Are you an “actor” or a “reactor”, a “thermostat” or a “thermometer”?
Do you make decisions with godly wisdom, or let your circumstances and people’s opinions dictate your course of action? The truth is, God wants you to rise up in godly leadership by following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In Philippians 1:9, Apostle Paul said this prayer for believers: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment”. Many Christians want to walk in love. But do you notice that there is a place for wisdom and discernment in your love walk?
Our Lord put it this way to His disciples in Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” The word “wise” here is phronimos in Greek, which is also the word for “intelligent, sagacious and prudent.” Instead of also being discerning and watchful, many Christians are just loving and harmless.
But if you apply what the Lord says, to show strong love with discernment, it will make you an attractive person. It will make you interesting and exciting, and it will bless your marriage and all your relationships.
The Anointing Within Will Teach You
Now, you know that Jesus is the very personification of wisdom. The Holy Spirit dwells in you when you receive Jesus. (John 14:16–17) And this anointing will guide you.
1 John 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
The word “anointing” is a gerund, a Latin verbal noun that expresses ongoing action. This means that it is still happening right now. Today, God leads us by the inner anointing—the presence or absence of peace on the inside. This anointing which abides in you will teach you concerning all things. It will teach you about your finances. It will teach you how to position yourself, it will teach you about your relationships, and best of all, the inner anointing will teach you about your walk with God and about the Lord.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t need Bible teachers or Bible schools. We still need to have the Word because the Scripture outlines our direction and purpose, the way the railway directs the train. The Holy Spirit inside you is like the engine of the train where the power to control and propel comes from. For example, you could be listening to some teachings, and the verses that you hear confirm what you know on the inside. What 1 John 2:27 is saying is: You don’t need anyone to teach you to know God’s leading. The Holy Spirit will teach you.
So, when you meet someone who appears very charming but you feel uncomfortable on the inside, ask the Lord. Before you sign a contract, and there is an absence of peace, go and find out more. God can show you on the outside, things or verses, to confirm what you already know on the inside.
Let me explain. Years ago, a guy asked our church for some financial contribution which he claimed was for the work that God had given him in India. But I felt a “scratchy” feeling on the inside. So I sent my leaders to check on this person’s ministry work first. As they began to probe more and more, they discovered that this guy was a fraud. He was a con artist! And we realized that he had been operating in Singapore for a number of years, going from church to church. We had to make this person face the consequences of his actions.
When Do You Turn The Other Cheek?
“Well, Pastor Prince, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that we have to be nice. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, you must turn the other cheek to him also.”
My friend, that’s a misinterpretation. Let’s look at what Jesus said:
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
In those days, the practice was this: If someone smites you on the right cheek, he is challenging you to fight with him. So what did Jesus mean when He said, “turn the other to him also”? This is what He meant: Be someone who is an “actor”. Don’t be a “reactor”. Just because someone challenges you to a duel doesn’t mean that you must accept it. When you “turn the other cheek”, you will shock this person and take the fight out of him. Don’t let him have the power to make you angry. Now who is in charge? You are! Don’t let people’s actions determine how you react.
In the other illustration, Jesus said, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” During Jesus’ time, one of the Roman laws was that any Jewish subject could be commanded to carry a Roman soldier’s equipment for one mile. Jesus encouraged His followers not only to comply with the law of the land, but to go above and beyond. If somebody did you wrong, don’t let evil overcome you. Turn around and surprise the person. Jesus was talking about taking charge of the situation. He wasn’t talking about a life of pacifism.
But as a nation, a church, a corporation or a family, something is wrong if you always “turn the other cheek” and let the adversary walk all over you. If someone is out to cheat our church, we’re not going to let him get away with it.
Evil Reigns When Good Men Are Silent
It is one thing to say that you forgive and let go of the matter if someone has cheated you personally. But when you see a con artist going around in church, speak up and report the matter. It is no more about personal forgiveness. It is about being responsible to the flock of God. Don’t just say, “It’s okay, it’s water under the bridge. Let’s just walk in love.”
No, you are not walking in love. You are walking in cowardice behind the label you call “love” because you are afraid to confront.
Like Adam, some men have kept quiet and allowed evil to reign. Though Adam heard God’s commandment clearly in the garden, his silence allowed Satan to deceive his wife. (Genesis 2:16–17, 3:1–6)
Many a time, marriages crumble because the man abdicates his responsibility by telling his wife, “Okay, I don’t know. You decide.” And the wife takes over. After a while, when she needs a real man who is responsible and makes decisions, she finds that she is the one who is wearing the pants! So ladies, learn not to subjugate your husband by taking decisions away from him all the time.
Men, take up godly leadership at home. Dare to make decisions because God made you the head of the house. (Ephesians 5:23) You are the king and priest of the house.
But know this: When it comes to making important decisions, it is wise to discuss them with your wife. There are times when there are major projects that God speaks to me about which I discuss with my wife Wendy to see how she feels about them on the inside. So don’t just tell your wife, “I’m the head of this family. Submit!” God made woman to be man’s helpmate. (Genesis 2:18) Your wife can be a pool of wisdom to draw from.
But at the end of it, you have to be the one who decides. Stand firm and put your foot down if you have heard God on the inside and still feel strongly about a decision.
Jesus Wasn’t ‘Mr Nice Guy’
Some people will say, “Pastor Prince, I don’t want to rock the boat by speaking up. I want to keep my family peaceful. I want to be nice, just like Jesus.”
If you want to be like Jesus, listen to the Spirit man within. There are times when He will say, “Stand tall, and speak up!” Look at Jesus’ reply when the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath.
…“Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
Now don’t forget, Jesus was the guest speaker in that synagogue. But He called the ruler of the synagogue a hypocrite in front of his congregation.
Was Jesus “Mr Nice Guy”? No, but He was a loving and compassionate Savior to the woman whom Satan had bound for 18 years.
The Good Shepherd Protects His Sheep
A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him but look at what the Lord said when His host marveled that Jesus had not first washed before dinner.
Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?…Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.” And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
Now, Jesus was not being unhygienic when He did not first wash before dinner. Rather, He deliberately chose not to follow the strict ceremonial washing practiced by the religious Pharisees.
So Jesus was correcting the Pharisees by calling them “foolish ones” because they were careful with the outward keeping of the law to maintain the appearance of righteousness but inwardly, they were dirty.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus loved the Pharisees. He came to redeem them and to give them the gift of righteousness too. But He did not hold back his criticism when their pride and self-righteousness stopped people from receiving.
Notice Jesus never called a prostitute a “hypocrite”? He never called the tax collector “you snake”. But to the self-righteous Pharisees, Jesus called them a “brood of vipers”. (Matthew 12:34, 23:33) Why? Jesus loved His sheep but because of the way the Pharisees and teachers of the law interpreted the Mosaic law, they laid heavy burdens on people and held them in bondage.
The Love That Abounds In Knowledge And Discernment
Now I am not saying, “Don’t be ‘Mr Nice Guy’. Be nasty.” Just because you are not “Mr Nice Guy” doesn’t mean that you can’t be loving, strong, courageous and discerning.
The apostle Paul responded with strong love when Elymas the sorcerer tried to stop the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, from hearing the Word of God.
Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
In case you have the misconception that Paul wasn’t walking in godly love, the Bible says that Paul was “filled with the Holy Spirit”. This means that Paul was led by the Spirit to rebuke the sorcerer.
“But Pastor Prince, Paul caused blindness to come upon Elymas. Where is the mercy of God?"
Notice that the Bible says that the sorcerer was blind “for a time”, not permanently, and after that, the proconsul believed. God had strong love and mercy on the proconsul. The proconsul needed to hear the Word, so God blinded the sorcerer for a time because he was a fraud who was trying to stop the preaching of the gospel.
So, the Holy Spirit will give you strong love and strength to protect the flock of God. Men, He will give you strength to guard and protect your family. If someone comes along and tries to do something to my wife or my daughter, I will make him bleed for it. I’m not going to just stand there and “turn the other cheek”! The shepherd holds the rod for a reason. The rod is in your hand not to whack the sheep, but the wolf! So don’t be confused about who your enemy is.
Jesus The Man
Don’t back away because you are fearful. Look at what Jesus did when the soldiers came to arrest Him in the garden of Gethsemane. They were armed and dangerous. But Jesus, knowing all that would come upon Him, stepped forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” When they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth”, Jesus said, “I am He.” (John 18:3–5)
Jesus didn’t back away. He went forward boldly. And He loved us so much that He went all the way to the cross for us. Jesus was and is truly a real Man. Yet, there are Christians who are so afraid to share about Jesus with their friends because they are worried about what others might think of them. Instead of worrying about people’s opinions, step forward and honor the Lord who gave His life for you!
Do you know that deep in our hearts, we are all longing for a hero? That is why we are attracted to the hero in movies like Braveheart. William Wallace, the hero in Braveheart, is attractive because he was not afraid to stand up to the self-centered and money-minded lords and dukes of Scotland, and he led the defeated people to freedom. The hero always lives for a cause greater than himself.
As I was watching Braveheart, I began to find Wallace familiar. He reminds me of our Lord Jesus—the strong, selfless Man who came to liberate and free us from a life of sin and defeat. The Lord is not skinny and pale like the emasculated Jesus we see portrayed in traditional paintings on the walls of some churches. The real Jesus is the beloved Son of God, the Man who died on the cross bravely for us. And He is the hero that our hearts are longing for.
The Hero In You
Today, there is a hero in you because you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The Bible says that Christ is in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Men, remember: You don’t have to worry about being a leader in your own strength. God does not expect you to be one using your willpower. Christ in you will teach you and lead you to rise up in godly leadership. He has positioned you as the king and priest of the house.
Wives, start to honor your husband as such. Allow him to make decisions and trust that God will fill him with more wisdom. It will work out to your benefit. Most men are more than glad to take up godly leadership at home when their wives are supportive.
Don’t forget that Jesus, the greatest Man of all, loves you with a self-sacrificial love. The more you expose yourself to His love, the more you will learn to flow with Him and follow the anointing within. Only His love can effect an effortless change in you and cause the blessings to flow.
© Copyright Joseph Prince, 2007. All rights reserved.
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