Proving Ground - Part 3
Do you find yourself questioning the authority of those in your life? Do you struggle to see yourself as God sees you? Do you find yourself becoming easily offended? All of these things have the tendency to test us. How do we overcome these trials?
We are tackling tests 5, 6, and & 7 from Proving Ground by Kevin Gerald today. Here is a recap of the first 4:
- The Test of Small Things
- The Motivation Test
- The Credibility Test
- The Wilderness Test
5. The Authority Test
As Christians, it is important for us to remember that when authority fails or when we disagree with their direction, God is looking at our response. The ability to respond properly and without rebellion is the purpose of this test.
The right response can never include a physical or verbal attack. The right response can never include a demonstration of anger or hostility. The right response can never stir up strife by rallying support for your position.
When you disagree, the right response includes challenging the process without challenging the authority of the leader. We must be public raving fans and honest private critics.
Often when delegating tasks, it's easy for us to blame failure on the person whom we have delegated the job to. But as leaders, we must take responsibility for every failure and give credit for every win. Delegation never relieves you of responsibility.
6. The Warfare Test
The fight for our future is more internal than external. In the book, Gerald says, "The greatest enemy of your future is not what happens, but it's how you see yourself when it happens."
When you face a challenge or setback, how do you see yourself? How do you respond? A breakthrough champion is not one who has a life free from adversity; they are overcomers.
The key ingredient to being a champion is choosing to be a champion. Our inner strength is built up when we face adversity and overcome it. You must see your self as God sees you because He sees you as a champion.
Putting yourself down doesn't lift God up. Shrinking back from adversity doesn't make Him happy because it is impossible to please Him without faith. Faith requires us to press on beyond what we can see or what we can feel and to instead lean on Him and what He sees and says.
People who hesitate in making a choice to be a champion are people who are looking at their own weaknesses. They see all of their failures and shortcomings, but overcomers see God's strength in their weakness.
7. The Offence Test
Jesus lived from a place of knowing who He was and not allowing Himself to be defined by what people said about Him. In order to become like this, we must realize that feelings of offence are unavoidable. The key is in what you do with that feeling.
You have to push past the feeling and choose to forgive - choose to overlook the offence so that you don't get bogged down by it.
There are three relationship principles that help us avoid the offence trap.
- Accurately define your role in the relationship. If the roles are unclear, those involved are more vulnerable to offence. If tension exists in a relationship, then chances are good that someone involved is not considering or respecting roles.
- Assume the best about others. When you feel a sense of offence, step back and ask yourself, "Why would this person intentionally try to hurt me?" If you're being honest, they probably weren't intending to hurt you. Asking yourself this question gives others the benefit of the doubt and helps you avoid the risk of judging them falsely.
- Don't meddle. Avoid involving yourself in other people's affairs unless you are invited. This prevents you from carrying a third-hand offence that isn't yours to carry.
Gerald claims that the number one reason people live offended is due to unfulfilled expectations. This includes expectations that are often unspoken, unmet, or unrealistic. When dealing with this, label the expectation. Ask yourself, "Why am I offended? What was my expectation?" When the expectation is labelled, we can more easily communicate the expectation to the other person and either alter our expectation or they can more easily change theirs.
Solomon said it is to one's glory to overlook an offence. When we are trapped in the muck and mire of bitterness and unforgiveness, we are hindered from moving forward. Our mission is too great to be sidetracked by something as small as an offence. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world and we have a vision to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.
We would highly encourage all of our listeners to purchase their own copy of Proving Ground as we discuss this book together. If you'd like to purchase one, you can find them here.
If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.