The following represents the unexpected spiritual lessons, principles or truths I (pastor Scott) have learned over the course of 18 years (or 150,000 plus hours) of deep study and reflection on God’s Word and the shepherding of His people. They – according to my repeated and effective use of them in counseling over the years),also represent those truths most essential to maintaining the proper perspective and behavior in the covenant community, avoiding the pitfall of apostasy, and obtaining our eternal heavenly prize. As such, it is my humble opinion that every Christian should immediately adopt them and diligently endeavor to see that they are constantly brought to mind.
- You are what you do versus what you fantasize or feel.
1.1. You are what you do = Your true identity/heart is revealed/reflected in how you think, speak and behave.
1.2. What you fantasize or feel = What you want to believe about your heart or self; what your emotions are telling you.
1.3. (Pro 4:23, 27:19; Mat 12:33-37 w/15:11, 18-19; Pro 20:11; Mat 7:21-23, 21:28-32; Rev 20:11-15; 2Co 5:9-10; Joh 5:28-30; Joh 8:51).
1.4. The thinking/speech of people who DO NOT understand/reject this biblical truth: “I know I did/said those things, but that’s not me (iow: that behavior was an anomaly); “I know I am an immature/new Christian but I can handle it” (e.g. Gal 6:1 = The “spiritual” or mature [i.e. those who – thru their actions over time, have demonstrated faithfulness] are the ones to be involved in the process of restoring those excommunicated – versus the immature/weak, since the possibility of being “tempted” or falling into the same sin is very real. The point then NOT TO MISS: We may have all the best intentions -or feel that we are strong enough to handle something, but it is our actions [most esp. our prior actions] that most determine our true identity/ability).
- Real change (or repentance) requires extreme ownership versus excuses or denial.
2.1. Extreme ownership = Assessing oneself according to the hard facts (i.e. the truth according to the evidence or your actions) and assuming full responsibility for every failure, short-coming or sin.
2.2. Excuses or denial = Attempting to justify your failure, short-coming or sin by passing the buck (i.e. blaming it on others or circumstances), playing the victim (i.e. blaming it on your lack of brains) or playing down the seriousness of the situation (i.e. treating a 10 like a 2).
2.3. (Jam 1:22-25) = The person who fails to possess real change/repentance (who never truly becomes a “doer” of the word) is “like a man who looks intently at his natural face in the mirror” yet “goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” IOW: they are a person who rejects/denies what the evidence – or their actions reveal about who they truly are – and as a result, refuse to take full responsibility in resolving their short-comings or failure or sin thru real change or repentance; Mar 9:42-50; Luk 13:22-28; Rom 1:18; Joh 9:39-41; e.g. Pro 6:16-19 = God sees sowing discord as a “10” yet many treat it as a “2”).
2.4. Taking extreme ownership seems scary (as though it will destroy us to do so). In reality however, when we do, such action becomes the catalyst and energy that leads to change (we are hard-wired to turn from those things we find truly ugly) (e.g. pastor Rowe’s seminary letter). When people are not extremely honest w/themselves or taking extreme ownership of their situation, they forfeit this necessary catalyst and energy and their attempts at change/repentance end up looking more like the so-called “definition of insanity” = doing the same thing and expecting different results (which inevitably ends in further failure, short-coming or sin). Hence the reason so many fail to truly repent – but also change other failures/short-comings (e.g. their health, their weight, their economic state in life, their self-discipline, control over their emotions, precision in thinking, skill and abilities, etc.
2.5. A biblical example (and contrast) in re: to extreme ownership and sin: Peter vs Judas = Both men betrayed Jesus. Peter took ownership of his betrayal and it became the catalyst for repentance/change that ended in faithful ministry and martyrdom for Jesus (Joh 21:15-19). Judas however refused to take ownership of his betrayal, finding it too scary/awful to deal with, and instead ended his life thru suicide (Mat 27:3-5). Though we may not physically end our lives, the end result wb the same if we do not take extreme ownership in re: to our sin. Real repentance will not happen – and eternal life wb lost.
- If you are having problems w/the leaders or the teaching of Christ Covenant Church (i.e. you believe them or their teaching to possibly be wrong/unrighteous), then ask yourself this question, “Why are the majority of members not having these problems?” since the answer you provide will also reveal the solution to your problems.
3.1. Unless you can prove (according to the biblically required evidence) there is something wrong/unrighteous – as well as a massive conspiracy to hide from others what you (supposedly) so clearly see, then the answer to this question wb something to the effect of, “I am the only smart person or thinking person in this church” or “I am the only one using my brain” or “(I am) the only one who is concerned about doing the right thing or being righteous”. IOW: everyone else is turning their brains off or are too stupid to see what’s going on – or just don’t care (manipulated, mindless zombies who think they are serving Jesus but are actually bowing down in a pentagram and giving their souls to satan).
3.2. What such answers reveal as the only reasonable, sane and biblical solution to your problems: you admitting to – and repenting of – your ridiculously high, arrogant, conceited and delusional view of yourself (Rom 12:3a w/16; you are the Bible’s definition of a fool – Pro 12:15, 26:12; Isa 5:21; “right in his own eyes” = believing yourself to be the only one smart enough to know what is right – Deu 12:8; Jug 17:6, 21:25; also Jud 1:8-10; 3Jo 1:9-10).
- Never act like you do know what you don’t know.
4.1. What acting like you do know what you don’t know looks like = You disapprove or make negative judgments in relation to the actions of others, though you do not possess the biblically required evidence to do so (Deu 17:6). As it relates to your brothers/sisters in Christ this means you distrust, question, become suspicious of – or condemn as unrighteous, them and their actions whenever such actions confuse you, surprise you, don’t agree w/your personal preferences or opinions – though (again) the necessary biblical evidence to possess such thoughts, feelings or judgments does not exist.
4.2. What never acting this way looks like = Practicing justice and love in relation to all people and things! IOW: unless the biblically required evidence exists, you don’t think or believe anything (good or bad) – about anything they say/do. As a result, you are not negatively effected by what they say/do – in suspicion of what they say/do – or passing judgment on what they say/do. As it relates to your brothers/sisters in Christ this means you trust and believe them and their actions to be good/righteous even though such actions may confuse, surprise or go against your personal preferences or opinions. IOW: you give ZERO thought to anything being wrong and think only the best in relation to them. BTW: this is not shutting your brain off. Rather it is using it in the way God prescribed (no knowledge = no judgment). This (again) is how we practice justice in all things and show true love for all people (Lev 19:15-16 w/18).
4.3. (Deu 29:29 w/Deu 17:6 w/19:15…16-19 w/1Co 4:5; Rom 12:3b – “sober judgment” = judgment according to the Law – 1Ti 5:19; Mat 18:15-17; Jam 4:11-12 w/Deu 18:20; Psa 19:13; sins associated w/acting like you know what you don’t know – presumption, gossip and slander, quarreling, sowing discord in the church; e.g. 1Ti 6:3-5a; Phi 4:1-9; 2Ti 2:14-26; e.g. man comes home a half an hour late and his wife concludes that he must have been out having sex w/hookers – not many women would draw such absurd conclusions in re: to their husbands but plenty of people do that in re: to one another in the church [esp. in re: to those in leadership] – Moses, Jesus, Stephen [the elder] and Paul [the apostle] were all wrongly treated as God’s leaders b/c of people acting like they knew what they did not know.