[Philippians 4: 8-9] “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Through these messages on the deficiencies of the body, I am explaining the things that we have to realize and correct to become as perfect as the Lord. Deficiency of the body refers to the state where you lack the basic mental or physical ability, or the state where you have significantly different emotions than other people because you have not gone through the processes that you should have gone through in the steps of seeing, feeling, and acting. Most of the low level, basic deficiencies of the body will be resolved to the extent that you cast off evil from your heart. Your deficiencies will disappear to the extent that you learn the manners of the Lord, seek others’ benefits, and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. If you can realize and cast off the deficiencies that you could not realize before, then it is a great help in going into spirit. Let us consider the specific examples of deficiencies of the body and the ways to resolve them. Some have deficiencies in emotions or thinking. They lack the ability to think from the viewpoint of other people. Those who lack experience in social interaction might have mindsets that are self-centered. They don’t intend to seek their own benefit, but rather they want to seek others’ benefit. But sometimes they cause discomfort for others. They do not read the mood surrounding them, or they don’t understand from other’s standpoints and embarrass them. They think that other people like what they like and they dislike what they dislike. For example, suppose a man likes fish and eats a lot of food at every meal. Also suppose there is a woman who doesn’t like fish and she eats only a small amount of food. If this man cannot empathize with her taste, he might keep suggesting that she have more fish saying it is very delicious. The woman has had enough, but he urges her to eat more saying, “Don’t you like the food? You should eat more!” If you eat with such a person and if you are in a lower position in the business or social hierarchy or if you are being treated as a guest, it would be very difficult for you to refuse. Suppose you like giving gifts to others, but you want to give only what you like. It means your mindset is self-centered. You give gifts that you would find useful and gifts that are the colors and styles that you like. And if the other person does not seem to like it, you might even be disappointed thinking, “I’ve given him something precious, but he does not even appreciate it.” You don’t realize the fact that you were thinking only from your point of view. Even in faith, some people receive unnecessary persecutions because of such deficiencies. They diligently deliver the gospel, but cannot open others’ hearts but rather they cause them to close their hearts. Sometimes, those who do not realize the value of the gospel would rather be disruptive and persecute the working of the gospel rather than accept it. Even though the preaching might provide them with good things, they build more walls of sin instead. That is why Matthew 7:6 says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” But it doesn’t mean you must not preach the gospel at all to those who would trample on the gospel as dogs and sows trample pearls under their feet. When you present the gospel don’t make a situation that allows for rejection or persecution. In order to do that, you should receive the wisdom of goodness and understand the other’s viewpoint. You should be able to touch their heart with true service and love. For example, if the wife wants to evangelize her husband, she should serve her husband more than before according to what he likes and change herself in a way that he can feel the true love. She should understand what his standpoint of thinking is and know about what he likes and how she can move his heart. She should leave such a strong impression that the husband would think, “She has changed so much since she began to go to church. Since such a lovely wife wants me to come with her, why don’t I?” But a wife who has a self-centered mindset cannot move her husband’s heart. For example, she thinks like, “I am so busy taking care of everything, and now I am even busier with the church work. I cannot help but neglect my husband a little bit.” When such a woman talks about how good it is to go to church, her husband won’t listen. Also, just because she likes them, she puts the church newsletters, books, and pictures here and there in the house. The husband is already upset because he feels the church has taken away his wife, and if he sees those things that she displayed, he would be upset even more. Thus, he would persecute her and disrupt her attending church. The wife will also be disappointed. She thinks from her viewpoint, “I am only delivering the truth for he should go to church and receive salvation. I make only good suggestions, but why is he treating me like this?” Then, both of them feel uncomfortable. It’s not just between the husband and the wife; the same principle applies between children and parents. If you understand the view points of others and serve them with good wisdom in the truth, you can quickly have all family members accept the gospel. When you teach about the gospel, you should not just talk about what you like, but you should try to speak about the things that others might be interested in. In order for you to go into spirit, you have to broaden your heart by considering and understanding more people. Let me present an allegory. Suppose there are three children playing together. One of them is a child you like, and you are not familiar with the other two. You had a candy in your pocket, so you gave it to the child you like. Now, how would the other two children fee about it? As for you, you just gave a piece of candy to the child you like, but you never intended to hurt the feelings of the other two children. But if you just think from your point of view and are not able to consider the feelings of the other children, then, your actions were not really good. If you just think, “I did it with a good intention,” you cannot change yourself. If you insist upon your own opinions, other people will feel that you are very stubborn and feel that they cannot have a meaningful conversation with you. Let me give you another example. Suppose there is a good speaker for the elders’ meeting, and there is a woman cell leader who wants to listen to the speaker and sits in the front seat. Or for anniversary events, if a cell leader or a small group leader sits in newcomers seats or VIP seats just because they want to watch the performance, it presents an embarrassing situation for many people. If they think, “I did not commit any sin. I just tried to receive more blessings. It isn’t my problem if others feel they have to say something about it!” This attitude shows deficiencies of the body. It does not mean you have to test how the wind blows all the time. It means you should have appropriate behaviors according to time and location so that you will not cause any discomfort to other people. Let me ask you one more thing about the seats. There are many suggestions regarding the seats for the worship services. It is often said that newcomers or new-believers are offended because of not being seated in the main sanctuary. Some church members who should know better, reserve seats for their friends and stop others from sitting in those seats. In some cases, even when the seats have been already occupied, there are still some members who ask the people who are sitting there to move! They say that they are the ones who always sit on that particular spot. When this kind of situation is encountered, some of the newcomers become offended and go back home. If you are one of those doing this, you should know that you are being an embarrassment to this church, the shepherd and you are hindering the revival of the church. What a pity it is in the sight of God! It is a duty even for the elders who have reserved, designated seats, that they should yield their seats if there are newcomers looking for a seat. And if the church members want to take even the seats reserved for the newcomers, or even though they don’t have reserved seats for themselves, they should feel sorry before God. It is especially true when we have special events. What if you have given a party and invited precious guests to your house… Would you sit on a couch in the best spot and tell the guests to sit on the floor or in one of the corners? Not just elders and senior deaconesses, but also anyone from junior deaconesses up, you are owners of this church who participate in church workers’ devotional service. You are the hosts and hostesses who are supposed to serve the guests. Especially, those senior deaconesses who are aged should be able to take care of all the church members with self-sacrifice like a mother. I believe you will be able to be more confident before God when you can yield better seats in the main sanctuary so that other people can receive more blessings. Suppose you’ve been praying for family evangelization for a long time, and you brought your family members to the church for the first time. Then, wouldn’t you be willing to yield all the good things so they can be blessed? I hope you will be able to think from others’ viewpoint first and consider the benefit of the kingdom of God and the church. Brothers and sisters, if you could not really think of other people’s standpoint but soon realize that you made a mistake and you did not understand others, it is not such a serious deficiency. But if you do not realize your shortcomings even after acting in a self-centered manner, or if you cannot understand others’ viewpoint even though other people advise you to, then it is a problem. In this case, what should you do? You cannot just give up on yourself thinking that you cannot empathize with others and you are born like that. You should constantly try to understand the heart and standpoint of other people with prayers, asking for the help and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then, the Holy Spirit will teach you everything and fill your deficiencies. You should know that to fill such deficiencies, what you see, hear, and learn is important. If you try to learn and remember the good things and hold on to the good information that you come across in your daily lives, it is profitable for you in being able to fill up your deficiencies. There are some people who feel hardships because they have deficiencies in experiences that are needed for social life. They do not have deficiencies in terms of personality, but they do not really know how to behave and conduct themselves in certain situations. They feel difficulty interacting with their seniors, talking within a group of people, how to act properly at a funeral or wedding, or even buying some things. You can overcome such deficiencies when you pray without ceasing and try to learn them.