Genesis 1:27 And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1: 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good….
If I asked you today, “Who are you?” What would your answer look like? If I asked you today, “Who do you want to be?” Do your answers sound remotely alike? We are all often encouraged, be it through church or media, to discover or rediscover self. Today I want to encourage you discover who God is for you. In finding Him you will find yourself.
When we live for ourselves we tend to, by definition, live selfishly. Our conversations and thoughts revolve around ourselves. Arguments arise to defend ourselves, distance is created to protect ourselves, silence is doled out to ascertain our standing in a relationship, and punishments in various verbal and physical forms get doled out, because inflicting pain avenges our hurt pride and is justified all in the name of standing up for self and preserving of precious self. I used to believe that it was within my rights to protect myself, especially my emotions. And if that meant I had to verbally shut someone up, or emotionally shut them out, then it was justifiable because they hurt me and I was merely protecting my heart from hurt and grief. But this approach is a very well-believed lie. In truth, God wants us exposed and vulnerable to the people around us. He wants us totally abandoned to their plight and needs, with absolutely no thought for self gain or self preservation. When I was a young girl I once wrote the words “self preservation is from the devil,” in big, bold letters in my journal, and until today I firmly believe this to be the truth. We so often operate from a damaged perception of our own worth and value, and we do everything in our power to barely maintain this damaged and incomplete image of ourselves. We remain convinced that we, in our own power, can maintain our value, and maybe increase our worth by being ‘holy’ and righteous enough of the time to warrant an increase in the ever dipping curve of our spirituality. I used to be severely caught up in the idea that I was worthless and had no value. I was shocked to find out that all my years spent self loathing and beating myself up over all my failures was really just me being intensely self absorbed. Timidity is really only a form of self obsession, so is self loathing. I can’t do this, I don’t have that, I’m not good enough, I don’t feel happy…. my thoughts used to look something like this, “can someone please just feel sorry for me and give me some attention and acknowledge my pain…..”
I can honestly testify that the goodness of God changed my perspective of not only me but also every person around me. He has come and blown on the dry husk of my heart, breathing life into me, giving substance to my character, reviving me in His love. I have come to realise that He has placed immense value on those He loves, and that He has called His children to love each other the same way. That value cannot fluctuate because His love and nature is constant. I believe the highest calling is to love people the way God loves us. When we are confronted with difficult situations and rocky relationships, we often turn to verbal and emotional means to rectify the situation. I want to stress that it is only the goodness of God that can lead people to repentance, and only His love that allows for change to happen. Without operating in this love and from a good heart we will never see our relationships healed. And it is in operating from this mindset that we discover the purpose God has for our lives; to be good, and to do only good, consistently.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
The things he requires from us will generate only good pleasure in Him. Malicious and benevolent gain cannot and will never be His intention. This good God dwells in us. Therefore, we are good people. Many times I have heard people use the phrase “I am only human” to excuse their bad behaviour, but I want to tell you that the God within you is strong and able. We often point a finger at our weak and selfish flesh when confronted with challenges we cannot win. We do this solely because we have a weak perception of our identity in God. Because He is in you, you do have the power to overcome and stand against your warring thoughts and desires. Your identity in Him is who He says you are. Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. Your purpose is to do the good works that God has determined for you. He has given each of us a skill set and gifts in varying areas to minister to the Body as needed – to edify and encourage, to provide physically and emotionally, and to be His hands and feet, to look and operate like Him, to be loving and good.
This is my identity – to love.
I pray that you will allow the goodness of God to witness to your heart and encourage you to freely and wholly love every person you encounter. That you will see them as He sees them, perfect and lovely. I urge you to lay down your weapons and use your words to point out the good, to recognise and acknowledge the value God has placed on the people around you, especially those you don’t always agree with. May your focus ever be on the identity they have in God and on the fact that the price for their lives are also paid in full.
Be blessed and join us next week for the next blog in our LOVE& series.