The Thanksgiving holiday is very-dangerous

for followers of Jesus, seems to me, because thanking Him for the easily-thankable, obviously-thankable, reinforces control addiction, and surprisingly leads us into an INdependency that encourages God-bless-my-agenda kinda praying by believers, confident-we-know-what’s-best, confident we know how to direct the CreatorSustainer of the Universe.

Thanking Jesus for the harrrd is commanded in Scripture.  Thanking Him for the easy, is also commanded, but way-more dangerous.  When I ONLY thank Him for the obviously-thankable — when things go my way, when my flesh APPROVES of the outcome, CHEERS the outcome, I’m being lured into a destructive INdependency/control-addiction — an attempt to control my circumstances based on my confidence-I-know-what’s-best.  INdependency, not Jesus-dependency.

Impossible to have an agenda unless I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best.  Pride, not humility.  The unhappiest Christians are confident-they-know-what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not, and they ONLY thank Him for the easily-thankable — things going their way.  It’s sooo tempting to thank Jesus when things go your way.  Beware.  It’s a subtle trap.  Instead, in all circumstances, it helps me to thank Him for His genius plan.

I’m not at-all opposed to the Thanksgiving holiday, just pointing out what seems to me its danger.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, that believers might be compelling to the seculars around us

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Judging is a curse too.

Just like getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse, that I discussed last week.

Analyzing/critiquing/judging is a failed strategy for happiness — a horrible way to live, but it’s so natural for all of us humans, nonChristian AND Christian.  We do it unconsciously as we go through our day, looking at this or that, online, TV, people watching….analyzing/critiquing/judging. It’s ADDICTIVE. Easier to get off opiod’s than to get off judging.  Judging is mostly internal, not outside-the-cup like gossip, so it’s a respectable sin inside the organized Church, but not inside the Bible. “Judge not and you will not be judged.” You will not be judged BY YOURSELF.  YOU are the harshest judge of yourself. Nobody judges others without unmercifully judging self.

So what’s the payoff from judging?  Why the buzz? It feels so good to have an opinion about others, to feel superior to another, by noticing any weakness.  Dun get much better’n being a professional movie critic, sports critic, political critic. Expert. Ahhh, artificial LIFE.  That is…until I need another fix. And I always need another fix.

Miserable way to live, being the harshest judge of myself.  Too painful to feel the judgment I have for myself, so the temptation is strong to live in denial of what my harshest critic thinks of me, because I can’t stand being judged a failure along any line.

Judging is a curse.  Half the solution is recognizing the problem.  Judge, judge, judge, judge all day long. Until I see the impossibility of me NOT judging, I won’t be humble enough to run to Jesus for my identity, forsaking my own feeble attempts at reform, forsaking my need to feel good about myself, forsaking my quest for worthiness of my own.  Jesus has been painfully, humiliatingly, growing me by baby steps, at accepting/enjoying myself just as I am — a great example of a bad example. S’wunnerful. I’ve never known such peace, patience, enjoyment of others just as they are. But I’m still a toddler so far. My flesh is a monster.

Confessing helps when I’m aware of judging, and so does repeating over and over throughout my day, “Judging is a curse, but enjoying is a blessing.”  Thankfully Gospel-awareness has become foundational to my life over the years, as part of His genius plan. “Grace is for sinners” is woven into the fabric of my soul.  I QUALIFY for grace!

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, that we Christians might have something the seculars around us want

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Emotional-health is

unusual self-acceptance that is based on unusual self-awareness.  Emotional-health is another way of describing inner-humility.  As opposed to the outer-humility of politicians, leaders, Christians.  Emotional-health/inner-humility, becomes an idol/addiction when we study emotional-health/inner-humility, strive for emotional-health/inner-humility.  Emotional-health/inner-humility for a believer, is best left up to Jesus. Unusual self-awareness, however, is a wonderful goal.  Unusual self-acceptance/emotional-health/inner-humility is a self-destructive goal, and is best left up to Jesus.  Why do I want self-acceptance/emotional-health/inner-humility?  Pride.  Because I know it’s the ideal, and if I’m ideal, I’ll feel good about myself.  When my goal is to feel good about myself, I’m unsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed worthiness: I want some worthiness of my own, so I can feel good about myself.  The only believer who treasures Jesus and His imputed worthiness, is the believer who has NO worthiness of his own, especially the believer who once had great worthiness, then lost everything.  Most Christians leaders have great worthiness, and live in denial of how little we treasure Jesus and His imputed worthiness.  Unusual self-awareness is a wonderful goal, because our real flesh is exposed to us.  He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves only a little: Jesus, His worthiness, others, self.  If we’re not sensitive to what’s going on inside, we won’t be sensitive to others.  Won’t love them in ways that wow.  Jesus-like ways.

If you’re interested in Jesus growing you yet-more in self-awareness, I have a free ebook that I did not write, that has been used of Him in growing me way-more self-aware, and in the process, way-more self-accepting.  Way-more patient.  Gobs happier.  Email me.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, so we believers might have something seculars want

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The best leader is

not the chief expert, chief accuser, chief knowitall, chief competent, but rather….the chief confessor.   Humble.  Not just on the outside, but also on the inside.  The best leader finds his security in worthiness outside himself, which frees him to live and love self-forgettingly with reckless abandon. Jesus provides this alien worthiness to those wise enough and humble enough to die to their own worthiness and embrace His imputed worthiness.  But ain’t nobody wise enough and humble enough UNLESS the Spirit is overhauling him/her, and typically over time, so the death to self-worthiness is slower rather than faster.  Faster has its benefits, but it’s also more painful.  Best to surrender any timetable to Jesus.

Here’s a two-minute video clip of Nick Foles, MVP of the recent Super Bowl, that’s impressive to ME.  A good-but-not-great example of humility.  We Christian leaders have all mastered outward humility.  Inner humility?  Not so much.  Still.  Nick talks freely elsewhere about the primacy of Jesus in his life, but in this clip, just mentions his faith, as enabling him to deal with failure.  Chief confessor.  Our hearts go out to humble leaders.  Easy to see why the Eagles players rallied around him, as a backup quarterback entering the playoffs with the hero starter’s season-ending injury only a couple of games earlier, and nobody except the Eagles themselves, expecting the Eagles to win ANY playoff games, much less the Super Bowl, led by a backup without respect in the NFL, and without respect by Philly fans.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZeAcWhCrls&feature=push-fr&attr_tag=sqUuAdGLdvF86ClC-6

The worst leader is the one everyone fears; the next best is the one everyone hates, the next best is the one everyone loves, but the best leader, is the one when it’s all said and done, the people being led say, “Look what we did.”  Can’t find the author of this great quote on leadership.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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Dave, how can you talk about

Jesus’ genius plan for all, when there is so much bad in the world?  Well, how would we know what good looks like, if we weren’t exposed to bad?  SovereignShepherdJesus has created great examples of bad examples, and great examples of good examples, so we can clearly grasp the difference.  How could we appreciate the goodness, humility, love, of Jesus, without a Hitler to teach us about the bad that lurks inside each of us humans?

Why didn’t Jesus create a world where all humans were good all the time?  Ask the Author.  This is His Grand Story, not ours.  Who are we to sit in judgment of the CreatorSustainer of the Universe?  Arrogant, self-righteous humans, that’s who, blind to the extent of bad in each of us, imagining ourselves way-superior to Hitler, and lots of other humans, badder than we.  The biggest need inside the Church, and outside, is self-awareness.  Only bad humans need a Savior.  The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were considered the most holy of all humans, but Jesus had the harshest things to say about those who imagined themselves good, wonderful.  Jesus said, “He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves only a little.”  The lack of unconditional love in the world today, outside the Church, and INSIDE, exposes the human condition of imagining we are good-er than we really are.  We can’t handle the truth, can’t bear to look inside and see the darkness that lurks within, down deep, in the recesses of our souls — especially the independence/pride/confidence-we-know-what’s-best, leaning on our own understanding, being wise in our own eyes.

We Christians would benefit enormously by learning from eastern religions and modern psychology about the importance of self-awareness.  Seems to me that the BIGgest hindrance to a widespread awakening in the Church in our day that spills over into secular society, is a lack of self-awareness in us Christians.  So we Christians imagine ourselves only slightly bad, and are therefore underwhelmed by Jesus.  He’s a part of our lives, but not everything to us.  We live in denial of how much WE are everything to us.  In denial of what God-haters we are: hating having to trust Him and His genius plan for our lives, and those we love, because we are so independent/confident-we-know-what’s-best.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness among believers, so we might be compelling to the seculars around us

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Only the proud are clueless-avoidant,

weakness-avoidant, suffering-avoidant, because only the proud are confident-we-know-what’s-best.  Clueful.  Only the proud/clueful get fearful, frustrated, discouraged.  Since The Fall we wanna KNOW, UNDERSTAND, and we HATE suffering, HATE losing, HATE being clueless, weak, pitied.  Only the proud are control freaks, perfectionists, hyper-conscientious, because we’re confident-we-know-what’s-best.  Only the proud analyze, critique, judge.

— CluefulDave, except when he’s been freshly convicted of his cluefulness, so he’s momentarily CluelessDave/DumbSheepDave, dependent on His SovereignShepherdJesus to know what’s best, thanking Him about everything, enjoying everyone just as they are, and everything just as it is, all part of His Grand Story, including the need for a Savior

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This has been soooo helpful to me

since last April, when I first posted it, that I’m reposting it.    🙂

 

The so-what theology of the Christian life

has been amazingly helpful to me lately.  Huh?  Here’s how it works.  When I notice one of my idols distracting me from fixing my eyes and thoughts on Jesus, I say to myself, “So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?”

So what if your car is cooler than their car?  Or theirs cooler than yours?  So what if you’re a better dresser than they are?  So what if that slow-moving truck just pulled onto the two-lane-with-no-passing-zone-for-the-next-six-miles road in front of you?  So what if the light just turned red, and it’s always a long wait at this intersection?  Or just turned green as you approached the intersection?  So what if there’s a construction backup and a long line of standing cars and trucks?  So what if you’re making great time because of light traffic?  So what if that guy just cut you off?  So what if you’re gonnabe late?  So what if you made a wrong turn and you have to backtrack?  So what if SE Pennsylvania has way-too-many vehicles on the road?  So what if there are too-many gray, cloudy days in Pennsylvania?  So what if you have a big health issue?  Or are healthier than most?  So what if your investments are doing poorly?  Or wonderfully?  So what if you paid too much for that?  Or got a bargain?  So what if your team lost?  Or won?

You get the idea.  No matter what might rob my flesh of joy and peace, or feed my flesh, it helps me so much to CHALLENGE my flesh — challenge its CONFIDENCE-that-it-knows-best, CONFIDENCE-that-it-knows-what-will-make-me-happy.  So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?  Domatter, Dave’sFlesh.

The things that MATTER to my flesh, domatter in the Big Scheme of things.  My flesh dunno nuttin about happiness for Dave.  But it sure THINKS it does.  Because Jesus has been growing me yet-more self-aware and yet-more self-accepting, I’m getting to know my flesh way-better than ever.  Half the solution is seeing the problem.

So what if my very life is threatened?  So what if I face scary?  Jesus is Lord, reigning from on High!  His genius plan for me and those I love will not be thwarted.

Ecclesiastes is the so-what Book of the Bible.  Meaningless are the values (idols) of Dave’sFlesh.  “So-WHAT?” is a slap in the face of my idol (addiction).

–SoWhatDave, baby steppin in healthier directions, because of the convicting work of the Spirit

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No believer who feels pressure, stress,

believes in the total sovereignty of Jesus.  Doesn’t matter what we claim to believe about Him and His sovereign reign over all.  When we feel pressure, stress, we are unbelievers in His sovereignty.  We have Heaven, but are missing the benefit of Jesus.  And those around us suffer too, because of our self-absorption.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, always needing reminders, so there might be an overflow of love, joy, and peace in his life, compelling and contagious to the seculars around him

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