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Recently I was talking with a minister who had just returned from a missions trip.
"What did you accomplish?" I asked.
"Well, the most important thing I did with the small churches in difficult situations," he said, "was give them permission to succeed."
That was an interesting thought. He must have sensed they saw themselves as losers. Their ministry was supposed to be tough, and they couldn't expect more than meager results. He realized they needed to raise their sights, to see the opportunities for success.
His remark brought to mind a story about one of the gifted golfers on the LPGA tour. This woman, a Christian, possessed enormous talent but couldn't get in the win column. In frustration, she went to a Christian counselor who discovered a surprising thing: subconsciously she didn't think of Christians as winners. She had been raised in a strict home where she was taught that Christians are passive, they lose more comfortably than they win, they're volunteer martyrs. As a result, she wasn't free to win.
After the counseling, she quickly started winning. All the counselor did was give her permission to succeed.
There are several reasons Christians are afraid to succeed.
Some have an incorrect concept of God. Last year while I was speaking at a seminary, a young man walked up and said, "God's got me right where he wants me."
I asked, "Where's that?"
"I have a son," I said, "and it would disturb me if my son were to say to some friend, 'My dad's got me right where he wants me-broke.' He and I would have to have a talk about his wrong concept of my feelings and desires for him."
A second problem is an incorrect concept of how God works. Sometimes we hear, "Ask, and God will work a miracle." Normally, that isn't the way he works. God is the one who brought cause and effect into being, so usually right results come from right actions.
You have a right to expect pay when you work, because "a laborer is worthy of his pay." In the same way, you ...