We live in a “if i get, only then I will give” culture – to be blunt, a self-seeking, self-serving, inconsiderate culture. Is this because people have become evil and no one cares about anyone else? No. It’s because the men and women of our society are confused, broken, and insecure. They are terrified of loving others because it may not be reciprocated and they don’t want to appear weak.
It is actually seen as a strength to be hateful to other people. To prove that you’re independent and you don’t need anyone or anything because you’re strong on your own.
When I see this plastered all over social media, my heart aches because I know that really these people are hurting. They’ve been hurt in the past and as a coping mechanism they put up walls to try and show how strong they are.
People are so engrossed in trying to fill the void in their own hearts that they hurt the people around them. I’ve heard this saying many times and I’m sure you have as well, “hurting people, hurt people” sadly, it’s the truth.
Does God see these men and women’s hatefulness and scoff at them, determining they aren’t worthy of love? Of course not. He longs for us to be the disciples He called us to be, sharing His love and strength with every broken or depressed individual we can.
Be the person who goes out of their way to help someone else, give without the desire to get, fearlessly show Christ’s love to this world because if we don’t, who will?
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:35
Where does your identity – your value, come from?
Is it from your career that you’ve worked hard for? How good of a parent you are? The approval and affection of others? Your artistic talent? How intelligent you are?
While working hard, putting effort into raising your children, and studying are all great things, we cannot place our value in how well we do in those areas. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, we mess up, a person that we’re close to hurts us, and if we’ve placed our worth into those people or that part of our lives then when they fail, we feel like a failure.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He will always be good and He will always have our best interests at heart. He is the only secure and trustworthy source from which we can feel valued.
The devil wants us to fail and have our identities shaken, he wants us to be insecure and not know who God called us to be. That is why when we get our sense of worth from anything other than God’s word, we set ourselves up to get hurt.
When we seek God above all else and are founded in Christ and His word, no one can take away our worth or our purpose. This reminds me of Matthew 7:24-27. Although these scriptures are regarding building our lives on God’s teaching we can relate them to who we are.
Whoever places their value and confidence in God are built on a rock and whoever gains worth from the acceptance of their peers or their own abilities, are built on the sand. When the devil brings trials into our lives, all those who are secure in Christ won’t be shaken, but those who are founded upon standards of the world have their self-confidence abruptly washed away.
Build yourself up in these truths from God’s word, know who He has called you to be so you can stand firm throughout any trial or tribulation.
You are more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)
You are loved and chosen. (Ephesians 1:4)
You are a joint-heir with Jesus. (Romans 8:17)
You are the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
You are a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
At times after we’ve accepted Christ it can be hard to put
off some of our old carnal habits to be an everyday example of Christ. God
loves us unconditionally no matter how alike we are to Christ, but it is to our
benefit that we submit to His Word and Spirit in every area of our lives.
Imagine if Christ had only done the things of God that were
easy or didn’t inconvenience Him? Thankfully He did not do that, but boldly
gave His all for each one of us. So in return, what should we do?
Give our all to Him. Sometimes this means sacrificing
relationships, certain jobs or opportunities, even giving up inappropriate
shows or music.
People will say it isn’t necessary to live that way,
sacrificing particular things just because of a “religion” they’ll even say
it’s “extreme”. But it’s not about “religion” it’s about having an authentic
relationship with Jesus Christ and giving Him your all because He gave His all
Jesus easily could have decided that the path before Him was
too difficult, or that He didn’t want to stand against all of the persecution
He was receiving, but He didn’t. He knew what was at stake and He knew that we
needed Him to give us everything He had; ultimately giving His life.
You will never receive everything that God has for you when
you place Him as a second priority, or as another option if the plan you came
up with doesn’t work out. He has endless amounts of love, grace, wisdom, peace,
health, and freedom to pour out on us, but it cannot fully be given to us when
we are living outside of His guidelines.
To live a life devoted to Christ is not always
straightforward and painless. To fully trust Him with your finances,
relationships, career, and overall life takes faith and surrender. But these
are actions that God will always reward because He sees you putting Him first
and depending on Him. It may not be effortless, but it will always be worth it.
Face the persecution, surrender even the most difficult areas
of your life, and give Him all of you, because He gave us everything He had.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
What is your view of God?
Do you see Him as someone to impress, do you work hard to stay on His good side? Is He distant in the back of your mind, like a friend you need to catch up with but don’t seem to make the time? Is He like a Father, can you talk to Him and have a deep loving relationship? Is He there when you need Him or do you turn to His guidance last? Is He loving? Judgmental? Harsh? A source of comfort? We all have a different view on God even though He is the same, and He’s been the same since the beginning of time.
The Bible says that God is our Provider, our Healer, our Father, and our Refuge. But the problem is we often let our earthly experiences change our perspective of our Heavenly God. For example, if your dad was not in your life growing up, it can be hard to view Him as a loving Father. Or if you were judged by a member of a church, it may taint your view that God unconditionally loves you.
Let’s dig deeper into the “father” example above. Whether you have an amazing dad, a cruel dad, or one who was never really around, I want you to come up with how you think the perfect dad would act. Maybe the characteristics that come to mind are ones of the kind of dad you wish you had, the way you would like to treat your future children, or how you would like your husband to interact with your kids. Have an image in mind? Good. God is all of that, and more. You can’t even compare Him to the “perfect father” you have in your head. He is extraordinarily more loving, forgiving, generous, and kind than that.
When we need healing, God is our healer.
When we are stressed, He is our peace.
When we don’t know how we’ll pay our bills, He is our provider.
God is anything we need, at any moment. He is our God, our Father, and our Lord.
If you had a hard time answering my first question I urge you to take a look at what you’ve let affect your relationship with God. To view Him as anything less than what I’ve described is a disservice to yourself and you are missing out on a relationship unlike any other in your life.