In my sermon yesterday at New Life, I preached on “Listening to the Small Screen” out of Colossians 3:9-14. God calls us out of living a “pretend life” that accumulates as layers over us as a result of our families of origin and our culture. To find love, value, and worth, we often become people God never intended. Part of the gift of salvation in Christ is a deliverance from our false selves into our true selves in Christ, living out our unique “sealed orders” from Him. Paul calls us “not to lie to one another” (Col. 3:9) which can be translated, “Don’t be false with one another.” The following is the brief assessment I shared during the message. The degree to which we are living out of our false, or pretend, self exists on a continuum that ranges from mild to severe. We are all in process, including myself. Use the simple assessment. Read more.
The false self is pretending, consciously or unconsciously, to be somebody you are not. Defensive and superficial, it severely limits our relationships and our effective witness for Christ. The following is a brief inventory to determine how much of a mask, or false self, you are wearing: I sometimes say “yes” when I really prefer to say “no.” I often need to be approved by others to feel good about myself. I often remain silent in order to avoid conflict. When I make mistakes, I feel like a failure. At times, I compromise my own values and principles to avoid looking weak or foolish. My self-image soars with complements and is crushed by criticism. I do for others, at times, what they can and should do for themselves. I am fearful and reluctant to take risks. I often go along with what others want rather than “rock the boat.” I compare myself a lot. Read more.
One of the key tasks of leadership is to become increasingly differentiated. Our primary task, like Jesus, is to calmly differentiate our “true self” from the demands and voices around us, discerning the unique life the Father has given us . This requires that I get calm and clear about what God has given me to do, that I take the necessary time to get clear about my values and goals, and that I get the core of my validation needs met from His love. The following is a self-inventory to help you determine if you are growing in your level of differentiation: Your life is becoming easier. You are able to distinguish between thinking and feeling. You have a greater ability to manage your triggers. You worry less about what others think. People in your family do better. Your goals become clearer. You have an ability to “stay out” of others’ emotions. You. Read more.
Pete Scazzero (EHS) and Pastor Rich Villodas (Lead Pastor, New Life Fellowship) speak about a recent leadership conference held at New Life Fellowship led by Dr. Robert Mullholland.
As I prepare for my small group meeting this week I am mindful that we are not just about transformation, but very distinctly, Christian transformation. My reminder comes as I contemplate the work of theologian and New Testament scholar, Robert Mulholland, on the “eve” of his upcoming visit to NLF. I had the opportunity to sit under his teaching last year and next weekend he’ll be with our leadership community. Ever since I discovered (should say experienced) the life-changing integration of emotional health and spirituality I have wanted to eagerly lead others into transformation. Dr. Mulholland’s NT work dovetails beautifully with what I am seeking to accomplish in the lives of my small group members which is, putting off the false self and putting on the true self. This is a significant part of the growth required for Christian maturity and authentic loving. Robert Mulholland’s work is highly concentrated on keeping this transformation anchored. Read more.
Bob Mulholland Jr. was a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary for most of his adult life. His life work included a study on the “false self” as the primary hindrance that keeps us from loving union with Jesus (i.e. abiding/remaining in Him, John 15:5). He described his findings in The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self (IVP). I called him last week to talk about this theme in preparation for my sermon on John 5:17-19. We talked about how, like an archeological tell, deeper and deeper layers of our false self must be shed over the years. His list includes: Fear– vs. trust Protectiveness – fear of disclosure. Possessiveness – vs. letting go. Manipulation – attempting to manipulate those around me, or God, to my agenda. Destructiveness –using others. Self-promotion Indulgence – even in excessive religious practices. Distinction/judgmentalism He notes how the religious false self is the most insidious. Read more.