No deeply-happy person

is an idolator.  Deeply happy?  Joy, peace, contentment.  And every believer I’ve ever known, including myself, are bigtime idolators, but we live in denial of the extent of our unhappiness caused by idolatry, in my not-so-humble opinion.  Those of us with a grace foundation in our lives, get better glimpses of our idolatry, but it’s still the tip of the iceberg we see at best, in my experience with others and self.  As Jesus grows a believer in self-awareness, s/he’s enabled to see much further under the waterline, and the more growth in self-awareness, the more we see the magnitude of the problem.  Without Gospel-awareness, we would surely die from grief at the horror of what we are in our flesh — what great examples we are, of bad examples.  We can’t handle the truth, so we unconsciously suppress.

I find I’ve needed three things to experience a measure of happiness in this world, and to begin to be compelling to the seculars around me.  Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty awareness.  That’s the order in which Jesus has worked in me, historically.  For me, any one, or even two, has been insufficient.   I find I desperately need all three, and I need them in ever-growing ways.  No such thing as being arrived in any of the three awarenesses as a believer goes through a day.  And each of them come and go, as the Spirit works.  For control-freaks this is quite frustrating.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, king of control-freaks, whose flesh wishes it could claim some of the credit for the now-and-then work of Jesus in him

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Black preacher exposing Christians,

white, black, brown, whatever, both progressive and conservative.  He’s African-American Coordinator for the Presbyterian Church in America.  And he’s not talking about race, per se.  Although the root of racial prejudice is self-righteousness.  Brave man, taking on the Christian establishment, but preaching very biblically, seems to Dave.  Hope his job’s not in jeopardy. Scary sermon.  Thirty-five minutes.  Wy Plummer.  How our own righteousness undermines our love for Jesus.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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Self-righteousness is impossible

unless a Christian or nonChristian is wise in his own eyes, leaning on his own understanding, confident-he-knows-what’s-best, so as to judge others and self, so as to feel worthier/superior.

–ShepherdDave/JudgeDave, consumed with his own worthiness, except when freshly convicted of the sin of worldliness/self-righteousness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying everyone just as they are, and the genius plan of his SovereignShepherdJesus, just as it is, content with His alien worthiness, needing none of his own

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The values of Jesus seem wrong.

War against enemies seems right.  Competition seems right — hoping the opposition fails, seems right.  Judging/critiquing others seems right.  Feeling worthier/superior seems right.  Forcing my values on others through legislation, seems right.  To an adultlike/independent/confident-he-knows-what’s-best, wise in his own eyes, leaning on his own understanding.

–ShepherdDave, who claims to follow Jesus, but ignores the teachings of Jesus, except when freshly convicted of the sin of worldliness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying everyone just as they are, so the seculars around him might experience the love of Jesus

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Biblical wisdom is not human wisdom.

Biblical wisdom causes me to be distrustful of my own wisdom to find happiness.  Biblical wisdom is believing that I have no wisdom worth leaning on, but that Jesus does.  Biblical wisdom causes me to ASK Jesus about everything, and THANK Jesus about everything just as it is, and everyone just as we are.  Biblical wisdom causes me to believe in the sovereignty of DaddyJesusSpirit.  Biblical wisdom causes me to be clueless-I-know-what’s-best.  Biblical wisdom = Jesus-dependency.  Biblical wisdom = humility.  Biblical wisdom = sanity.  Biblical wisdom causes me to forget all about myself and focus on others.  Biblical wisdom is impossible, apart from the convicting work of the Spirit.  So glory goes only to Jesus.

–ShepherdDave, chief of independents, who sometimes sees the problem, because of the Spirit’s fresh conviction of the sin of independence/pride/worldliness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency, so the seculars around him might experience the humility and love of Jesus

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Self-awareness commended in Proverbs 14:8.

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways [pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, reactions as they go through their day],

“but the folly of fools is deception.” [self-deception about our independence/pride/confidence-we-know-what’s-best, not to mention others-deception, by being less than transparent, or worse].

We independents are fools.  The wise, however, are dependent, childlike, clueless-about-what’s-best, ASKing Jesus and THANKing Jesus, about evathang, curious and expectant to see what SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in the dependent, others, circumstances.

—ShepherdDave, who only sees the problem when he’s been freshly convicted of the sin of independence/pride, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/Jesus-contentment/Jesus-humility, clueless-he-knows-what’s-best, curious/expectant to see what his SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, so the seculars around him might experience the love of Jesus

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Success is very dangerous,

including ministry success, parenting success, because it’s addictive.  Success ain’ta bad thing, but it’s very dangerous.  It strokes us in wanting more.  And more.  Never satisfied.  Bottomless pit of need in the ambitious, hard-worker.  And homemaker.  And the worst part, is the unrelenting pressure 24/7.  Self-imposed pressure.  Unrecognized pressure.  It’s such a part of one’s life, it’s invisible.  Circumstance-dependent for joy and peace.  A picture of addiction to one’s own worthiness.  Terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad way to live.  Addiction prison.

–ShepherdDave, chief addict, except when he’s been freshly convicted of being unsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/Jesus-contentment/Jesus-humility, to the seculars around him might experience the love of Jesus

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The worst evangelist,

is the chief encourager – positive thinker.  “You can do this, my secular friend.”  The next best is the chief expert — overwhelming with Scripture.  The next best is the chief accuser – helping others see the sin to which they are blind.  But the best – the one most likely to be used of the Spirit to transform lives, is the chief confessor.  The chief remover of logs from his own eye.

The chief confessor has a healthy indifference as to what seculars do with Jesus, and this is extremely important.  No one likes a pushy salesman or his message — the best ones, have a healthy indifference as to whether you buy or not.  Over time, the chief confessor creates a safe environment in relationship with a secular friend, where the defensive secular has the freedom to look inside to see how much worse he is than imagined, where it’s safe to maybe join the chief confessor as a struggler at following God, see his bigtime need for Jesus and His imputed worthiness, so he is overwhelmed with Him, amazed by His unconditional grace/love.

So how does a believer become a chief confessor?  Only by the work of the Spirit, freshly convicting of sin, especially the sin of independence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best-and-what’s-thankable/dissatisfaction-with-Jesus-and-His-imputed-worthiness, so the believer oozes with other-worldly humility and other-worldly love, thanking Jesus about everything just as it is.

–ShepherdDave, who is never the chief confessor, unless he’s been freshly convicted of the sin of independence/pride, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, liberated about what others think about him, and what he thinks about himself, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/humility/cluelessness-he-knows-what’s-best, so the seculars around him might experience the other-worldly humility and other-worldly love of Jesus

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