I’m pathetically in love,

with the values of this world: feeling good about myself through strength, good taste, achievement, efficiency, savvy, reputation, superiority, somebodiness, great decisions.   For a cherished, adopted child of the Most High God to be so enamored with such meaningless values in the eyes of Solomon, is pathetic.   But that’s what I am in my less-sane moments.   Makes no sense whatsoever.  Who can explain the insanity of being wooed away from Jesus by the prince of this world?

Wait, Dave, are you saying that values like efficiency and achievement are evil?   When I try and get LIFE from them, try and get from them what only Jesus can give, when I feel good about myself because of them, they are.

So, Dave, do you enjoy your dysfunctional self in those less-sane moments?  Of course not.  Only when I am sane/contrite, can I enjoy the man known as ShepherdDave, so easily wooed away from Jesus.   Not contempt for ShepherdDave, but compassion for him, like Jesus has compassion for him.  ShepherdDave is so pathetically confused about where to find happiness in this life.

In the past, I’ve dimly seen this worldiness in me, but lately, much more clearly.  In my saner moments.  Somebody must have been praying.  Thank you.  Humiliation is good for my soul.

My flesh hates humiliation, hates the values of the Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus: weakness, lowliness, dependency, indifference to the values of this world, risking pity or contempt by others for marching to a different Drummer.   To be considered a loser, a nobody, even in Christian circles, is anathema to my flesh.   Jesus is unsatisfying, inadequate.

–ShepherdDave, to be pitied above all men, for he possesses the perfect, precious, pricey righteousness of Jesus imputed to him, yet he runs after the far-lesser things treasured by this world, and is therefore extremely needy of prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence/pride, so he’s momentarily humbled, transformed into DumbSheepDave, enjoying his Shepherd, himself, others, and his circumstances, just as they are (please pray now)

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Engineering easy circumstances,

and avoiding the hard ones, is my passion when I’m ShepherdDave, wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding, confident I know what’s best for me and those I love.   But easy never grows me more Jesus-dependent, more DumbSheepDave.  Only the hard.   So why do I obsess over engineering easy, and not embrace the hard?   World, flesh, devil.   The right-side-up kingdom of this world has convinced me that the values of the Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus are undesirable.   I don’t want hard, weakness, dependency, to be pitied above all men: I wanna feel good about myself.   I wannabe admired, envied, not pitied.  I want easy.

The sanity prayer.   “Whatever it takes, Lord, to grow me more Jesus-dependent, no matter how hard, that’s what I want more than anything else in this world.  Thank You that suffering produces perseverance, and then character, and then hope/faith/dependency.”

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he’s lowly and beloved DumbSheepDave, so the pre-believers around him are wowed and want Jesus too (please pray now)

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I am powerless over my idols/addictions.

I cannot live w/o them.  I become tense and frustrated until I can return to them to get some relief from my pain — my suppressed feelings of worthlessness.  How do I know they’re suppressed?  Because I want to forget/deny/erase my feelings of worthlessness, by doing something to feel good about myself in one or more areas of my idolatry: ministry, investments, health improvements, shrewd purchasing decisions, automobiles.  Ahhh.  Now I don’t need Jesus.

But my goal is not to change myself, for only Jesus can change me.  My need is to begin to understand and accept myself, just as I am, just as my DaddyJesusSpirit understands and accepts me, just as I am.  Whenever I get impatient with myself, with the transformation/sanctification process, self-contempt has become the issue.  Pride.  A humble sheep gladly submits to his Shepherd’s timetable, does not need to feel good about himself based on his own performance, and enjoys his Shepherd, others, himself, and his circumstances, just as the are.

–IdolatorDave, more self-accepting than ever, enjoying life more than ever, because folks have been praying, which gives him hope for the pre-believers around him (please pray now)

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Why do I want to be different?

Typically for both good and bad reasons.  Good reason: for the glory of Jesus, especially with pre-believers.   Bad reason: so I can feel better about myself, have some righteousness/performance of my own.

–ShepherdDave, unsatisfied with himself for the wrong reason, needing prayer for fresh conviction of sin, so he’ll be momentarily transformed into DumbSheepDave, who enjoys himself just as he is enjoyed by his ShepherdJesus, while curious and expectant to see if and when his ShepherdJesus will use suffering to change him more (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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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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When I’m discouraged by circumstances,

I’m always confident of what’s best for me and those I love.   ShepherdDave, leaning on his own understanding.  My biggest need is not changed circumstances, but a changed heart: fresh conviction of the sin of independence: unbelief in His promise to work all things together for my good, and His glory: unbelief in the perfectness of His plan for me.   Discouragement is not a picture of humility, but of evil, wicked pride.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for the Spirit to freshly convict, so he is transformed afresh to DumbSheepDave, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by his joy and peace in the face of rugged circumstances, or conclude he’s crazy for being so joyful and peaceful (please pray now)

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How does Jesus retrain me,

in a better way to live — more Jesus-dependent?   By thwarting my agenda.

My agenda for sleep, optimal health, controlling my circumstances, reaching goals, fixing things, getting places rapidly and efficiently.  Independence/self-reliance.  Lovingly thwarting my agenda.  ShepherdDave thinks a loving God should bless his agenda.  Just the opposite, oftentimes.   Jesus made me for dependency, and I’m happiest when I’m DumbSheepDave, asking, thanking, curious, expectant, to see what my ShepherdJesus does next.   Kinda like playing a video game where I respond to whatever comes next, instead of feeling the need to design the video game.   Ahhhh, tis so sweet to be DumbSheepDave, trusting in his Sheperd’s perfect plan for him.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for the Spirit to freshly convict him of the sin of independence — being unsatisfied with Jesus and His performance, so he comes running back to Jesus, and dependency, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by the difference his ShepherdJesus makes in his life (please pray now)

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