1. Recover the lost art of correction

In Jewish Culture and Tradition, a father who does not teach his son a trade has in effect abandoned him.  Parents want the best for their children, but today most High School children do not know what they want to be when they leave school.  This is in direct opposition to the truth expressed in the Book of Wisdom.  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. The reality is – most adults also do not know their purpose either!

We have failed to train our children.  Loving them and taking care of our children is more about training, mentoring and coaching them, than providing money and affluence. Parents should be trained to be trainers and training involves correction. You cannot be trained in anything if you are not willing to be corrected. Correction unfortunately has become a very negative word, we perceive correction as punishment, rejection, disablement, disagreement and offence.  Being open to correction and actually asking for it, is a character trait of an emotionally mature well-balanced individual.  

In the light of human development, one must acknowledge the various developmental stages of consciousness and awareness as one progresses from a baby to puberty, adolescence, young adult, adult, middle age and to being elderly. Not just in ageing in years, but developing as human beings from self-centred ego-centric self-indulgence to altruistic selfless givers. [1]  From a Christian perspective, maturing to become like Jesus in consciousness, values, thinking, character, and habits is the ultimate development goal. Progressing from one stage to the other in our development to become more like Jesus, does not happen without discipline, correction, encounters with Truth, repentance and continually being reformed.

One of my friends who is a dynamic headmaster of a Primary School in Cape-Town explains discipline as the process to move a person from point A to point B. The goal of correction should always be to move a person towards a better higher path. This higher path is the life and way of Jesus Christ.  Our purpose of existence is to be like Jesus. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29). Our lives are hidden in Him. (Col 3:2). We are the best people, when we are most like Him. Whether you are a believer or not, no one can argue against the fact that the way Jesus lived: His humility; willingness to serve mankind; doing good; ultimate self-sacrifice makes Him the most extraordinary person who ever lived.  His way of doing life, is simply the best way to do life. Most people’s objection against religion and church is against the church failing to be Jesus to the World.

The Hiddenness of Discipleship

Jesus’ life was hidden, He spends the first thirty years of His life, being trained by His earthly Father as an Artisan. In total, we only know of three years of His life, ninety percent of His life is hidden. 

What did He do during the other thirty years?  The Greek Word “teknon” we previously understood as Carpenter but is better translated, “artisan“.   He was mostly probably making door frames, doors and yokes for oxen as part of his job. But recent excavations done near Nazareth, concluded that it is more likely that Jesus was also involved with masonry, shaping stones for building houses. [2] Jesus also makes more references to buildings than woodwork, like building your house on a rock, on this rock He will build His church, He will break down the temple and in three days rebuild it.  Be it as it may, He had to be taught how to cut a rock into a square or rectangular shape, for the first thirty years of His life.

Jesus quite often refers to His training from His heavenly Father.  Jesus said, “He can do nothing unless He did not see His Father do it”. (Joh 5:19-20, 30). “I seek to only do His will”. (Joh 6:38). “…as the Father taught me.” (Joh 8:28). “According to the Father’s commandments.” (Joh 12:49).

Maybe this is one of the secrets of Jesus’ life, His thirty-year training was conducted in hiding.  During this period, Jesus tested His beliefs and training from the Father, to be able to speak with authority to people.  (Heb 5:8). One cannot teach others if your own house is not in order. (James 3:1)

The primary role of the father of a child is that of a Life-Coach.

  • You teach and model values, and good manners
  • The father teaches the child skills of the trade regarding business, working with finances
  • handling the opposite sex
  • personal health & exercise to just name a few, but so much more.  

In a broken and busy society, the art of skill-full coaching and correction disappeared. Because of this acute lack of mature fathers, children are not trained, and the vicious cycle continues!

The greatest deficit currently in the world is a lack of spiritually, Christ-centred mature leaders!  No one is born a leader.  Each one of us has the potential to lead.  Leadership is a lifelong developmental journey into complete Christ Consciousness.

When Oprah Winfrey asked Actor Jack Hackman his life dream, he surprised her with his answer: “I reached my dream at the age of 28 when I did my first paid performance on stage. My dream was to be a professional actor. Now I live to improve and become a better actor.”

Jesus told a story of a master giving his servants different amounts of Talents or Silver, “each according to their own ability” Mat 25:15. So also, we have received a variety of different talents and inherent abilities, in terms of intellect, and physical capacity. It is our responsibility to develop and multiply what we have received. 

Getting your own “Why”. 

The priority in our lives as we grow up is to discover why we exist.  Finding your purpose is not easy, but once you discover ‘why’ you are on the planet, you can begin to:

  • improve
  • become better by embracing correction
  • living with purpose. 

Michael Jr the comedian argues against the popular anecdote “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, but teach a man how to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.”  “This takes too much effort,” he says with a smug on his face. You need to buy the man a fishing rod, bait, get him to the water, take out a fishing license! But how about teaching the man WHY he should fish.  Then he can discover fishing for himself.

When we discover the “why” we can do anything and still have a purpose. The Why precedes the What.  When I know why I am, I can do any job.  Micheal Jr humbly proclaims: “My why is to comedically inspire people to walk in purpose.”

Discover Your True Identity

  1. Make peace with who you are. Look at your ID document and accept that person in the photo, with all its given attributes, natural talents, and defects.  That is who you are. 
  2. I am the best ‘me’ when I am the most like Jesus.  Jesus, the “Son of man, ” is the example and prototype of the perfect human. 

Michael Jr continues his thought by sharing a home video he made of the birth of their baby daughter. Like all new-born babies, she cries vehemently on the video, being released into this strange and foreign world gasping for air. When he got close to her, not touching her yet, he calmed her with his voice: “Hi baby girl, daddy is here, it is ok, I love you” When the baby recognized his voice, she immediately calmed down. When he reassured her calmly; “I love you!” She opened her eyes and chuckled! We really only get the “why” when we meet and encounter the “Who”, the Father’s voice!  What an excellent story! Some of us have been disappointed, abandoned, rejected, abused by our earthly fathers and as a result is struggling to find our identity.  May you hear the Father’s voice calling, singing, and reaching out to you: “I love you, my child!”[3]

The Father is pointing you to your purpose – Jesus.

  • He is the best life who ever lived.  Jesus is the best way to live life! His values, mindsets, habits, lifestyle, and focus are the best example of the perfect life!
  • When we are the most like Him, we become the perfect spouse, parent, employer, and employee.
  • When we live His wisdom, life began to have meaning and purpose.
  • He is the solution to every problem. His life will save you!

The outcome of Godly correction:

  • a life transformed into the image of Christ.
  • Like a master sculptor, we seek to see Christ-Within-the-hope-of-glory awaken in every person we encounter.  “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo

Becoming Legitimate Children

Most Christians have come to accept and embrace His adoption in making us His children. 

In this study, I want to take it further, and teach you to embrace His discipline and correction to become not only His legitimate children but to represent Him well! “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Heb 12:5-8)

By faith we received the finished work of Christ’s righteousness to gain access and boldness to enter God’s presence.  By works of obedience and receiving correction we grow up to represent Him well in this World.  As the son and daughter of the King, we are by blood legitimate heirs to the throne, but through instruction in His courts, we learn to behave and act like kings and queens in His Kingdom.

Laziness is a work of the flesh.  Yes, I know God work in us to will and act according to His will, by the power of His righteousness working in us.  Grace that does not make you holier and more godly is not grace at all.  This grace works in us the will to receive correction and be changed by it. 

Gary Player’s famous saying rings true; “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Whether it be our job, hobby, or sport we can become better the more we open up ourselves to learn, and be corrected by someone who is already better at it.  Why is this so complicated when it comes to spiritual matters and our character? Maybe it is because of ‘self’ that stand in the way, still trying to remain in control.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:14)

One of the reasons we have the Word of God is so that it can correct us. (2 Tim 3:16) The NT Apostolic Epistles are in essence a correction, towards sound doctrine.  Every time I read and study the Word it corrects and aligns me! How far has the church drifted away from accurate Doctrine and the gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom, because of a lack of Apostolic Correction?  True apostles are custodians of the Truth and correct Doctrine.  (Acts 2:42) Erroneous, false teachings and poor witnesses to the truth have caused more damage to the Kingdom than any direct satanic attack. People are leaving churches, and abandoning church as God’s plan because of error. 

Recover the lost art of correction

Correction, has become a lost art.  When we correct our children, we either preach at them or reprimand them continuously making them contemptuous to correction, or we never correct them making them arrogant and conceited.  Most people fear correction and confrontation.  Maybe because of a negative experience and the abuse of unloving correction.

When we understand correction, though, we begin to hunger for it.  One young lady in our church once came to us thanking us for the way we have corrected her: “I have never had that, my parents were absent, I wish I had someone that could point me into the right way sooner in my life!”  She felt loved because of loving correction!

The answer to life is not to attempt to maneuver around or evade confrontation, but rather to learn and get better at confrontation.  Confrontation is a growth moment.  The only biblical legitimate form of judgment one may have against someone is to confront that person directly, speaking the truth in love.  (Eph 4:14). Speaking judgment over someone without their knowledge is called slander, gossip, evil speaking and has no fruit.  Too often we disengage too soon before the full cycle of learning and correction could take place.

God is calling His church to mature in our relationships so that we can live in peace with all men. “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14).  Michael Lodahl and Thomas J. Oord in their book “Relational Holiness” argue that holiness is a relational word and that the “holy life” has everything to do with the quality of our relationships and less to do with living picture-perfect kitsch lives of purity or piety.  I believe that this is the reason why Paul mentions “peace with all men” and “holiness” in one sentence.  A holiness that does not result in healthy relationships is not holiness at all. 

During the last couple of years, I have been very involved in a complex social problem in the town of Clanwilliam where I live. There has been an urban sprawl of hundreds of immigrants flooding our town seeking employment.  There are many angles to this problem, the poor people living without electricity, basic sanitation or water.  The nearby wealthy homeowners are losing value on their properties. The municipality’s infrastructure is under pressure to maintain the influx and the local business community is under greater threat of crime. I have learned that letters or any form of indirect communication simply do not work. It is the old face-to-face contact, building a relationship and trust that will get people to act. 

The “Queen of the Desert” played by actress Nicole Kidman is the chronicle of Gertrude Bell’s life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century in Arabia.  The film’s closing epilogue reads: “The Bedouin tribes still remember her fondly as the single foreigner who understood them best.” Why? She made an effort to go and visit each one and meet with them face to face.[4] 

Social media is a powerful medium in our time, but it can never replace the importance of human contact, and face to face personal interaction.  For relationships to go deeper, they must move beyond pleasantries and superfluous affirmations. The more you spend time with a person working together and engaging deeply, the more there will be moments of confrontation and correction. 

Love and Honor God’s Judgments

We live in an age where the following statement has never been more accurate and relevant; “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25 We have more information available than ever, yet people appear to be entirely ignorant of their lifestyle decisions, and its consequences. Our alienation from God and Truth has set us onto a course of deep darkness.

The sad truth though is that many Christians and believers are totally ignorant of their behavior, habits, and incompetence in certain areas. This ignorance became very apparent to us in our recent Mission Trips to Uganda. These are beautiful people, but they are totally ignorant of their incompetence in the workplace compared to their American and European counterparts. I know this is a gross generalization, there are surely skilled workers in Uganda and I do not want to offend. 

Samuel Lwandasa, who have lived in the USA for more than 15 years related a little story to explain the problem with Africans. One man has five cows, he is very proud and feels like a wealthy man because his neighbour only has two, not realizing there are people on the planet who have more than a thousand cows. The problem is that there is no benchmark, a lack of resources, social compliance, and many other economic challenges keep most people in Africa in the dark.  

Against this backdrop of Earthly reality, I see in the scriptures an incredible hidden truth. We should learn to love God’s judgments.

David Loved God’s Judgments!

For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. Psalms 18:22.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Psalms 19:9-10.

Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast. Psalms 36:6

David sings a song on God’s Judgments, about how he loves it! Psalms 119:7, 13, 20, 30, 39, 52, 62, 66, 75, 102, 106, 108, 137, 156, 160, 164, 175

Loving judgements is a difficult concept to comprehend at first; most children writing exams surely will not agree that they love it! We as adults are not far behind; we’re just happy that we do not have to write exams anymore. An interesting read on the subject is the study done by Justin Kruger and David Dunning. People tend to hold overly favourable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.

Across four studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities. [5]

I also remember a most interesting TED talk, we reviewed in Bible School class “Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz.”[6] She explained how like the Wolf in the Road Runner animation, we run over the edge believing we can walk on air, to then suddenly realize we’re dead wrong. We all have moments like this, and it is what makes us human. The problem is when decision-makers are wrong and want others to believe their error. Not knowing I am wrong, is possible one of our biggest handicaps. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov 14:12)

Seek criticism from friends and peers

Elon Musk explains in an interview about starting up a new business on how important it is to embrace criticism. He calls it “rigorous self-analysis.”[7]

  • Obviously, you should ignore the ignorance of people that do not understand your cause and is just sowing doubt and unbelief.
  • Learn and attract criticism from your friends, invite them to speak into your life. Make yourself vulnerable.
  • Prayerfully extract the gold from every criticism, reproof, rebuke, admonishment, the exhortation that comes your way.
  • Say thank you, the person correcting you is taking a significant risk, and a show of courage to point out a possible error.

Peer review analyses:

Because it’s hard for most professionals to recognize and improve on their weaknesses on their own, aviation has developed structured mechanisms of check questions to a relative peer. Like flight attendants checking each other on door closing procedures, Pilots going through checklists with Co-pilot, and flight crew awareness of problems reported to the captain.

This system was only introduced after the fatal crash of Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 514, a Boeing 727 inbound from Columbus, Ohio, that was scheduled to land at Washington National Airport. The crew had flown a normally functioning Boeing 727 aircraft into a hill at an altitude of 1669 feet, just short of the hill’s peak of 1764 feet. The 85 passengers and seven crew members died in a horrific fiery crash 29 miles northwest of Dulles International Airport. Human error and Pilot’s misunderstanding each other was the cause of this accident.[8]

Elite athletes, musicians, and other top performers understand that excellence occurs through extensive study and practice, with constant feedback, and by adopting techniques and tools that have led to others’ success. For elite performers, this extends well beyond the formal training period. (An entire scientific discipline is devoted to this topic, as detailed by Ericsson)

Maybe this is why Weigh-less is so successful in helping people lose weight, the weekly weigh-ins.  The AA has sponsors.  Covenant eyes[9] provide an accountability software program for Internet Porn Addicts, where you share your online traffic with a partner. Being accountable and opening yourself to correction is a good thing!

Not receiving correction and let it slow fade, is disastrous! How many people have suffered terrible harm because of the absence of correction in the offender’s life? In South Africa most people feel guilty and will have sleepless nights disciplining a transgressing employee. The transgressor instead of being humble and sorry, making amends are usually arrogant, defensive and on the attack. 

In only two years corruption has been eradicated from Rwanda. The locals in Uganda tell me how it has happened. Through President Paul Kagame leadership and strict example the culture of Rwanda changed, people became proud to tale-tell on anyone busy with corruption.  They not afraid to expose this crime, they are proud! 

Take regular tests, to evaluate your ability, performance, and development.

We deceive ourselves. It is a common human problem, from which no one can escape! What we can do is to except this truth, be humble about it, and open ourselves to correction. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Doing inward self-analysis is fruitless and futile. Paul says that he does not even judge himself. (1 Corinthians 4:3). Judgment has to be external. Our hearts are too deceptive. (Jeremiah 17:9).   In order to improve what you are doing, you have to accept external testing and judging!

Get Feedback – A Lifestyle of Repentance

In this current time of human development, there are many technological instruments to get feedback from people. Quizzes, forms, profiles, questionnaires, polls, Q & A sessions etc. etc. We no longer have an excuse to not allow people to participate and collaborate with us.  People generally take more ownership of an idea and project that they co-created or invested time and effort in. 

Leaders cannot do everything and are subsequently obliged to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.”

What is the work of ministry of the saints?

  • “the edifying of the body of Christ”. The teaching that everyone in the church has a ministry, has led to people now believing we need no specialization of ministry functions. This is a grave danger, for full-time secular employed people simply do not have the time to specialize in: Theology, Doctrine, Counselling, Missions, Worship and Prayer.
  • A leaderless church is a weak church. The task of every member is the edification of the body. Saints, clergy, church members should help take care of each other “by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:16)

Throughout History the pendulum of truth has swung from Toxic Leaders to Toxic Congregations, and both eventually dissolve and self-destruct.

According to the Pew Research Center, the ranks of the ‘nones’ have ballooned in recent years, making “no religious affiliation” the fastest-growing category among religious affiliations.  Between 1972 and 1989, about 7% of Americans identified as having no formal religious affiliation, However, between 1990 and 2012, that figure jumped to 15%. Among people under age thirty. Just over 30% say they have no religious affiliation. At the same time, the percentage of the U.S. population that are Christian has experienced a steady decline, and other faiths have had modest growth at best.[10]

A recent study that Barna Group conducted reviewed the society’s perception in matters regarding faith and Christianity. Examining a new book called Good Faith, the findings indicated that Christianity is increasingly viewed as extremist. [11]

The 2017 Pew research is more specific and reveals that most adults surveyed still do consider themselves Christians, even if they seldom go to Church.  These non-attendees beliefs on matters of sex, gender, nationalism are widely more liberal than how it is portrayed and officiated by the formal Church.[12] It is thus abundantly clear that the Church is no longer unified on issues of doctrine, worldview, or best practice living standards.  When the church loses its saltiness it has lost its purpose. (Mat 5:13)

The state of the Church today, thus stands in stark contrast to the early ekklesia, and body of Christ movement! 

The early Church was attractive although persecuted, because of their:

  • practical caring for each other
  • care of the marginalized disenfranchised, orphan, children and women
  • high standards of work ethics, positive attitudes, timeliness, honesty, and hard work.[13]
  • experienced substantial exponential growth, to the extent that in 150 years, most of Asia Minor and North Africa was transformed by Christianity and their former persecutors became the protectors of the faith when the Roman State accepted Christianity as their formal religion by 337AD.[14]

However, involving Church members without a clear Doctrinal, Biblically Sound, Christ-centred, Evangelical, Charismatic-Pentecostal, Contemplative-Holiness, Spiritual-Wellbeing, Socially Relevant focus is cataclysmically wrong! To represent the full gospel and express the genius of God on the Earth, we need to embrace and learn from the Reformers-Leaders that God raises up from time to time. 

The Word and the Spirit is the Perfect Judge

Jesus learned His judgment from the Father. Do not trust your own judgment, seek His judgment.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30)

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.  And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. (John 8:15-16)

Finding God’s judgment in a correction is priceless, that is the gold. No correction given by man is perfect. I could disagree with every correction I had ever received, but I chose to rather seek God’s correction and judgement somewhere in it. You receive correction like eating a fish, scan for the meat and leave the bones.

The more we Study the Word, the better we can judge. The Word is a discerner (Hebrews 4:12).  The Bible is the straight ruler by which we are measured. I do not receive everyone who have an opinion about something. Correction that is founded on man’s opinion has no weight. It does not carry Truth. But correction that is based on the Word and the Spirit and Life of Jesus is life-changing. 

May we have the heart of the friend of God, David who made several prayer requests to God to search Him, test Him and examine him.* Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me,* **Ps 139:23**

The Judgment of the Father

In recent times so many worship songs focus the ‘lover’ God, and His amazing enduring love for us. Although this is important, yet the Biblical context of our relationship is always explained in terms of that of a disciple, a bond-slave, a child, a friend.

Even our love is contextualized:  if you love me you will obey my commandments. (John 15:10) If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  Yes God wants our passion, but passion without obedience and accuracy brings disgrace to the Father. 

We do not fear His judgment because of His perfect love. (1 John 4:17-19). Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. Love is made perfect through obedience. (Hebrews 5:8)

Having God as our ABBA Father, does not only mean we are now protected, He will take care of everything. It means He will correct us, chastise, and rebuke us if necessary.  If we want God’s love, we must want His correction too!

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-7)

Overcome Toxic Shame 

I suspect that the real reason why people do not receive correction is because of hidden toxic shame.  
 

Years ago God used my spiritual father Andre Pelser to exposed a deep secret I have been hiding in my heart. Covering it up has led to many wrong decisions and a wrong approach to many things. It was shame. I felt ashamed of most things in my life. My common simple name Jan, my worker class upbringing, my parents, my poor Matric results, a project that failed.  Shame becomes like an evil thread throughout my life. Over my early years, I have become ashamed of almost everything about my life. Andre challenged me and helped me, to surrender this shame to Jesus.  Jesus became shame, naked and rejected on a cross, to carry and bear my shame! We can give it all to Him, and receive His righteousness. “I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)

We fear judgment because of our fear of the truth, the outcome, the reality of our actual condition.  We fear judgment! 

It is also important to show a distinction between God’s Judgement and that of the accuser of the brethren. God’s judgments are intended to build you up, restore you, and bring you to rich fulfillment.  (Psalm 66:12) The accuser’s intent is to break you down and get you to lose all hope.  (Joh 10:10) The quickest way to discern between the two voices is: God’s voice empowers you to come and be with Him, the accuser makes you feel so guilty that you lose your boldness to come to God.  

Receiving correction even from a child is humbling. It is mostly our pride that stands in the way. I struggle to accept correction from my wife Chantál because of my pride and self-righteousness. She is the person who cares most, who has my best interest at heart. She knows me best too.  Corrections sometimes feel like daggers in the heart, but if we can change our attitude, we can receive them as chisels shaping us to become better. 

We are all conceited, we see in a mirror dimly, our hearts deceptive above all things.  (Jer 17:9) We cannot become the best that we can be, our lives a living symphony of sound without being regularly tuned.  I recently discovered a new name for an old disease, a disease that hides in all of us. It is called cognitive dissonance. It is proof of what I suspected all along, I lie to myself.  In my mind I try to be one thing, but in my actions become something else.  Paul uncovered this disease in Rom 7:15 “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

Fortunately for us, he also discovered the antidote. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom 7:24 Jesus is the antidote. It is our first encounter with Him where He reveals who we truly are; a sinner bound in the prison of mistaken identity.  When He uncovers the man of sin, it seems to be a very dark place at first for we all have tried so hard to cover our shame. Nevertheless, His light is warm and welcoming, healing to our soul.  We no longer run and try to hide from Him. As we face Him, He brings light into our being. The Hebrew writer calls this repentance of dead works. This place of vulnerability is liberating. 

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Rom 8:1-2 The Message)

I wish we can learn to stay in this holy place longer, in this modus of repentance, for it is in this holy place that He moulds us like clay into His image.  Another work of the flesh and attack of the deceiver and father of lies on our souls is guilt, condemnation, and shame. There is no liberty or lightness of being covered under this dark, thick blanket of guilt. Like I said before self-discovery leads to nowhere. We repent of being a sinner, but cannot specify any one sin that is at the core of our bad actions.  When the Holy Spirit releases the gift of being convicted in a godly manner, He pinpoints us to the root-cause of the problem and shows us the way out. Paul understood this and exclaimed in 1 Cor 4:3-4 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

Paul knew that there is a better way, it is when God works the gift of repentance in our hearts. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Cor 7:9-10) We all have to experience this encounter with Truth. Augustine also had such an experience. “I saw and was horrified, and I had nowhere to go to escape from myself. . . . You were setting me in front of myself, forcing me to look into my own face, so that I might see my sin and hate it. . .”

See Prov 15:31-32 The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.  He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.

Development takes HARD work!! Shame, condemnation, guilt pacifies you into nothingness. The enemy wins when he gets you to do nothing! 

The learning is in the doing!!

This generation wants to first read, watch countless you-tube videos, and somehow never do anything. The videos and reading are only helpful when you go get to do it! Josh Kaufman – the first 20 hours came up with a revolutionary idea: The First 20 Hours is a book about rapid skill acquisition: how to pick up new skills as fast as humanly possible. You can go from knowing absolutely nothing to performing noticeably well in a very short period of time: approximately 20 hours, often less. [1] 

The only way to overcome shame is to face it, and be willing to do something about it.  At least the part that you can change.  


[1] Jim Marion, Putting on the mind of Christ. (The inner work of Christian Spirituality)

[2] Living in the Time of Jesus [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCI3Y2vWYrE]

[3] Michael Jr. – The Father’s Voice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqhidTrkfrw

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Bell

[5] Kruger, Justin & Dunning, David. (2000). Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 77. 1121-34

[6] Schulz, K., 2011. Being wrong. London: Portobello.

[7] Focus on something that has high value to someone else, be really rigorous in making that assessment, because natural human tendency is wishful thinking, so the challenge to entrepreneurs is telling what’s the difference between really believing in your ideals and sticking to them as opposed to pursuing some unrealistic dream that doesn’t actually have merit, be very rigorous in your self analysis, certainly being extremely tenacious, and just work like hell. Put in 80-100 hours every week. All these things improves the odds of success. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/1204655

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_514

[9] https://www.covenanteyes.com

[10] Nicolaou, C. (2019). A None’s story : searching for meaning inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, & Islam (eBook, 2016) [WorldCat.org]. [online] Worldcat.org. Available at: https://www.worldcat.org/title/nones-story-searching-for-meaning-inside-christianity-judaism-buddhism-islam/oclc/964290564 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[11] Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Being Christian in Western Europe. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[12] Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Being Christian in Western Europe. [online] Available at: https://www.pewforum.org/2018/05/29/being-christian-in-western-europe/ [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].

[13] Schor, A.M., 2009, ‘Conversion by the numbers: Benefits and pitfalls of quantitative modelling in the study of early Christian growth’, Journal of Religious History 33(4)Pg 478. 

[14] Dreyer, W.A., 2016, ‘Historiese perspektief op kerkwees’, in ‘Praktiese ekklesiologie – Kerkwees in die 21ste eeu’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, suppl. 10, 72(5), a4378. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i5.4378 

HUISWERK

1.  Kies en maak ‘n afspraak met ‘n mentor, en vra vir inspraak in jou lewe.  Weeklikse Sessies van terugvoering, om te groei en te verander. 

2. Stel jouself beskikbaar om iemand te mentor.  Waarin kan iemand mentor? Word iemand se vertroueling. 

3. Oefen korreksie. As jy iemand moet korrigeer of wys op ‘n fout, skryf neer hoe jy dat gaan doen. Hoe gaan jy die persoon benader? Wat is die stappe? Skryf dit uit vir jouself.