Biblical Self Awareness

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. - James 1:25 NASB

How accurately do you see yourself? Are you really as good or bad as you think you are? How often do you ask God to reveal you to you?

As a professional coach, through assessments and objective feedback I help people see things and themselves as they really are, so they can live in to who God created them to be. In the coaching world, when people know themselves inside and out, we say they are "self-aware". Coaches facilitate self awareness.

The Bible does not explicitly command us to be self-aware, however we are often encouraged to see the truth about ourselves in relation to God and others. Consider the following:

  • Jesus often invited people to seek the truth about themselves ... just ask the rich young man in Mark 10:17-23.
  • The apostle Paul encouraged us to look forward to the time when we will know the truth about ourselves just as God knows us. (1 Cor 13:12)
  • Jacob wrestled with God until he learned something life-changing about himself. (Gen 32:22-31)
  • Paul's knowledge of himself allowed him to be humble (Rom 7:14-25).

Being self-aware comes from a keen understanding of ourselves, but self-awareness can't always come from ourselves. Whenever we seek to gain understanding, we have to involve others into our world who can see us from the outside.

If you are really serious about self-improvement through self-awareness, realize that the best assessment tools, the best coach and your own best analysis will not cause you to "arrive". You and they are not enough.

If you really want to know how to improve, make sure the one who helps you also challenges you to consult the One who completely knows you. Make sure you involve and rely on God and His perfect word. He will complete you in His time.

Who is God challenging you to become? What step will you take today to see things more clearly?

Janna Rust is a Professional Coach, Trainer and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them. For more information, visit her other blog at

You Can Ask, But You Might not Get

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. - James 4:3
God gives good things to his children, tells us to ask for our desires and encourages us to be persistent in our asking.  However, just because we ask God for something doesn't mean we will get it. What we receive from God is contingent upon our motives for asking.
Sometimes our prayers are a waste of time.
Okay, maybe not a total waste of time. Stick with me here. Coming to God in prayer is an act of submission to God and acknowledges our inability to do everything for ourselves. That's a good thing. Pouring our hearts out to our Creator is also always a good thing and certainly no waste of time because in praying we draw closer to him. But how long is too long to pray for something without considering that maybe, just maybe, God doesn't want us to have that thing we ask for?
At some point we need to question whether or not we are praying with the right motive.
Praying with the right motive simply means that what we ask for aligns with God's big picture plan. God's plan (his will) for us is pretty simple. He wills that we be conformed to his image and that we all accept the gift of eternal life in the form of belief on Jesus for salvation. He also wills that we do all things for his glory and for the greater good of his kingdom.
He does not desire that all of us have material wealth, fantastic health, or friction-free relationships on this earth. He doesn't promise us all of the various forms of abundance we feel entitled to. God promises abundance to his children, but guarantees abundance only in eternity, not here on earth.
How well do your prayers align with the will of God? If you've been praying for something for awhile without getting the answer you want, examine your motives. Are you asking for your will to be done or God's will to be done? Ask God for new ways to pray about the object of your prayers. Eventually, you'll learn and like his will...and then you will get what you want.

Janna Rust is a Professional Coach, Trainer and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her other blog at


The Responsibility of Influence

It is always fun to be smacked in the face with my bible reading.  To be gently - or not so gently - reminded about how seriously God takes leadership always makes me stop and think, especially when I'm reminded just before I have a planning meeting of some sort or prepare to teach a bible study.  You dear readers, have been along with me for lots of "smacks", even though it appears sometimes that I'm presenting the topics to you.  :)  Please remember that before I write, I've already been challenged myself. say, what now?  Let's look at James 3:1 in a few different translations:

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (KJV)

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.  (NIV)

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (NKJV)

Don't be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards.  (MSG)

Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. (ASV)

Well, now that I've scared you all away from any kind of leadership, I should probably just sign off.  Just kidding.  The bottom line here is that the greater our influence over others, the greater responsiblity we have.  (Matthew 5:19, Luke 12:48, Romans 14:10-12)  Because of our greater influence, we must hold ourselves to higher standards because people are watching us.  So, what can we do to help ourselves?

1) Remember who you serve (Galatians 1:10).  We are here to please God and not our best friends, our spouses, or our fellow church members.  Do the right thing because it is right not because it is popular, remembering that you will never please everyone. 

2) Keep your "cup" filled to overflowing.  As a leader, 15-30 minutes of quiet time per day with God just won't cut it for the long haul. If that is really all you can get, it will have to do because that is definitely better than nothing.  However, we can only give out what we have taken in.  We must abide in the "vine" of Jesus lest we lose our strength. (John 15:4-6)

3) Pray, Pray, Pray.   Perhaps the most neglected part of our spiritual walk is the most powerful weapon we have against failing as leaders.  We should never cease to ask for wisdom and guidance in our endeavors (James 1:5).   Prayer keeps us humble because by praying we openly depend on God for our successes.

These are just a few thoughts to keep us strong as leaders.  There are so many truths, it is hard to boil them down to a few to put in a blog space.   My prayer is that we will all grow stronger in the grace and knowledge of God and that we will be all that He wants us to be.  And one more thing...the next time you hold your church leader to a higher standard, give them a little grace, and remember that people are looking at you too. Just a thought.

Preconceived Notions

Have you ever passed judgment on someone based on their appearance, perceived intellect or social status?  Be honest here.  I think that we do it all of the time to one extent or another.  We might not approach someone for friendship who is extremely beautiful or whom we know has a lot of money because, after all, they are probably snobby, right?  Or what about the reverse...the poorly dressed person just might not have what it takes for our ministry or group, right?  What about a person without a formal education?  Surely that person wouldn't be capable of teaching a bible study.  That Harvard MBA surely wouldn't want to serve in the soup kitchen, would she?  Please remember that I'm only giving examples here and some of them may be extreme, but I think we can all see the point.  These judgments are not godly when we make them.

In the New Testament book of James we find James telling his brethren of all the things they should and shouldn't be doing as Christians.  I read somewhere once that it was the "How To" book of the bible.  In James 2:1-13, we are told that we sin when we show partiality.

James 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (NKJV)

Here we see it again...the love thing.  Remember how 1 Timothy 1:5 says that "the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart.."?  Fulfilling the whole law, not just the parts that make us feel better about ourselves, means that we need to show mercy and grace to everyone - not just to those people who we decide are good because of whatever reason we concoct in our little minds.

So are we ever to judge?  Absolutely.  There is a time and place for righteous judgment.  But the key here is righteous.  We have to know more about a person before we pass judgment.  And then we need to be very careful because we may be guilty ourselves.  So the next time you want to determine who a person is without getting to know them and their entire situation completely, consider whether you are being godly or just "playing God".

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.  (1 Samual 16:7)