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Belief and Trust

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7 KJV

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.
1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB

We can see from the New International Version that the word believeth in the King James Version can be attributed to trust as well, because it says always trusts instead of believes or believeth in 1 Corinthians 7.

The Message expresses that love trusts God always. The Amplified version says that love is ever ready to believe the best of every person. The Weymouth translation says she is full of trust. It would therefore be useful to study the meaning of this Greek word as well.

The Greek word pisteuō (G4100) appears a total of 250 times in the King James Version of the Bible. It is translated as believe 114 times, believed 78 times, believeth 33 times, believest 8 times, believing 6 times, committed 5 times, trust 3 times, commit 2 times, believers 1 time.

According to Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Words, the Greek word pisteuō translated believeth in the King James Version, means:

From G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:

1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
1a) of the thing believed
1a1) to credit, have confidence
1b) in a moral or religious reference
1b1) used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
1b2) to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith
2) to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity
2a) to be intrusted with a thing

We can see, therefore, that the same word used for believing in 1 Corinthians 13:7 is also translated elsewhere in the King James Version, as trust – although only three times. This word is used in the trust context with reference to something being committed to a person’s trust.

Thayer’s Greek Definitions describes this Greek word as: to entrust a thing to one and to be intrusted with a thing. 1 Timothy 1:11 provides an example of this.

11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
1 Timothy 1:11 KJV

James Strong says that the believing aspect of love includes: to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing.

Albert Barnes on the Hope Aspect of Love

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says the following about hopes all things in 1 Corinthians 13:7.

Hopeth all things - Hopes that all will turn out well. This must also refer to the conduct of others; and it means, that however dark may be appearances; how much soever there may be to produce the fear that others are actuated by improper motives or are bad people, yet that there is a “hope” that matters may be explained and made clear; that the difficulties may he made to vanish; and that the conduct of others may be made to “appear” to be fair and pure. Love will “hold on to this hope” until all possibility of such a result has vanished and it is compelled to believe that the conduct is not susceptible of a fair explanation. This hope will extend to “all things” - to words and actions, and plans; to public and to private contact; to what is said and done in our own presence, and to what is said and done in our absence. Love will do this, because it delights in the virtue and happiness of others, and will not credit anything to the contrary unless compelled to do so.

Hope In Relation To Belief and Trust

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7 KJV

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.
1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB

The Greek word elpizō (G1679) appears a total of 32 times in the King James Version of the Bible. It is translated as trust 15 times, hope 7 times, hoped 4 times, trusted 2 times and hope’s, hopeth, hoping and trusteth all once.

According to Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Words, the Greek word elpizō (G1679) translated hopes in the King James Version, means:
From G1680; to expect or confide: - (have, thing) hope (-d) (for), trust.

According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:
1) to hope
1a) in a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence
2) hopefully to trust in

As you can see, this Greek word which represents the hope aspect of love in 1 Corinthians 13, is actually used to convey trust in the King James Version of the Bible, more than it is used to convey hope.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary emphasizes the trust aspect of hope in its description of this verse:
hopeth — what is good of another, even when others have ceased to hope.

The Living Bible interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:7 attempts to personalise the message of love by expressing it in the form of trusting and believing in a person. Although, I would say that love is also to be expressed towards situations, groups of individuals and to God. I suppose we can also trust an institution or group of people, as if they were collectively an individual.

God is not a person, as such, but we can personalise love towards God as if He was a person. The concept of God as our loving Heavenly Father and we as His children, personilzes our relationship with God. Jesus represents the Son of Man aspect of God; Jesus was made incarnate and came to earth as a man. Jesus represents both our great High Priest and our sacrificial Lamb. We can therefore approach God as if He was a person through Jesus.

Kindness in Relation to Trust and Endurance

You might say that adopting an attitude of kindness has little to do with resisting provocation. On the contrary, kindness is a motivation to action. Even when someone insults us, we can show them that we are not offended by their actions, by our expression of kindness towards them. Kindness is love expressing itself through our manner, words and deeds.

Kindness turns the other cheek when people strike us (Matthew 5:39). Kindness is willing to go the extra mile with someone - even when it is not in our best interests to do so (Matthew 5:41).

The Bible tells us that we should not love through mere sentiment, but through our actions towards others (1 John 3:18).

Kindness is an Aspect of Love

Faith is the ability to believe the promises of God’s Word and to be able to trust Him as a Father. We have seen in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that the verb form of faith is an aspect of love.

We know from Galatians 5:6 that faith works by love. Kindness is also an aspect of love; we know this from 1 Corinthians 13:4. All the aspects of love work in conjunction with each other and are maintained in balance. Love is the nature of God, and therefore, is something that we receive from Him by the Holy Spirit. Trust is something that we receive from God just as much as kindness is something that we receive from God.

We cannot expect to be kind beyond our ability to trust God. Neither can we expect to trust God beyond our ability, or at least our willingness, to be kind to others.

Is Kindness a Rule?

It is easy at this juncture to make a rule out of this and say, “You must make an effort to be kind, otherwise, God will not give you the ability to believe Him for something.” This puts the burden on the believer to manifest kindness – something which is an attribute of God love – as a means of experiencing all the other attributes of love.

Kindness, just like trust and endurance, is something that we receive from God. Romans 5:5 says that the love of God has already been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

How Do We Partake of this Love?

Therefore, if God has already given us love as a free gift – what is required of us in order that we might flow in that love?

Advocates of the message of pure grace would say that all that is needed is to listen to the message of grace being preached. I like that and agree with it wholeheartedly.

Some people would also say that we forfeit the love of God as a result of wrong mindsets. Therefore, we must make efforts to identify and challenge those mindsets. I am also inclined to this argument as well. But without an effective, God-given means of correcting wrong beliefs and attitudes – we can easily make this a constant work of introspection, self-condemnation, repression and pretence.

Endurance and Hope Compared

In order to better understand the difference and similarities between hope and endurance, we need to look again at the true meaning behind the Greek words elpis (G1680) and hupomonē (G5281).


The Greek word elpis (G1680) is a confident expectation of good which can be specific or generic. Hope gives a person a sense of trust and confidence in something or someone, regardless of what their senses tell them.

The word elpis (G1680) seems to be more applicable to a person’s attitude as well as their mental and emotional wellbeing. Without elpis (G1680) it would seem that a person would lapse into a state of despair. A lack of elpis (G1680) would seem to be responsible, at least in part, for anxiety and depression. It seems obvious to me that a person could simply not have faith for the fulfilment of a promise without elpis (G1680).


The Greek word hupomonē (G5281) means steadfastness, constancy, endurance. These words have a strong emphasis on a person continuing to do something. We can therefore see that hupomonē (G5281) is geared towards action. The need for this kind of endurance would obviously become more apparent the more challenging the circumstances become. Without endurance, a person will give-up on a project or endeavour before it is completed – even if there are negative consequences for doing so.

Hope and Endurance are a Gift

Thankfully, hope and endurance are not something that we do, as such. We do not need to make an effort of the will to have hope and endurance. Hope and endurance are aspects of God’s love, His nature. Therefore, hope and endurance are something that we receive as a free gift, and express freely and effortlessly in our lives – without coercion.

Hope and Endurance are not Separate

Perhaps it is possible for a person to continue in an endeavour if they had hope, but not endurance. But we must consider the fact all of the aspects of God’s love are something that we receive together as a gift – they are not something that we must do and they are not something that we receive separately. I believe that it is not possible to have hope and yet not have endurance and vice-versa.


We need all the components of God’s love in whatever we do in life. Let us not discount our need for makrothumia (G3115), the longsuffering that God brings, for doing the things that our life requires of us.

Almost everything that we do in life will involve other people. Family and work situations usually rate highly on the list of areas of our lives that often cause the most contention with other people.

The propensity of most people is often towards seeking a change in other people by demanding that they change the way they think and behave towards ourselves and other people. Yet the best catalyst for change in others is the love of God. But in order to see the love of God move amongst those people whom we do day-to-day life with, we must take the initiative and make the decision to not be provoked by who they are and what they do.

The best way to see people change is to accept them as they are. It was commonly thought amongst Christians that to instil a change in others, you had to pester them, patronise them or even punish and reject them in some way. But these methods are often a cover for the issues that we are trying to deal with in our own lives.

It was the Lord Jesus Himself who said that we should not judge other people. (See Matthew 7:1-2 and John 7:24).

I like the way The Message translation puts it:

1 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
2 That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.
Matthew 7:1-2 msg

We judge other people when we pick-out their faults and compare ourselves with them. We must understand that other people’s lives, and their life-plan, might not be like ours. We often do not know what someone else is going through. When it comes to sin, we know that the only sin that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of is not knowing Jesus. (See John 16:7-10). Therefore, we should move away from rating sins on a scale from one to ten.

Only by accepting people as they are can we truly become the light of the world. Otherwise, we simply end-up provoking other people, perhaps scaring them off and just making life difficult and unpleasant for ourselves and other people.

The things we do in life are made much more pleasant for ourselves and other people, if we allow the love of God to enable us to see the best in others and to be patient with them and to not be provoked by them.

I think it helps to know that only Jesus can change a person – we are only the instruments that God uses to help make those changes in other people.


The God-kind of hope or elpis (G1680) as it is known in the Greek, also has a role to play in maintaining constancy. Hope is an expectation of good.

The Lord Jesus spoke about bringing a peace to the world, not as the world gives. (See John 14:27). This is a supernatural peace that enables a person to rise above the circumstances and maintain a sense of tranquility. Hope also operates according to John 14:27 in that it gives us an expectation of good, when it seems there is no logical reason to support it. Perhaps then, peace is related to, contains or actually is, hope?

We become more aware of this hope of God operating in our lives, when our physical senses and mental reasoning give us no plausible reason for us continuing in an endeavour.

Wordly Hope

If we try to attain hope by means other than God’s love, we can end-up being
disappointed. A lack of God’s hope can lead to a state of dread and despair. Even when our senses tell us that we should be in good spirits because the outlook is good – a lack of God’s hope in our soul can result in us feeling depressed and anxious over the most trifling circumstances.

We often use terms such as, "Don't build-up your hopes" and "don't put all your hopes on that happening" and "I hope such-and-such happens" and "I hope things will go well on Saturday". Basically, we often tend to associate hope with specific expectations.

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary describes "hope" as follows:
1 a feeling of expectation and desire. a cause or source of hope. grounds for hoping.
2 archaic a feeling of trust.
1 expect and desire: he's hoping for an offer of compensation.
2 intend if possible to do something.

The English word "hope" used to mean something different to what it means now. It used to mean a feeling of trust. Nowadays, the word "hope" means a feeling of expectation and desire. In the Bible, "hope" is an expectation of good.

The Greek word translated "to believe" in the Bible, actually means to trust, and is used in the Bible in relation to our trust in God and Jesus Christ and His Word. The Greek noun translated "faith" means, to be persuaded. We often struggle in our relationship with God because we do not trust in Him. We do not trust in Him because we are not convinced of the truth of His Word. When we lack faith we fail to trust in God and we experience no hope (dread and despair). When we are in a state of dread and despair, we derive our hope from our own specific expectations of what we believe we need to happen and what should happen. Our expectations are not always in-line with Go's plan for our lives. This kind of "hope" will only lead to disapointment.

In order to be effectively led by the Holy Spirit, we need hope in case things don’t turn out quite as we expected them to. An anxious mind simply gets in the way of God, because He wants to lead us in ways that may contradict traditional thinking and human reasoning. We need hope, God’s hope, in order for the law of serendipity to operate.

Hope enables us to do the things we do, often without truly knowing the ultimate reason for doing so. Hope does this by maintaining an expectation of good, even though we might not have evidence to support our hope other than what the Word tells us about hope.

Without hope, it becomes difficult to carry on doing what you are doing; and it becomes difficult to know if what you are doing is truly the will of God.


Preaching is often used to instill a sense of hope in people; I can this type of preaching, “Pep-Talks”. Pep-Talks are the kind of message that encourage beleivers to, “Just keep going” and “Don’t give up”. But surely, this is the kind of peace that the world gives, which Jesus spoke about in John 14:27. I am convinced that it does not matter how many pep-talks a believer hears – if he does not have hope – the positive feelings and sense of encouragement – will not last long. Pep-talks are a poor substitute to God's hope!

See my previous post:

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God’s Endurance and Approval-Seeking

Approval-seeking through works, usually requires some form of feedback from others in order to make it feel worthwhile and in order to sustain some sort of conviction that they are doing the right thing.

If a person does not get the feedback they need, they can start seeking that approval in subtle, or even in rather obvious and often annoying ways: “Are you happy with that? Is that what you wanted? Did I do ok?” If a sense of gratitude is not forthcoming from those people we serve, it can cause them to become angry and frustrated towards them. When this happens, they can threaten to withdraw something from the other person, such as love, appreciation acts of kindness and so forth.

When a person is performing works that are not motivated out of pure love, it will feel awkward, tiresome and cumbersome. For this reason, loveless works, when not sufficiently appreciated, result in frustration.

But we must remember that love never seeks appreciation from the other person. Love serves unconditionally without seeking appreciation or a reward. God is love, so when we serve one another out of love – it is God serving humanity through us and as we know, God does not require a reward or appreciation – so neither should we. When we serve other people – we must remember it is God whom we serve. See Colossians 3:22. It is not man who meets our needs – it is God. See Philippians 4:19 and Deuteronomy 8:18. We get into trouble when we mistakenly believe it is our boss at work or spouse who meets our needs. Although God meets our needs, He often uses a human agency for this purpose. The Bible says, “…men shall pour into your bosom.” See Luke 6:28 KJV.

When we feel unappreciated we can end-up vowing to withdraw ourselves from making such efforts in the future. God’s endurance does not do that: it is fuelled by His love, by His conviction, not by the gratitude of others. You can expect to be tested in this area, so when you do good things for people who don’t seem to give you any visible signs of encouragement and thanks – remember that the love of God does good unto others - even when it is not given a reward from other people.

God's endurance gives a person the conviction they need in order to do what they do, without asking the questions, "Am I meant to be doing this? Is this God's will for my life or does He want me to do something else?" We should not doubt what we do for others, judging by their responses. God's endurance sets people free from doubting themselves and from wasting their time doing the wrong things.

It can be difficult to determine if you are doing something according to God's will for your life, through logical reasoning alone. It is not so bad if you can see immediate, visible and tangible benefits in response to the things you are doing. But we cannot always have that luxury.
There are times when people can be so desperate to please God and other people through works, that they overestimate the benefit of what they do, fooling themselves and other people.
There are times when we can be doing things on a regular basis, which never seem to bear fruit.

A lot of what we do in life, if not most of what we do, is done with other people. When other people are involved there can be personality clashes and differences of opinion. It is for this reason that we need the longsuffering aspect of love, so we can accept other people, just as they are. If what we, and the people we work with, do not let the love of God define who we are and what we do – there will be contention. It is for this reason, that the Apostle Paul added the comments that we see in Galatians 5:24-26, after telling the Galatians about the fruit of the spirit.

God's endurance gives us the power to rise above self doubt, boredom and weariness – so we can walk in the Spirit and experience the fullness of what He wants to do in us and through us.

Zeal and Ability

I have noticed that zeal can become activated as the result of a perceived ability or opportunity. If you try your hand at some new endeavour and find that you have an unexpected flair for it – the soul can take this as being evidence that it is something you were born to do.

When the soul is hurt, desperate and needy – it will be on the lookout for something that will make sense of the pain in your life, something that will meet all your needs, something that will define you and something that will somehow compensate for the shame of your past. But this makes your fulfilment, wholeness and respect of others – conditional on your ability to perform.

If we love someone then we will accept them just as they are; we will accept the choices they make about how they live their life. This does not mean that we have to condone and agree with what they do, but it just means that our love for them does not fade due to circumstances. We need to be able to love and accept people just as they are without judging them and without basing our love for them on what they can do for us or how well they perform. This unconditional acceptance is incorporated into the longsuffering and kindness aspects of love.

I believe that this performance mindset is formed during childhood when we somehow feel rejected by other people. We see those children who are loved, respected and appreciated just the way they are. Then we see those children who have an ability of some kind, which seems to attract the positive regard of other children, teachers and parents. So we reason that if we had ability and were to perform well for other people, then people would appreciate us. But this is not love - because love appreciates a person even when they do not have a great deal of ability and even when they fall short of what was expected of them.

We must realise that God loves and accepts us, just the way we are - not because of our performance and behaviour - but because of Christ's obedience right up to His sacrificial death upon the cross. Now we can approach God the Father with boldness, as if we were His only child. Therefore, we should never feel the need to put on a performance in order to please God. I have noticed that when people serve in church, a lot of the time it can be out of a want for approval: both God's approval and other people's approval.

Children need to be shown unconditional love by their parents, if they do not; they will grow up to be obsessed with ability and performance. Such children can become obsessive about what they do to the point of becoming workaholics. This is something that was noticed in the work of the Psychologist Carl Rogers.

In Rogers’ studies, he contrasted what he called conditional positive regard and unconditional positive regard. Rogers noticed that some of his clients were workaholics. The reason for this was that they were not given enough unconditional positive regard by their parents – they were only shown love and approval in response to their behaviour. *

I have established a formula regarding ability: ability or opportunity minus love equals pride, greed and zeal. The opposite of love is fear. Fear in the broadest sense is not just despair and timidity: fear can also manifest itself as anger, greed, lust and pride. A perpetual state of fear will always be accompanied by lust, which can include envy, jealousy and greed, because the soul that fears, will be devoid of the love and life of God.

The perception of opportunity or ability to the wounded soul will have the result of effectively turbo-charging zeal in that person. Such zeal will not be that which comes from God by His love, it is not the God-kind of endurance that only hupomonē (G5281), which is an aspect of love, can provide. For this reason, zeal or lust can only last a short period of time. This kind of zeal usually runs-out when the mind begins to realise that it cannot gain the sense of approval (we could also say “positive regard”), and the sense of security, that it is seeking after.

This kind of zeal will be created purely by the soul for its own selfish purposes, even if it drives a person to behave in a way that is to the detriment of the other person. In other words, zeal that is conditional on ability or opportunity alone – is anger, greed, lust and pride, and therefore, is not of God.

* You can find out more about Carl Rogers here:


Despair and anger both arise out of a sense of powerlessness; a sense of having very little in terms of positive choices and a sense of having little or no control over your life. Despair and anger are often accompanied with a sense of feeling threatened.

Intimidation is akin to despair and anger. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the word intimidate means: frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants. The word intimidate comes from the latin word intimidare 'make timid' (based on timidus 'timid').

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the word timid means: lacking in courage or confidence. The word timid is derived from the latin word timidus, from timere ‘to fear’.

From this we can sum-up by saying that intimidation is: to provoke a person into a state of fear. And as the dictionary states, intimidation is often employed with the motive of trying to control a person in order to make them do what you want.

To be timid is to lack confidence. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the word confidence means:

The belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.
A positive feeling arising from an appreciation of one's own abilities; self-assurance.
The word confident is described as follows:
Feeling confidence in oneself.
Feeling certainty about something.

As Christians, our confidence, what we rely upon, is what the Word says regarding who we are in Christ, what He has already done for us and our trust in God as a loving Father. So for a Christian to be made timid, to be provoked into a state of fear, to lack confidence and certainty about something - it has a lot to do with believing circumstances more than God - to doubt His Word and to distrust God.

This unbelief is provoked by despair or fear and maintained through wrong beliefs. These wrong beliefs are maintained by verbally assenting to our own weakness and inability to access God’s grace in order to endure in the situation and to gain the victory. These excuses become strongholds in the mind.

Sometimes we believe that God’s Word is true but that, for some reason, it will not work for us. This is why a strong foundation of faith in righteousness is vital in order to believe God for anything.

Otherwise, the devil will be able to sow seeds of thought in a believer’s mind in order to bring about a sense of guilt, and thereby, rob him of his faith. Righteousness is all about accepting yourself, even loving yourself, in the firm assurance that God accepts you just as you are and that He does not condemn you, even when you do something wrong.

Without that assurance, you will never feel as if you are good enough for God and that He’s always mad at you for something you did or did not do. Without righteousness, you will never feel as if you deserve the blessings that God has for you. Faith in righteousness sets you free from the thought that there is something that you can, and must, do for God.

Acceptance of Self

An important aspect of acceptance is acceptance of self. We know that we are accepted by God, not because of our own moral rectitude, but because Christ is our righteousness.

A lack of understanding on the subject of righteousness can cause some Christians to be angry with themselves, because they do not behave a certain way. But we can now accept ourselves as we are, with the condfidence that God accepts us just as we are.

With this assurance we should no longer allow other people’s opinions of us, or
how we think they feel about us, dictate how we feel about ourselves. Some Christians believe that the message of righteousness by faith can instil an apathy in believers towards change and making efforts to do what is right. But the more we attempt to do what is right in our own strength, the more we deny God’s grace.

When we desire to do good but do not have sufficient grace, we end-up talking about doing good, but never getting round to it. But when we take the focus away from our own weak, corrupt nature and focus on the finished work of the Messiah, we begin to embrace more of the divine nature that Christ died to give us.

1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.
2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them - living and breathing God!
6 Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
7 Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.
8 And God isn't pleased at being ignored.
9 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about.
Romans 8:1-9 MSG

Love As Acceptance

Acceptance is the vital first step to victory that is often overlooked. Anxious believers are always keen to exercise faith in order to change themselves, their circumstances and the attitudes of the people in their world.

This attitude lends itself to a great extent, to the emphasis given by faith teaching on deliverance and victory, rather than on acceptance. Faith teaching has tended to major on miraculous breakthroughs, especially in the area of remdeption, including healing and financial prosperity.

This is Biblical and has its relevance. However, the subject of faith is often imbalanced in that it focuses on the breakthrough more than on enduring the circumstances of the situation just as they are. The fact of the matter is this: believers will never attain the breakthroughs they seek until they first learn to trust in God, accept themselves as they are, be willing to forebear other people and be at peace with the circumstances they currently find themselves in.

The expression of willingness to accept other people as they are is forbearance; the willingness to forget someone's perceived offence against you is forgiveness. Unforgiveness, therefore, occurs when a person takes offence towards another person.

If a person is unwilling to accept others, they will naturally be provoked by them, even if they do not particularly wish to be provoked by them.

Love As Resisting Provocation

It would seem that the Biblical concepts of patience, or endurance, and longsuffering are concerned with resisting provocation. Patience relates to not being provoked to despair at the circumstances of a situation.

Whereas, longsuffering is more concerned with not being provoked to anger towards a person or God.

Anger is more personal in its application because it is more personal. I believe the reason why people are angry towards God and other people is because they have a will; we become angry towards other people because we believe they have the power to make decisions that will make life better for ourselves and other people.

Despair, on the other hand, is directed towards a situation; the emphasis here is on circumstances rather than human will, and therefore, the situation cannot be changed solely by influencing a person’s will.

The notion that love enables a person to resist provocation is further supported by 1 Corinthians 13:5.

All the aspects of the love of God as listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 are all about resisting provocation. On that note, we could also say that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is concerned with maintaining peace: peace with ourselves, God and other people.

Notice how 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says nothing about deliverance or victory; Paul’s description of love says little about directly influencing other people through power and authority.

Love has much more to do with accepting ourselves, God and other people – just as they are at the moment. Yet love, as described in these verses, is absolutely vital to the believer who wants to see God move in his life.

It is little wonder that Jesus Himself said that we must first seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. I used to just assume that this meant that I had to make efforts to live right, so that God would abide in me – this is not necessarily the case.

Romans 14:17 tells us what the kingdom of God is. Therefore, we are to seek to know that God loves us just as we are. Knowing this should set us free to be able to accept ourselves, just as we are - and our life circumstances, just as they are. This is what brings us peace as we no longer strive and struggle in our own effort to change things. It is this assurance of righteousness - right-standing with God - which sets us free from a guilty conscience.

We become provoked when we see other Christians around us, making great efforts to serve God. This provocation can cause us to believe that we are not doing enough for God and so forth. The great news is this: God accepts us just the way we are right now. We do not have to work in order to get God to love us and accept us more.

The question that arises here is whether we in turn need to do something in order to accept our life circumstances, and other people, just as they are; or can we assume that once we accept ourselves as we are – we then find the grace we need in order to accept others, as they are? In other words: does faith for righteousness naturally attract patience and longsuffering? There are arguments for and against this amongst believers.

We read in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that love never fails. Love never fails because faith works by love and love always sees the victory.

Perhaps love does not see the victory straight-away, but rest assured, love sees the victory because love is the nature of God. The victory in this case might not be quite what we were expecting. I would say that the greatest victory we have in Christ is that we know we are accepted by Him and that we are saved. Next, is the assurance of peace and joy in this life – something that people are seeking after all the time – but never finding. After that, I would say there is great victory in the assurance that God protects us and that He meets our needs.

Second Guessing

I think that Philippians 2:14 in The Message version raises an interesting point:

14 Do everything readily and cheerfully - no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!
Philippians 2:14 MSG

What often causes a person to complain about what they are doing is the fact that there seems to be hardly any conviction and motivation with which to perform a particular activity.

This lack of conviction and motivation can lead to them being unsure as to whether or not they should actually do that thing. The inner dialogue we can tend to have during such times is in regards to trying to work out whether we are doing the right thing, or of we should be doing something else.

Activities that are not motivated out of love tend to lack wisdom. It would do a person no good to have wisdom without having the conviction and motivation with which to act upon it. This results in people making poor decisions.

Basically, a lack of conviction, motivation and endurance can lead to second-guessing. Second guessing is another term for logical reasoning. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary the verb second-guess means: anticipate or predict by guesswork.

Endurance and the Need to Avoid Complaining

The word hupomonē (G5281) is also described by James Strong as being cheerful (or hopeful) endurance as well as patient continuance (waiting). The concept of cheerful endurance in found in Colossians 1:11 - where it is expressed as all patience and longsuffering with joy. See Colossians 1:9-12.

Colossians 1:10 re-enforces the concept of hupomonē (G5281) - patience being the power from God that we need in order to commit to action. The Bible often uses the term walk in relation to a person’s lifestyle, so this verse implies that a person’s behaviour is affected by hupomonē (G5281).

The Bible says that we ought to do all things, that means everything - without complaining and disputing. Philippians 2:12-14 NKJV. Philippians 2:12-14 NLT.

Vincent’s Word Studies has the following to say about verse 14:

Murmurings (γογγυσμῶν)
See on Jude 1:16; see on John 6:41. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:10.
Disputings (διαλογισμῶν)
See on Mark 7:21. It is doubtful whether disputings is a legitimate meaning. The kindred verb διαλογίζομαι is invariably used in the sense of to reason or discuss, either with another or in one's own mind, Matthew 16:7; Matthew 21:25; Mark 2:6; Luke 12:17. The noun is sometimes rendered thoughts, as Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21; but with the same idea underlying it, of a suspicion or doubt, causing inward discussion. See 1 Timothy 2:8. Better here questionings or doubtings. See on Romans 14:1. The murmuring is the moral, the doubting the intellectual rebellion against God.

The Greek word goggusmos appears a total of 4 times in the King James Version of the Bible. It is translated as murmuring 2 times, grudging 1 time and murmurings 1 time.

According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:
1) a murmur, murmuring, muttering
1a) a secret debate
1b) a secret displeasure not openly avowed

The Greek word dialogismos appears a total of 14 times in the King James Version of the Bible. It is translated as thoughts 8 times, disputings, doubtful, doubting, imaginations, reasoning and thought - all once.

According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:
1) the thinking of a man deliberating with himself
1a) a thought, inward reasoning
1b) purpose, design
2) a deliberating, questioning about what is true
2a) hesitation, doubting
2b) disputing, arguing

Marvin R. Vincent suggests that the “murmuring” is the moral, the “doubting” the intellectual rebellion against God. Putting these two words together in relation to the things you do in everyday life: we are not to express our displeasure in what we do and to reason in our minds why we must do those things. We are God’s servants, after all, and everything we do is to be done in the will of God – by Him and for Him.

It has been suggested that hupomonē (G5281), the God-kind of endurance protects a person from despair. Perhaps the despair that it protects a person from is the murmuring, doubting, complaining, reasoning and debating that constitutes rebellion towards God?

We are to avoid thinking, murmuring and saying to ourselves and others, things like:

- “I hate doing this – it’s so boring!”
- “I can’t do this, it’s just too difficult. Perhaps I’m meant to do something else?”
- “I don’t know why I do this; nobody seems to appreciate anything I do in this place.”
- “Where is this getting me? Will this ever achieve anything? Will this ever change for the better?”

In relation to the message of grace – we are brought back to the argument as to whether or not an effort is required upon hearing the Gospel being preached – that effort being the need to think positively.

Adherents to the radical message of grace would argue that no action or effort is required on behalf of the believer – all that is required is to listen to the message of pure grace – which itself brings the power of God to enable the believer to think and act in accordance with God’s will.

It is true that being set free from guilt, releases a believer from the accumulated mental and emotional garbage that has been controlling their lives - but to what extent I wonder? Does this mean that we do not have to do anything to change our thinking? Perhaps this is where the Liberty Savard style of loosing and binding prayers can come into effective use? For more details on this - see my previous post on this subject:

Whatever the case may be - it is this inner dialogue, this worrying and reasoning and complaining which constitutes unbelief - which is wrong belief.

Some Christians would say that God will bless believers even when they sin. I’m inclined to agree with this to an extent. But I believe that Christians limit, or even forfeit, their blessings when their thinking, and therefore believing, is not right.

Endurance and Persuasion

The ex-world champion heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali was quoted as saying the following:
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”

People are often defined by what they do for a living or what they are good at. When we think of Muhammad Ali we think “a boxer”. When we think of Pablo Picasso we think “a painter”.

It is hupomonē (G5281), God's endurance, which plays a vital role in defining who you are, because it is all part of being able to pursue the dream God has placed in your heart. In order for the vision of God’s destiny to be something viable to you, there has to be some aspect of endurance and constancy, something that drives, motivates and compels you to do what you do.

Who we are is also determined by what we believe and with what strength of conviction we believe it. It is for this reason that pistis (G4102), being the God-kind of faith and conviction, works together with hupomonē (G5281), the God-kind of endurance, in defining our character.

Without conviction, a person will be weak in character, not knowing what is right and wrong in general and also not knowing what is right and wrong for him personally.

It is possible to have all kinds of aspirations in the mind, but it is the conviction of the heart that is the most important because that is what motivates us to action. This conviction comes from God and, just like with endurance, is an important aspect of our ability to be led by the Holy Spirit.

It is strength of conviction that enables us to make the right choices in life and to have the power to say “no” to those things which play no part in our lives. If we do not really know who we are and what role we are to play in life, we end-up allowing other people to formulate opinions about us, give us advice and generally pigeon-hole us.

Without conviction of who we really are and what is right for us personally, a vacuum forms in our character which we allow other people to fill with their own ideas of what is good for us and what is not.

But it is not good enough to simply have a conviction of who you are and the role you are to play in life, unless there is also something that compels you on a consistent basis to do the things that give substance to that conviction. This is where endurance or constancy plays a part.

Conviction and Compulsion – Part 2

I've had enough of trying to force myself to do things when I have no conviction in my heart about it - even if those things are written in the Bible. Just because the Bible says that we are Christ's witnesses - it does not mean that we have to sign-up for every evangelistic outreach that the church organises.

I suppose that the "just do it" message irritates certain people into making an effort to seek after the truth, rather than provoking them to do things without God's anointing and blessing. Otherwise, we can constantly use the excuse of, "Well I'm just not called to do that.

If God wants me to do something, then He will have to give me a sign, or talk to me about it. But even then, even when I know what is right, I cannot act upon it if I do not have peace and a desire from within my heart. Until that happens - I'm not going to do anything.

The Bible tells us that we have to seek God - not wait for God to seek after us. Although in truth, it is always God who takes the first steps in seeking after us.

Apostle Paul prayed that the church at Colossi would have patience and all longsuffering with joy. The fact that Paul prayed for those attributes and did not tell them to "just do" things or to "just have" those attributes, indicates to me that he knew they could not muster what it takes, in order to take on challenges. It alerts me to the fact that those attributes are from God.

If an attribute is an aspect of the divine nature, then it is something that sheer willpower alone cannot attain; the divine nature is something that man receives from God. That is the reason why we have to pray for those things.

I believe that most people have been conditioned to know through experience that if that conviction is just not there, then everything else you need to see it through will not be there either: patient endurance, peace, joy, wisdom and so forth. This leads some people to become very tentative about almost everything that they propose to do.

Then there are other people who hardly think twice about what they do, they are confident and spontaneous in everything they do, because they have become conditioned to believe that everything they do will be successful. Even when these confident people get something wrong, they usually learn that such an occurrence is typically a one-off and they can afford to take the chance.

So, there are broadly two kinds of people in this world: the first kind is the positive, confident type who does things spontaneously; then there are the second type of people are fearful, negative and tentative about anything they do.

Conviction and Compulsion – Part 1

When it comes to being in the flow of the Holy Spirit, it comes back to what I call conviction and compulsion. I struggled with apathy, lethargy, anxiety and depression for years. I struggled to do a lot of things without an almighty spurt of energy. It was a major breakthrough for me when I finally gained the revelation that Jesus really did mean what He said when He spoke the Words, "Apart from me you can do nothing."

I believe that no matter what you do, there has to be conviction in your heart that it is the right thing for you to do. You can take this concept to extremes to the point whereby you won't do anything unless you knew for certain that God has called you to do it. There are times when we do get that level of heart-felt conviction: we know it is God and we cannot help but act upon what He tells us to do.

As Christians, we all need that kind of conviction at certain times in our lives. But the kind of conviction that I am talking about here will often be just enough conviction to get us doing something without questioning it twice. We might even wonder to ourselves, "Is this God or is it just me?" However, if it is heart-felt conviction from God, it should be enough to cause us to do what we need to do without deliberating about it for a significant length of time.

Charismatic Christian preaching often seeks to set people free from apathy by making statements such as, "You can do things even when you don't feel like doing them" and, "You don't have to fell confident to be confident" and, "Just step out and God will anoint you." But if a person does not have a conviction and compulsion in their heart, such preaching will not do them much good.

Pep-talks cannot substitute the conviction and compulsion that only God can deliver. Such pep-talks can cause apathetic Christians a lot of distress as they agonise over decisions, leaving them wondering if they are wrong to wait for an inner conviction about what they should do; they can end-up wondering if they should force themselves to things that they have no conviction about.
I do realize that some people can take things to extremes.

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of going through the same old rigmarole of deliberating to myself over any little thing that I intend to do or other people expect me to do. I also don't appreciate people calling me lazy and uncaring because I am battling-away with a spiritual condition of apathy and lethargy.

I have learned that if I have to have a debate with myself, if I consider doing something, then God is not in it. That does not necessarily mean that God does not want me to do that thing, it just means that I do not have the grace I need in order to commit to it and see it through.

If I find myself having such debates when it comes to doing almost anything - then I know there is something not quite right about my spiritual condition and I have to address it.


The Greek word hupomonē (G5281) appears a total of 33 times in the King James Version of the Bible. It is translated as patience 29 times, patient 2 times, continuance and enduring both once.

According to Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Words, the Greek word hupomonē (G5281) translated patience in the King James Version, means:
From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: - enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:
1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance
1a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
1b) patiently, and steadfastly
2) a patient, steadfast waiting for
3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the word steadfast means: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. The word constancy is described as follows: 1. occurring continuously. 2. remaining the same. Faithful and dependable.

The word faithful is described as remaining loyal and steadfast.
Whilst the word persevere is described as being: to continue in a course of action in spite of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.

I think that this is the best description of endurance and patience is this one from Joseph Thayer: the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

Different Levels of Truth

What we have is the truth which the Bible says can only be spiritually discerned. The journey towards that truth is a progressive one, both for the individual and the church collectively. The mind can relate only to those things which it can ascertain via the five senses. But spiritual truth must be spiritually discerned.

Take for instance the concept of effort-and-reward; it is hard-wired into our nature. All of our lives we are conditioned to believe that the harder we work, the more we receive.

Discerning the Truth

When it comes to discerning the truth, it is something of a sliding scale: with the absolute truth being something that the mind cannot readily comprehend. In order to get to that truth, God meets us where we are and allows us to arrive at an understanding which is based on the truth, but is perhaps not quite the truth. But at least this understanding is something we can relate to - a starting point - it gives us a "handle" on that truth, so we can get as close as we can to it.

The further we move away from the absolute truth, the more it branches-out in various directions until we reach a point whereby a single truth has become a myriad of half-truths and miscomputations. I cannot help but think this is the case.

So Many Books…

Earlier today, I was struck with the notion that there are just so many Christian, religious, self-help and New Age teachings available. If you walk into a large Christian bookshop, it can be rather daunting and confusing as you ponder the multitude of different titles available. Each one promising such wonderful things: "How to know God's Love" or "How to walk in the Power of God" or "Keys to Biblical Prosperity".

On Christian TV we hear the announcement of yet another 5-part audio CD series. It can be very confusing, frustrating, not to mention expensive, for a new Christian who is desperately searching for the truth. If more people could relate to the message of grace - I wonder how full those bookshelves would be.

Christian Motivational Speeches

Christians just love to hear "fluffy" heart-warming, motivational speeches based on the Word, promising abundance and success. We feel all pumped-up after the service, vowing to "go all out for God" and the like. But then, as soon as Monday morning comes by, all of that enthusiasm has waned and we are stuck in a traffic jam - saying things that are not-so spiritual. By this time, the travelling evangelist has already boarded his inter-continental jet and is on his way back to his mansion in California. And we wonder why our lives don't change!

The Mind Struggles with the Good News

I wonder just how much we really need to hear of the Gospel message in order to be set free. How close do we get to the core essence of the Gospel message – that place were the real power of change lives can be found? When we do hear something close to the truth, our mind struggles with it:

- "Surely it can't be that simple?"
- "But what have *I* got to do Lord to be so wonderfully blessed?"
- "What price do *I* have to pay?"

...and so on.

Attitudes and Motives

In the case of Andrew Wommack and his message on hardness of heart, for instance - I found something in that I could relate to.

- Perhaps I need to hear that so that I could get a handle on the truth, as near as I could to it?
- Perhaps it helped me to home-in on the truth, as much as I was able to comprehend?
- Perhaps it helped me to relate to the truth by showing me the "outworking" of it in my attitude and everyday life?
- Or perhaps it was just a complete misnomer?
- Perhaps there is no need for such a level of teaching, once a person comes to understand true grace?
- Or perhaps it helps a person to better understand grace by providing a contrast between legalism and grace?

I still often wonder about this level of teaching. For me, teaching on attitude and motives is important - I feel it helps me to understand something of the operation of grace in my everyday life. Joyce Meyer is very good with teaching on attitude and motives, but I find that she often reverts from grace to a message can be considered somewhat patronizing. We can assume that people need to be "motivated" in this way, through intimidation - but I beg to differ.

The Radical Grace Message

I realise the importance of focusing on a radical grace message, but I still wonder about the "Andrew-Wommack-level" or “Joyce-Meyer-level” of teaching, which also incorporates the need to “watch your heart”; I see it as being attentive to ones motives and attitudes.

I am all for the radical message of God’s grace through Christ. I am keen to see the church move away from rule-keeping and works as a means of justification, which is simply reverting back to the Law of Moses. However, I do wonder if there is something of a hint of naivety amongst such people: there seems to be an emphasis on the concept of being blessed – even when you sin; this belief asserts that “where sin abounds – grace much more abounds”. (See Rom. 5:20 and Rom. 6:1-2).

God does not bless us according to our performance and behaviour, but according to the obedience of Christ, who suffered on our behalf. However, wrong motives and attitudes are the result of wrong beliefs; will God bless you when you have wrong beliefs? I believe that is unlikely. We will study this subject in more depth in later posts.


The Christian realm of attitudes and motives seems to be a big, middle layer – sandwiched by rule-keeping and behaviour modification above it; with the more profound, radical, root-level grace teaching, which focuses on righteousness by faith, below it.

Personally, I understand the importance of watching motives and attitudes, but it is still a work that you yourself have to participate in. If we are not careful, this middle-layer of the mind and emotions can become a constant effort of psychoanalyzing and self-correction - it can become tiresome and frustrating; it can become another means by which Christians are yet again drawn into religious legalism.

The Application of the Traffic Light Analogy

The analogy of the traffic light can be applied to each and every aspect of our life in Jesus Christ. In everyday life we face decisions all of the time, some big some small; the success of our lives depends on the quality of the decisions that we make, and to some the degree, the speed in which we make those decisions.

I sincerely believe that most people have become deluded in believing that they are something that they are not; with ability that is not their own to claim as belonging to themselves. The more responsibility we take on in life, and the more demanding those responsibilities are, the more power we need from our Heavenly Father.

It is a sad fact that most people in this world are not even aware of God's existence. People's beliefs tend to vary to quite a great extent; everybody believes something though when it comes to the existence of some higher presence, even those who don't believe in a God have a belief system, a belief system that elevates man's ability and existence to an overly inflated level.

Some people believe that there is a God, but it is not the God of the Bible. Some people believe that there is not just one God, but many different gods. Even Christians tend to vary quite dramatically in their beliefs when it comes to knowing the extent of God's presence and interaction in their lives.

I think that most people lack a thorough understanding of consciousness. A lot of people think that everyone operates on an amber light in every area of their lives. This perpetuates the belief that every decision that we make, and every action that we take, is as a result of having an evenly balanced choice. We can tend to think that everyone else is just like us, and that other people have the same ability to make the correct decisions and choices in certain situations, just as we believe we would.

This kind of understanding attempts to simplify every action we take in life, to a conscious effort of the will. Many people sincerely believe that they can bring out the best in other people, and therefore make our world a better place, by simply giving people advice and encouragement, in line with their own beliefs. Then they get frustrated when other people don’t do what they tell them to.

The unfortunate thing is that most of this advice and encouragement will come from people who, it seems, have never had the need to gain a deep revelation of the New Covenant in Christ's own precious blood. A lot of the time, the people who give advice to others about their problems, have never actually struggled with those problems themselves.

For this reason, it becomes difficult for them to conceive the fact that it is so difficult for other people to overcome those problems. For example, cigarette addiction has never been a problem in my life, but just because it is not a problem for me, it does not mean that it’s not a problem for other people; I can’t just go up to a heavy smoker and say, “Come on, just stop smoking, it’s that simple. If you don’t stop smoking then you risk contracting lung cancer. It’s wrong, so just stop it, ok?”

The paradox of the situation is that in order for someone to be raised to a position whereby they can minister to the specific problems of others, it can be very difficult for them to reach that place, if during the course of their lives; they themselves suffer from the same problems.

There are instances whereby some people are helping other people with problems which they themselves suffered from; this is an ideal situation because it provides that person with the knowledge of just what it’s like to suffer from those problems which he is dealing with when he ministers to others.

We must identify that there are various levels of depth of understanding when it comes to Christianity. Each level will identify different areas of focus when it comes to establishing what is most important to God, and therefore, what is most important to the believer.

Traditional Christianity will often put a strong emphasis on self-effort, together with a vague, surface-level understanding, and agreement with, our redemption in Christ. They fail to identify a deeper understanding of what Christ has already done for us on the cross, and how these precious promises can be practically applied to the life of the believer through faith. Such people have managed to get by in life without it, and therefore, they believe that they themselves and other people don't need it. But it is this understanding of Christ’s redemption and the grace of God which it affords those who believe – which has the power to set us free.

The Traffic Light Analogy

Traffic Light The conviction regarding the truth of a revelation, and the compulsion to act upon it, can vary in strength.

This strength usually depends upon our spiritual maturity, but not always. Love is something dynamic, even a person with a heart of love, can find that they are not promoted to action upon that love in every circumstance. What is good and right for one person in a given situation – might not be right for another.

You could liken the strength of such unction, in a broad sense, to a traffic light. In the U.K. traffic lights are red, amber or green – stop, get-ready and go. Using this analogy, we can broadly classify the different spiritual conditions of believers.

We will contrast these spiritual states with the typical challenging pulpit message – something which I call the “Just Do It!” message or the “Do It Afraid” message. “Do It Afraid” has become a popular cliché of Joyce Meyer.

We can also apply this analogy to people who are in particular situations.


Red Light

Red means that they are bound by fear and in this condition; they have no real strength of conviction in their heart upon which to act. “Condition Red” is a “stop sign” comprising of a closed heart and a closed mind. In such a condition there is no unction of the heart, but rather, a sense of guilt, shame and desperation of the mind.

Such people will probably have so-called dreams but they will be nothing more than baseless aspirations and fantasies. The “Do It Afraid” message can cause such a person to believe that they have to take one of these fantasies and force themselves to act upon it; or that they have to do what other people expect them to do; or they have to just randomly do “something” for the sake of doing something.

No amount of encouragement or even intimidation from the pulpit is going to be sufficient to break such a believer free from his fearful condition – it takes something more in order to diagnose the condition and implement a solution. If a person is in “Condition Red” he is bound to respond to the “Do It Afraid” message by wondering whether he is just being too apprehensive and if he is just going over-the-top with his excuse that he is waiting for the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Even a person, who has a heart of love, is bold and dynamic, can find that in certain situations, there is hardly any flow of that love. In such circumstances, they will be unable to respond in a certain way in that situation. For example, if a person comes up to you and ask you to trust them, love always trust, but for some reason, you find that you simply cannot trust that person and you end-up backing-off from that person’s requests.

There are times when I want to do something, like pray in other tongues, and for the life of me, I simply cannot do it. At such times, I am up against a red-light in the spirit.


Amber Light

Amber, I believe, is the condition which the “Do It Afraid” message is seeking to address. The intention of the “Do It Afraid” message is to address that condition whereby a person senses a motivation and conviction to step out and do something in their heart, but their mind begins to reason against it with “What if?” and we try to talk ourselves out of it, or we ask someone else for advice so that they can talk us out of it.

In summary, you could say that the “Do It Afraid” message is for the “Condition Amber” people who believe with the heart but doubt with the mind. In my experience, most neurotic Christians have a conviction or motivation to do something with their mind, perhaps out of a sense of frustration, impatience or guilt; but they do not have a strong enough conviction in their heart. Confusion arises when they hear the “Just Do It!” type of message that is really intended for people who are in the opposite condition: they have a heart-felt conviction but they listen to doubtful thoughts in their mind which are often sufficient enough to talk them out of what they know they ought to do.

A person might have a heart felt conviction regarding something which is strong enough and convincing enough to act upon. However, their mind is still judgemental and they are trying to reason-out the situation in their mind. Perhaps they have not done those things before and they are looking for some sort of guarantee as how things are going to turn out. As a result of this apprehension, they could be asking other people for their opinion, in the hope that they might give them a list of convincing, logical reasons as to what they should do. In the case of a believer seeking the advice of another Christian, they could be hoping for a “word of knowledge” or other supernatural means of guidance.

Unfortunately, in the case of seeking Christian advice, some believers are devoid of the Holy Spirit’s guidance themselves; as a consequence, they live their lives by going into extremes when it comes to church tradition and rules, as well as seeking the advice of other Christians. The result is that personal points of view, traditions, guidelines, rules and extremes get bandied about the Body of Christ. It really is like the blind leading the blind that Jesus spoke about. Other people in church do not know the will of God for your life, only you can know it for yourself, but you really do have to be sensitive to His leading. Otherwise, other people’s advice can send you adrift.

There are certain situations in which people find that they are equally able to pass-up an opportunity to take a certain course of action, as they are able to act upon it. I find this tends to happen a lot with something like prayer and the use of spiritual gifts, such as speaking in other tongues.


Green Light

Green is the condition whereby a believer has a good strength of conviction, walks in love, and therefore, is led by the Holy Spirit. Such people are not insensitive to the direction and wisdom of others, but they can discern the will of God for themselves.

Too many times we hear spiritual leaders saying, “Everybody should do this-or-that”. But it takes someone who knows the will of God for their lives and is not afraid of saying “no” – to just make a stand for what they believe and to do what they believe they are called to do. It is one thing to be given the revealed Word of God and even the testimonies and anecdotes of other Christians, but you have to be careful when such people attempt to make rules, guidelines and doctrines out of what they themselves believe to be true.

Do not just accept everything that you hear from the pulpit as being true – no matter who is speaking and however much you respect that person. Learn to accept everything you hear according to your own Bible study, faith and prayer-life.

There are times in our lives when we simply act upon something, without giving it a conscious thought. In such circumstances, there is a green-light in our heart and mind. But even if I have slight doubts in my mind towards something, if it’s a green light, I cannot help but respond. We need to get to such a place in our spiritual walk that we have a green light to the direction of the Holy Spirit, and a red-light to the things of the flesh.

In Summary

- Red: The conviction and compulsion is too weak to act upon.
- Amber: The conviction and compulsion is at a level whereby you are equally able, and likely, to ignore it or act upon it.
- Green: The conviction and compulsion is too strong to ignore, you simply must act upon it, or you act upon it without even consciously thinking about it.


I suppose pep-talks are related to platitudes, but rather than putting a demand on a person, they are meant to encourage a person. I will confess that I do enjoy a good pep-talk; I feel that pep-talks often give me that much needed boost on a Sunday. A pep-talk delivered by a well-known Bible teacher can be truly inspiring, and encouraging.

The Short Shelf-Life of Pep-Talks

But the only problem I have with pep-talks is that the positive feeling they give you doesn’t last very long. You can feel all pumped-up and excited when you walk out of the church, feeling as if you can take on the world. But as soon as Monday morning rolls around, quite often, the “buzz” has gone – being replaced by an altogether abrupt crashing-back-down-to-earth feeling as Monday morning blues sets in. It’s no longer, “I can take on the world”, but it’s, “I’ve got to take on the morning traffic!”

Who Are Pep-Talks For?

I suppose these pep-talks are for new Christians, more than mature Christians. I attend a large, contemporary church which gives an altar call at the end of every service. The focus of the church – the professional-level hosting, A.V. presentations, worship and so on – is all geared towards the goal of getting those hands raised at the altar call. So, if this is what pep-talks are for – I’m all for them. However, where does that leave me and other mature Christians?


What I’ve noticed about Bible teaching in general, is that you often find that you can’t remember what last week’s message was all about – let alone remember specific details of the message. But this does not matter if the teaching you hear is building-up your spirit and the knowledge is retained subconsciously. Given the seemingly short shelf-life of pep-talks – do we really need them?


“Just do This…Just do That…”

Platitudes in the church are those expressions that typically begin with the word “just” e.g. “Just forgive people” or “just don’t sin” or “just step out and God will anoint you” or the metaphorical “just use what is in your hand” or the ever-so popular, “just keep on going” or “just keep on serving God”.

What Purpose do Platitudes Serve?

What purpose do these platitudes serve us at all? Firstly, they encourage legalism because they give believers the impression that they have conscious control over our behaviour. This perpetuates the myth that we are in perfect conscious control of our lives; and that if a believer does not live right – it is because they choose to do so – this is certainly not my experience! Therefore, challenges and platitudes become the weapon of choice for the angry evangelist who is determined to persuade the Body of Christ to forsake all their sins and live holy lives.

“Just Don’t Sin…”

If we could “just don’t sin” – we would not need a Saviour would we? Alright, we do have a Saviour, but telling people to “just don’t sin” does not make the power of God’s grace become active in their lives. We need to be told about the forgiveness of sin that is only found in Christ, rather than being told that we are to stop sinning by trying to avoid it in our own effort.

“Just Keep on Going…”

The “just keep on going” message is another ridiculous platitude. Where does my power to endure come from? Surely my power to endure comes from God? 1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love “endures all things”. I don’t have the power to endure all things in-and-of myself – that power comes from God. Therefore, why am I told that I should “keep on going” when that power to endure comes from God? Is the power of hupomone (God’s endurance) pulpit-activated? What can I do to activate that aspect of God’s love to endure trials?


I would say that any message from the pulpit that tells me to “just do” anything that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says love is, or indeed, anything that the Bible says I already am in Christ, is verging on the side of religious legalism, in my opinion. The only thing I need to “just do” – is to look to Jesus and rest in His love – Hallelujah!

Challenges - Part 2

I Just Want Peace!

I just wanted God’s love, peace and joy in my life – not endless challenges for me to “rise-up” and do stuff. I find that pastors of churches are often on the look-out for unsuspecting victims of life’s hardships to fuel the religious machine which they have created.

Nowadays, my entire focus is on accepting myself, life and other people – just as they are. My entire focus now is on abiding in peace; anything that distracts me from this goal is something that I question and filter-out according to the message of grace. I don’t have to twist scripture in any way-shape-or-form in order to justify this belief. What I am talking about are solid, Biblical principles. It’s just that we’ve heard the Bible being preached from an Old-Testament, law perspective, for too long. We just need to learn enough, and suffer enough, in order to get there! It really is quite possible to become burnt-out on religion.

28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest.
29 Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
30 Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

What we need to hear being taught a lot more in churches is not just the need to, but the ability to, die to selfish ambitions, desires and motives; together with the need, and ability, to enter into rest. (See Heb. 4:11).

Challenges and Comfort Zones

Challenges have been seen as being a means of motivating people to come out of their comfort zone. Personally, I actually want teaching that brings me into a comfort zone! There is a different between a state of apathy and a state of peace: one is of the flesh and the other is of God. When a person is in a state of apathy, they have very little energy, confidence, motivation and wisdom to do anything. But when a person is resting in the love of God, and experiencing the peace that His love brings, and then he has all the power and ability that he needs to fulfil the calling of God on his life.

Apart from Him – I Can Do Nothing

With the teaching of God’s grace and the conclusion that I came to even before I’d even heard of Joseph Prince and his message of God’s unconditional grace, was that I can’t do anything in my own strength. Many people struggle to accept this concept, and I see that it has taken me years of anxiety, frustration and apathy to realise this. You wouldn’t believe the struggle and hardship I’ve been through just so that God could get that message to me.

I remember feeling worn-out, frustrated, hurt and needy in church. But as well as being given re-assurances of God’s love for me, I was also given challenges to “rise-up” and “go all out for God”; I was told to “take on a challenge”. I wanted to do all of these things, but I felt completely worn-out. This is what the law does: it woos you like a lover; it leads you to agree with its logic; but once you’ve been seduced - it heaps the entire burden onto you and does nothing at all to help you fulfil those demands.

I No Longer Live…

Galatians 2:20 says that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. I wondered to myself: “What part of my being are you appealing to? My flesh? My willpower? If so, let me tell you now that both my flesh and my willpower are both weak, in fact, my flesh is dead and crucified!”

We are the Branches

John 15:5 says that we are like branches that abide in Jesus, who is likened to the Vine. Surely, Christianity has a lot more to do with being able to abide in the Vine than it has to do with me being persuaded to do things for God? After all, apart from Him I can do nothing! Why should believers be persuaded to “do something” for God, when they are not even abiding in the Vine?

Philippians 2:13 says that is God who gives us His desires and empowers us to act upon those desires. The God’s Word translation renders it, “It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please him.”

So, if it is God who produces His desires and actions in me – what role do I play in all of this? Do I really need to be challenged? Perhaps the preacher is trying to challenge the Holy Spirit in me? This sounds ridiculous, but we must consider that it is the Holy Spirit living in me who motivates me to action, according to His love. My desires are crucified with Christ – what is there for me to “stir-up?” The Bible says that everything that we do should be done with motives of love (1 Cor. 16:14 Weymouth). God is love. Everything that I do should be done with God’s own motives, desires and strength.
The Divine Nature | TNB