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Years ago I had a conversation with a leader that changed my life.

He had just gone through a season where he lost a lot of things he had worked his life for. I sat with him and asked him what he learned in that season. He told me four things that gave me direction and also things that come to my heart all the time that guard my life.

Here are those four things:

1: When the Lord deals with your heart to make changes, make changes, NOT excuses.

He told me for years the Lord told him to change some things in his organization. These were things that kept coming to his heart. In times of prayer and times of peace (which all of us need more of), these changes would come up.

He did not make the changes. He made excuses.

Excuses like… “It’s not that bad”, “I have more time”, “They will change”.

We are instructed by scripture to give the devil NO PLACE. When we make excuses for things God asks us to change, we open the door to a thief to steal from us. When you get something on your heart to change and it keeps coming to you in times of prayer and peace… CHANGE.

Stop the excuses!

Whether it is personal, relational, financial, or your health, pull the trigger and make the change.

2: If the devil can’t get to you (make you sin), he will try to get to you through someone close to you.

This man saw his life hurt by having someone in it (who he did not separate from due to making excuses) who did foolish things and it came to hurt many people. Being a companion to a fool Is dangerous. Their foolishness will hurt you. The Bible teaches the companion of a fool will be destroyed. Not the fool… the companion. You are not morally obligated to befriend, employ, or be around foolish people, but this principle also directs us in personal pain from unfaithful people: Unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness is the most dangerous sin on the planet. It stops our prayers. It hardens our hearts and lingers for months without being addressed. The devil can get to us through others getting to us. We get hurt by those closest to us and then we get in trouble with that hurt not being dealt with and it turns into unforgiveness.

Whether it’s an associate, friend, family member, or employee. Forgive everyone for everything. 

Their sin against you is not worth your future peace and future power. 

Forgive and move on.

3: Watch out for a critical and lying spirit on people, it’s a sign of a MAJOR spiritual problem.

This man had surrounded himself with people who were critical and he knew it. They criticized everything. They lied and exaggerated but they were successful and powerful so he kept them in his life. They had that spirit on them that found fault in everything and everyone.  He tolerated it.  Even though he knew it was not healthy and just wanted them in the organization.

It was fine until that critical spirit turned on him and the organization he led. It hurt him. It, kept him up at night and hurt his organization.

The devil is the ACCUSER of the brethren. We are never more like him when we find fault in people, places, and things. It’s a sign of a major spiritual problem. Don’t be critical.

Don’t allow critical people around you.

4: Faithfulness cannot be demonstrated in good times.

You never know who really is faithful to you until you go through something tough. Many people will come into your life when you are successful and it’s easy to put our faith in them. Sometimes that’s dangerous though. You don’t know who’s faithful to you until you go through something. Go through a tough time, you will see who’s really got your back.

You want to be a faithful person! Stick with people you love through tough times, but you also want to look for faithful people and keep them close, even when new people are coming into your season of power.

Also, it’s easy to be faithful to God in good times. It’s harder to be faithful when you're facing something, but remember a faithful man will abound in the blessings of the Lord. Don’t give up on God, because If it’s not good, then God is not done!

Let God finish the story!

Be faithful and keep faithful people around you.

 Pastor Joel Sims  Lead Teaching Pastor