“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones… My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:5-12
The Worst Pope
When Professor Martin Luther was asked which pope had caused him the most trouble, he replied, “Pope self – the pope who sits on the throne in my heart. No pope in Rome has caused me as much trouble as I have caused myself!”
The Most Trouble
When “the Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon had built up Baptist Tabernacle to over 5,000 members, he was asked, which member gave him the most trouble? Without hesitation, he responded, “Charles Spurgeon!” “You mean you have a member here who has the same name as yourself?” “I refer to myself,” explained Charles Spurgeon. “No one has given me more trouble than I have given myself.”
This is true for ourselves personally, for families, for congregations, for denominations, organisations, companies, countries and continents. The worst wars are civil wars. The United States of America lost more men killed in action in the war between the States of 1861 to 1865, than in all the other foreign wars it has ever fought, including the First and Second World War, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War, combined. More South Africans are murdered every year than died in the First World War, Second World War and Angolan War combined.
Fratricidal wars, the Wars of Religion, the 30-Years War and the World Wars devastated Europe more than any external enemy could ever have done. All too often, we spend more time fighting those closest to us, with whom we are in general agreement on most things, than real enemies of the Faith.
Most Christians spend more time:
Publishing scandals than proclaiming Salvation;
Focussing on differences rather than focussing on Discipleship;
Most are so busy being fault-finders, that they are seldom good-finders.
Misdirecting Time and Energy
Most Christians spend more time:
Criticising than challenging;
Complaining than complimenting;
Backbiting than blessing;
Slandering than serving;
Sharing gossip than sharing the Gospel;
Breaking down than building up;
Doing mischief than Missions;
Being more envious than Evangelistic.
The Curse of Selfishness
The middle letter of sin is “I”. The middle letter of pride is “I”. The middle letter of lie is “I”. At the heart of sinfulness is selfishness. Hence, the Bible tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding… Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5,7
Getting our Priorities Straight
There is a tremendous need for humility, grace, mercy, unity and vision. To keep the main thing the main thing.
You Are Responsible for Your Reaction
Life is only 10% what happens to us and over 90% how we react to it. The Scripture warns us not to trust in our own heart. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12
It Is Foolish to Follow Your Heart
Our Lord taught parables to warn those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” Luke 18:9. “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12. “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26
Deny Yourself, Forsake the world, Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
This is why our Lord Jesus said to His disciples “… ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his Cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’” Matthew 16:24-26
The Solution to Selfishness
Selfishness is our greatest enemy. Therefore, the solution is selflessness, self-sacrifice, sacrificial service for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. We need to develop the habit of saying No! to ourselves and Yes to God. This is the exact opposite of the “follow your heart,” false gospel of the world. Our Lord Jesus Christ says: “deny yourself, take up your Cross, forsake the world and follow Me.”
“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
The Hard Words of Jesus
What Really Matters?
The Heart of the Gospel
Do Not Settle for Less Than God's Very Best