or others, because I have the performance of Jesus imputed to me.  I’m more and more loving me just as I am, just as Jesus loves me.  Amazing.  My body is beginning to relax inside.   Ahhhh.  Peace that surpasses understanding: surpasses leaning on one’s own understanding, trying to feel good about self, based on performance as ShepherdDave.   I think there’s been a fear-based unease about my life, a hyper-vigilance, a hyper-conscientiousness, to avoid failure of any kind, at all costs.   Day and night.   Ahhhh.  The idol/addiction of failure-avoidance has lessening grip on my life.  ShepherdDave is dying and DumbSheepDave is coming to life.  I’m on a pathway of healing for the open festering wound on my soul.  I’m smiling at myself more, enjoying myself more.  And this enables me to smile at others more, and enjoy them more, rather than being critical of them, especially the inconsiderate and the uncool.  Judge not that you not be judged.  By yourself.

–DumbSheepDave, not knowing how to adequately thank folks for praying (please keep praying and please pray now)

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