Provoked Unto Love & Good Works

Dear Fellow Young Minister,

I want to make a confession to you. I have worshipped next to you during song service at youth rallies, conventions, conferences – I have sat by you in young ministers’ sessions and seminars to come to this conclusion.

You make me jealous.

Not envious. But jealous.

I have seen the manner in which you worship our God. I have observed the way you speak of others. I have seen the way you tarried for altar calls. And I must say, I have been deeply impacted. You have provoked me to jealousy and a hunger to magnify the Lord. Quickly, I think it is important for me to differentiate between jealousy and envy, because I see jealousy characterized by a sense of selfless possessiveness of Jesus, while envy is simply selfish possessiveness. The Lord presents Himself as the jealous God (Exodus 20:4-6). Therefore, I believe jealousy is a positive characteristic to be inspired of you, while any negative connotation of jealousy we read, in KJV language, of the New Testament is really envy.

Anyway, I’m glad to have you as a dear friend, because I have learned the importance of provoking one another unto love and good works. A lot of people quote Hebrews 10:25 as the main reason to “go to church”, when I believe it is a gross understatement as to why we should gather. On a brief note, not only is verse 24 the real focus, but it is biblically inaccurate to say “I’m going to church”. Pardon me, that’s for another time. Because friend, I have had legitimately deep moves of the Spirit gathering with you and other friends outside of a church service setting. Frankly, I have ZERO motivation to assemble myself with other believers if I’m not going to provoke or be provoked unto love and good works. I believe that if we are not careful, we can sin by gathering with the people of God, by simply having the wrong attitude and approach. The Scriptures state in Romans 14 that “whatsoever is not of faith, is sin”. Not to mention that whomever knows to do good, and doesn’t do it, commits sin, too (James 4:7).

I believe we ought to be mindful of what atmosphere and provocation is cultivated by our closest friendships. I understand that some people get into a competitive mindset at times, but the love and good works you provoke me to, cause me to want to become competitive with myself. That’s what I want in a close friend. I hunger to become more like Jesus, than I was yesterday. For today truly is the best, opportune day to serve the Lord. I proudly blame you for contributing to that. I have had friends that provoked me to compromise and even discomfort, for simply wanting more of God. This became painful at times because I love my dear friends, but the atmosphere conflicted with the direction I wanted to go. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Mark told me once about a time he was at Senior Camp, and one of his best buddies, Sam, who was in town from bible college, came up to him after making some rounds with old friends. Sam told Mark that Mark’s name was being tossed around, but in the context of “this guy thinks he’s all that”. I remember Mark told me the story and broke down weeping at the pain these accusations caused him. Mark told me he didn’t know how he had carried himself in such a way to make others feel inferior. It was never the intention – and possibly never the reality.

Truth is, some people don’t want to be provoked unto love and good works. While many do. It can be a difficult course to navigate because people vary in their responses, yet possess the same desire. Some people are comfortable in their relationship with God, while many have a deep sense and longing for more. I partially wish I could write today that ALL of my friends want to be provoked unto love and good works. But my ambivalence proceeds from the fact that the pain that comes from these “unequal yokes”, has provoked me to seek those that are going in the same direction.

Here lies another challenge. What becomes of my attitude, towards those whom I have had to create some distance with? Do I then fall into becoming a Pharisee? Am I excused from provoking at a distance? I must answer these questions for my own sake. Paul said he “always [strove] to have a conscience without offense toward God AND men” (Acts 24:16). I did not know this at first, but leadership is highly characterized by the manner in which we deal with pain, especially when others are involved. Can we still retain the momentum of provocation unto love and good works, when the current of compromise beats against us?

It comes down to this.

People are watching.

That in itself can paralyze many. But to know that Jesus is watching, is all the more motivating. Although, I did want to let you know that watching you has been a blessing to me. I want to be guilty of being a match in God’s kingdom. I heard a minister once say, “I don’t desire to be a bonfire. I just desire to be the match. The match that starts the bonfire gets consumed by the bonfire. Nobody even remembers who the match was.” I pray that God help our motives in provoking others unto love and good works, resulting in Jesus becoming the bonfire – while we are consumed in Him.

Thank you for being a match in my life.

Fleeing or Resisting?

Recently, I’ve discussed with a few people about the four voices we must learn to discern, that of: God, self, the adversary, and godless influences. I heard this taught on several occasions and thought it would be helpful to revisit. I believe if we get any of these mixed up, we can have some major issues in our lives, where blessings become curses, and curses would be registered as blessings. This must not be so with us. In “A Portal Called Prayer”, we read about how God’s blessings come with no pain because we are to be conduits of His blessings, and not containers. How neglecting it would be if we started seeing God’s blessings as something from the devil, and we banished it from our lives, and others! But how tragic it would also be if we saw the blessings of God and thought it was earned by our own strength!

Why do I bring up the concept of the four voices?

Because without spiritual clarity, we can be 100% sincere, yet 100% inaccurate. This is the challenge with being and becoming individuals of passion. It’s that we can become passionate, yet distracted – yielding fruit of frustration and unable to serve in God’s kingdom at the level of effectiveness He designed us to operate in.

Distracted by what, you may say? Well, self, the adversary, and godless influences. We must be mindful that the distractions of the flesh aren’t dealt with in the same manner as distractions of the adversary. The Scripture gives us initiative to “[put to death] the deeds of the [flesh]” (Romans 8:13). In contrast, there is no Scriptural inspiration to “put to death” the adversary. Throughout the New Testament, believers and disciples of Jesus Christ are instructed to SEVERELY deal with the flesh. The flesh and its self-seeking desires are something that must die, be destroyed, be crucified, be enslaved, and be dissatisfied (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:24, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Galatians 5:16).

Why such harsh dealings?

Because the flesh of mankind – that is, the self-seeking desires – will ALWAYS want to override the plan, will, person, and blessings of God in our lives. (For more on understanding the work of humanity’s flesh against God’s will, read “Humanity’s Problem With Love”, alongside “The Blessing of Losing Control”). On the other hand, when it comes to adversarial conflicts, we are COMMANDED to put up a fight, put on God’s armor, war in the Spirit, be aware, cast down, cast out, and resist (1 Timothy 1:18, Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Matthew 10:8, James 4:7).

I find it necessary to distinguish these two approaches because we can fall into a cycle of sin and defeat by dealing with the adversary how we are supposed to deal with the flesh, and dealing with the flesh how we are supposed to deal with the adversary. With the flesh, we are supposed to sever its influence, while with the adversary we ought to confront and defeat. It’s like a minister once said, “Nobody has yet ever cast out flesh. Devils are easy to cast out. But flesh takes years to train, sometimes”. Might I add, the disciples could cast out devils WITHOUT the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10). While it can be claimed that both battles require vigor, I want you to consider the fact that there is an area of the flesh that we definitely must not deal with, like we do the adversary.

The Scriptures command that we ought to FLEE fornication, idolatry, covetousness, and youthful lusts (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Corinthians 10:14, 1 Timothy 6:5-11, 2 Timothy 2:22). Apparently, there are youthful lusts and elderly ones. So what are youthful lusts? The characteristics that define adolescence typically fall under the pursuit of temporary pleasures and fame.

Consider this! Why does the Scripture tell us to FLEE these things? If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s because these are works of the flesh, not of the devil. Galatians 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery (characterized by temporary pleasures and a lack of faithfulness), fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings (works with seeking fame), murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. I believe many times, we think we are dealing with devils, but we are really dealing with our own flesh. Therefore, we try to CONFRONT and RESIST our own flesh when we should really be FLEEING or HAVING IT DIE. I believe this is so vital to living a victorious life in Jesus Christ. The adversary finds an anchor in our lives via the flesh’s self-seeking desires, because the flesh is the greatest enemy of God’s work in our lives (Romans 8:7). In Galatians, Paul denotes the works of the flesh, but John, in 1 John 3:8, breaks down the works of the devil. And guess what? JESUS HAS TAKEN CARE OF THAT. It is affirmed in Colossians 2:14-15, how Jesus spoiled principalities and powers, humiliating them through the work of His cross. What WE must do is surrender OUR will to God’s Spirit that we may destroy the works of the flesh, also putting to humiliation the works of the devil through OUR own cross.

From these discoveries, I have learned more about how the flesh is a much more present challenge than any devil is; and that people fall into the same sin because they try resisting, when they should be fleeing. Similarly, people don’t have breakthroughs in God’s kingdom because they flee the devil, and not resist him. So what’s the major consequence of living out this revelation? We end up realizing that WE CAN confront and defeat the adversary, bringing him under our feet. WE CAN tread on serpents and scorpions and NOTHING shall by any means hurt us. I challenge you to reevaluate how you process the thoughts and voices you face, because we have a vast liberty to conquer through Jesus Christ. What are you fleeing from, that you ought to be resisting? And what are you resisting, that you ought to be fleeing?

Reaching Beyond Greatness

Dear Fellow Young Minister,

Recently I’ve been reexamining a question we contemplated a few years ago. The question of “What are we supposed to be?”. At the time, we were tossed between the secular and spiritual and seeking direction through the fog of adolescence. Despite the ambiguity, we were able to hear the consistent, calm but compelling voice of God calling us to be, APOSTOLIC. Hence forth, from every camp meeting, HYC, every young ministers’ session we could attend, we attempted to fashion our lives after what it took to be “apostolic”. Shockingly, in recent months, after obtaining a portion of what we’ve sought. I find myself unsatisfied with what I have. Nothing brings us to a place of self-evaluation than when we reached for our dreams and only awaken to a sad reality. This reality put me on a quest to sort out the truths on what it meant to be apostolic. 

 In an altar late at night, finally moving beyond my pompous state of prayer, God was able to move through my brokenness and speak to me. The same voice of God that called me, began to explain the call. I’m beginning to listen not only for the call but for the explanation. His words to me were, “Benjamin, you’ve confused being “apostolic” for being great!”. Taken aback, I restated the comment to myself attempting to internalize it. Realizing I needed more information I asked Him, “What do you mean?” Now, before I get into the answer, I want to get into the misconception of what I, and possibly you’ve defined as “apostolic”.

Thru the camp meetings, and HYC’s, and young minister sessions, we unintentionally were given a perspective that only highlighted the glory of the apostles, but not the fundamentals of an apostolic. It was the lame leaping, Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost, Paul’s garment being used as the item to perform “special miracles”. Though these things were great and show that being apostolic necessitates spiritual demonstration. It only highlighted the results, not giving credence and explanation to the root. Because of this there was a misappropriation of priorities, seeking apostolic results without solidifying apostolic root, I was indelibly going to feel unsatisfied and disappointed.

I mistakenly saw the platform on which the apostles stood on and perceived THAT to be the determining factor for being apostolic. Because I correlated their platform with apostolic success, was there any reason for me not to pursue just that, a platform? Though my platform was not built upon oratorical skills and flashy puppeteering – excuse me, pulpiteering; it contained elements of the gifts of the Spirit and powerful demonstration of God. Though these things weren’t wrong, it seemed to be that the person who got the most attention in these spiritual exploits and aspiration was me, not God. Might I insert that platforms that exploit the work of the Cross are far more displeasing to God than platforms that entertain crowds. I had to realize that the apostles’ platform didn’t make them apostolic, but rather THEY made the platform in which they stood apostolic.

Now back to my answer. It came from considering the first time in which the disciples transitioned from being just disciples, to apostles. The apostles were first called apostles before the book of Acts. This made me look beyond the historic narrative of Acts, forcing me to look within the gospels for an answer. The search led me to Mark 3:13-15. It was here that I was able to realize the process that transitioned the disciples from average to apostolic. Before Jesus ever installed them as apostles, the Bible records that He (Jesus) called them (the disciples) unto Himself. It was here that I found the foundational point for being apostolic. We have to acknowledge that our first call is to Him. They were called to Him, then sent into the field. Their identity was wrapped around relationship and obedience. They were apostolic before the results came. Why? Because their apostolic identity was in direct relation to their relationship and obedience. Jesus called them to Himself. In doing so, He could send them out into the world.

 I looked at their results and gave that as the definition of what it meant to be apostolic. But what made the apostles the apostles was that they could follow Jesus and be obedient to His voice. Imagine if Stephen misconceived his call to be “apostolic” as a call to be “great”? What if his standard of apostolic was ours? Would he still be willing to be obedient to the Holy Ghost and preach a message that would end his ministry? A message that couldn’t be retweeted because there were no “HG’s” or “H2O’s”, but just simple obedience. Our standard of apostolic gives room to preach messages that creates more opportunity. The only motive of Stephen’s message was that he was determined to be submitted to the leading of Jesus. How different would things be if Stephen sought to be great and not apostolic? What would Paul’s journey look like? Stephen understood that he was apostolic because he walked with Jesus and was obedient to His voice.

That night when God readjusted my definition of “apostolic”, it did something for me. I stopped seeking a platform of greatness, rather I sought for His presence. I realized that I felt validated by miracles, signs, and wonders, rather than by my obedience. The relief that followed this change in thinking, was beyond words. I was released from the pressure of performing and was granted access into fellowship with His presence. Friend, my challenge to you is to ask yourself are you attempting to be great or apostolic? If the former is your reality, in love I ask that you let the shackle of production go to grasp the hand seeking relationship, and truly become biblically apostolic.

A Portal Called Prayer


A vast subject that many talk about, but much fewer accurately practice. Did you know that there is an effective and ineffective way to pray? The Bible makes it very clear that we can pray and not receive what we pray for, because we pray “amiss”, that we may spend what we receive from God on our own pleasures (James 4:3). Yes, I am submitting to you that there is an inaccurate way to pray. What is wild to me is that we can pray 100% sincere, yet be inaccurate in our approach; causing us to likely become frustrated. Yes, God knows our heart. But do we know His? If we love God or want to know Him, we ought to want to pray in the manner which is most effective.

As children, and maybe even adults we are encouraged at times to repeat after others in order to pray. While this may serve as a launching pad to understand a proper approach, it can also become a clear example that repetition is not equal to obedience. God is a being. Infinite in His nature, yet accessible in His person. Furthermore, humanity was created in His image (Genesis 1:26). Huge common factor? We have specific forms of communication that get across better than others.

You know what causes God to turn His listening off to our prayers? Selfishness (Psalm 66:18). If we want things our own way, God won’t give us access to His way. They are diametrically opposed to each other. Our humanity is bent on having things done its own way and one of the greatest things God can do for us is not listen to us when we are being selfish. Even looking into the interpretation of “lukewarm” in Revelations 3:16, reveals that selfishness makes God want to vomit (Strong’s G1692, cold water is to refresh others from a long journey, hot water is to provide medicinal provision for others, Laodicea was bent on selfishness). So, as gross as it sounds, God is being emphatic about the fact that if He were to listen to us in moments of selfishness in prayer, He would vomit on us.

Either you find that funny, or tongue-in-cheek, or just plain gross, God is serious about wanting to establish effective communication with us. Why? Simply put, humans are the only other being that have the right to exercise personal will, either for self or for God. No other being in all that exists, has the right to do that. Not animals, not demons, not devils, not any of God’s angels. Only humans.

The value of HUMAN WILL, in the eyes of God is insurmountably precious. Again. Why? It’s majorly because of God’s love that functions through the vehicle of God’s will. God’s love, while offered, must be received to become fulfilled. The Scripture makes it very clear that God does not want anyone to perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). That is His will, for us to have eternal life. But His love only comes full circle when we receive what His will is.

So if selfishness in prayer causes God to turn away from us – and His love is married to His will, being incomplete without each other – then it must be that praying God’s will and God’s love is what causes God to turn toward us. I’ve often wondered; why do many people only equate an “answered prayer” as a “yes” from God? Resulting in people thinking a prayer that was given a “no” as “not being answered”. A prayer that is truly “unanswered” is one NOT RESPONDED TO (a prayer with selfishness). Moreover, many people say God mainly answers in three manners: “Yes”, “No”, or “Wait”. While as sincere as that may be, I’m not sure of the last meaningful relationship I had in my life where communication was based off of: “Yes”, “No, or “Wait”. God called Israel unto Himself to REASON with them (Isaiah 1:18). If we just looked at prayer through the Old and New Testament, we would see how elaborate God wants to be with us through this portal called prayer. God wants to share His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and mind with us. How fascinating is that?

So how do we enter this portal, having God’s attention? We’ve got to give HIM our attention. In case you missed that, to get God’s attention, He’s got to have our attention. This is what praying His will is about – fixing our attention on who God is, what He wants, what He is doing, what He wants to do, why He wants to do it, how He wants to do it, and all of those wonderful secrets of His (Psalm 25:14). People that think praying God’s will is grievous, because it’s about Him, don’t understand how involved and focused God is on having our best interest at hand.

This is why when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how they should pray, He IMMEDIATELY focuses on God’s role, God’s position, God’s holiness, God’s authority, God’s mission, God’s will, God’s desires, and God’s objective before anything about US is mentioned. Don’t believe me? Read Matthew 6:9-13. Because when these things are prioritized, then “all of these things [that we have need of] will be added unto us” (Matthew 6:33).

Prayer must be our priority. And we ought to pray HIS prayer requests over ours. What are His prayer requests? OH, if we just searched the Scriptures for all of things God is and wants to do! We would walk in mighty peace, provision, and spiritual prosperity. You know the Bible says if we ask anything, in His name and according to His will, God will do it (John 14:14, 1 John 5:14)? Why? Because HE WANTS TO DO IT. How simple, yet how powerful! But why would God not do what He WANTS to do, unless we PRAY it?

Boom. Here it is.

He wants us to participate with Him. To grow in Him. Being crafted into becoming like Jesus by praying and desiring what God wants, over what we want. That’s how we can pray and grow effectively.

I believe we should receive the challenge of the Scriptures and pray what God wants us to pray. Here are some references to pray. Enjoy!

  • The Disciple’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
  • A Prayer Request by the Lord: Matthew 9:38, Luke 10:2
  • Paul’s Prayer of Thankfulness for Others: Romans 1:8-10, 1 Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:3
  • Paul’s Prayer For Wisdom & Revelation: Ephesians 1:17
  • Paul’s Prayer For Joy & Peace: Romans 15:13
  • Paul’s Prayer For Peace & Unity: Romans 15:5-6, 2 Thessalonians 3:16
  • Paul’s Prayer For Abiding in Christ, Spiritual Strength & Power: Ephesians 1:17-19, Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Paul’s Prayer For Growth in Love, Righteousness & Purity: Philippians 1:9-11, 2 Corinthians 13:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • Paul’s Prayer For Opportunities To Bless Others: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10

Humanity’s Problem With Love

If you have not read “Humanity’s Problem With Faith”, this is part two of the discussion. For the sake of clarity, when I mention love, I mean God’s love. For more on God’s love, read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

I have previously discussed how humanity has a problem with faith, because of a lack of understanding where faith comes from: God’s love, which we must adhere and listen to. Yet, while I may draw from the root of love, to consume the fruit called faith – I still need to learn how to digest it. Humanity is capable of making itself sick, just by questioning where their food came from, and this I do want to speak about from a spiritual context.

What is love? Biblically, love is one of the defining characteristics of God, after light (1 John 4). God’s love is a starkly prevailing theme in the Scriptures. I would contend it is because it is the most controversial for humanity, and God wants to get our attention concerning it. We are bombarded with different definitions of love from many sources – summon Hollywood, our emotions, psychology, music, neuroscience, Shakespeare, Netflix, and Instagram posts, just to name a few. Just like I have referenced in other writings, I believe the most defining characteristic of someone’s life, is their understanding of who God is; subsequently, this causes someone to be introduced to who THEY are (Matthew 16:15-18).

What do I mean? What I mean is that having exposure to God’s love causes us to look inward and that is one of the greatest hang-ups many people have – themselves. We can reject God’s love from own soul and spirit, when we become the primary advocate for all of our own supposed “unlovable” self. It is easier to observe in some more than others how much they think they’re unlovable, by the way they speak. Remember how we discussed that faith is a fruit of love? Well, our words are the fruit of our faith. It must be faith in God, which we possess. Even so, the Scripture affirms this when it says that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Proverbs 4:23). If there is a lack of love in our hearts, there will be a lack of love in our words, towards ourselves and others. This, affecting our relationships. What will happen with the revelation of allowing God to love us and loving ourselves with HIS LOVE, is that we will love others with His love (Mark 12:30-31).

But before we get to the far-reaching impacts of God’s love, how do we receive it in the first place? I mean, we can have quite a close relationship with our biggest faults, flaws, and foolishness. This is the critical thing. There is an element of God’s love that crushes the convenience that humanity seeks. It is called surrender. God’s love requires humanity to surrender a person’s opinion of themselves at the feet of Jesus Christ. It goes hand in hand with why people do not believe in God or become closer to Him, they do not understand God’s love as a result of not surrendering their self-view.

If we viewed ourselves how God views us, we would literally change our world. Nothing and nobody would stop us. We would become spiritually invincible, as we would allow the grace, mercy, and peace of God to multiply in our lives. THERE IS a way to grow in God where we can GUARANTEE our maturity and salvation. The Scriptures remind us to make “our calling and election sure”, because if we do, “[we] will never stumble or fall” (2 Peter 1:10). Moreover, “great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). Here’s another, “whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). There is affirmation after affirmation that if we surrender our priorities, mindsets, and affections, concerning self and those things around us, we are SEALED to become who God wants us to become. Peter makes a point that we are no longer subjects of mercy, but OBJECTS of mercy (1 Peter 2:10 Wuest’s New Testament). There is a heavy sense of personification of God’s blessings in our lives when we give ourselves to Him. That person being ME AND YOU! If we would view ourselves in light of the fact that God used the cross to get our attention, and He is wanting to position us for a supernatural relationship with His infinite self, we would BELIEVE what He says. This revelation of love and surrender is what troubles humanity. But does surrender really sound that troubling understanding that He paid the highest price for us? He has proven His great love.

While we would yet live our own ways and reject Him, what a demonstration on behalf of God to love us and die for us! Even if love may be a risk, God took the greatest risk anyone could ever take by surrendering His own humanity through Jesus Christ. This is a challenge towards us all. Jesus surrendered His humanity as a demonstration of love towards us. Could we do the same for Him?

This is the invitation God makes to every man and woman. He wants us to surrender our humanity, our weakness, our opinions and perspectives in order to get ahold of His Divinity, His strength, His Truth and His views. Let us win the victory over humanity’s problem with God’s love.

Anointed or Talented?

Fellow Young Minister,

I desire to be effective in God’s kingdom. I want to grow in Him, too. But, I have noticed that certain people and ministries receive a lot of attention because of something called talent.

Now, I know that Jesus said we would receive talents and be wise to invest in them (Matthew 25:14-30). We will bare record to the Lord about our occupation with His kingdom. Although, with microphone-based ministries, like singer or preacher, the talented receive quite some press. If we were honest, we would hopefully say the talented need no repentance to be talented; for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). But why the press? The cheer and jeer? I mean, it’s not a sin to be excited about talent, I get it. But I get this feeling sometimes that the talented are misrepresented as the anointed. I have heard that talented folks have gone shipwreck because they became entitled with their gifting, confusing man’s attention for God’s approval. It taught me that while some have the attention, it does not mean they have the anointing.

Paul made it very clear that preaching isn’t a flow of ministry made effective by intellectualism, philosophies, and jargon (1 Corinthians 2:4, Colossians 2:8). Yet, it was made effective through God’s power, demonstration, and kingdom. I would imagine that singing would function similarly. People would experience God’s righteousness, peace, and joy through song and lyric, not so much via vocal roller coaster (Romans 14:17). Yet, it perpetuates as a legitimate temptation for many involved in microphone-involved ministries. I would contend it’s because of a culture of celebrity-ism that can creep into our circles.

It can be frustrating. But, it has allowed me to gather a greater sense of appreciation for the anointing of God and anointed people. You know what it’s like. One person is projecting these wild illustrations and colorful displays of intellect, while the other preaches a glory cloud upon the soul. Or, one singer belts their runs and turns as smooth as cursive calligraphy, while the other invokes a path to liberty at the feet of Jesus. It is a crucial thing to be able to identify between talent and the anointing. God help us.

But, I have found this to be a double edged sword. While it is quite evident that the talented can fall short of pleasing God, so can the anointed. I am reminded that Saul, the anointed of God, also displeased our Lord (1 Samuel 24-27). David, too. Likewise, I too, being anointed, have displeased the Lord before. John said the people of God have the anointing (1 John 2:20, 27). But we can get this big head, you know? Still, I have erred on the side of fear of failure and pride because of it – this is not the will of God. One day, the Lord gave me this thought to consider, “A submitted person with a spiritual revelation is dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. But how much more dangerous is an unsubmitted person with much spiritual revelation, to himself?” It struck me that growing in anointing, still, was not the complete path to pleasing God.

I remember your words today. You said in 2019, you were focusing on becoming the COMPLETE man, where the supernatural was just something that was normal in everyday life, but the pique of your existence was your relationship with Jesus Christ. That really impacted me. The Lord put this in me in addition, “Anointed or talented? Neither are enough. But to be Christ-like, is worth it all.”

We could gain the whole world, by talent or even anointing, and still lose our soul. Seeing that we also, could never gain Christ and gain the whole world, we strive to just win Christ (Philippians 3:8). Truly, our prize is not heaven. Our prize is Jesus Christ. We are His bride and He is our groom. What more of a win, than the winsome King who robed Himself in a humble servant, and died for us on a cross? To be resurrected so that we could experience the same.

I will pursue Him in 2019. I will walk with Him in 2019. I must say it that way, because my wants fluctuate because of my frail frame. He is mine and I am His. I cannot even say I am indebted to Him, because He plainly and biblically owns me (1 Corinthians 6:20). What Scripture does show me, is that I am indebted to OTHERS, in showing them whom I belong to (Romans 1:14).

So, talented or anointed? Neither are enough. But to be like Jesus, is worth it all.

Happy New Year, my friend. Let us be complete in Him.