Sunday, June 24, 2012


In the world of advertising especially the TV commercials every scriptwriter understands the power of two words. “CALL NOW” To our great annoyance all most all commercials carry phrases like; “Pick up your phone and call now” “the first 100 callers will get a gift” “not available in stores only order by phone” “Limited Offer,” “Call Now, Toll Free, 24 hours a Day”[1] All these action verbs and phrases create rather a false sense of urgency in the mind of gullible customers and force them to act hastily.  

We all may have been rushed into action one time or the other and regretted later for foolish purchases or contacts we have gotten ourselves into. There is another kind of call which requires quick and consistent action on your part. I promise you that you will not regret it when you make that call. Down through the centuries many have made that call and were blessed and others have neglected it at their own peril. I am talking about “Calling on the LORD.” Today we will look at when this calling on the Lord began; why we should call on the LORD, and finally the blessings of calling on the LORD? Let’s look at when this calling on the Lord began.

The phrase calling on the Lord is not a new invention but this kind of prayer has ancient roots way before Christ, David and Moses. The first mention of it occurs in Gen 4:25-26, “Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in the place of Abel since Cain killed him. Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to “call” on the name of the LORD.” From this passage we learn that Cain killed Abel, and then he went away from the LORD’s presence, built a city and led a total independent life style. Cain and his seed became corrupt

God wanted to raise a righteous seed so He granted Eve Seth and Seth had a son Enosh. Up until that point people had only known God as the creator of the universe who created everything their eyes could see. Once Enosh was born a group of people began to call on the name of the LORD. While Cain and those who came after him turned away from God these people affirmed their dependence on God by calling on Him. Jim Cymbala says, in his book “Fresh Wind, Fresh Spirit, “In fact, God’s first people were not called “Jews” or “the Children of Israel” or Hebrews.” In the very beginning their original name was, “those who call on the name of the LORD.” Since that time there has always been a group of people who have expressed their dependency on God by calling on the name of the LORD. God is still looking for people who would call on Him but why should we call on Him? Is it for His sake or for our benefit?

Firstly, we should call on the Lord because He is not just a super power that created the whole universe as some would think, but he also cares, hears and responds to our needs when we call on His name. The literal translation of the Hebrew word “Qara” means, “To cry out, to call aloud, to roar, or to implore aid.” Charles Spurgeon once remarked that “the best style of prayer is that which cannot be called anything else but a cry.”[2]  
Nothing else touches the heart of God and moves the hand of God more then a loud cry that comes from the heart of his desperate children. Here are a couple of biblical stories of how God was touched by the cry of His children. Remember the story of Hagar the Egyptian maid of Sarah who had born Abraham a son? She was sent out with her very young son into the desert, where she wandered until all the drinking water was over. She put the boy under one of the bushes and began to sob. In Gen 21: 17, we read, “God heard the boy crying and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “God has heard the boy crying.. then he opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.

At a later time in the history of Israel there was a certain man whose name was Elkanah. He had two wives one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah was barren. Can you imagine the agony and grief that Hannah had to endure due to her barrenness? On top of that her rival kept taunting her. That vexed Hannah to no end. Hannah went to the temple and in bitterness of soul she wept much and prayed to the Lord to an extent the high priest at that time thought she was fully drunk, so he confronted Hannah. Listen to her words, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled, I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. ..I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” (I Samuel 1: 1:20)

We knew the rest of the story; God granted her request and gave her a son who grew up to be one of the greatest prophets and leaders in Israel, his name was Samuel which means, “heard of God”   These two stories indicate that when your are desperate, it is you who needs to cry out to God even when every one else misunderstands you. When you do that from the sincerity of your heart God will come to your rescue and grant you the desires of your heart.

My grand mother used to warn and encourage me to give my heart to Jesus but just like any seventeen year old I neglected her advice and lived a life of my own. She never gave up on me. She cried out to God for nearly seven years, finally on the day of her funeral I surrendered my life to the Lord. Let’s not give up on our sons, daughters, spouses and grand children. There is hope. When we cry out to the Lord He is able to rescue them from the hands of the evil one.

Secondly, we must call on the name of the LORD because he invites us to call on Him. In Jer 33:2-3, “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” This scripture indicates that God doesn’t want to remain aloof, and uninvolved from his people as a cosmic superpower, instead he wants to be deeply and intimately involve in the lives of people. Therefore he invites us to call on him; and when we call on him he will answer and reveal to us the secrets and the art of living.

Here is another scriptural example. Psalm 50:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me.” This scripture invites us to call on the name of the Lord when we are in trouble. On the contrary when we are in trouble our human tendency is to call on a close friend, a therapist, a counselor, a pastor or if it is an emergency 911. There is nothing wrong in seeking human intervention but may I urge you before you make these human calls to lift up your voice and cry out God for his help?
Who knows God may send you his help much sooner than you expect. No matter whatever your situation may be God is inviting you to call on him. Almost sixteen years ago we had a situation with our eldest daughter. She was then barely two days old, she stopped breathing, thankfully Wilma’s sister noticed it; she shook the baby and she was alright.  She had several more stop such breathing episodes  We took her to the doctor he said these stop breathing episodes could lead to something called SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He further said that they could do nothing except to monitor the baby by placing an apnea monitor for at least the first six months.

We came back home discouraged but not without hope. After a while we decided not to take the doctor’s advice instead cry out to God for his help. We shared this urgency with several prayer warriors in India. We all cried out for to intervene and heal her. Six months passed and we never saw another episode. The doctor was surprised that we never took his advice but he never asked any question. Now our daughter is sixteen on her way to serve God this summer with YWAM. Isn’t it amazing; our God is able to help us in our troubles when we call on Him.

The founding fathers of America were not ashamed to call on the LORD as they formed the constitution. Here is an excerpt from the prayer offered by Rev. Jacob Douche at the commencement of First Continental Congress meeting on Sept 7, 1774. “O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who from your throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reigns with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech you, on these our American States, who have fled to you from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on your gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on you.”[3]

The early fathers new what it was to depend on God and didn’t hesitate to call on the Lord! What a shift has taken place since then? Unlike the early fathers many modern Americans would rather depend on their own intellect, ability, money, government or social services. They fail to realize that it is God who made this country a great nation in the first place. In Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

I believe this great nation of ours will continue to be blessed as we live in the awareness that our whole sustenance, and survival depends on God but if we turn our backs on Him and hate him in our hearts as it suggests in Psalm 81:15,  we will incur God’s wrath upon ourselves. In other words there are great blessings in store for all those who call upon His name and there are curses in store for all those who turn away from Him and neglect to call on Him.

This is not only true for America for all the nations in the world. Paul emphasized how important this calling on God is for every living being in Romans 10:10-13. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the scripture says, “Any one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This scripture seems to suggest that it is not just enough to believe in God in our hearts but it is imperative that we cry out loud or proclaim or confess with our mouths that He is God.  This scripture also suggests that this invitation is not limited only to the clergy, evangelists, or certain prayer giants but it is for every one. In other words if you want to see a miracle in your life it is required that you cry out to God for help; and don’t wait for others to do it for you, He will hear your cry as much as He hears any one who reaches out to him in humility. Psalm 145: 18, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”

My prayer for each of us is that we humble ourselves, turn away from our wicked ways, pray and seek God’s face with all sincerity then we will receive forgiveness and healing. If one thing I wish for our Church more than any thing else it would be that we become a people who would know how to call on our God. No matter what you are going through today I encourage you to call on the name of the Lord and he will deliver you from all your trouble.

I want to close with these words of a song by Scott Wesley Brown “He will Carry You.” There is no problem too big God cannot solve it. There is no mountain too tall he cannot move it. There is no storm too dark God cannot calm it. There is no sorrow too deep he cannot sooth it. If he carried the weight of the world up on his shoulders I know my brother/ sister that he will carry you.” Amen

[2]  Tom Carter, comp., Spurgeon at His Best (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), p 155      

Sunday, June 17, 2012



For the past 6 weeks we have been following a series of teaching called, “Breaking Free: (Moving towards Wholeness”) We opened up the series by looking into Eph 4:12-13, where we saw God wanted all of us to be built up, to be united and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. We learned that our negative past gets in the way and hinders us from receiving the fullness o f Christ. In Amos 7th chapter we saw that God likened the nation of Israel to a tottering wall (fig 5) that was flimsy, shaky and was to be destroyed any moment. We looked at how certain wrong messages of our parents, teachers, peers and the media may have wrongly influenced and shaped our lives. Unknowingly we built walls of defense to protect ourselves from getting hurt.  Generally people build two types of walls based on their personality. They are the defensive walls of rejection and rebellion.

We looked at a few devastating bricks in the wall of rejection (f11) such as sadness, self pity, self hatred, inferiority and depression. In the wall of rebellion (fig 12) we saw hostility, pride, superiority, bitterness etc. These walls may afford some degree of protection, but they also lock up a part of our personality, affecting our ability to love, and trust and form meaningful relationships. These walls hinder us from properly relating to God, ourselves and others. In an essence we become imprisoned in our own self made prisons.

As we follow the human plumb line of rejection to its end, it will lead to Suicide and the plumb line of rebellion will lead to Homicide. You may feel that both these options are limited. Is there another choice? Yes there is the true, Divine Plumb line. But wait! You must first consider what is involved. If we accept the Divine Plumb line to escape suicide and homicide we must instead embrace being CRUCIFIED. What does being crucified mean?

In essence if we are to follow God’s divine plumb line, we must be willing to accept the cross of Christ. We must crucify the carnal and unclean desires of our flesh that throw us from one side to the other in reaction. We must be willing to daily clean out the old desires and follow the new in truth and love, allowing sadness, bitterness, selfishness, anger, superiority, and pride to die on the cross so that Christ can live in us. How can we demolish the debilitating and destructive walls of rejection and rebellion? How can we rebuild our lives based on the Divine plumb line?

The faulty walls we built must come down before we rebuild our lives according to the divine plumb line which is God’s word. The following scriptures explain how God wants’ to rebuild our lives, but we must cooperate with him in the rebuilding process.  Isaiah 25:12, “And the high fortifications of your walls (the Lord) will bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust” (Amplified Bible). Isaiah 26:1“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: we have a strong city ;( the Lord) sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.”

The above references are an excellent summary of how we build walls in our lives, but with a new theme than that has been previously discussed. The Lord says in these passages it is not His desire to leave us defenseless and vulnerable to all that the enemy of our souls would hurl at us. Instead He desires to build a new wall called salvation with gates called praise (Is 60:18), to protect us from destruction and devastation.

In attempting to build a wall the first thing must be done is to lay the foundation. Similarly, in the wall of salvation too we must have a sure foundation. The Apostle Paul refers in I Cor 3:11, Jesus Christ being that sure foundation. Once Christ becomes the foundation then we are ready to build the wall of salvation. There are seven steps involved in rebuilding the wall of salvation. They are: 1. Revelation. 2. Repentance 3. Release. 4. Recognize 5. Renounce 6. Renewing 7. Rebuilding. Let’s examine these steps.

The first step in the building process is Revelation. It is not just new knowledge or deeper understanding, but is insight that makes such an impact on the heart that a change of lifestyle results. Revelation is not received on the basis of IQ, but it is received by those who are obedient to God’s word. A little child with an open heart may receive greater revelation than some professors of philosophy or religion with several degrees. According to Psalm 119:97-100, those who are obedient may acquire more revelation than their teachers, elders and enemies. At the same time, disobedience leads to deception and a loss of revelation.

Throughout the scriptures we see God revealing himself as, righteous, all powerful, all knowing, present every where, merciful, compassionate, loving, forgiving and judge of the living and the dead, but above all God revealed himself as a loving father. Remember in John 14:1-6, where Jesus spoke of his departure and how the disciples were troubled? To that disheartened group Jesus gave these assuring words. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. He went on to say in Vs 6, “ I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.”

Jesus was trying to tell the disciples not to stop on “the way” but to go all the way to their final destination which is “intimacy with the Father” Jesus is the way to the Father whom we also need to go on to know. He doesn’t want us to be saved only to be left as orphans, but the Father longs for intimacy with us.

He desires to come with Jesus and dwell in us. Why do so many of us stay as orphans, when Jesus longs for us to join Him as the Father’s son or daughter?  In my Christian ministry as I talked and counseled people I’ve seen fears, inhibitions, misgivings or other chains hinder us from going on to receive the Father’s love.

God’s desire for us is to see Him and know Him as He really is. He wants to give us that true revelation even more than we are ready to receive it. His heart is broken by the cruelties of parental sin, and His greatest longing is to receive His children and reveal His true character to them.  Revelation must be followed by another step which is Repentance.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near” (Mat 3:2) were the powerful words of John the Baptist in the wilderness. Without mincing words John challenged everyone in the crowd to embrace God’s standard. Jesus picked up the same theme and preached his first message calling people to repent, for the Kingdom of God is near. The same call goes to all of us today to repent from our sin of rejection and rebellion. These two are not just negative reactions to hurt but in an essence they are sin because they are rooted in two core sins. Rejection stems from unbelief and rebellion from pride. According to scriptures both unbelief and pride are sin.

What is repentance?  In the OT the Hebrew word most commonly translated “to repent” literally meant to turn, to return, or to turn back. In the NT the English verb “To repent” is normally the translation of the Greek verb “Metanoein” meaning “to change ones mind.” In simple terms, repentance is to make a firm inward decision to turn away from sin and make our way back to God. It is a decision not an emotion. Each individual has to make this discussion on their own; no one else can make it for them.

When we repent; we are recognizing our sins such as sadness, self hatred, bitterness, un-forgiveness, anger, pride and we are asking to forgive us and we are deciding from now on we will follow God. In John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  When we repent of our sin, the faulty walls come down, and we are able to build the wall of salvation according to God’s Divine Plumb line. The next step in the process is Release.

Forgiving someone who has offended us, Release him from needing to repay us, give compensation, or even say he is sorry. When we do come to the place of forgiving from the heart, another kind of release happens simultaneously within us. Remember the story of the unforgiving servant, whose huge debt of $10 million was forgiven by the King because he pleaded for mercy? But after he was forgiven went out and caught hold of a fellow servant who owed him a mere debt of $10. Instead of showing mercy as he had received mercy he had the man cast into jail. When the King heard it he was outrageous by the first servant’s merciless heart, so king retracted the original kindness by handing him over to the tormentors until he paid the full $10 million dollars. Now the man was in jail not for his original debt, but for his brutality and unforgiving spirit. Jesus concluded the parable saying that God will do the same to each of us if we fail to forgive our brother from the heart.

We draw from the story, then that unforgiveness provides a platform for inner torment. We are not designed to live with resentment, bitterness or hatred. To continue in them invites spiritual as well as physical aliments to develop with in. The next two enforcements in the wall of salvation are to recognize and renounce.

The greatest opponent to rebuilding the walls of salvation in our lives is Lucifer himself. Some think there is no devil it is a figment of your imagination. Satan is real and the Bible clearly states that he is alive and active in this world. We must learn to recognize his deceptive schemes and tactics. Once we recognize them we renounce his authority over our lives. 

How do we renounce the devil? By using the name of Jesus. There is power in His name. In Rev 12:11 we read, they overcame by the blood of the lamb.” When Christ shed his blood on the cross he won a huge victory over Sin, Death and the Devil.
We renounce Satan by using God’s word; finally we renounce the Devil by putting on the full Armor of God that is described in Ephesians 6th chapter.

The scripture tells us, when we resist the devil he will flee from us. In other words his power and grip over us is broken. We are made free by the power of Christ which has broken the chains of the devil. Notice, we are made free from our bondage; but not yet made perfect or matured. How can we maintain our new found freedom? How can we grow and become mature so that we can experience God’s promised fullness of Christ? 

Renewing and Rebuilding are the next two steps we are to take in the process. We will be renewing our minds with God’s word, through regular study and meditation. The more we read, understand and obey God’s word the more revelation we will receive. That revelation of God’s love, acceptance and his purpose for our lives will keep us steady in our walk with Him. However we can not grow and become matured in isolation. We need to belong to a God fearing community because that is where the rebuilding process begins. In the community of believers we will learn a new lifestyle of loving, forgiving one another and growing in grace.

As we have extensively looked at the Breaking Free series, maybe you have been able to identify where you have been out of line.  If you want to be free from the faulty patterns and rebuild your lives based on the Divine plumb line you need to repent of your sins, renounce the devil, release forgiveness to those who hurt you and receive God’s love. As the song is being played please take time to reflect on the Father’s love. Write down any of the sins that Christ may be showing you. At the end of the song you may come forward to receive prayer. Amen

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Different strokes for Different folks

For the past 5 weeks we have been following a series of teaching called, “Breaking Free: (Moving towards Wholeness”) We opened up the series by looking into Eph 4:12-13, where we saw God wanted all of us to be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” If that is what God’s intention for all of us then why do most Christians struggle when it comes to maturity and receiving the fullness of Christ? We learned that our past gets in the way from reaching our full potential especially the negative side.

In Amos 7th chapter we saw that God likened the nation of Israel to a tottering wall (fig 5) that was flimsy, shaky and was to be destroyed any moment. We looked at how certain wrong messages of our parents, teachers, peers and the media may have wrongly influenced and shaped our lives. Unknowingly we built walls of defense to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We learned how people generally respond to hurt, depending on their personality type. Those who are passive flee away in rejection and those who are aggressive fight back in rebellion (fig 10).

These two responses are defense mechanisms to protect themselves from getting further hurt. They build defensive walls of rejection and rebellion. We looked at a few devastating bricks in the wall of rejection (f11) such as sadness, self pity, self hatred, inferiority and depression. In the wall of rebellion (fig 12) we saw hostility, pride, superiority, bitterness etc. These walls may afford some degree of protection, but they also lock up a part of our personality, affecting our ability to love, and trust and form meaningful relationships. As we follow the human plumb line of rejection to its end, it becomes apparent that the ultimate act of self rejection is Suicide.

If however, we rather follow the human plumb line of rebellion as a reference point in life, we are more likely to end up with a charge of Homicide. In this case, we have vented our wrath on another instead of ourselves. The walls we build form personality profiles. Today we will examine how far reaching the effects of these walls are on the individual, family and society. The walls of course, are symbolic not only of our defense systems, but also of personality types that begin to emerge from platforms of rejection or rebellion. We will look at four possible personality profiles and seek to understand how and why they are developed. These are not the only forms, but are common personalities among us.


As the American idiom “Different strokes for different folks” suggests, different personality types behave differently. In considering character development there are both inherited and acquired aspects to personality. Studies show us that it’s not always easy to establish the line between what is fixed and what is variable in personality. However the scriptures do give us some guidelines. In our study we are looking at the acquired or changeable aspects referred to in Ephesians 4:13, where Paul tells us of the need to grow up into the completeness of personality in Christ. Let’s look at the four possible personality profiles.


With her plumb line of rejection as a reference, the compliant Christians reach out toward significant authority figures to fill her needs. The following statements may help us understand her better: I will help you with anything you want; I will serve you at any time; I will be loyal to you; I will always affirm you and love you; I will pray regularly and faithfully for you. On the other hand she expects the authority figure to: “Notice me; affirm me; be nice to me; Care about me; be around me when I need you; never let me down or reject me.

The expressions of the compliant Christian can be narrowed down to two sentences: I will do anything you want; please love me. Compliant persons can be tremendous servers and assistants. Often one step ahead of their leader, they are efficient and effective as well as sensitive and caring. Stemming from an inordinate desire for affection and affirmation; immorality is often a snare to them. They have hard time to say no; because they don’t want to be rejected they tend towards procrastination and man pleasing.

The Prototype of the compliant personality is found in I Samuel 15:24-31. After victory in battle, Saul disregarded instructions God had given for the destruction of the Amalekites.  Seeking approval and recognition from men, he built a monument in his honor at Carmel. Listen how the fearless king Saul had to say in his compliance. Vs 24, “I’ve sinned. I violated the LORD’S command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave into them…Vs 30, “But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me so that I may worship the Lord your God.”

If we read the whole passage one thing becomes clear, that is for Saul the honor, the affirmation, and the recognition of people is more important than obeying God’s commands and Samuel’s instruction.  Because Saul feared men and wanted their affirmation, he did not fear and obey God. This compliancy led to a complete loss of his kingdom through a gradual, sad decline of his leadership.

Let’s face it! many of us struggle with “fear of man”  In Proverbs 29:25, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare ;( trap) but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” We want to say as Paul said in Hebrew 13: 6, “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? When the complaint personality receives too many setbacks, he may change hats with the next personality profile which is “The Can’t Do it” Personality.
II.                THE “CAN’T DO IT” PERSONALITY  (Fig 14)

When we come closer to a “can’t do it” personality we may hear him say some of these phrases at one stage or another: No one cares about me anymore; No one bothers to tell me what’s happening; Nobody has time to listen to me; Nobody visits me anymore; No one likes me. The great struggle however for this person is to feel he is wanted or useful. We may also hear him say: “It’s no use trying anymore; I’ve failed so many times; I know I am a failure;  I’ll never be able to do it; I can’t go on anymore; I quit; I give up. This type of negative profile is not an uncommon one in today’s society.  The two major messages emerging include: Nobody loves me; I give up.
In scriptures we find several can’t do it type personalities. One classical example would be Moses. Do you remember what happened to Moses when he was barely 3 years old? He was abandoned by his parents in a small box in the Nile. Can you imagine what message that might have sent to Moses at an early stage?  A message of rejection! Moses finally fled for his life when rejected by his own people. Forty years later when God called him to lead His people out of slavery; what was Moses’ immediate reaction? 

In Exodus 4:1,10,13 we clearly hear the voice of a can’t do it person in Moses. God had to perform two miracles to convenience him; but even after seeing those miracles he still gave excuses. He said; In vs 10, “I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant, I am slow of speech and tongue.”
In the end Moses says, “O Lord please send someone else. When the enemy comes to you and says to you that you can’t do it except that fact because you can’t really do it on your own but as the scripture suggests you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Phil 4:13)
The reference point in life for the “can’t do it” personality is a plumb line of rejection, just as it is for the “complaint” personality. But instead of reaching toward their authority figures, the can’t do it turns away, refusing any help. Often after receiving so much hurt and pain from authority figures, their trust in others progressively diminishes. Because they cannot face the thought of another wounding experience, they withdraw from everyone into their armor.
Moving now from the passive lines of rejection over to the more aggressive lines of rebellion, we will examine two more personality profiles. The first personality prototype is more aggressive in his approach to authority figures than his complaint counterpart.

We live in a highly competitive world. No other personality profile relates more to this humanistic age and its performance for love and acceptance. The programming of the competitive personality is probably the most common in western cultures. Someone with a competitive personality can often be overheard saying: “I can do it better than any of you; I know it all. Just ask me; I’ll show you just how it should be done; I am just the person you’ve been looking for. They come out strong on themselves and strong on others with phrases like, “Don’t waste time taking a vacation, don’t be emotional; be strong, don’t show your weaknesses. They give no rest to themselves and no rest to others, they become workaholics.

On the other hand this person is looking for some affirming feedback and may give some of the following communication either verbally or non verbally: “Notice how well I do my job; Notice my excellent gifts and skills; See how indispensable I am; Praise my work and also me. Don’t ever tell me I am a failure. The message the competitive personality is giving is: I am perfect. You have no option but to love me.”

What may have caused this person to be competitive? He has been subtly programmed from childhood, that to be loved and affirmed, he must not only constantly achieve but continue to strive to do even better. Imagine a marathon where one of the runners tries to sprint the whole race? Can he win the marathon? No way! Sooner or latter his energy levels drop and he quits running altogether. You can not always be competing with others in life.
Growing up as a child I did not receive much affirmation and acceptance from my father so I became a highly competitive person in order to receive that affection from my father. Over the years that desire to compete landed me in some serious troubles.  A Biblical example of the competitive personality is Jacob.(Gen 27-30). We see a sense of competition throughout his life time. He cheats his brother, Esau, out of his birthright. He then deceived his aged father for the first boron’s blessing, and is compelled to flee for his life. The 20 years in Haran hold little joy for Jacob, who meets his manipulative match in his uncle Laban.

Finally, after many years of performing and competing Jacob comes to the end of himself. Remember during the trip to meet his brother Esua, Jacob’s lifetime struggle against God culminates in a wrestling match with the angel of the Lord. By the end Jacob is outwardly crippled, but inwardly renewed. Once a performer and manipulator, Jacob became “Israel” which means “Prince with God.” Another personality profile emerges around the human plumb line of rebellion is the critical personality.


Here the person moves away from the authority figure in a more aggressive manner. You may hear them say: “See how perfectly I perform; I know I am right; just listen to me; I am in charge. On the other hand, the critical personality may make some harsh, condemning statements, such as the following: “You’ll never be any different; you’re a hopeless case, that’s what you are; can’t you do it right; you always mess up, don’t you; It’s all your fault. The message they are giving is I’m unlovable and so are you!

The critical personalities think that they need to keep every body in check including the pastor. They throw arrows of criticism and condemnation at people to hurt them. Underneath this hard exterior are some very challenging presuppositions. First, he or she has lost faith in love. After being hurt in so many relationships, she has given up on love, concluding that she is unlovable. Instead of handling this hurt by passively withdrawing into some armor like the can’t do it Christian she has reacted aggressively attacking others to convince them they, too are unlovable.
Judas, the betrayer of Jesus is the perfect portrayal of a critical personality. In becoming negative and critical of Jesus and the disciples, he condemned not only the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment, but blamed Jesus for allowing it to be wasted. In Judas’ case his critical spirit eventually led him to betray the Son of God. His bitterness and self-hatred finally brought him to end his own life in suicide.

As we have examined these four personality profiles it is important to consider what your own profile may be. It is helpful to recognize that we are not limited to only one! I initially developed a very complaint personality, moved into a can’t do it personality and later evolved more competitive traits to cope with my particular love deficit. There is nothing to boast about these personalities; they all are equally destructive and need to be redeemed.  And though there is no time today to look at breaking free, be sure there is a redeemer, there is redemption.  If you feel like your drowning in some of the mentioned negatives, know that the Lord wants to show a way out.  Next week we will see how we might experience freedom from these destructive patterns in our lives. Amen.