Your One Thing from Jesus Among Secular Gods

I enjoyed hearing Shawn and Ivy share the one thing that challenged them most in Jesus Among Secular Gods. In fact, their personal examples are my favorite part of the podcast—they help me connect the information in the book to my life. Now it’s our turn to share.

What one thing is God asking you to do, think, or say differently because of what you learned in Jesus Among Secular Gods?

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Thanks, @Jennifer_Wilkinson, for creating the discussion thread. For a while now I have been challenged by Shawn Hart’s statement, “I am unoffendable”. I am personally very offendable, and see where this is a big problem in sharing Jesus. So I have been asking God to help me with this, and although I don’t think I’m at Shawn’s level, the other day someone asked if he could ask me something without me getting mad. I told him I’m trying to be unoffendable. So I’m still working on this, since it means every time I talk to people I am afraid of what they may say or ask. The other big takeaway is how Ivy asks questions. It never occurred to me before how much a work of love this is. It also says to me that having the right answer to a question is not as important as working out of compassion for the person I’m listening to. Now I have to ask God to help me work on loving the truth.

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I think my biggest takeaway was to ask which secular god or which -ism is the most appealing to me and which can I see popping up in my life. For me, that would probably be hedonism. I like feeling good in the moment. Self control isn’t natural. Self-denial isn’t fun. Pleasure is addictive. Following Jesus is hard now, for an eternity of pleasure. Hedonism is pleasure now, paid for in eternity.

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@Sgpage, I can relate to what you’re saying. I’ve been working through something similar in my life this summer, a desire that God is asking me to sacrifice for Him. At first I felt like it was sinful of me to have the desire, and it definitely is wrong when the desire is too strong and encroaches on my love for God. However, I realized the thing I desire is in some ways a very good thing.

With that in mind, I’m choosing to think of it as a gift I’m giving to God. It’s a beautiful thing that I’m willing to surrender, to hand over as a present to God because I love Him more.

Many of the pleasures you desire will be the same. God created pleasure. It is good. And when you give your pleasures to God, you bring joy to your Father’s heart. In Philippians 4:18 Paul described a gift from the Philippian church as “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God” (ESV).

Imagine that. Our feeble sacrifices please the almighty God.

I have three things that I’ll try to tie into one. The Bible says “a threefold cord is not quickly broken,” right?

  1. Being unoffendable
    Like @carolsong88 said, Shawn’s statement, “I’m unoffendable,” stuck with me throughout season. I’ve been working on this, and I’m growing. I haven’t arrived, but I’m growing.

  2. Asking for critique
    In Episode 13 Shawn mentioned a time when he was disappointed in how he answered a question in a Q&A session, so he asked Vince Vitale for thoughts on how he could have answered in a better way. I thought, “Wow! I wouldn’t have had the courage to do that.” It takes a ton of courage and humility to ask for advice when you’re already discouraged, and I want to get better at that.

  3. Embracing the gift of disagreement
    This is hard for me. I’m a people-pleaser so I hate disagreement; however, God is giving me practice. Something came up with a friend recently. I’m still deciding how to respond to her, but I know I can’t agree. God is stretching me as He calls me to accept and give the gift of disagreement with love.

What’s the answer to these struggles of mine? I’m choosing to focus on my identity in Christ. I’m a daughter of God. I’m secure. When I remember that, I can accept criticism and disagreement without being shaken. God is all I need.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26 ESV)

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Amen to that Carol. I have been using that phrase when interviewing people for Core assignments but now I am working on that in everyday conversations. I wholeheartedly agree in prayer for all of us that we would be able to have the perspective that “the right answer to a question is not as important as working out of compassion for the person I’m listening to.” Grant us your grace oh Lord!

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Yes, @b4marshall, I’m beginning to catch myself when I’m working for the ‘right’ answer, when I need to do what Jesus did and look for the questioner’s true question. I wish I could say the insight leads to changed behavior, but the Holy Spirit and I are still working on this. Also, I can’t count the number of times that someone has answered something I didn’t ask and did not intend to ask, but the truth worked in me anyway. So maybe some people aren’t aware of the real question they wish they could ask.

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