Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Book Report (Ch.18): Every Day A Friday

Dont Have A Critical Spirit

Flavio, a critical spirit creates a dirty view of your world. Unless the view; the window you look through is clean, you will never be able to see what good things God has in store for you. 

Beloved, I started this message from God’s heart to my heart to your precious heart with a lesson for myself to be reminded of, encouraged from, and disciplined by. It’s always good to be a self-motivator and to encourage and challenge yourself. But in my case, don’t allow it to get out of hand.

In Chapter 18 of Joel Osteen’s Every Day A Friday,
it spoke to me of a heavenly view point that will help us have a successful and positive outlook here on earth. The title of this chapter is “Don’t Have A Critical Spirit” and already many of us by reading the title may want to close our laptops, shut down our computers, tablets or smart phones, but I encourage you to remain with me as I share amazing blessings that will keep our mindset on heavenly things as we walk forward looking through the windows of our eyes at this world and everyone that’s in it. Amen.

Joel goes right into story telling, as he shares with us about a married couple in which the wife had a critical spirit. Their neighbor hung clothes outside on a line to dry, yet this wife noticed how dirty and dingy these clothes looked. Every time their neighbor hung up clothes she would comment to her husband how the woman couldn’t wash clothes correctly and hung up dirty and dingy clothes.

Joel goes on to conclude this story by showing the husbands clean viewpoint of things, as one day his wife saw the woman hanging up clothes and couldn’t believe she finally washed her clothes correctly as they were bright and white. Her husband smiled and said, “Honey, I got up early this morning and cleaned our window.”

Instead of being fixated on the wrong thing, if the wife was aware of the right thing, she would’ve realized she needed to be cleaning something of her own, instead of criticizing another’s cleaning method.

The above story speaks volumes to me, in that, I know I have had a critical spirit and if we’re all honest with ourselves, none of us have had a moment without being critical of others, or ourselves for that matter. Sometimes all we need is a different perspective of the situation to see it in a new light. Even now, I’m shaking my head in agreement as I can recall at least FIVE moments this week that my viewpoint needed to be cleaned up. And just like the husband above said, and it speaks to me in this manner now, maybe all we need at times to have a better viewpoint, is to ‘get up early’ and spend some time with the One who tells us to clean out our viewpoint first before looking out towards others, “And why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 emphasis added)

**Just a quick side note- When Jesus used the word Hypocrite, He meant it in the Greek meaning of the root word huprokrites, in that the person was a pretender; a performer, acting like someone who had it all together, when they clearly were imperfect and most likely was worse off than the one they were critical about. Knowing, God knows our heart and minds; our true motives, I pray, this will be something for all of us to humble ourselves over.

Beloved, I very much like how the husband responds first with a smile and with the soft word of ‘honey.’ Instead of sinking down to have a critical spirit as well, he leads by example with the Right Perspective and an inviting word. What a blessing for us to learn and grow from, that we could apply to our own lives. Wouldn’t you agree?! That’s the way to do it!

From such a story, Joel goes on to share this verse, “To the pure, all things are pure.” (Titus 1:15). To that, I pray, Father, thank You that You know the hearts and minds of all. Help us to be pure and see all things pure. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

Certainly God gives sight to the blind and this sight is not merely to see, but to see as He sees, and that is with a pure viewpoint and not a critical one. Amen!

Throughout this chapter one thing is certainly clear. We are all susceptible to be quick to point out the mistakes, shortcomings and defects of another person.

Yet! We fail at first to look at ourselves to see the source of the criticism and if we are in need of cleansing first! Then we can see out of a clean window and effectively teach, encourage, inspire and lift up others. Amen.

I’m soberly reminded of this now- Whether its the physical look of a person, the way they do things, perceive things, respond to things, it’s not for us to have a critical and judgmental spirit, but a clean, pure and quiet spirit that is thankful to God for what we have, and that we are all unique and we can all learn from and grow to appreciate one another. Amen.

This I have learned. We are only able to do good if what is in our heart is Good— for God is good and God is love. Amen.

Just as these verses in scripture speaks volumes to every person of every tongue, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:43-45), let us look to have a good heart to raise others up to have such a heart filled with good, that example we too can be, as Christ is to many. Amen.

A critical spirit can be destructive and cause us to be overcome by life threatening things if we don’t approach and discuss the true matter at hand, rather than pose a smoke screen to the real problem that creates jealousy and envy in us.

Joel shares the biblical point of Miriam; Moses’ older sister (see Numbers 12) and how she criticized Moses for having a Ethiopian wife because she couldn’t criticize his leading abilities, rather than discussing her actual contempt for Moses being the leader over the entire nation of Israel (see Exodus 3).

Moses didn't respond to Miriam’s critical and judgmental spirit, but God did! Not excluding her as part of His plan, God spoke as an impartial judge that takes no sides, and dealt with the incident as a Holy and Sovereign God. As a result of Miriam’s insubordination to God’s plan that Moses would lead the nation of Israel, she was stricken with leprosy. Yet Moses’ clean, pure and gentle spirit interceded on his older sister’s behalf as he prayed that God would heal her, so God healed her in seven days, that she would be able to contemplate her thoughts and actions and leave that critical spirit behind to see her life and calling for what it amazingly is— that of a quick thinker under pressure, an able leader, a prophetess and songwriter and how great of a blessing God has bestowed upon her (see Exodus 2:7-10; 15:20, 21). Amen.

My Takeaway:

Criticism will always be around, and unless we are willing and proactive in seeing things with the clean filter that God’s grace and Spirit gives us, we will see the very worse in others and miss out on our God-given destiny in the process. Amen.

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