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Understand the Warning

After we enter the kingdom with a poor spirit and the blessing starts, we must maintain our awareness of our spiritual poverty. If we don’t, we’ll be in trouble.

Here’s the danger: Things go well for a while as God works wonders through our service, but then we get used to blessedness. There comes a time when, subconsciously, we have an opportunity to take control. If we’re too comfortable and not carefully keeping watch, we take charge. We look back over several years of spiritual poverty and blessing and we lose touch with it. Instead of seeing ourselves through the eyes of spiritual poverty, we see ourselves with material wealth.

Look at Revelation 3:14–17.

Isn’t it amazing how different the Laodicean’s  view of themselves was compared with Jesus’ view? They were the church. They started their Christian lives by being poor in spirit and receiving God’s blessing, and cool things started happening. But then they got to the point where they didn’t need Jesus anymore. They would never say it out loud, but their actions betrayed them. They started believing they were rich and wealthy, thinking, We don’t need anything. We’re self-sufficient. We’re self-confident.

If that could happen two thousand years ago, it can happen today. I try never to read about other people’s mistakes and say, “Oh gosh, look at them!” I just say, “Man, only by the grace of God am I not in their position.” We must stay watchful and listen for the warning.

How do we maintain kingdom living and kingdom blessedness? By remembering that no matter how successful we become in our Christian effort and ministry, it’s all for Him, through Him, and because of Him. When we do, it drives us to our knees. We cannot lose sight of Him. We need to look at what the Lord has done in our lives and recognize that it’s all because of Him, not us. It keeps us humble. It keeps us poor in spirit.

Steve Berger is Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel in Leipers Fork, TN. He is the author of Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth and several Bible Study guides.

12 responses to “Understand the Warning”

  1. David Bean says:

    That’s a great reminder Steve. It confirms what’s been going through my head the last couple of days.

    I read in a book the other day about how God loves to lavish his children with good gifts/blessings. But how He is so grieved when we make idols out of those gifts and blessings, putting them above him.

  2. Julie Dumond says:

    Pastor Steve,
    This is so much truth. To fight our selfish nature…God is continuing to grow me exactly in this – and it comes to trust. And remember HE is GOD and I am but a mere creation of which He loves.

  3. Kristina Martin says:

    Thank you for this Pastor Steve. It is all for Him, through Him and because of Him… Man, so true and so powerful.

  4. David Ecrement says:

    Good sobering word. (My first thought was, “Crap, that nails me!”) One of my biggest weaknesses is self-sufficiency. Funny, I catch myself trying to manage my self-sufficiency (being self-sufficient trying to manage my self-sufficiency–how pathetic!) What helps me is a slow & steady reading of Romans 3:10-15. “There is no one righteous, not even one…there is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    • Steve Berger says:

      I think we all have a tendency to manage that way. Romans 3 is a great reminder. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Todd O says:

    This is a great word Steve! Applicable to all areas of life including parenting, work, etc. Recently I’ve been looking back and considering the cyclical (vs. continual) nature of blessings in my life and I’m coming to realize this is a large part of it. Your word today confirms that we have to be careful in “our” successes in every area of life to remember Who they come from and why they are there. The picture of the biker tumbling is a great parallel to this word also!

  6. Rob Harvey says:

    Excellent word. Reminds me of Fikkert’s book, When Helping Hurts which addresses the poverty of the materially rich, beginning with the much needed reminder of our spiritual poverty (and relational poverty).