Wednesday, December 03, 2008



In the struggle to "get over yourself" it's important to examine what I call the four clanging cymbals. A clanging cymbal is when what you say and do is absent the love of Jesus and therefore is a cymbal that doesn't make a certain and attractive sound, but an offensive, clanging sound. Today's clanging cymbal is SELF-DOUBT.

There are several words that are translated doubt. Doubt is to be perplexed, at a loss, uncertainty as to which way to take, standing in mid air or to hold in suspense-all accompanied by an anxiety and lack of confidence. The Chinese have a great word picture on the word "doubt". It's when you are standing on a dock with two boats awaiting you and as you step off in mid air, you are indecisive as to which boat to choose for your landing. Now, that's doubt! By the way, doubt also includes distraction, because of your state of indecision.

I have two primary concerns with the clanging cymbal of self-doubt. First, there is a personal concern. Here we sit with the message of the love of God, yet most seem to be bent on performing for God's love rather than confidently enjoying it. There is little personal satisfaction here. It's not a certain sound, but a clanging cymbal!

Second, there is a relational concern. Here we sit with the love of God, yet it doesn't seem to be getting through. Those who are believers in Christ are known more for their judgment and condemnation than for loving one another. This, too, is an offensive clanging cymbal.

How can people who claim to have a personal relationship with God live in a spiritual coma? It's like when the Indians were discussing their problems with the white man. One asked, "What went wrong?" Another answered, "Apparently, when we smoked the peace pipe, somebody didn't inhale!"

The process of religiosity works like this. You are drawn to the free gift of Jesus-the Good News-and long for Him to help you with your fear, anger, guilt and shame. Just as soon as you receive the free gift of Jesus, you are shifted into a new gear-a new reality. You are told you must get your act together-sort of a turn or burn attitude to living for Jesus.

Then comes the list of secrets or keys to living your life for Jesus in order to travel in first class on your spiritual journey rather than coach. The list is a series of "If only": If you only had enough faith, if only you read the Bible more, if only you knew the Holy Spirit better, if only you were baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit, if only you understood the gifts of the Spirit, if only you were part of a small group, if only you knew how to worship, if only you were giving more and if only you could perform your walk better, THEN you will achieve a certain level of spiritual perfection.

Your faith walk then turns into a message of condemnation. Comparison and division over who is right and who is wrong is the constant conversation. Now, here's where your faith noticeably falls apart. Since you cannot achieve the perfection that is taught, you learn to fake it-show up at the right church, carry the right Bible, and join the right groups. Others, rather than fake it, they just flake out. They couldn't find a way to walk this walk that is required.

So, the process of religiosity is based upon the spirit of condemnation; the process of relationship is based upon the spirit of covenant with Jesus. Instead of "Wash your hands and mommy will love you"; it's "Mommy loves you, now go wash your hands." It's important to read and meditate on the Scriptures, to pray and to operate in a community of believers; it's not doing it because you have to, but rather it's because you want to. It's not a spirit of condemnation, but a spirit of relationship-not a failure mode, but a faith mode.

The clanging cymbal of self-doubt grows up in the soil of perfectionism and condemnation. This religious combination produces nothing positive, but only the negative and that negative is guilt. When you wrestle with guilt, you will suffer from self-doubt.

Self-doubt is countered in two ways: a confident, personal faith in Jesus and a compassionate love for others. These two counters are based in the Scriptures. John says (3:17-18) Jesus didn't come into the world to condemn it, but to convince the world of the love of God. Paul makes an incredible statement about condemnation as he wrote to the followers of Jesus in Rome. He says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus." Later in that same letter to the Romans (8:35-39) he says: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The clanging cymbal of self-doubt is not personally satisfying and not publicly attractive. Only the faith to receive God's gift of Jesus and the love to give Him away will prove to be satisfying and attractive to you and the world around you. Try this on and you fight the clanging cymbal of self-doubt: FEED YOUR FAITH AND YOUR DOUBTS WILL STARVE TO DEATH!