The Spirit of Deficiency 2

“Strongholds of the mind have kept many of us on the sidelines.”

When I interviewed for the position I now hold at The River Church Community I remember being surrounded by so many accomplished people and thinking I was “not smart enough” for the position. Other staff persons had degrees from Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Cal Berkeley and the strongholds in my mind were saying. “You are not qualified!” The disqualifying voice in my head told me I didn’t have what it would take to succeed. The “spirit of deficiency” caused me to see myself in a small way during that process.

Here are some verses from The Message that might help you understand how I viewed myself for many years: 2 Corinthians 6:10,11, “Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

That’s the “spirit of deficiency,” the fencing in is of our own doing. And for some of us it is a mindset that we’ve lived with for most of our lives. Our fathers failed to speak blessing and affirmation into that place within that was hungry for their powerful masculine voice. Truth be told, some of our father’s never received it so how could they give us what they did not receive? So we entered life trying to find that blessing in our achievements, our successes, our relationships with women, in our goodness and in being perfect.

In feeling small within, it felt like much of my life was a constant striving to prove myself to others. That mindset even influenced my relationship with God. Trying to prove to him that I was worthy of His love left me exhausted, I took on more service projects, disciplines, and opportunities to serve to impress Him. These were all good things but never brought me to a place of deeper intimacy with God or discovering my true potential in Him.

In the book of Daniel it says that the people who know their God will display strength and take action. The condition of that verse from Daniel is to know God. We have an enormous potential that is only limited by our perceptions. What hinders you from what I’ve just shared? Self-disqualifying, self-loathing, habitual patterns of sin, in this place you can’t see your potential. Instead of seeing yourself as one that is chosen, you see yourself as one that is forsaken. This kind of mindset distances us from truth.

Romans 8:33, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?” It is God who justifies.

I’ve often said, “I don’t need the devil to condemn me, I can do a pretty good job of it myself.” Those are the words of a person who is not “in Christ.” In Christ we understand there is no condemnation. In Christ, he breaks the power of those words that keep us sidelined and paralyzed. In Christ, we hear Him whisper words of life that destroy the lies of our past.

A.W. Tozer says, “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority, rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson. But he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows that at the same time he is in the sight of God more important than angels. He knows that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring, or at least we wish it were so.”

Until next time; chew on that!

The Spirit of Deficiency 1

Some of us have lost our sense of purpose, our sense of destiny. Originally, we signed up and had a focus to do great things for God, but somehow it has been choked out by work, family or other distractions that have consumed our time. It might be time to look around and reinvest into something you believe in. After so many months or even years, it’s hard for some of you to actually believe that you can live in such a way as to make a difference in the culture that you live in.

For too many of us survival is the order of the day. “Don’t talk to me about destiny, tell me how to make it through tomorrow.” Men, I honestly believe in you, and I believe there is a passion within each one of you. So I ask, what kind of disciple will you become? What price are you willing to pay to see the gospel of the kingdom take root again in your life and relationships? In moving toward effectiveness, some times we have to ask the question, what is it I really want? Honestly, many of us don’t have a clue to what we actually want. Hopefully, we want to be more effective in our marriage, work community, relationships and ministry. Ask yourself, do I want the next twenty years of my life to be more effective than the last twenty?

I believe if some of us change the way we think, maybe we could become more effective. Isn’t that repentance, a change of mind, a change of direction? And yet some of you are thinking, “I’ve always done it this way.” Are you willing to entertain the possibility that if you change the way you think, you could become more effective?

The spirit of deficiency is a mindset. Our feelings come from our thoughts, if you think wrongly, in all probability; you’re going to feel badly about yourself. The conclusion I came up with is that what I’m feeling about myself is the truth. And so at end we find ourselves believing the lies that live within us, because somehow we’re persuaded by the emotional weight we feel at a given moment in time. The strategy of your enemy is to keep you from becoming a person of destiny. He can’t touch the fact that you’re born again, saved and that the blood of Christ has been applied to your life. But he will do everything in his power to handicap you from becoming effective.

Strongholds of the mind have kept many of us on the sidelines. Some of us have been followers of Christ for five, ten, fifteen years and if we were to look back over the years some of us would conclude that we’ve not been effective in our lives. Why? Because of some of the strongholds in our minds that have kept us paralyzed. Are you willing to entertain the possibility that if change were effected everything would be different. Are you willing to entertain that you’re a person of destiny and that connected with the vision of another or the vision of the church or to something personal that God addresses in you that you can become more effective?

Trying to keep these brief so I’ll say more about this “deficiency mindset” in my next post.



The Spirit of Deficiency

I recently spoke at Elmwood Correctional and attempted to give the men a sense of destiny. As I thought about who gave it to me I recalled that when I graduated from high school neither one of my parents sat down with me and asked me about what college I was thinking of attending. In fact, neither one of them attended my graduation. I was on my own at the age of seventeen trying to figure out my future.

I now realize God has purposes for our lives beyond even what we can entertain. At Elmwood I addressed the men’s potential, I addressed the issue of embracing our destiny. My thought was that many of their parents probably did not speak to their potential and that is why they ended up incarcerated.

What hinders that at times is what I call the spirit of deficiency. One of the characteristics is this sense of imprisonment. This sense of being stuck! This sense of scarcity. Believing somewhere deep within; “I don’t have what it takes!”

I think if for one minute we could clearly gain possession of God’s heart towards us at any given moment, it would melt us. We either think too highly of ourselves or too lowly. Some of us are stuck in what I call the paralysis of analysis. The enemy has entrenched into our thinking that God is a hard taskmaster, difficult to please, and not very gracious or long suffering,

It has taken me years to realize that I have a destiny that causes me to be a disciple and to make more and better disciples. Disciples are people who give, serve and minister. Realizing that this is my destiny gives weight to me being a disciple. When Jesus called the twelve, he immediately gave then a sense of destiny, “You will become fishers of men.” A sense of purpose, destiny, gives us a greater capacity to do that which God has called us to lay hold of. Jesus said to the disciples, “I’ll take you out of the place you’re living and I’ll give you a capacity to do what you never dreamed you were capable of doing. A sense of destiny empowers us to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom.

Unfortunately, some of us have lost our sense of purpose, our sense of destiny. Next post I will better define the “spirit of deficiency” and how we find healing.