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.
Allow me to paint two pictures for you.
One is a man trying to provide for his young family, carrying all the weight of their needs on his back. He works endless hours, which makes quality time with his family slim and the chance of going to church even slimmer. He’s folding under the pressure and doesn’t see a break in the horizon anytime soon.
The other is the same young man, with the same family, and job, yet a different outlook on his circumstances. With his eyes and arms raised to Heaven, surrendered to God, he trusts Him to provide for his needs. He makes church a priority and through his relationship with his Heavenly Father he gains strength. Even during a stressful season of life he is able to stand tall through the grace of God.
Which position are you in? Whether a young working husband, a single mom, a student just finishing college, are you folding under the pressures of life or letting God hold you up through His provision and grace?
You may be thinking that I don’t know what you’re going through, that I don’t know the weight of what you’re carrying on your shoulders right now, and you’d be right, I don’t. But God does. He sees all the bills that come in the mail, He’s there when your medical situation seems hopeless, He sees when your children are rebelling and turning away from the way you’ve raised them. He knows exactly what to do if you would only lift your eyes and ask for His wisdom.
We were never meant to take care of everything on our own. Matthew 6:31-33 reminds us of this, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” When we fully surrender ourselves to God and acknowledge that we cannot handle this life on our own, He is there ready to provide, heal, encourage, and pour out His grace.
“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19
There is a war going on for your attention. As our world continues to only grow darker, will you allow the opinions and dishonesty of others to lure your focus away from God’s will? There is an astronomical amount of negativity and deceit in our society and daily our Lord and Savior is being mocked, refused, and misunderstood by millions.
As Christians how do we combat this type of living? When it is almost impossible to watch a movie or turn on the radio without seeing or hearing something that threatens your relationship with your Heavenly Father, how can we protect our minds and our faith?
- Refrain from things that do not glorify God
- Continually fill your spirit
- Have fellowship with like-minded believers
I think we often choose to watch or listen to things that do not necessarily glorify God because we believe it’s harmless; but everything has a message, and anything that you give your attention to is preaching to you whether you realize it or not. Choosing to take part in music, television, or radio news that is meant for entertainment but ultimately clouds our minds of God’s guidelines and plan will never help you grow in your faith, or become the witnesses we are all called to be.
In this day and age it is crucial that we fill our spirits with words from the one true and living God. When we read the Bible daily, it amplifies the Holy Spirit’s voice inside of us instead of slowly silencing it. If there has ever been a time where it was more important to be tuned into God’s Spirit, I don’t know it.
Make sure you have a community of like-minded believers around you. Relationships that provide encouragement, support, advice, and love are needed when you are a light in a world that is consumingly dark. To have people that you can pray for and with is not only uplifting, but important.
There is no way to escape the blinding violence, rebellion, and confusion that has seemingly overtaken our society. And we shouldn’t try to escape it. We need to fight for the lost souls that are chained, overwhelmed with shame, and have yet to experience the love and forgiveness of a God they’ve only been taught to see as a dictator. Protect your mind and spirit so that you can set others free.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” ~ Ephesians 6:11 NLT