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Heart Problem- System Problem!

Aug 28, 2008 at 15:28
Category: Leadership Files

By: Steve & Mariyn Hill

Yes, all integrity problems go back to the human heart but it is a truism of business that your systems are designed to produce the results you are getting.  There is little use in blaming the product!  You have to change the system!  And systems express hearts.  Marshal McLuhan is famous for declaring that "The Medium is the Message".  Which could be interpreted as saying that how we communicate is often more important than what we communicate.  How we communicate may be the true heart expression.

Preaching from a platform,  surrounded by crowds and by the trinkets of a celebrity life style  communicates so loudly that the message cannot be heard!  The gifting, anointing, the message are all "used" to create the life style.  And we bless this system because we want the same life style!  It is the same reason that some nations continue to wallow in corruption- those not in it are simply waiting their turn!

Often our environments are invisible.  Thus the one thing a fish knows nothing about is water.  Often we get so used to how things are around us that we think they are normal even godly when they may be anything but.  The environment of christian events, success by numbers and anointing by hype may become accepted as normal.  It is not.  Jesus sent away the crowds to invest in the twelve.  The following is an outline of a talk I gave several years ago at a leader's conference in the East seeking to expose wrong value systems that have become environmental and thus invisible.

Each one of us who would lead righteously, live simply and finish well will be repeatedly and subtly confronted by the temptations that faced Jesus.    We must daily make the choice to lay down our right to ourselves and live to Him!

1/ "Turn these stones into bread!"
    Jesus had fasted for forty days.  He was hungry.  The need was legitimate. The temptation?  "Use your gifting to satisfy your own needs!"  Jesus refused to do so.  His needs were met by that which came from the mouth of God, not by his use of his own gifts.  
    It is so normal for us to use our gifts to draw to ourselves, to make it easy for ourselves, to satisfy our needs and wants that we do not even understand this to be a temptation.   We use our gifts the same way the entertainers use theirs.  
    We work hard.  We fast.  What could be wrong with some bread?  Nothing except the source and, in this case, that is everything.  When we use our gifts to cause (manipulate?) others to meet our needs we corrupt the purpose of the gifts of God. Use your gifts to meet the needs of others.  Use your gifts to serve the least.  Serve those who cannot give back to you and then trust God to meet you.  Our lives are to be one long demonstration that God is our source.

2/ "Worship me and all the kingdoms of the world will be yours!"
    Yes, the kingdoms of the world do belong  and are to belong to Jesus.  The problem was the means to that end.  The end could never justify the means!  Jesus would only worship God.
    How often do we compromise on this one?  A little exaggeration here, a little stretching of the numbers there for the sake of a good testimony, for the sake of another invitation, for the sake of a larger offering?   A little avoidance of the full truth to make things a little easier for us?  A little "prophetic" flattery to make someone feel good in front of their friends.   And we become people of the lie.  We worship our adversary.
    The path to destiny lies through suffering.  The path to resurrection lies through death.  We need the resolve of Paul who would rather suffer than use the Corinthians to meet his needs.   Our western value system of  "all smooth, in a grove and flush approved" makes compromise very attractive and we do not often call it out in others because we all do it.  We protect in others what we are protecting in ourselves.

3/ "Cast yourself down from the temple and God will send the angels to make sure that nothing happens to you!"
    What is the temptation here?  It is one of the mysteries of iniquity.  When you have had success in gifting, anointing and miracles you are tempted to see yourself as special.  When you have been working long hours in "the ministry" you are tempted to feel that you need special relaxation.  When you have had great success you are tempted to feel that the normal disciplines which apply to the "normal" believers do not apply to you.  You are the "man of God".
    Thus you deserve that drink, that movie, that relationship, that car, that vacation and God will make allowance for you.  And once you indulge, the mystery of iniquity works on a deeper level because the anointing still flows, the gift still works and the money still comes.  God must not mind your little indulgence.  You really are special.
    Jesus resisted this temptation with, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God!"  You are a normal person.  The mystery of righteousness is that we have the treasures of glory in an earthy vessel.  

Be an honest clay pot and get on with your job.
Steve & Marilyn


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