5 Minute Friday: See…

Time to tune in to 5 Minute Friday, with The Gypsy Mama. Every Friday readers write for 5 minutes about a chosen topic, but they are not allowed to edit their work, back track or over think it. Today’s topic is See…, so here are my 5 unedited minutes:

SEE…

Go:

“If only you could see yourself as I see you, dear child. When I look at you I see a perfect person. You are beautiful, there is no flaw in you. I am so excited about who you are – I rejoice over you with singing. You are my beloved, and my banner over you is love. My love is perfect and it drives away all fear. You can look to me and only see grace. Do not think that I will condemn you – through the blood of Christ I only see a white-washed, righteous being in front of me. See the plans I have for you – plans to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future. My thoughts toward you are only good. See my true character – I am a father who delights in you. I love to give you good gifts – even more so than an earthly father. I love you. See yourself as I see you.”

References: Song of Solomon 4:7; Zephaniah 3:17; Song of Solomon 2:4; John 8:11; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 7:11; 1 John 4:18

Stop.

5 Minute Friday: Identity

I recently came across a lovely inspiring blog – The Gypsy Mama. Lisa Joe’s words have been tremendously encouraging to me, especially as a new mom in a new world. Every Friday readers write for 5 minutes about a chosen topic, but they are not allowed to edit their work, back track or over think it. Today’s topic is Identity, so here is my 5 unedited minutes:

IDENTITY:

Go:

My identity is not determined by my performance. I am a child of God – this does not change if my actions are not perfect. He died for me on the cross in order to make me righteous – this does not change if I don’t live holy enough. Through His death my old nature has been buried and I am now a new creation – alive in Him.

This means that my old nature does not exist any more. It has been buried. Covered completely by His blood. It cannot be dug up or brought into remembrance by anyone. Never think God will remind you of your past – it simply does not exist the moment you believe in the sacrifice of Jesus. I am brand new. Every second of every day is a fresh start – in His eyes I am righteous, holy and blameless.

Your true identity can only be found in Him. You are hidden with Christ in God. You will never be truly satisfied in the world without Him, and no matter how hard you search – your identity can never be found apart from Him. When you believe, you are forever ingrained in Him. A part of His divine nature. Once again – a new creation. If you spend your time caught up in His embrace you will experience live in abundance. Your identity will come forth naturally as you live and breathe in His presence. It cannot be made up, it cannot be changed, it cannot be faked. You are born of incorruptible seed.

Stop.

Steady as a rock

“I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety, for You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. ” Ps 16:8 – 11

In many previous blog posts I have emphasized the fact that we should simplify our Christian vision and look away from all that will distract unto Jesus (Heb 12:1-2), who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  If you want to read more about this, look at some of the following posts: Sin-conciousness versus God-conciousness; Run your own race; Simplicity and Busy with too many things.

David believed the same principle – he mentions a few wonderful things based on the fact that he set God continually before Him (meaning He was aware of God, and only God – making Him his only focus). Nothing could move him (physically – dwelling in safety, or mentally – a body that is at rest).  Happiness and fullness of joy followed him wherever he went.

By looking away from all that will distract unto Him, you will become aware of the true character of God. By seeing Him as He really is and continually hearing the right message, you will also be able to say that at His hand and through His doing there are pleasures forevermore.

Sin-conciousness versus God-conciousness

What do you think about if I tell you NOT to think of a green donkey? No matter how hard you try, your mind will be filled with interesting images of a green donkey.

The same principle applies to sin-consciousness. Many churches (with the best of intentions) focus on eliminating the sin in the lives of Christians. The more these Christians are told NOT to do a specific thing, the more they will be inclined to focus on it and dwell on it daily. Before they know it, they will once again stumble into the trap that the Law sets. Paul preaches the same thing in Romans 7:

“But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing].” Romans 7:8

Once again I want to direct you to the verse that will set you free: Hebrews 12:2. Throwing aside every hindrance (in this case, an obsession with sin and what you are doing wrong) while looking to Jesus is what will lead you to a life of victory. The end-result of this singular focus will be natural, spirit-filled living as Christ finishes the work that HE started in you. This was they way God intended it to be. That is why JESUS came to fulfill the law – and why the onus is not on you any more.

We cannot do it – but Jesus already did it!

Flawless and perfect

As born-again Christians we become part of the bride of Christ. We step into an unconditional love that cannot be separated from us through any human interaction or event.

The book Songs of Solomon is a representation of the love that Christ feels for His bride. There are specific verses that you need to take to heart in order to comprehend how He sees you. Contrary to what many of us think of ourselves – He thinks we are perfectly unique, without any glitch or flaw.

“[He exclaimed] O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you!” Song of Songs 4:7

We are really wasting time when we complain about our flaws and shortcomings, because nothing we can say or do will ever change His mind about us. He is ever ready to believe the best of us (see post: The characteristics of Love).

“So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].” Ephesians 5:26-27

We have already been washed clean and forever perfected through his sacrifice. We are now perfectly faultless and without spot or wrinkle. There is no flaw in us! If only we could always remember this…

How to draw the world closer to God

In a previous post I asked the question: Is God a God of goodness, or a God of judgement? Today I was, once again, struck by the love and acceptance in God’s heart towards all mankind. All mankind includes all people – whether they are believers in Christ or still sinners lost in the world.

Many churches wonder how to fill the seats in their buildings. They launch massive campaigns in order to win new members – but then their message is one of judgement and condemnation (i.e. “you need to change in order for God to love you”) and not one of acceptance and love. The only way to draw the world closer to God is to show them His goodness (Rom 2:4).

“Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?” Rom 2:4

Jesus was a great example as well. He spent time with thieves, prostitutes and people the ‘church’ would not want to be seen with (Mark 2:15). When the Pharisees and law-lovers brought an idolatrous, sinful woman before Jesus, He told them the following:

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

To the woman He said: ” I do not condemn you either.” (John 8:11). This should be our only view of sinners and unbelievers around us.  Our only job is to show the world His acceptance, love and grace – never to condemn or accuse them. This way the sinners and the lost will truly be drawn to Him.

What it all boils down to

Human wisdom will never satisfy a soul hungry for the rich, nourishing life that can only be found in Christ. No matter how beautifully it is written or preached –  if a message is not centered around Christ, it does not have the power to change.

A self-help message centered around our own efforts might sound noble, but it is not the message Jesus preached. Jesus’ own words in John 15:5 was: “However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”. He did not tell us we might be able to accomplish some form of holiness or self-preservation on our own. He told us without Him, we can do nothing. Nothing means nothing – whichever way you look at it.

Paul took pride in the fact that his persuasion did not come through beautiful, lofty words of eloquence or human wisdom. He did not try to woo the church through charisma or a dynamic stage presence. His only focus when preaching was Jesus, and what He did on the cross (he resolved to be conscious of nothing else).

“As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; for I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.” 1 Cor 2:1-2

This message is all that matters, all we should be conscious of.  This is the only message that can change a human life.