A Critical Spirit
Tim Hawkins, the comedian, makes the joke that, if you go to a church where others do not judge you, you’re really in a bar, not a church. So many women will not set foot in a church b/c they are sure that they will be judged (criticized). Some women are even called to ministry but would rather hide in the woods than take their place b/c of other women judging.
Frankly, it is just a work of the flesh, a critical spirit. Trust me, I know. How many have …criticized me just from my pic–I am really overweight at the moment. I think also women do judge b/c they haven’t realized that their criticisms of other women need to meet the cross.
Not too long ago I was standing in the lobby at church and a lady came to me and said hi and immediately looked at my kids and started evaluating them in their appearance and behavior. She made the conclusion at the end that I was an ‘OK’ mom. She shook my hand and walked away. I just wondered if she did that thinking I was judged by her.
You see, I usually don’t say very much. I often think that I am being judged b/c of my weight and appearance. So, perhaps she thought I was judging and decided to follow suit. Now, actually, I wasn’t thinking anything. However, many women THINK you are thinking something (?)–don’t try to figure it out.
A critical spirit can be an underlying current among people. It is a work of the flesh and the devil hooks up with it pretty readily. It can get darker and darker. I can see why people would shun it. It is a root in racism and its mother is pride.
The solution really is not complicated. It is called the cross. When we take it to the cross and ask God to cleanse it, according to 1 John 1:9, the Blood of Jesus will do what it was given to do. It is the power to remove it. (And clean up the mess it made)
1 John 1:9 (KJV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
Now you can take care of it in your own life. Just decide that you won’t sow it, nor will you reap it. You can determine to love in the face of it before you ‘face’ it. Confessing it as sin that you don’t want in your life is the first step. Now to ask God to help you to love in spite of it coming at you.
You distance yourself spiritually first; then, if needed, you separate physically. We can just decide we are not going to participate with that spirit. Don’t worry, God will take care of you and will give you relationships that are precious b/c He puts you with others who do not criticize.
You learn to choose your words.
You can go to church and enjoy it, even if you are a pastor’s wife or a pastor yourself. Cant worry what people think. Not your responsibility. When you see someone, try to think of something positive about them, even if you don’t like the way they dress, etc.
Chris: Here is something God is working on me for:
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Give in faith!
1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown [the seed of] spiritual good among you, [is it too] much if we reap from your material benefits?
1 Corinthians 9:14 [On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel.
Paul goes on to say, that he did not use his position as a minister of the gospel to take up offerings, rather he worked, making tents, to support himself. You might notice here, that Paul was not married, nor did he have children. Family responsibilities take time, and just as you bust a move on your job to provide for your family, I work every bit as hard, doing this, faithful to the Lord in prayer and the ministry of His Word, to you.
I will never charge for this: it my responsibility to God, my calling. Freely I have been given, now, I freely give…
As you give, hear Holy Spirit what to give, and honestly expect God to reward you for your giving.
Matt 10: 41 He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward.
I am a five-fold ministry gift and office – this is my life – I pray, I hear, I write, and wonderful things happen. You have your job description, I have mine – this is mine….
I have ‘see through’ faith for you, in this: Gal 3: 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
I believe I have a responsibility before God to be like Jesus, in every offering I receive. I receive it with thanksgiving, just like Jesus did the little boys lunch.
Then, because I walk and live by faith according to the blessing of Abraham, I believe that God will take your seed sown, and multiply it, according to what the blessing of Abraham promises:
Genesis 22:17 In blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed (Heir) will possess the gate of His enemies
It has been a joy to me, to see the hand of the living God act in the lives of those of you who have supported us this year!
Many have seen tremendous blessing come into your households, and for this we give thanks, and give Jesus all the glory!