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Tag Archives: humility

What are You Still Lacking?

If you asked a recent high school graduate the same question after completing a four year degree in college, perspectives would likely change.  Human nature tends to make young people think they are infallible.  When you add knowledge, wisdom and a wealth of information to this equation, some will likely think they know it all, now smarter than their parents.  This is the state we find the rich young ruler in the passage below, only lacking one thing in life.

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.

Searching for eternal security, this man sought out Jesus, hoping to discover the secret to possessing eternal life.  Immediately, Jesus catches this ruler off guard by demonstrating humility, giving God the credit for his goodness.  From here Jesus turns his attention to God’s standards in the Torah, the first five books in the Old Testament.  Obtaining knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but applying these principles separate average believers from genuine people of faith.  Perhaps, this rich young ruler thought he could enter heaven by being a good person.

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:20-22.

There are two invisible forces which drag and nudge souls in different directions.  The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and minds, revealing imperfections and shortcomings.  Meanwhile, the sinful nature is more accommodating, making those who stray from God think more highly about themselves than they should.  While the Spirit led the apostle Paul to claim he was the greatest sinner of all in 1 Timothy 1:15, my flesh made me feel better the further I slipped away from God in college.  This spiritual dilemma exists today, compared to a spiritual war in Galatians 5:16-18.  Thus, if you really want to know what are you still lacking, draw close to God and He will make you whole.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Attitude Trumps Ability

Acceptance, mentality and outlook creates a culture for attitude.  Depending upon the environment you allow yourself to be surrounded by will influence how positive or negative you become.  According to former Colorado University football coach Bill McCartney, attitude is four times more powerful than someone’s overall ability.  This statement is played out in the 1993 film Rudy based upon the true story of Rudy Ruettiger’s unlikely quest to make the University of Notre Dame football team as a walk on.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:14-15.

Sometimes the most talented individuals never come close to reaching their full potential due to poor attitudes.  Complacency, pride and being spoiled can cause the best to lose their edge.  Meanwhile, less gifted athletes take their place at the top, fueled by a hunger for greatness.  During one scene from Rudy, Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian played by Jason Miller makes a confession to Sean Astin, “Rudy, I wish God would put your heart into some of my star players.”  In this example, attitude trumps ability.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

As a former professional golfer, commentators refer to this sport as being 75 to 90 percent mental.  Talent to drive the ball, hit consistent iron shots and develop a strong short game is important.  However, I found that my mood going into a round of golf often dictates the end result.  Staying in the moment, remaining positive and moving on to the next shot are crucial for success.  Yet, without a good attitude, clubs will be tossed, curse words will fly and regret will occur post round.  Whether you are talking about a career, hobby, job or sport, attitude trumps talent.  May times of humility help you to develop a Christ like mindset in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Blessings in the Eyes of the Beholder

Every time I look into a mirror, I am reminded of my emergency eye surgery last December.  Due to the type of the procedure, my right eye lid doesn’t close as it should.  If I were in high school or college, I’d probably be depressed by this permanent defect on my body.  Yet, as I have experienced good vision in consecutive months, this blemish has become a blessing in the eyes of the Beholder.

Or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, 2 Corinthians 12:7-8.

To a certain extent, I am beginning to understand the words of the apostle Paul in the passage above.  The Lord had blessed Paul with a special connection.  While Wi-Fi didn’t exist in the first century, Paul was able to sense, see and understand the nature of God like no one else in his day.  Thus, Paul came to a point in life where he accepted his physical condition, realizing that his pain was a blessing in the eyes of the Beholder.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Human nature causes most people to complain daily.  I am not immune to this disease called sin, lashing out with criticism, frustration and impatience.  Nonetheless, after my wife’s father passed away over the weekend, God has humbled me, making me more teachable.  While my first reaction to trials will always be to question God, we all need to reach a state like the apostle Paul to accept the hand in life that we have been dealt.  The sooner we do, the easier it will become to recognize blessings in the eyes of the Beholder.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Leave No Child Behind

In 2001 president George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law.  The premise of this bill was to insure no child was forgotten, lost or left behind in the educational system.  When this policy failed to meet it’s expectations, the stage was set for Common Core to come to the rescue.  Nearly two decades later, Common Core is now being rejected by some states as ideology is replacing reading, writing and arithmetic.  In the end, the only one who can insure no child is left behind is the Creator of heaven and earth.  Yet, as activist judges, liberal movements and progressive politicians ban God from public education, the real question should be does God want to stick around in America to help or bless another land who is open to biblical teaching?

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6

The flaw with president Bush’s slogan Leave No Child Behind is that he excluded the family.  Education begins and ends in American homes.  God ordained parents to educate, instruct and train children in the way that they should go in life.  When parents begin to prepare boys and girls for the various stages in life, success is not guaranteed but increases the probability for a positive outcome.  Unfortunately, at some point in time parents were convinced by government officials that it takes a village to raise children.  When this compromise was embraced, adults shifted their attention to other things while schools became the sole source of learning.  This mindset opened the door for children to be left behind, forced to figure things out on their own.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

When I was young, my father’s commute to work was a 90 minute ride both ways.  Thus, the only time I really saw my father was on the weekends.  To make up for this, my dad took off most of August, going away to Maine for a couple of weeks each summer for vacation.  At some point, I made a decision that when I was a father, I would put my children first.  While I was still selfish until my oldest son was 12, conviction led me to give up playing men’s softball to take a more active role in my children’s life.  Although I am far from perfect, sacrificing my own interests for my children has been worth it.  For the last 4 years, I’ve switched my work schedule around to attend, coach and support my kids’ hobbies.  If you truly want to see that no child left behind, start with your own family and you will see the fruits of putting the needs of others above yourself.

by Jay Mankus

A Man Can Only Take So Much Failure

Parents tend to possess unique ways of motivating their children.  Over the years, most learn which buttons to push and which to avoid.  In the 1996 film Invincible, Kevin Conway plays Vince Papale’s father.  After thinking about backing out of an open try out hosted by the Philadelphia Eagles, Conway addresses Vince played by Mark Wahlberg.  Using reverse psychology, Conway suggests, “Vince, maybe you should sit this one out.  A man can only take so much failure.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

While I have watched this movie several times, this quote struck a cord in my heart for the first time last weekend.  To an extent, this expression is true as human beings can only handle so much.  Over time, everyone reaches a breaking point that leads to depression, heartbreak or suicide.  Thus, when you approach, near or reach this desolate place, it’s essential to turn your attention to God’s grace and mercy as instructed by the passage above.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong, 2 Corinthians 12:10.

The unlikely journey of Vince Papale from bartender to professional football player parallels the life of the apostle Paul.  Vince relies on his friends to get him through the loss of his wife and child.  Meanwhile, Paul places his trust in Christ alone.  The man who once persecuted Christians and gave the order to have Stephen executed ends up becoming a follower of the movement he once despised.  When individuals come to a crossroads in life, you have to eventually choose.  You may have two or multiple paths to decide from.  Yet, if you resolve to fulfill a childhood dream, make sure humility results in leaning on God’s power as a man can only take so much failure.

by Jay Mankus

Look Up, Look Within and Look Around

The current culture that exists encourages individuals to point their finger at everyone but themselves.  This mentality enables blame to become attached to innocent people.  Cable news, social media and talk radio often defends the guilty while accusing those who share an alternative worldview.  Instead of continuing down this road, perhaps its time to look up by using prayer to ask God why?

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, Matthew 6:33.

If you don’t receive a definitive answer, maybe its time to look within.  When things don’t go your way, you may be the person responsible.  This is where accountability comes into play.  If you surround yourself with yes people, you might not ever hear the honest truth.  After any fall in life, God uses humility to teach sinners to learn from mistakes from the past.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened, Matthew 7:8.

One thing God is teaching me is to avoid becoming self absorbed.  I tend to get so focused on what I am doing that I ignore the needs of others.  To correct this bad habit, change begins by looking up for divine intervention.  When insight arrives, personal reflection may be required to alter your direction in life if necessary.  Finally, as individuals begin to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, its much easier to look around to see where God want you to be.

by Jay Mankus

Healing or Humility?

If you have ever been disappointed by a promise that was broken or unfulfilled, you know what it means to become jaded.  Maintaining faith or trust in someone or something becomes difficult, not knowing when or if you will be let down again.  This is where I currently find myself, some where between healing and humility.

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health, Psalm 41:3.

A part of me still holds out hope that the condition of my eyes will be restored.  Passages in the Bible like the one above provides assurance of my desire for complete healing.  Yet, the apostle Paul did not have his thorn in his flesh cured.  Instead, this ailment humbled Paul as he was forced to make the best of things without complete healing.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted, Luke 14:11.

Jesus provides a different perspective on life.  God humbles the proud and lifts up the humble.  Thus, as I continue with my battle to see, the Lord knows my pain.  However, in my anguish God does not honor those who complain or pout.  Therefore, as I endure this trial praying for healing, I have to accept the fact that humility may be the final outcome.

by Jay Mankus

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