I recently shared a dream I had a few weeks back. If you haven’t read it, you might want to take a moment to do so (here) so that you have the background for this quote.
“Don’t smell another man’s offerings.”
I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot. Of course, that first morning I just scratched my head in confusion as if to say : “Seriously Lord? What in the world is that supposed to mean?”
But over the next few days, I began to get some clarity.
“My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let this Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! If you listen to the Word and don’t live out the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning. You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word, but then you go out and forget your divine origin.” James 1:23-25 (Passion)
I recently discussed with friends how God will use Scripture to mirror back to us the reflection of who we are … both in compliment to, but also in contrast to what the Bible says we are to be as Christ-followers. And sure enough, my time in the Word began to challenge my internal thoughts, and I recognized that without intention I’d been walking around with my nose up in the air!
I may have looked freshly groomed on the outside, but on the inside my face was dirt-smudged from entertaining thoughts like:
- Are they really doing that for God, or do they have ulterior motives? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
- Their heart is in the right place, but I think I could have done a better job at that. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
- Doesn’t the Bible say that we are not supposed to do that? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
- If that were me, I would have done it differently. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
Sometimes I really DISLIKE looking in the mirror because what I see is … well …. it is ugly! Jealousy. Pride. Envy. Contempt. Pettiness. Fear. And the list goes on.
(pausing in case you want to “unsubscribe” from this blog, now that you know the kind of junk I deal with on a regular basis).
And over the course of the next several days, with tremendous love and tenderness, the Lord revealed that I had allowed seeds of jealousy to take root towards my co-laborers. Instead of celebrating them and their successes, I was examining them under the microscope to determine if I approved of their methods or not. But who was I to judge the methods and intensions of another of God’s children! In other words, “Don’t sniff another man’s offering.”
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Romans 14:4
Not only was my internal mindset not reflective of God’s heart, but my unloving and judgmental attitudes were interfering with my prayer life!! Oh, I was still praying. Earnestly. But since FAITH works by LOVE (Galatians 5:6, read more here), cultivating an unloving behavior in my spirit was gradually eating away at the integrity of my FAITH in God’s Word.
How could I have Bible-HOPE believing God for provision for my needs when I was also cultivating an attitude of jealousy over God’s meeting the needs of another!
Or how could I practice Bible-HOPE (confident trust and expectation) for God to honor my sincere desire to be used by Him to bless and encourage others (i.e. you!) in their Christian walk when I was at the same time critiquing the ministry of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
But oh, what a loving Father we have! If we will just spend some time with Him, He will graciously point out when we have spinach in our teeth and schmutz all over our face. And then He will help clean us up so that He can send us back out to represent His radiant beauty to a watching world!
I’d love to hear your comments on this subject … even if just to say you’re not going to un-subscribe. 🙂
Does God ever speak to you in word-pictures? My prayer is that the humble paintings contained in my blog posts will speak something unique to your heart/spirit. I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.