Tag Archives: encouragement

As You Run to the Finish Line

As You Run to the Finish Line - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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In the midst of the enormous vision for world evangelization, we need to keep a balance between commitment to our vision and commitment to individuals. We must always see the big picture—like the 2.7 billion unreached people in our generation. But at the same time, we must not lose sight of the individuals the Lord has placed around us. God never forgot the individual. He saw Noah, Abraham, Hannah and David, knowing each by name.

We humans are so easily moved by large numbers and the majority. We see this in the ways of the world—so political that one individual is easily disregarded, sent to the slaughterhouse for the sake of some kind of gain. But God does not operate this way.

In the parable of the lost sheep found in Luke 15, Jesus talked about the importance of one in the midst of a multitude. He spoke of a man with 100 sheep, who, when discovering one little lamb was lost, left the entire fold to search for the one. The shepherd did not say, “Oh well, I’ve got 99 left. Let the one go. It’s okay.” No. He left the 99 to pursue the one lost, searching until he found it. Then he carried that one that strayed home on his shoulders, rejoicing. The Lord said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7, NIV). The heavens rejoice when just one person finds his way to the Father’s love.

When I was 16 years old, I was part of a mission organization involving some 450-plus people. Even though I couldn’t speak English fluently and was not very qualified, someone saw me as an individual made by God, with potential from Him. If that person had looked only at the entire movement and the big vision God gave, they could have said, “You don’t qualify. There’s no way to fit you into our system,” and passed me by. But somebody was willing to see me, the little individual, in the multitude of people.

The same thing happened in Genesis 16. Here we see the Father’s heart for the individual through the story of Hagar, a woman alone and crying out in desperation. Even though Hagar was just an Egyptian maidservant and not a part of the house of Israel, God came down solely to minister to this woman and give her a promise.

Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Looking at the way Christ dealt with individuals helps us understand how much He cares about each one of us. Jesus looked for the one man Matthew, a tax collector whom nobody loved or cared for. He sought after one Nicodemus, one Zaccheus, one Samaritan woman, one woman caught in sin, one sick man lying by the pool for 38 years, one blind beggar. This is the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet He who spoke to and cared for the individual did not disregard the multitudes. “When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). He cared for millions, while at the same time caring for the individual, finding time even for a handful of little children.

We must see the world, “for God so loved the world” (John 3:16). This verse shows us a glimpse of the Father’s love and knowledge, His care and concern for every human being—that means the approximately 6 billion people living on planet Earth at this time in history. At the same time, that statement includes one individual like you and me. In the book of Psalms, the writer says, “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now” (Psalm 40:17, NLT).

I heard an amazing incident that took place during the Special Olympics years ago. Nine physically and mentally handicapped children lined up for the 100-meter dash in which the participants trained for months. Finally, the big event was at hand. Everyone readied for the race to begin. At the sound of the gun, they darted off. A few moments into the race, one boy stumbled, fell to his knees and began to cry.

Sitting there on the track, he looked up to see everyone else running ahead of him to the finish line. Along with the pain in his knees was the pain from everything he had worked so hard for—gone in one fall. The boy’s cries filled the track area.

The spectators in the stands heard it, as did the other runners competing. Then the most beautiful thing happened. All the other runners stopped their racing and ran back to the injured boy, helping to lift the fallen one. And together, all nine children linked arms and went toward the finish line.

Of course, all those who watched cried and cheered and clapped. But the question must be asked, will we do the same for someone who fails or needs a helping hand?

It may be in the way of writing a letter or making a telephone call. It may be saying a word of encouragement to lift them up in their time of discouragement. It simply could be giving some money or material things in a time of need. Sometimes it is simply saying nothing but just listening.

Whatever it may be, remember, this is how the Lord treats us. May we, in our following Him and fulfilling what He called us to do—being very busy and doing His work—not overlook the individuals who may need our attention or our help. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus also told us we must do unto others what we would want others to do for us. Surely you and I do not want to be forgotten or ignored. Let us be Christlike in our response to all people.

Everyone the Lord places in our lives, everywhere, at any time, is important. My hope is that while maintaining vision and running toward the finish line, we will not trample over the individual. We must never let a world vision blind us from seeing the people working right alongside us who need attention, care, love, affection and understanding.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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Zeal with Wisdom

Zeal with Wisdom - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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When you read about Paul, Peter, Philip and others in the book of Acts, you see how their lives were marked by passion. They were full of zeal, enthusiasm and excitement, red-hot in following the Lord. Nothing could stop them.

I believe the Lord desires for us to be the same way today. Even Jesus had a direct purpose and a goal. He pressed onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will, focused on what His Father required of Him. And so must we—but not at the expense of wisdom. As somebody once said, “We can become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” We need to be wise in our zeal. Sometimes we need to slow down, be sensitive and listen. In all His zeal, Jesus still took time to simply listen to the woman at the well and play with the children.

One time when I came home from the office, Gisela was crying about something going on at the house. I don’t remember exactly what it was that was bothering her. I automatically started quoting Bible verses and preaching to her, thinking that was what she needed to hear. She stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “Can you please stop? I can preach all those sermons and quote all those Bible verses too. I just want you to listen.” In my enthusiasm and zeal, I had completely missed what she needed. There was no wisdom in that.

There are many different ways that zeal without wisdom can manifest. Numerous times, women have come to me asking for prayer for their unsaved husband. They explain the strife and incredible pain they live with, telling me all the ways they have tried to convert their loved one, but to no avail. Often, this zeal takes a turn, and soon the wife starts criticizing, putting down and pointing out all the husband’s wrong ways. In turn, the husband is driven even further from the Gospel than he was before. And further from his wife.

Zeal to see a loved one come to know the Lord is good. The Bible shows us the wise way to handle this zeal—and it never mentions to argue and fight or tell the whole world how bad someone may be. Rather, in meekness and gentleness, we are to live a godly life before that person. This becomes the means for someone to come to know the Lord (see 1 Peter 3:1–7).

How often we end up losing precious friends and bringing such disunity in our fellowship or in our home by handling the truth without wisdom.

Once a pastor came to visit the GFA office. As I spent time with him, he began telling me all the things he was doing for mission work. Something within me wanted to rise up and say, “This guy is off-the-wall. He is so completely ignorant about what is really going on.” I wanted to explain the whole picture to him and give him the real story of world missions. But suddenly I thought to myself, “There is a time for everything. Is this the time to do it? He is so happy, so enthusiastic. He wants to pour out his heart and tell me what all he has done and where all he has gone. If I start lecturing at him now, what would be the point? I must love him and respect him and honor him. Dignity should be given to him.”

So I listened . . . and listened . . . and listened. I said, “Wonderful, I am so glad you have been to this place.” And then I said, “May I have your business card so I can contact you again?” Then I gave him my book Revolution in World Missions1 and said, “When you have finished reading it, would you give me a call?” He said he would.

Ten years ago, I would have acted differently. I would have said, “You think you know this and that! Well, let me tell you, you are wrong. It’s really like this . . .” But this is not how the Lord would have responded. We need to make a conscious effort to be sensitive to one another in this way. We need to keep our zeal and walk in wisdom at the same time.

Wisdom is knowing how to properly handle the information and knowledge we have, especially when it comes to relationships. And the Word of God tells us we receive wisdom by having the fear of the Lord. That simply means a close relationship with the Lord, seeking His face and living in obedience. This brings wisdom to our hearts.

1 K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions (Carrollton, TX: gfa Books, 1986).

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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Where is Your Focus?

Where is Your Focus - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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A balance needs to be kept between our concerns for a deeper life and our concerns for world evangelism. God wants us to grow and become more like Him. He wants us to know Him intimately. He is a jealous God who longs for our fellowship and seeks our undivided love and attention. All this is true. But it is also true that He has sent us into the world as His representatives to seek the lost. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

It is good to desire a deeper life, and it is good to go forth telling of Jesus. But we will only have a balance in these things when our focus is on Christ and Christ alone. Paul had a desire to know God and a desire to preach the Good News. Both desires existed simultaneously because both are in God’s heart. The same should be true of us.

I encourage you to go to the average Christian bookstore sometime and look at the titles spread all over the shelves. The majority of them are about how to fix your life or how to get a deeper life. But how many books are there about half of the world going to hell? How many books do you see talking about the needs of millions in unreached areas?

The other extreme is being people who are so full of zeal, constantly driven by the great need around them. We cannot work in the flesh and have no understanding of the Lord in our inner life. We must be people who continually seek the face of God to know Him.

There must be a harmony in developing our intimate walk with the Lord and our passion to reach the lost. If I really know Jesus who gave His life on the cross and shed His blood to save sinners, how can I not want to save people? How can I say that I know Jesus, or how can I enjoy a life of deeply loving Jesus, and not be compelled to do whatever I can to reach the lost world? We should not become unbalanced by all the deeper life teaching that we forget the reality of the lost world.

Anything of a truly deeper life culminates with us becoming more like Christ—having the mind of Christ. And Christ died for the world and paid the price for us to be saved and to spread this Good News to everyone. If we keep our focus on Christ—not specifically on gaining a deeper life for ourselves or on reaching the millions—there will be this balance.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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Discipline and Freedom

Discipline and Freedom - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Setting good habits for ourselves and being disciplined in our lives are good. But it is not good to become a slave to that sort of disciplined life. The Pharisees were very disciplined people. They fasted. They prayed regularly. They studied the Scriptures. And they were also bound by their traditions and discipline. The same thing can happen to us Christians today. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1, NIV). There needs to be a balance between discipline and freedom.

Some of the unhappiest people I have ever met in my life are those who are militant about everything in their lives. They must always have things together, always be on time, perfect in every way. These perfectionists make their own lives miserable, as well as everyone else with whom they come in contact. These people are controlled, not by grace and freedom, but by legalism.

Someone once said, “Nothing will keep a Christian more immature than trying to keep a list.” Having a disciplined life is important—very important—especially in the areas of personal discipline (such as prayer life, time management, systematic study of the Bible). Yet some people become so paranoid about doing all these things with a legalistic mindset that they actually become slaves of these disciplines. They first embraced them because they believed the discipline would bring freedom to their lives. But now they are enslaved by them, and their daily life is one big burden of endless striving. And it doesn’t end with themselves either. People who live like this will often use their own standards to judge others. They constantly become critical and judgmental toward their spouses, children and fellow workers. These kinds of people are absolutely miserable to live with.

In his book He Still Moves Stones, Max Lucado states, “Legalism: Turns my opinion into your burden. . . . Turns my opinion into your boundary. . . . Turns my opinion into your obligation.”1 There needs to be a balance in the way we handle our own life of discipline and how we respond to others. In Romans 14 we find the instruction about giving freedom and grace to others—living by the law of love, not of discipline. When we become judgmental and critical toward the people around us, we make their lives hard and difficult. Romans 14:13 says, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” It is good to have a disciplined life and make personal demands on ourselves. But at the same time, we must show grace and mercy toward others who may not be like us or who disagree with us, and bear with one another in love and humility.

In Romans 7, Paul talks about the incredible struggle in his own life to find victory and peace through “rigid discipline.” These demands only made him more miserable and wretched as he kept striving to be perfect. The truth of the matter is this: Although we must do our part, we also must realize that if our part is all there is, then everything begins with us and ends with us. And the Scripture says, “Nothing good dwells in me” (Romans 7:18, NASB).

Toward the end of Romans 7, we hear Paul bursting out with joy and celebration because he realized there is true freedom and victory—not in rigid discipline, but in yielding all that he was to Christ who came to set him free. Romans 7:24–25 says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

My encouragement to you is this: Be disciplined, absolutely. You must be. Yet don’t let that become your master and your god. Don’t become militant about organizing your every minute. Don’t try so hard to save time that you forget to live. Don’t become so scheduled that you demand from yourself and everybody else a perfectly structured life. There is no joy, no freedom, in that kind of living. Ask God to order your time. If you are in the middle of a scheduled prayer time and someone knocks on the door, don’t automatically ignore the knock. Ask God. Maybe He has sent this person to pray for you or maybe this person needs your comfort. Don’t be undisciplined, but at the same time rest in the assurance that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD” (Psalm 37:23).


1 Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1993), p. 120. Used by permission.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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Faith and Common Sense

Faith and Common Sense - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Nothing is going to be accomplished for eternity without faith. Only that which is done by faith will last. It is impossible to please God without faith (see Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the foundation of everything. Salvation will never happen without faith. Sanctification will never happen without faith. Heaven will never be ours without faith. But we need to be careful not to embrace foolish steps of ungrounded “faith.” We need to keep a balance between faith and the common sense God has given us.

The ministry of Gospel for Asia is a testimony to the power of faith in action. The Lord has done so many incredible things that we alone could have never made happen. What God promised to do, He will do. Faith is one of the subjects I like to talk about, because I see it working continually.

Oftentimes, people forget that we cannot respond beyond the measure of faith we have received from the Lord. When we hear incredible stories of God’s dealings with other people, surely it encourages our hearts to believe God for greater things. But in all of this, we must guard against the tendency to exercise “faith” not in line with God’s purposes. We cannot decide on something “good” we want to have happen and then presume God will do it if we keep on praying. We must not fall into the “name-it-and-claim-it” trap. God’s definition of “good” is so much greater than ours. He has our spiritual well-being in His perspective. For a lot of people in Christendom, faith has become a magic wand that will do wonders to meet certain wishes and wants. This type of “faith” is totally self-centered, leaving no room for God’s glory or the extension of the Lord’s kingdom in someone’s life. Hebrews 11 shows those whom God considered people of faith; their lives were spent continually for the glory of God, and they paid the price with their life.

When we read about David facing the giant Goliath and defeating him, and Abraham getting a son even though his natural body was incapable of producing such, and the wall of Jericho falling down, and about all the many incredible miracles recorded in the Gospels—the blind man seeing and the leper healed—we stand amazed to see how these individuals believed God and held onto His promises.

We need to realize that the faith they had was not something they could cook up. Rather, it was based on what they heard and learned about the grace and the promises of the living God. We, too, are given the challenge and encouragement to believe and have faith for God to do wonders on our behalf.

Let us be careful not to presume on God and take foolish steps, acting out of presumption. I pray for sick people often, and I see God heal and do miracles. I have seen people recover from illnesses for which there was no treatment. But does that mean I don’t take medicine? No.

I have a friend who is a well-known preacher, whom God used to do outstanding miracles. I was an eyewitness to what happened. The blind saw. Totally deaf people heard, and mute people spoke. I was right there when these things happened. One day this pastor told me that he had developed a heart problem. Up to that point, he had experienced continual healing in his life, and he was scared to go to a doctor. But the Lord spoke to his heart and said, “If you don’t go to a doctor, you are going to die. If you go to a doctor and get treatment, you will live.” So he went to the hospital, had surgery and lived.

I asked him why he thought this had happened. He told me that he believed the Lord wanted to show him that He heals through medicine and doctors. God wanted him to help other people see this, too, so that they were not led into blind faith. It is not God’s intent that people die because they refuse medical attention. My friend realized that the whole experience was God’s plan to help him understand the balance needed in this area.

God is the author and finisher of our faith. Faith is something He gives us through His Word and in proportion to our readiness to receive it. We cannot generate our own faith through the flesh and positive thinking. We need to have understanding so we can discern these things. It is absolutely essential to keep a balance between faith and common sense so that we do not fall into counterfeit faith.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: Youtube | Twitter | GFA Reports | GFA.net

The Devil is Bad Enough

The Devil is Bad Enough - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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It is so important that we strive to maintain a balance between attributing things to demonic activity and recognizing natural phenomena. A particular instance comes to mind when I think of this subject. It was a time many years ago when I was speaking at a church. After the meeting a lady came up to me and said, “Brother K.P., will you please lay your hand on me and pray for me?” Naturally, I asked what she wanted me to pray for.

She answered, “I have a demon of smoking.”

I replied, “Dear lady, you don’t have a demon. You can cast out demons, but you cannot cast out the flesh.”

For every flare of temper, every weakness, every time you sneeze, you may think, “Oh, there is a demon.” Your car just swerved into the next lane or some madman drove through the red light. “Oh, there’s a demon attacking me.” No. The Devil is bad enough. Don’t attribute every little bad thing that happens to him.

Please don’t look at the events in your life and think demons are after you all the time. There are demons and there are attacks. But we should be careful not to become paranoid of the things that happen in life. If there are demons, the Lord has given us the authority to pray and tell them to leave—and they must go.

The truth is, the Devil is defeated. Therefore, the child of God has no reason to be afraid of Satan and his hordes of demons. Someone who has truly repented of sin and trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ lives a life that has been washed in the blood of the Lamb. When Jesus died on the cross, He placed demons and Satan—the whole evil bunch—under His feet. And we are the Body of Christ, so the whole satanic force is under our feet. The Scripture specifically tells us, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, NASB).

One of the main tactics that Satan uses is causing us to forget who we are in Christ. This deception is very powerful. When we forget that Satan was defeated through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we also forget the greatness of our God. In Ephesians 1:20–23, we read of the tremendous authority that the Lord Jesus Christ has given to His Body, that is, each one of us who belongs to the Lord:

. . . when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

For many of us, we constantly see the Enemy and his tactics all around, and we focus on what we see rather than on the power of our God. This is clearly illustrated in the story of the 12 spies who were sent out to evaluate the Promised Land (see Numbers 13). Except for Joshua and Caleb, 10 of them—the majority—came back talking about the giants they saw in the land and how they could never conquer them. It even says in Numbers 13:33, “There we saw the giants . . . and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” They made the confession that it was impossible to possess the land God had promised them. The problem was not the giants—it was that they saw only the giants. What they overlooked was the greatness of God in the situation and how God saw them—able to possess the land by His might!

This is so true in our lives today as well. When dealing with daily life struggles and issues, especially if they are influenced by satanic forces, we can easily forget that God is just that—God! Ephesians 6:16 (NASB) tells us we should take up “the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” That means no matter what we face, we are given the authority, and we can overcome and stand firm and victorious.

At the same time, we need to be very careful that we do not look at people with emotional problems or certain mental problems as being demon possessed. Just like there are large numbers of people living with physical illness, there are thousands and tens of thousands of people who are inflicted with some form of emotional or mental problem. What they need is counseling based on God’s Word and treatment by professional people.

Please understand. There are very real physical and mental illnesses. With some of these you can pray against demons all you want, but that is not going to work. These people need treatment, help and counseling. At the same time, some people are demonized, as seen in Mark 5:1–20. Nothing will help them except praying and casting out the demon.

There are natural phenomenas, calamities, problems and difficulties in life. But there is also demonic activity that needs to be recognized for what it is. Unless we are careful, we can get out of balance and forget there are two sides.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | Youtube | Twitter | GFA Reports

Our Need and Christ’s Sufficiency

Our Need and Christ's Sufficiency - KP Yohannan - Gospel or Asia

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We all have expectations for ourselves. We all have ways we would like to be different. Perhaps we would like to be more patient or less prone to anger. When we do not measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves we become discouraged. But we have to realize that God is not discouraged with us. He never gives up on us. He never stops working with us. Balance is needed between knowing our sins and insufficiency and knowing that it is God who works within us, perfecting us for His glory.

When you pray, do you oftentimes get weighed down with confessing your owns sins and repenting for every wrong thought and failure? Sometimes it seems we can’t get over this, living with constant memories from the past and old sins that caused great pain. Many people live continually with the words, “If only . . . if only . . . I wish,” playing through their minds, unable to move past their failures.

Sometimes we feel that we don’t pray enough. We are not spiritual enough. We don’t have enough of a burden for the lost. We feel we are not good husbands, good fathers, good wives, good mothers or good children. We think negative things about ourselves, and we begin to dwell on these thoughts, beating ourselves up because we don’t spend money wisely, don’t study enough or don’t pray enough.

We all have this problem—me included. Our expectations of ourselves can take us into spiritual darkness. This happens because we become our own judge. We become our law. We become our guide and teacher, the one who evaluates ourself. In the end, it is a cesspool of self-centeredness and anguish.

Matthew 12:20 says, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.” Philippians 1:6 says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Ten looks at self and one look at Jesus will make you a hypocrite. You will have to pretend to be spiritual, living with conflict and mental torture because you don’t measure up to your own standards. Hear the frustration in Paul’s voice when he writes of the great insufficiency of I in Romans 7:14–23. If you are this kind of individual there is no rest for you. This happens because you become too introspective, taking the focus off of Christ and placing it on yourself.

But one look at self and ten looks at Jesus will keep you going. Romans 7:24–25 says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our LORD!” Yes! It is through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It is good to know our weaknesses and failures, for how can we confess our sins unless we see them as sins? Toward the end of his life, Paul calls himself the worst of sinners (see Timothy 1:15), knowing that in his flesh there dwelt nothing that was good. This is being honest about our true condition. But in this honesty, we must also know God’s longsuffering and faithfulness in working with us in our many weaknesses.

It is in knowing our true condition that we understand the fullness and completeness of God’s great love for us. We could never fully understand and appreciate what Christ has done for us until we know something of our wretched state. Knowing the offense in us causes us to understand the depth of His grace—that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The danger lies in dwelling on our sins, failures and shortcomings.

We must look to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, the giver of all good gifts—our Master, Savior, Redeemer and Friend. We must trust Him. We must have faith that He will mold us into His image and that He will not give up on us. It took 20 years for God to make Jacob into Israel. But did God give up on him? No.
High standards are very good.

We encourage people to read The Road to Reality,1 The Calvary Road,2 True Discipleship3 and other books whose authors challenge a deeper life and commitment. The tremendous challenge is to constantly abandon all and follow the Lord—walking away from friendship with the world and keeping ourselves free from the pollution of watered-down Christianity.

None of us is capable of serving God in our own strength. That is good. None of us measures up. It is the strength and grace of Jesus that allows us to serve. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). We have to fully understand both parts of this verse—the first part, “with man this is impossible” and the second part, “but with God all things are possible” (emphasis added).

Keep in mind—wherever you are in your spiritual walk with the Lord, God is not concerned about whether you are now a mature, strong person. No. He is looking at your heart. Let Him work with you. Trust Him to do His work in you.

I want to encourage you. When you have these struggles in your spiritual life—when you feel weak, like you are not measuring up—just be yourself. Admit your sins and shortcomings. Don’t try to prove anything to anyone. The worst thing you can do is become a hypocrite and pretender. One thing God hates more than anything else is hypocrisy.

Let us be honest with each other. I share my weaknesses and problems. One time when I was speaking to seminary students, I shared about the struggles I have in many areas of my life. It shocked the students. One of them said to me afterwards, “We never thought someone like you would have struggles in your life.”
I replied, “You must be joking!” The truth is we all struggle with one thing or another.

But even when you are discouraged about yourself, God is not. He loves you. He has forgiven your sins—the ones you have committed, the ones you are committing and the ones you will commit until the last second of your life. It’s all taken care of.

You cannot make yourself spiritual by weeping and fasting and punishing yourself. As much as you are concerned about your inner life, putting yourself down and dwelling on failures and sins will not help. Remember, it is God who is working with you and He will not let you go. He is faithful to complete the good work He started in you.

1 K.P. Yohannan, The Road to Reality (Carrollton, TX: gfa Books, 1988).
2 Roy Hession, The Calvary Road (London: Christian Literature Crusade, 1950).
3 William McDonald, True Discipleship (Kansas City: Walterick Publishers, 1975).

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks - The Beauty of Christ through Brokenness - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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There seem to be thousands of Christian bookstores today filled with “how-to” books—“How to have a happy life,” “How to have a happy marriage,” “How to raise your children,” “How to be financially solvent.” We like quick and easy fixes. It’s like putting food in the microwave and pushing the button—“pshht”—just like that, it comes out ready. Instantaneous Christianity!

But brokenness in our lives is a process, one that we continually learn and grow in. May the Lord help us all as we go through this life. Slowly but surely we are learning. God never gives up on us. Consistently He works with us. He never says, “I can’t work with you anymore. You are hopeless.” Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. We can trust Him always, even when we fail. He is all good, all perfect and all love to us.


Lord, please help us to choose those opportunities to give in, to bend, to break and to walk humbly with You and with our brothers and sisters. Thank You for the example that You give us. We are learners, Lord, and we bend our necks and say, “Lord, please, let Your yoke be upon us.”

Thank You for Your Word that comes to our hearts as an encouragement. You are working with us, changing us day-by-day to prepare us for eternity and to restore to us that which was lost. Your intention is to make us more like Your Son. Lord, thank You for working with us. Make us teachable like little children. Give us Your grace to stay soft and broken. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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The Beauty that Comes

The Beauty that Comes - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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In the ancient town of Bethany there lived a woman, whose story we read in Mark 14:3–9. One evening she traveled to the house of Simon the leper, because she had heard that Jesus was there. She came seeking to do one thing—to pour out her costly perfume to Jesus. “A woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head” (v. 3).

Please notice that Scripture does not say she came and poured out two or three drops and then closed the flask and went home. She did not pour out half of the contents and then decide that was enough. No. She broke it. All the contents were poured out as the vessel was broken and the entire area was filled with fragrance.

My brothers and sisters, the Lord desires the same for us, for these earthen vessels, these jars of clay, to be thoroughly broken before Him, that Christ within may come flowing out in all His beauty, making our lives a blessing to all those around us.

Inner Transformation

When we come to the place at which we experience this brokenness, we begin to change within, in our character. The climate of our heart changes and we start to daily walk in repentance. There’s no more defending ourselves and the things we’ve done. There is no more shifting blame and saying, “It’s my nerves, the circumstances. You don’t know what I have to live with! I only reacted. It’s my weakness. It’s my DNA from my great-grandfather.” None of these things is left. We simply say, like the prodigal son, “I have done wrong; I have sinned.”

The prodigal son’s response to his father was not, “Father, I never would have left this house if this creep, my older brother, didn’t treat me so badly all of my life. Father, I would have been more thoughtful about not leaving if only you cared about me and had some feasts like this one once in a while in my honor. I would have been more content if you gave me some pocket money to spend on myself. It’s because of you, Father!”

There were a thousand excuses he could have come up with for leaving home and squandering his father’s wealth. But he didn’t use them. He was broken. He was humble. And he simply said, “I have sinned” (see Luke 15:18).

Not only do we walk in repentance over our own sins, but we repent for others as well. The Bible is full of broken individuals who wept over the sins of their people. Consider Daniel or Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet. Like Jesus, we are moved with compassion for those who have gone astray.

Broken by our own sin, we no longer judge our brother or our sister, but our hearts are soft enough to break for the sin in their lives. We enter in and become part of their struggle, agonizing with them and carrying their burden. Like Nehemiah, we cry out before the Lord for them (see Nehemiah 1:4–11).

When we come to the place of genuine brokenness, we also come to the end of our own strength. Our own strength is often one of our biggest enemies. But when we are broken, we realize we have no strength except what God supplies. Flesh has no strength to do good. Paul says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18).

Have you ever wondered why God picks the least, the last and the nobodies to do His work? Except for Judas who betrayed Him, all the disciples of Christ were plain, ordinary, uneducated men. God didn’t select the 12 disciples from among the strongest and the best.

In Scripture, we see how God often does the greatest through those who admit they have no strength of their own. Consider Moses as one example. He was once a great orator and leader, but when God broke him of his own ways out in the desert for 40 years, he came to the end of his strength and ability. Left with nothing but the strength and ability of God, Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt.

When our flesh stops trying, when it is thoroughly crushed and broken, His purposes for our lives are unhindered, and we bring true glory to His name.

First Peter 2:23 (NIV) tells us, “When they hurled their insults at [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

When we are broken like Jesus, we are able to forgive people, truly forgive them, and desire no revenge. A good example of this is found in the life of Joseph. When his brothers came to him desperate in the time of famine, he had every reason to turn them away and let them die. But he didn’t. He said, “My brothers, don’t be afraid, the Lord sent me here for you” (see Genesis 45:5).

What an incredible heart of forgiveness! There was no revenge, no wish for evil. This can only come through a life that has been truly broken. All those years in slavery and in prison, all the hard circumstances and rough terrain of Joseph’s life were used to break him, so that one day he could become a blessing to many, even to those who had hurt him most.

And there was no pride in Joseph being able to help the ones who hurt him. This is because when we are truly broken, our lives are rooted in humility. We live in the reality of Philippians 2:3 (NIV), and we “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than [o]urselves.” There is no room for boasting.

Look at Jacob’s life and see how when he was finally broken, there was no more “I am this . . .” and “I am that . . .” Instead, in Genesis 47, we find Jacob leaning against his staff at the end of his life and simply worshiping God, in awe of who He is and what He had done.

When we have been broken of our own ways and our own life, we walk as Jesus did, in true submission. This is not just an outer compliance, but an attitude of our hearts. It is not always easy to submit, either to what the Lord is saying or to one another. This is surely an impossible thing for someone who is not broken to do. But when we see Christ and embrace brokenness as He did, we have no reason to fight for our way or consider doing things independently.

Jesus never operated independently at all. He only spoke and did what the Father gave Him (see John 14:10). He never sought His own will. He came to do only what the Father desired. In everything He was in submission to the Father. And we are to live the same way, in submission to the Lord and to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This kind of life seeks nothing but the Father’s approval. It no longer matters what people think of us or what we have accomplished. “We make it our aim . . . to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9, emphasis added).

All of this beauty comes because we are broken. We no longer have anything to fight for because our lives have been crucified with Christ. We no longer have anything to boast in because our outer man is crushed, our strength is done away with, our reputation insignificant. It is only Christ within us that matters now. And it is only Christ within us, in all His beauty and grace, who can be seen now. His living water is free to flow out of us and bless others.

The Fruit of Brokenness

When we live a life of brokenness, not only do we become a blessing to many, but we live victorious over the Enemy. Scripture tells us that Jesus overcame him who had power over death through His death on the cross (see Hebrews 2:14).

It was not when Christ performed miracles and walked on water and raised Lazarus from the dead and fed the five thousand that He defeated Satan. It was when He suffered. It was His brokenness and giving up His life that brought victory.

It is through our choosing brokenness that we also find victory over the Enemy— victory over the one who creates the anger, the jealousy, the discouragement, the bitterness and strife, the fighting for our rights and all the other stuff we struggle with. We find victory through simply letting go and, like Jesus, giving up our lives.

When we live a life pleasing to Jesus and broken before Him, He is able to remake the failures in our lives. He, the Master Potter, is able to take the broken vessel and remake it into the precious one. He is the One who has promised that He would not destroy the bruised reed (see Matthew 12:20).

All of this causes us to become a blessing to others, filled with the same meekness of Christ. Through brokenness, we become just like Him—approachable, highly sensitive to others’ needs, hurt and pain, and genuinely caring for them.

Just think about it. There was no one afraid to come to Jesus. Everyone from the tax collectors to the prostitutes felt welcomed and safe around Him. There was a love in Him unsurpassed by any before, because He, the Bread of Life, allowed Himself to be broken. His brokenness became our blessing.

My precious brothers and sisters, I encourage you to learn of Him who gave up everything. Jesus was so broken on the cross. There was nothing He held on to. Learn from His humility and brokenness. Only on that foundation will we be able to reflect His image and do what He calls us to do. I want that, and I believe you do too.

© 2004  by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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The Way to Fullness

The Way to Fullness - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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If there is one verse in the entire Bible that speaks volumes of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit or to experience the fullness of the Lord and have His rivers of living water flow out of us unhindered, it is Galatians 2:20—

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It’s a familiar verse to many of us. But please, take a moment to pause and think about what it is saying.

This “I,” this “me” who is so important, has “ . . .been crucified, it’s no longer I who live . . .”

Someone once said, “There is a cross and there is a throne in all our lives. If ‘I’ is on the throne, then Christ is on the cross. If Christ is on the throne, then ‘I’ is on the cross.”

The measure in which we will allow the cross to operate in our lives, to bring death to our own selfish ambitions, our ways, our rights, our reputation, our interests, in the same measure only will Christ manifest His life through us.

Jesus talked about this in John 12:24–25, “I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Jesus’ contemporary, Eusebius, records the account of a king from a small kingdom who, after hearing of the Jewish leaders’ plot to kill Jesus, sent a few of his men to deliver a letter to Him inviting Him to live in their kingdom. The contents of the letter deliv- The Beauty of Christ through Brokenness 46 ered were something like, “We understand the Jews are plotting to kill You. Having learned much about You, I believe You are a good man and teacher. Please come and be part of my kingdom and rule with me. We will take care of You.”

John 12:20–21 (NIV) mirrors this account: “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came . . . with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’”

According to Eusebius, the answer Jesus gave to their request was very similar to John 12:24–25. In essence, what Jesus said was, “You want to see Me? If you really want to see Me, you must die. Only through death will you find Me.”

Jesus’ answer is the same today. If we want to see Him and have His beauty and love seen in us, we must die. We must be that grain of wheat that falls to the ground, broken and crushed, to see greater life produced.

But oh how you and I try so hard, even in Christian service, to preserve our own lives, even when Jesus clearly said that if we hold on to our lives we would lose them. We will remain as we are. Fifty years we can live and study the Bible and become an expert, and still, we will not see Him.

On the pages of the Bible, you will see Jesus—the One who dwells in such light that when you gaze upon His face you change without trying. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” That transformation, that change can only take place when our hearts are pure. In one of Jesus’ first sermons He told the crowd that had gathered, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

But what does it mean to be pure in heart?

A pure heart has no soulish life in it, no selfish ambition for itself because that “I” has been crucified. With the pure heart, there is no hindrance from Christ within coming forth because there is no contamination from the self-life.

Over my years of ministering, the Lord has had to rebuke me several times after speaking and teaching from His Word. I repent over those times. Even though my speech was absolutely eloquent and people were moved by the words I shared, when it was all over, very quietly the Lord would say to me, “You failed Me miserably.”

“How, Lord?”

“It was all contaminated. You spoke truth, but it was all mixed up with your soulish life. A bit of dirt makes all the water impure. People were deeply moved emotionally and intellectually, but no life can come out of it.”

In Matthew 11:29–30, we read one of the most beautiful Scripture portions ever recorded. It is the invitation of Christ— “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

When Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you . . .” we must realize that only a broken animal will bend its neck and take the yoke.

For example, I grew up in a place where my people are rice farmers, and we didn’t have machinery then or now to plow the fields. You know how we do it? We use two buffaloes.

I remember as a small boy, looking at the fields where they would be used to plow. Year after year, hundreds of times, I saw the same scene—the buffaloes standing there, not making a single noise. They would never run away. They just stood there. And right there in the field beside them would be a skinny, little man with hardly any clothes on and a tiny stick in his hand. The buffalo would bend its neck as the yoke was brought—there was no fight, no resistance, no squabble, nothing. The buffalo simply yielded its rights.

But then, if you were to look closely, you would see two or three deep scars on the rear of the buffalo. Those scars were made at the time the animal was broken, when it was trained. These buffaloes are strongwilled creatures. With their massive and strong horns, they are capable of killing a man with a single toss of the head. But now they are different. They are broken.

Every servant of God must go through a similar process. Paul speaks of bearing on his body “the marks of the Lord Jesus” (see Galatians 6:17). Christ was broken on the cross. The whiplashes on His back, the thorn piercing on His head, the nail holes in His hands and feet are His brand marks. They speak forever of the humility He chose to walk in on this earth.

Again, we must hear the invitation of Christ—“Come, yield your rights, let go of your own will and take My yoke. It is easy. It is light. Come, learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly, and you will find rest for your soul.”

What from His life are we to come and learn from?

Consider the way Psalm 22:6 (NIV) speaks of Christ: “But I am a worm and not a man.” It’s talking about Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world, what He must say about Himself. He was bruised and broken that no one should desire Him, no one should have any attraction toward Him. He was despised and forsaken. Like a sheep that is silent before the shearer, He did not open His mouth in protest to the cruelty He received from the ones He came to save. He simply submitted and chose to be broken (see Isaiah 53).

And we, too, must choose to be broken. Philippians 2:5–8 tells us,

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Someone can be filled with the Holy Spirit, baptized in the Holy Spirit, stand on his head or whatever, yet still turn around and be as carnal, hard and devilish in his attitude and actions toward others.

Why? Because being gentle, soft and Christlike never comes through the gifts of the Holy Spirit or by being filled with the Holy Spirit. It comes only through the cross and our choice to embrace brokenness, just as Jesus did. Jesus said, “This is My body which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24). He chose brokenness. He chose to embrace the cross. He didn’t say to Peter or John, “This is My body. Take it and break it.” He didn’t say, “This is My body that the Father broke into pieces for you.” No. He is the One who humbled Himself and allowed Himself to be broken.

I want to offer this humble suggestion: Do not look for some external, supernatural event to change you or the situations of your life. Let the Lord show you the corruption in your own heart and be willing to go to the cross by humbling yourself. Be willing to be broken again and again and again and again. This is the only way to have life. As long as you hold onto it, you will lose it. But once you choose to be broken, you will experience the life of Christ in all its fullness.

Oftentimes when I counsel people, I sense this is what the Lord is trying to accomplish through the situations they are dealing with. I listen as they tell me of the heartache, pain and frustrations they live with. But most important I listen to what is not being said with words. In the end, my response is often the same—“Brother, it’s not what happened to you. It’s not what the person said or this and that. It’s how you responded to it. I sense tension. I sense restlessness. I sense you want to be vindicated. I sense the agony in you, the pain in you, like you are locked up in a prison. Your problem is not out there; the problem is here, in your own heart.”

Every time you are discouraged, every time you want to give up, every time you are in conflict with someone, every time there is no peace in your heart, you are troubled and distressed, there is restlessness and all those things, you must understand—the Lord is trying to bring you to the place of brokenness. We become frustrated and upset over our circumstances because we have yet to truly experience what it means to just give up, to become like Christ, like a worm, and totally give up our rights. The cross of Christ continues to work, but you are resisting it.

The way of peace, the way to have a striveless life out of which rivers of living water flow, only comes through our being broken.

© 2004  by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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