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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

James - Mercy Triumphs - Session One

What hit home for me from Session One was about 'Comparison'.......the act of comparing. Comparing oneself to another or one group of people to another group of people, be it nationality, religion, skill set or position in life or job.

First let me give you the definition of Comparison. 'The function of an adverb or adjective that is used to indicate degrees of superiority or inferiority in quality, quantity or intensity.' (taken from dictionary.com)


The Bible passage in this particular section (pg 29) of the Bible Study was in Galatians.


Galatians 2:1-10

New International Version (NIV)

Paul Accepted by the Apostles

2 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem,this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

6 As for those who were held in high esteem —whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism —they added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised,[a] just as Peter had been to the circumcised.[b] 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas[c]and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

You see in verse 4 that "This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." there were those that were false believers that had come to compare the Gentile believer to the Jewish believer and make the Gentiles slaves to the Jewish tradition of circumcision. The Gentiles had the freedom in Christ and were not bound by the Jewish laws but that also brought comparison into play. Jews vs Gentiles. Remember that the Jews had the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and now the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Gentiles had their Idols which they left behind and became free in the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Savior. The Gentiles did not have the Law of Moses nor the Ten Commandments.

So comparison began. It never ceases to amaze me how Satan uses our differences or insecurities to divide God's people and so often it happens subtly over an extended period of time, note how verse 1 states "after fourteen years".

This section of the study got me thinking of all the insecurities we as humans have just over our differences. And just because one may think themselves superior to another person does not mean that they too are not insecure. When one has to make them self out to be, actually I should say, appear to be, superior to another person, it is most absolutely rooted from an insecurity.

Here is a quote from Beth Moore, page 29 of the study. "God only knows how many effective ministries have disintegrated into irrelevance over addiction to comparison. We talk as those who believe God is omnipotent and omnipresent BUT we often act as if He can only work through one person, one method, or one kind of ministry at a time. If we don't refuse ourselves the indulgence, we can lapse into the mentality of a spoiled child who thinks that, if God shows you favor, He must hate me.

On the other hand, we do our level best not to compare ourselves with those of similar gifting or calling, and others will leap forward to do it for us. Stand back and watch how many observers will try to nudge you into a competition who fills a similar slot. The idea is that anything comparable is automatically competitive."

Wow!!! That is what I have written next to this paragraph in the study. This just blew me away! How often we as a society and especially we as women, compare ourselves. We compare ourselves to others, to pictures in the magazines/commercials/TV that are telling us what we should look like, what jobs we should have, how much money we should be making, what we should possess and what should make us happy. Really being a believer or a non-believer, it doesn't matter! We are all sucked into the lie to some degree at any given time. We continue to allow Satan and this world tell us what is important in life. But as believers, we should know that God and our relationship with our Savior is the only thing that is important in this world. This is not our home! This world is a temporary dwelling for us. We need to be in God's Word every day so that we can be reminded of this continually. Of course, I say this because this is something I struggle with and that is why this section of the study hit home for me. As believers we should not compare ourselves to other believers in the church body but we should encourage one another to carry on with what God has called us individually to do with our God given gifts, and to work together in one accord to further the reaching the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We most definitely should not compare ourselves to non-believers but be grieved that they are lost and do not have Christ in their life, for they are perishing. I know it is hard to love those that are flat out rude and mean, self-centered with no regard for others, and other ugly traits but Jesus came to save us from that, from the sin that brings those fleshly attitudes out. We are called to love as He loves. He loves us all....for we are all sinners. Even in His forgiveness, we are still sinners. The fact is we have a relationship with His and we have given our lives over to Him. Our hearts should be broken for what breaks His and we need to die to our flesh and be His light to our darken world that does not know Him. I hope this encourages you in Jesus tonight. I pray that it refreshes your weary soul as it has refreshed mine. I really feel that this section of the Beth Moore study of James-Mercy Triumphs leaped off the pages right into my heart and soul. God's timing is so very perfect. He never stops 'blowing me away' with His love and how He speaks exactly what I need right into my heart at the moment I need it! May we remember not to compare ourselves to anyone. Let's also remember that God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27), and we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

 In Christ, 
Michelle

2 comments:

Jolene Engle

So blessed to see your site linked up, Michelle! It brought such a huge smile to my face to know that my sister is sharing her love for our Savior through the blogosphere! Oh how Satan LOVES to divide the Body of Christ! That's where I receive most of his fiery darts! It's unfortunate, but true. Thanks for sharing your heart, friend!

Michelle Sanchez

Thank you Jolene. Your blog has been such a blessing!

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