So you have to stand up and speak… or you have to see that person… or you have to think about that painful past… In these ‘moments of truth’, there are many ‘voices’ in your head, many ‘words’ coming to you. The key challenge, the ‘truth’ that is in the balance and being assailed by lies, is the one concerning your identity – who you are.
What you believe about your identity - who you are - determines what you think, feel, and do. If you suddenly feel small or stupid, you will be timid, you will look to this or that person for approval, you will question whether you have the ‘right’ to say what you want to say, to hold the conviction you hold... You might shrink when you should rise! You might rise at times, when you should fade…
It is a question of ‘authority’ and ‘power’. There is no self-help book or therapist in the land that has authority to tell you who you truly – truly! – are. Here’s a mind-blower – you don’t have authority over who you truly are! You can chant all night long about who you want to be, but you don’t speak ‘self’ into being. You didn’t speak yourself into the womb, and you don’t speak your soul into identity.
Two points on this from Scripture:
First: Your True Self Is In Christ Alone. Jesus is the one who made you, holds you, and ‘identifies’ you. (Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:3; John 1:3) He gives you your ‘secret name’. (Rev 2:17) Only in coming to – and through – Christ, do you enter into the dominion of your true self. You may be super-confident in your professional or even social realm, but these count for nothing! (Sorry, it’s true! – John 6:63) When it comes to the real you, the one, in fact, that people are really ‘feeling’, it’s a question of sin, repentance, faith, spirit, soul. Jesus alone holds these keys. You must know him to access the true you!
Secondly: Jesus Whispers Your Name To You. If you have repented of your sin and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you are his. He will ‘whisper’ to you, the true word of your true self. Yes, there will always be challenges to this identity that God gives you. It will come from others, from your past sin, from the devil himself, and from your prideful heart. (Rev 12:10, I John 3:20) These challenges are often the ‘noisier’ voices, the more dramatic ‘word’ to you. But if you listen – and you do know Christ’s voice (Jn 10:27) – you will hear the solid, eternal ‘whisper’ of Jesus to you, speaking the ‘true you’ to any and every moment when you are called to stand. Stand on his whisper! (I Kings 19:11-13) Believe his report over your life! His grace is sufficient for you here! (2 Cor 12:9-10) Soar!
Faith is a verb! Sometimes I take time 'to faith' - that is, to focus my heart and mind and speak back to the Lord his own Word, his truths, his promises. I declare back to the Lord the truths he has spoken over my life. I do this in faith - often when I least feel like it. Why? Because, 'we live by faith and not by sight.' (2 Cor 5:7) Because life's 'truest' truths - like God, like the words of Christ - are 'spirit', and we see them with eyes lit by his light of revelation, not by the light of our own minds or experiences.
I often stand to my feet when I'm doing this - because I think of Moses standing with his arms raised over the battle, to see the victory through. (Exodus 17) I stand, and I proclaim something like this:
'Lord, you are true, you are holy, you are good! Lord, Jesus, you speak peace over my life. You have provided and will continue to provide. You blot our my transgressions, and remember my sin no more! You give me a secret name, and you call me your friend! Lord, you walk with me, and are pleased with me. Jesus, you have poured out your spirit on me, through me, and you bottle my every tear! Jesus, I am not offended on account of you. I know you live, I know you walk with me, I know my faith honors you, and opens doors before me. I know you love when I persist in prayer, in faith, in hope. I trust in you, Jesus. I know your blood defeats barriers, and opens new paths. I believe, Lord. I believe you, Lord. I rest in you, Lord.'
Then I usually sit in the quiet, the dark, and listen to the Lord. I sit silently with him and listen for his Spirit. I sip on my hot cup of coffee, and I might put on some good worship music...
#faithing (2 Cor 5:7; John 4:24; 6:63; Ps 36:9; 2 Cor 4:6; Ex 17; Heb 11:6; Is 43:25; Rev 2:17; John 15:15; I John 3:24; Luke 18:1-8; Heb 12:24; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Mt 16:19; 17:20; John 10:27; 14:26)
To find God, is only to lift our eyes. We don’t have to search, but rather allow ourselves to be found. Jesus – God himself in the flesh – came to ‘seek and save’ us. (Luke 19:10) Jesus is ‘God with us’. (Mt 1:23)
Yes, God does want us to ‘seek’ him also, just as any lover longs for the other to also be in pursuit, reaching for the relationship. God, in fact, made us with the purpose of ‘seeking’ and ‘reaching out to find him’. (Acts 17:26) But the very next verse of this same scripture tells us – once our hearts are now turning towards him – that God is, in fact, ‘not far from anyone of us.’ (vs.27) He is not only close, but part of us. We are told that in God we ‘live and move and have our being,’ and we are his ‘offspring.’ (vs.28; Gen 1:27; Jn 10:34/Ps 82:6)
God comes to us as Jesus Christ, and reaches for us today through the very Spirit of Jesus Christ. The ‘good news’ of the bible is not so much that God can be found, but that he came and found us. We need only lift our eyes!
Jesus, with you now, calls you to lift your eyes to him, and to let go of your sin. He calls you to lift your eyes, and let him come into your heart. Search no more – just be found!
‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ Revelation 3:20
My daughter, Anna (6), was telling me a story she had heard about a little girl and some boys. ‘Do you know what those boys did, dad? This will make you cry, dad!’ Her brown eyes welled up, and she said, ‘They threw rocks at her. One rock hit her in the head!’
Seeing through her eyes, my heart did break. How far I have fallen! What I saw in Anna’s eyes was the true heart of God. When Jesus saw the people – you and me – he was ‘filled with compassion’, he saw us as ‘harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.’ (Mt 9:36) When Jesus looked out over his people – you and me – he wept because he longed for us to have peace. (Lk 19:42)
'Jesus said, ‘unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.’ (Mt 18:3)
Do you see Jesus with the eyes of a child? Does your own sin grieve you because it grieves him? Does his death and resurrection break you and call you to him?
If we truly see ourselves as Jesus sees us, we repent of our sin and follow him. If we see others as Jesus sees them, it would make us cry, and we would ‘pray’ for Jesus to reach to them… (Mt 9:38)
It’s OK to hide. It’s natural to hide. We are born into the ‘hiding game’!
The question is not, ‘Should we hide?’, but, ‘Where should we hide?’
Let me jump straight to the ‘answer’, to the safest of safe places! The one that ‘hides’ the heart in healing, swallows up death, clothes us with a ‘new heart and new spirit’ (Ez 36:26)…
Jesus said that he was the ‘door’, and that in going through him – by faith, in spirit – we pass into salvation. Four of my favorite verses in scripture are below. If you repent of your sin, and commit your life to Jesus Christ, this eternal space will be yours now and forevermore!
‘Your life is hidden with Christ in God.’ Colossians 3:3
‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe!’ Proverbs 18:10
‘The eternal God is your refuge, and beneath are the everlasting arms.’ Deuteronomy 33:27
‘The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, ever-brighter till the full light of day!’ Proverbs 4:18
Deep within us – where ‘eternity’ dwells (Eccl 3:11) – we are not satisfied with simply containing or incarcerating evil. We know that even if the bad guy is caught, badness might not be contained, and may even be on the increase – drilling down, spawning, spreading, thickening…
We grow tired of ‘covering up’ bad stuff, and something in us – that part of us made in the ‘image of God’ (Gen 1:27) – craves a ‘real’ victory, a breaking in and through of ‘purity’, of true beauty, of holiness. We cry out from deep within for the wind of a Spirit to blow over all darkness – including our past – and sweep through with redemption, a new self, a new start, or as the prophet puts it, ‘a new heart and new spirit.’ (Ez 36:26)
If we fix this today, it will still be broken and gone one day. If we heal this today, it will still fail and die one day… This very mortality that courses through our veins from the day we are born, this ‘death’ we need to destroy! Death is the ultimate expression of all things evil – from the body to the soul, the broken child, the broken heart... Who can destroy evil, who can defeat death? How can we break free – now and forevermore?
Jesus said, ‘Live by the sword, die by the sword.’ (Mt 26:52) The story of Christ is absolutely incredible, unequalled! God became man, and then lay down under the violence of men. Rather than defeating man, he allowed himself to be defeated by man, and used this ‘defeat’, this ‘bloodshed’, to destroy death itself. Yes, when Christ rose from the grave (the innate hope and yearning in every created human being), he brought with it the very ‘keys to death’. (Revelation 1:18) Jesus holds the keys to death – and he is the very doorway to eternal life!
Jesus is life, the Destroyer of death and all darkness. You, too, in Christ can be a Destroyer of darkness. We are told that our weapons – as believers and followers of Christ – are not those of the world (i.e. the ‘sword’, or guns and force). We are told that in Christ we have ‘divine power’ to demolish strongholds, and everything that sets itself up against God – like violence, lust, betrayal, abuse… (2 Cor 10:3-5). Christ has the keys to death and life, but he puts these keys into our hands. He says, ‘I have given you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Everything you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and everything you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ (Mt 16:19)
This is amazing power, and amazing responsibility! Do you pray? In Jesus’ name you can ‘bind’ darkness that you perceive here on earth, in violent and dishonest people! Do you ‘demolish’ strongholds? In Jesus’ name you can declare that dark powers - and structures and leaders and relationships) fall, and are no more, and that the light of Christ pours in…
We need more warriors! Jesus himself told us to pray for ‘workers’ (Mt 9:36-38), but he also called us to ‘be’ the workers! (Ps 94:16)
Let’s storm heaven and earth in prayer and testimony, that we might see true ‘Light’ and true victory sweep through our hearts, our homes, our nation, our world, in Jesus’ name!
‘The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea!’ Habakkuk 2:14
Jesus said he was the ‘door’. (John 10:9). He is the door to many, many things - forgiveness, healing, eternal life – but he is also the door to heaven. Truly, my friends, I encourage you to ponder the ‘city’ of heaven for 2 reasons:
Know Christ. Share Christ. There is nothing outside of Him! (Colossians 1:15-20)
Jesus warned of 'false prophets' and even 'false christs'. (Mt 7:15; 24:24) Possibly the most striking warning that Jesus gives is when he says that 'many' will come to him - having done miracles in his name - and he will say, 'I never knew you.' (Mt 7:22-23)
The preachers and church 'members' were the ones who turned against Jesus and called for his crucifixion. In the midst of their prayers to God, their songs about Him, their networking and 'Hallelujahs'... they plotted God's death inside the walls of His own church.
What 'christ' do you worship? What 'prophet' do you heed?
In this brief video I share my heart on the true Gospel message:
Jesus spoke some very, very strong (jarring, hurtful) words to people. He was not harsh in spirit, but we cannot deny - and must absolutely learn from - those words of Christ that are actually hard to hear.
One example of this was when he was approached by the 'Canaanite Woman', bringing to Jesus her 'demon-possessed daughter'. We are told that as she cried out for 'mercy', Jesus ignored her. Yes, he stone-walled her. If you do not believe me, read Matthew 15:21-28.
When this woman persisted with Jesus, he said, 'It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs.' (vs. 26) This woman did not shrink back. She did not take offense. She leaned in, persisted further, even contradicted him: 'Yes, it is Lord. For even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the children's table.' (vs. 27)
Jesus commended her 'great faith', and healed her daughter.
Do you 'take offense' at Jesus - at his presence, at his absence, at his words, at his silence? I do. Often. I wonder what I miss out on for this lack of faith and perseverance...
'From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks' (Jesus, Luke 6:45)
From the overflow of the heart, a nation is at war with another nation... a family with a family... a husband with a wife... a brother with a brother...
War spills up and over from the heart of mankind. World War is an extension of individuals at war with truth. We have the same essence of 'World War' at work within our own streets, our own homes, our hearts and minds.
If war on a world scale comes ultimately from the 'heart condition' of all the individuals within it, I ask you:
Is your heart right with God? World Peace, will come from Individual Peace - when mankind is right with God.
Jesus calls us to 'repent' of our sin. What this means is to recognize that we are sinful - full of selfishness, greed, envy, lust, vengeance, violence - and to 'turn' from this sin. Jesus then calls us to put our faith and our trust in him. What this means is to recognize that Jesus is God, that he is Truth, and to commit our lives to him. Have you repented of your sin? Have you come by faith through the 'door' of Jesus Christ?
'Jesus said, 'I am the door, and whoever enters through me will be saved.' John 10:9
Peter Walker. I hope you enjoy these reflections. Please feel free to comment!:)