Fast Feet … September 19, 2012

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The commentator was insistent. He wanted each and every listener to understand that the quarterback was having trouble because he had lost his confidence. Furthermore, he knew the quarterback had lost his confidence because he had “fast feet–happy feet.”

The commentator pointed by pointing out that in one of the replays, this fine athlete, who had a history of being very proficient, was failing on this evening because he couldn’t stay in the pocket, stand firm and throw the ball, but instead was responding to the pressure by dancing about and looking for an escape. It made sense.

Human beings do require a certain amount of confidence. This is undeniable. But the confidence has to be based on something rational as opposed to mere intangibles or hopes and dreams. Otherwise we get dancing feet, fast feet or happy feet–take your pick.

If we go back to that list of the seven things that God hates, the next one is “feet that are swift to mischief“–fast feet.

Are we just talking about bad humans here, who are always looking for a new high or a way of escape? Not at all. Here’s a definition of mischief: “I have lost my mission and I’m chasing other people’s ideas.”

That’s when we get in trouble–when we lose our faith in the portion that has been provided for us and believe it to be insufficient, and then we start trying to wrangle new ideas which are out of our scope, beyond our comprehension or even detrimental to our values. After all, the person who says I’ll try anything probably ends up doing so and always arrives at a place of defeat.

What is my job? My job is to ask to receive my mission. Ask who? Three different individuals:

  • Ask God. God’s answer is always located in the reality of what He’s already given you.
  • Ask yourself. That answer always comes in the quality of your work and the confidence you have in doing it.
  • Ask others you trust. That answer will be given to you in the impact you have on their lives and what the depth is that they feel you impart to them.

When you combine those three answers, you end up with your mission. Then, when you have your mission, you should seek to find your best adventure.

This is where most people lose their way. I think there are many fellow-travelers who actually do discover their mission, but the available venue for them to pursue their particular adventure seems so insignificant and small that they lose faith and think they must have been wrong about their calling.

Do not despise small beginnings.

It it’s NOT small, it is probably a passing fad which will be yanked out from under you just when you’ve made a start. The best adventure is the possibility that comes your way which immediately allows you to start your mission–not in two years; not later on in life. Now. Remember, the scripture on faith in the book of Hebrews begins with the word “now.” Faith is never expressed in the future, but rather, manifested by making a beginning in the present.

Consider this: faith with works is alive.

And finally, knock on the doors around you until you open an opportunity to do your mission with the best quality possible. None of us are going to escape sales. Even if you don’t seek it out as an occupation, you will still find yourself doing some of it to gain the breath to exhale your abilities to the world around you.

So, this is how we plant our feet firmly, ready to deliver the ball. Without this, we get fast feet–we borrow other people’s philosophies, which is not that different from using their toothbrush. We look for what is most popular instead of what is historically lasting. We grant ourselves permission to flirt with sin and ill-advised activity, proclaiming that we can handle it and know exactly how far to go.

We are pursuing mischief. Mischief is when I have denied my portion and I keep trying out everybody else’s portion.

The Bible says God hates it. Why? Why should He care about such an insignificant, immature choice? Because He loves us and the pursuit of mischief makes us look stupid, careless, insecure, frustrated and without the ability to bear the fruit that obviously comes from our own efforts. People who have “fast feet” towards mischief state, “I am better than my mission.”

And what is my mission?

  1. What I can do.
  2. What needs to be done.
  3. A starting point.

I arrived in Gas City, Indiana, last night. Only fifteen folks showed up. I had a choice–was I going to try to adjust my feet to the number of individuals who occupied the seats and come up with a compromise towards my mission, or was I going to stay faithful to what I am able to do, find out what needed to be done with these fifteen folks and jump in to a starting point?

It’s really that simple. My surroundings will change. My circumstances will be altered. My hopes will be tainted. My faith will be challenged. My mission must remain the same–otherwise I find myself with “dancing feet,” running towards mischief.

God hates fast feet because they run away from true ability to try to find temporary success in mischief. So what will today hold for me? How about you?

I have no idea. But the only way to guarantee the purity of each and every moment is to stay on mission and avoid those “dancing, happy, fast feet” which cause me to chase a portion that was never meant to be mine.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

A Lying Tongue… August 29, 2012

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So I decided to count.

I took yesterday morning and focused on the number of times that I told fibs in the course of a three-hour period. Even though I was alerted to the scrutiny, at the end of my little session, I had to admit that I actually told three untruths. Isn’t that amazing? Even when I was aware that a spotlight was being put on my language, I still ended up producing a bit of dishonesty.

Why?

After all, it is one of those seven thing that God hates. It says right there in Proverbs that He just really despises “a lying tongue.” And the reason He does is because a lying tongue is always located just beneath “a proud look.” Every little piece of pride that we manufacture to justify our present form of behavior has to be backed up by a series of lies to keep it going and real. And even though pride displays arrogance, it is a symptom of insecurity–and insecurity is why we all lie.

I’m sure there are people who stretch the truth because they just enjoy deceiving others, but most occasions for a lack of candor have something to do with the fact that we are ashamed of our truth and at least want to embellish it and make it look prettier.

It was a great exercise for me. I am one to extol the value of “telling it like it is,” yet when it’s time for me to do that into the mirror or into the face of adversity, I am just as prone to escape to the “little white something-or-other.”

God hates a proud look. We talked about that last week. And because of the necessity of reinforcing that over-blown image, it becomes necessary to lie.

Politicians lie all the time–not because they are immoral by birth. It’s because they find themselves needing to make promises when such proclamations are ridiculous and impossible. Thus, lies.

So a proud look breeds a lying tongue and a lying tongue exists because we have selected pride instead of simply standing behind the evidence of our fruitfulness. If you are going to be able to escape the pride that is born of ego, which leads to a lying tongue, you will need to come to three very specific personal conclusions:

1. It’s okay to be less than what people want me to be. Most of us become mentally imbalanced because we’re trying to live up to an expectation from other people which they, themselves, neither live nor pursue. If every person who was moral was truly moral, then morality might seem to be a good banner for a campaign for a better society. But the people who claim to be moral are always exposed for some of the greatest immorality. We should not rejoice over their failures, but we should be forewarned that arrogance leads to deception and lying, which always culminates in exposure.

I know that my family and friends hoped that I would be famous and rich. That was never meant to be. I have a message, not a product. If I had merely a product, I could hone in on it and make sure it was perfectly adjusted and fine-tuned to the tastes of the society around me. But having a message, I must be sensitive to history, reality and truth, and therefore, I do not gain immediate acclaim. I decided early in life that I would rather share a message that actually transforms human thought than produce a product that merely panders to it. So to me, it’s okay to be less than what the people around me want me to be. I don’t have to lie about the fact that I don’t have a college education–I can be honest that what I am is the by-product of what I have experienced, the sweat of my struggle and the blessing that God has given me by His grace.

2. Stop thinking about the right thing to say and test-drive honesty. The reason I use the phrase “test-drive” is that at first, you may only be able to say it in a room by yourself, then maybe to one other person who loves you. But eventually you have to be candid. It takes practice. It took me a long time to admit I was fat and not terribly attractive without either having a tear come to my voice or looking around the room for someone to contradict me.

Test-drive honesty. Start today. If you don’t, you’ll get behind the wheel of your life and steer yourself right into the ditch–and the ditch always involves some form of lying.

3. And finally, don’t wait to be attacked. Beat your critics to the punch. In the pursuit of self-esteem, we seem to have lost the power of self-deprecation.  If I notice my weaknesses before my adversaries are able to turn them into a slide-show, I retain the power. If my weaknesses are ignored by me and divulged by those who have less concern for my well-being, I am at the mercy of public opinion. If you want to know who I am and you haven’t figured it out by reading my jonathots, just ask me. Or for that matter, spend twenty minutes around me, and in that length of time you will know my weaknesses and my strengths.

The reason we lie is that we are protecting our pride. The reason we’re proud is because we are somewhat insecure that what we believe is really going to win the day. That’s as simple as it gets. So every politician who lies is really attempting to protect his or her pride, which means they are insecure about what they are telling us they are capable of achieving. See what I mean?

I am going to tell you the four things I can do. This is the truth, as far as I know.

1. I can fail. Even when my feet are set in the direction of prosperity and an inclination towards good, the luck of the draw or time and chance can withhold my reward.

2. I am not what you want me to be. I know that will disappoint you at some point or another. I apologize. Yet I need you to know that my job is not to please you, but to find a way to please myself enough that the love sprouting from my innards can be expressed to the world around me.

3. I am not satisfied with my talent. No–it is not enough for me to do what I am doing. Rather, I gain a sense of passion by multiplying my gifts, and in so doing, define what it really means to be a human being.

4. I am not better than anyone else. If you have seen people do stupid things, please understand that I am equally capable of the achievement. If you’ve seen folks excel, please allow me to opportunity. NoOne is better than anyone else. We have built a nation on that principle. Yet we manifest our American hypocrisy by departing from it whenever we want to extol our conservative nature or uplift our liberalism.

There you go–God hates a lying tongue. He hates it because it comes out of a proud look. God is not mean, He just doesn’t want His people to be so insecure that they have to be prideful and end up lying about it.

Are you ready to be vulnerable, so that you don’t have to be caught with your pants down? Let’s be honest–when you’re caught with your pants down, lying just won’t help.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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