Who Else Wants a Life of Power?

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Life of Power
Image provided by Mxing-m, Flickr

Do You Want a Life of Power? 

Of course you do.
The Bible says a lot about power, after all.  This includes the Power of God— both God Himself and His power lived out through people’s lives.

Then it’s important that you understand the nature of a person’s power. It may surprise you that “purity” begets personal power.  Purity is moral integrity.  It’s lifestyle consistency.

Interestingly, people can have a life of spiritual power even when mistakes have been made.  We’ve all made them.

Of course,  the fact that we’re not human doesn’t “excuse” the mistakes… it’s just to say simply that…. that we’re human.  But if there’s one resource I love that speaks to the issue of power coming from personal brokenness, it has to be the amazing website, I am Second.  WOW.   Let that be the first website you visit… AFTER you finish reading this post!!  (It can wait 3 minutes, right?)
But personal power comes from integrity. Integrity creates inner strength, which manifests itself in strong character. This ‘character’ increasingly produces unmitigated power in the life of the person possessing it– and such a person is fueled by nothing other than pure conviction.
Inner integrity manifests itself as a type of unstoppable force.
Put another way– the inner realization of a pure conscience leads to boundless personal power. So, BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT OUR HEARTS DO NOT CONDEMN US, we come to possess an absolute sense of internal integrity. This sense of personal “cleanness” instills an inner witness inside of us that creates utter liberation.
As a result of this liberation, the believer can truly (and finally) live with abandon– fearlessly, in fact.
Holy Spirit Power
Ironically, instead of this liberated abandon (which SPENDS OUR ENERGY) leading to the loss of vitality and strength (the type of thing that would leave the average person burned out and burnt up), because of the power of God that is able to flow through such a person, the totally spirit-empowered believer finds himself surprisingly refurbished… moment by moment. And this experience (really… it’s more of an encounter than an experience) makes us the recipient of an ever-renewing and “just-made” or, may I say, fresh-squeezed brand of genuine Holy Spirit power.
Moreover, because of the integrity of the Spirit and the genuine honesty in the conscience of a person with a pure life, the power begotten by that pure life simply cannot be manufactured. And since few believers exhibit this type of consistent Christian living, this type of pure power is seldom seen. That’s by virtue of the fact that it cannot be produced apart from the life of Christ.
But if we will consciously and consistently submit ourselves to Him– we will be fueled by that clear conscience just mentioned… and that’s when we’ll begin to experience this unremitting surge of Supernatural Pneumatic vitality moment by amazing moment, viz., The Power of a Pure Life.

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The Green-Eyed Monster: How to Get Rid of Envy and Entitlement

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Green eyed Monster
picture provided by thomashawk, Flickr

 
Envy. Entitlement. Those are two words I hate.
That isn’t to say I haven’t ever practiced those vices. But I really do hate them.
Envy is, of course, inward turmoil stimulated by a heart that cannot celebrate another’s good fortune. It involves wanting what another has. Jealousy, envy’s evil twin and hellacious handmaiden, involves personal resentment toward the one in question. Whereas an envious person wants what another has, jealousy [at least] simply doesn’t want the other person to have it.
Clearly, both usually go together: The envious person sometimes, if not usually, becomes jealous. The results of envy-jealousy includes the dropping of one’s countenance toward the fortunate (or blessed) person, then self-justifying (and sometimes-irrational) frustration which often deteriorates into further ungodly manifestations.
Self contamination
If I can take a bunny trail here— let me share a word about those ungodly manifestations. It seems to me that jealousy-envy often contaminates and/or wounds both the perpetrator and its victim(s). What I mean is that, once envy erodes into jealousy, it is not unusual for the jealous person to be contaminated by seething anger, internal rage, and finally contempt. Sometimes these emotions are accompanied by abuse and violence– verbal, physical, or both. As a result, the jealous person often ends up suffering a sense of guilt, personal condemnation, self-loathing, and, at worse, despair.
And if that were not enough, the victim of jealous envy also suffers, wittingly or not.
But this post is not only about envy; it’s also about entitlement. But I mentioned both because envy is often accompanied by entitlement. But entitlement can also be an “independent vice.” So entitlement doesn’t require the presence of envy though, like women who go to public restrooms in groups, they often appear together.
So, what of “entitlement?”
Entitlement is a perspective… a mentality. It usually manifests itself as an assumption that one DESERVES something– an expectation of a perceived (or moral) right. Now keep in mind that there ARE legitimate entitlements. But those are not my concern, nor are they the topic of this post. Rather, I am concerned about the general and pervasive “entitlement mentality” that hangs like a dark cloud over many people, including certain sections of the American populous. And just as “groups” of people develop entitlement mentalities, individuals do it as well. Those who do so consider it an outrage that they sometimes must “do without” or otherwise should actually “do something”– rather than doing nothing but having an expectation of receiving something nevertheless.
All this serves as a long introduction to the central idea of this post: The Elimination of Envy and Entitlement.
In the past, I assumed several things… Things like:

  1. BLESSINGS SPOIL PEOPLE
  2. MATERIAL NICETIES STIMULATE THE BASE INSTINCTS OF OUR HUMANITY AND DRIVE ENVY INTO PEOPLE
  3. THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN MUCH ALWAYS DEVELOP AN ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY THAT SPOILS THEM, AND FINALLY…
  4. BLESSINGS PRODUCE ENTITLEMENT IN THE PERSON WHO RECEIVES THEM AND ENVY IN THOSE WHO DO NOT.

 
But I no longer think those things.
Oh, sure, we’ve SEEN EXAMPLES of those ideas– but I have come to believe that no cause-effect relationship exists between blessing and entitlement or envy.
 I remember when my elder son, Dakota, turned 11. For his birthday he got this insanely great gift that virtually no child his age has. To boot, Dakota enjoys a life foreign to my own early years. He (and his brother Christian) is, in many ways, a child of plenty. He has never known “need.” He would hardly even understand the concept of “want.” And yet, the enormous blessings he enjoys are (a) not “expected” by him, nor (b) have these opportunities and experiences soiled or spoiled him. Dakota is genuinely thankful and grateful. And though all the results aren’t in– his life and demeanor has shown me that envy, entitlement, and blessing CAN BE mutually exclusive.
So what makes the difference?
I believe that envy and entitlement are eliminated from blessed people when those people possess character.
Character (or its absence) is, I believe, the single arbiter of envy and entitlement mentalities. With character, those bad character qualities are not present. Without character, those vices breed, mutate, and multiply.
So now, instead of withholding “good” from my child/children, I feel the freedom to bless them liberally. And rather than spending all my energies regretting my generosity and battling their growing envy and entitlement, I work on ensuring that they are developing character. I think that’s the way God intended it to be, and it helps me enjoy being a generous father– just as my Heavenly Father is.

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Understand Yourself Like a Clinical Psychologist: Power and Persona

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Power and Persona
Image by Ryan McGuire, courtesy Gratisography

 

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

It’s time to get your “shrink” on.

Shrink is a common, sometimes pejorative term, for psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors.  The term shrink comes from “head shrinker” which apparently developed in Hollywood, California (about 40 miles from where I’m sitting) sometime in the 1940s. 

A “head shrinker” was someone who helped you eliminate feelings of personal grandeur and greatness by telling you EXACTLY what is wrong with you.  Later shortened to simply “shrink” the term stuck… and many people now call counselors by that term.

So shrinks are counselors, in a manner of speaking. 

Counselors are typically equipped in the fields of either psychology or psychiatry. Psychiatry is more deeply based in the medical field (meaning psychiatrists can prescribe medications) while psychology is more based in the social or behavioral sciences.


Psychology is the ‘Science’ of Behavior

Psychologists and Psychiatrists seek to understand you and your motivations, and how motivations affect your behavior.  If successful, people can have more self-awareness and begin to move toward wholeness.  And that all begins with “knowing thyself” as the ancient philosopher Plato said.
PLATO Know Thyself
 
 

Knowing ourselves has to do with our sense of identity. 

The cultivation of a person’s identity, cumulatively~ over time, results in the formation of one’s persona. This persona is the fundamental basis from which someone thinks, feels, and acts (lives).

For this reason, an impaired personality (viz., a dysfunctional person) remains necessarily and existentially ‘lost.’ And until that person can find himself, he/she remains incapable of being truly happy, healthy, whole, and holy.

 

People Who Haven’t Found Themselves are “Lost” Emotionally and In Their Own Identity.  People Who Haven’t Been Found by God are “Lost” Spiritually.

Lost
This leads to the pitiful phenomena of a person being estranged within his own existence. This possibility may sound strange but is, I believe, a common reality for a portion of our society, Christian or not.


The Haunted Self

But the one who has plumbed the depths of his haunted self, when guided into the light of selfhood by the truth of God’s Word & Spirit (Rom 12:3), ultimately finds himself.
 
Finding oneself is progressive– it can’t happen all at once.  

That’s because our human nature is like an onion, wrapped or encased in layers upon layers of thoughts, ideas, reflections, self-evaluations, motives, feelings, and the like.

But if and when a person does the hard work of sorting through his or her soul, they ultimately gain the grace of finding themselves. 
This liberating reality infuses such a person with a profound sense of identity. It is this (and only this) transformed individual who is able to shrug off the insecurities and limitations of the empty self to finally begin to become all that God has made him to be.


Becoming a Person of Power and Presence

Show me a person like this, and I will show you a man or woman of profound power and personal presence.

This is where God wants to transport all believers, but most are seemingly too fearful of their haunted and misunderstood humanity or are too in love with the illusion of godless liberation to ever be truly liberated.
Don’t let that be said of you.  Do the work of seeking and finding who you are by discovering who God made you to be.  Then you’ll be free… liberated!
“For where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17


 

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