WHAT IS STOPPING YOU FROM SUBMITTING TO GOD?

The process of self-emptying so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God and made into new creatures is often easier for those who are naturally wretched and miserable, as opposed to those who seem to have it “all together” like Denzel Washington.

The reliance on natural gifts can not only prevent us from coming to Christ but also hinder our daily reliance on His Holy Spirit once we have. Relying on our own powers and failing to recognize the ultimate source of those powers can stunt our relationship with our Creator and, ultimately, lead us into the first of all sins, the sin of pride.

That the Christian life is fundamentally related to the humility of the soul before God is itself revealed in the life of Christ. Paul talks of God’s “self-emptying” (kenosis):

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11

The process of self-emptying so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God and made into new creatures is often easier for those who are naturally wretched and miserable, as opposed to those who seem to have it “all together”:

Men like Denzel Washington endowed with incredible natural gifts like charisma and talent, find it harder to rely on God’s power and providence. It is so easy for them to say who needs God, I can supply all that I need. That Denzel struggled to “want [the Holy Spirit”], didn’t want to “go too deep” and wasn’t “ready to live it” is an honest account of what it is often like for those who are gifted by God to not want to acknowledge the source of those gifts, but to rely on them as their own. But, that Denzel is as outspoken a follower of Christ as he is, given his incredible circumstances, is itself a testimony to God’s grace and Denzel’s faithful response to that grace.

For C.S. Lewis, who called himself “the most reluctant convert,” it was not his looks per se, but his natural gift of intellect that prevented him from humbling himself before God. For many of us, it may be something other than looks or intellect that hinders us from coming to Christ. But, that some part of our natural gifts may be the very thing keeping us from the Giver of those gifts, is very likely the case.

What about you?

DENZEL WASHINGTON’S RESPONSE TO WILL SMITH’S SLAP

Denzel Washington’s instant reaction to Will Smith’s Slap Is a convicting reminder to us all: ‘The Only Solution Was Prayer’

The actor knew the importance of turning to the Lord in the heat of the moment. Rather than join in panic, ignore the problem or take another worldly approach, Washington decided to act upon our Ephesians 6:18 mandate.

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

Like the others around him, he could have remained seated in shock and awe. He could have whispered and wondered while disengaging from what was happening around him.

But Washington took a different route and decided to pray alongside Smith.

In reality, it was a simple act of obedience. But, in practice, Washington’s immediate, level-headed, and God-focused response to the crisis now poses a convicting reminder to us all.

As he explained: “The vast majority of us will never behave in a manner that garners international rebuke nor will we be witness to one, yet we all face trials, tribulations, and problems in our everyday lives. And when we do, what’s our first response?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s often much easier to rage, judge, yell, ignore, or flee. Yet we’re called to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” We’re called to seek the Lord not only when we face these situations but when others, too, are in the midst of turmoil.”

POWERFUL TESTIMONY BY DENZEL WASHINGTON

Actor Denzel Washington does not mince words when it comes to his faith in God. And in a recent interview with the New York Times, Washington reiterated that he is a “God-fearing man” while also warning people to not become too self-focused. 

“This is spiritual warfare. So, I’m not looking at it from an earthly perspective,” he said in the interview. “If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.”

As CBN News has reported, Washington gave his life to God early on, but it took a few years for him to understand the weight of that decision. 

“Three times…I think we all go through that. I was filled with the Holy Ghost and it scared me,” he said. “I didn’t want to go this deep…I want to party. It was a supernatural, once in this lifetime experience that I couldn’t completely understand at the time.”

Now, the 64-year-old actor lives out his tenets of faith daily. 

“I’m a God-fearing man,” he told NYT. “I try not to worry. Fear is contaminated faith.”

Washington goes out of his way to help others and encourage them.

Actor Corey Hawkins, who plays opposite of Denzel in “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” told the New York Times the actor prays with him. “Sometimes we get talking and you see the preacher in him,” he said. “He’s just a natural-born charismatic leader who is not afraid to talk about his own faults or misgivings or shortcomings.”

Washington has become more outspoken about the pitfalls of social media. “The least we can do is consider what we have done and think about the young people,” the two-time Academy Award-winning actor said. He also recently shared scripture encouraging people not to get too focused on social media. 

“The Bible says in the last days — I don’t know if it’s the last days, it’s not my place to know — but it says we’ll be lovers of ourselves,” he said. “The No. 1 photograph today is a selfie, ‘Oh, me at the protest.’ ‘Me with the fire.’ ‘Follow me.’ ‘Listen to me.’”

“We’re living in a time where people are willing to do anything to get followed. What is the long or short-term effect of too much information? It’s going fast and it can be manipulated obviously in a myriad of ways. And people are led like sheep to the slaughter,” Washington added.

His focus has become more heaven-bound. 

“There are going to be two lines, the long line, and the short line, and I’m interested in being in the short line.”

During his American Film Institute Life Achievement Award acceptance speech, he was outspoken about His faith in God. Hopefully, it impacted some of the Hollywood stars present. He also warned against the “twitter-tweet meme-mean world that we’ve created for our children.” Be encouraged and challenged.