In my prayer and meditation time, God has been sharing with me some pretty cool yet challenging truths. This post is intended to share some of them and hopefully offer encouragement to those who need it.
Your pursuit of God leads you to your purpose in life. If you want to experience the fullness of life, seek to spend time with the Creator of life. The more you choose to put yourself in the presence of God, the more you’ll realize how close He’s always been, and how open His arms are to receive you just the way you are. If your desire is to mature and grow in self-confidence, spend time with the One who defines your true identity. As long as you allow yourself to be a friend to sin, God can’t work through you to be a friend to the sinner. You must recognize the destructive nature of sin, and respond with a heart of repentance, not living in the shame of your downfalls, but in the truth that you’re set free, forgiven, and loved. We were not made to live in fear or sit in our shame. We are made to seek God’s calling for our life, and relentlessly pursue the works He has laid out for us to do, all the while knowing of our sinful nature and need for His grace. To believe you are unlovable or unworthy of forgiveness is to completely disregard the significance and power of the cross. The belief that you’re never good enough, or that you’re too far from His redemptive love is to diminish for yourself the influence He can have in your life and is a selfish act of pride. Live in the reality of His sacrifice, and love out of the response to its significance.
In life you can’t give half the effort and expect the full result. With God it’s no different. If you want God to change you- if you want God to renew your broken heart- you have to give Him the entirety of it. Confidence in self and boldness of spirit come from having a right view of your worth in God’s eyes, and is strengthened by pursuing His presence. The truth of God is this: That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He doesn’t expect us to be blameless, in fact if we were He would have never needed to come rescue us. The power of Jesus is in the power of His forgiveness and the renewing of our souls. We must make the choice to accept this offer, and in so doing, match our words with our actions.
To help yourself live in the presence and truth of God, set up triggers for yourself throughout the day. For example, when you walk out the front door to go to class or work, pray this prayer:
God give me your eyes to see the work you’ve called me to do. Put in me a confidence that is rooted in your truth and help me to love others out of the love you’ve shown me. Help me to be wise in setting boundaries with others that allow for both our hearts to be protected and for your presence to be evident. Guard my heart from the enemy’s schemes and help me to live in bold humility; that my thoughts and actions honor you and that my spirit is sensitive to your calling for me in that moment. Guide my conversations and speak through me to others. Instill in me the sense of peace only you can provide.
Change isn’t change until something changes. When you intentionally seek God before interacting with people, things will change. You will no longer operate out of fear or pride and you begin to desire God’s approval over man’s approval. The marvelous thing about being in relationship with our Creator, is that the more time we spend in His presence the more we understand our need for Him, and in that realization we’re met with an unconditional love we don’t deserve. Resting in the reality that we’re loved the way we are, and yet we’re loved so much we’re called to not settle there is truly a miracle.
When you actively proclaim the truth of God in your life, you evict the enemy’s power in your life. Intentionally repeat the words and promises of God daily and you’ll be surprised how Jesus meets you in those times. If it helps, speak these truths to yourself: I am loved. I am valuable. I am respected and honored. I am forgiven and set free of all my shame.
When we invite Him to work in us and through us, we receive the Holy Spirit. The same exact power that raised Jesus from the grave, is the spirit God gives us when we call on Him. When you embrace this reality and the power of this opportunity, you will undoubtedly live in a different way. No longer will you speak with fear of rejection from man, when you realize God has already accepted you. No longer will you be afraid of other people’s opinions of you, when you know God’s heart for you. No longer will you define yourself by how people treat you, when you understand the significance of what Jesus has done for you.
While our emotions are the catalyst for our actions, we cannot allow them to control our destiny. We must learn to harness the power of our fear and pain and use them to inspire change within us. We do this by bringing our emotions to God and asking Him to use them for His glory, trusting that when we ask with a pure heart and motivation, He will delight in answering our prayers.
Everything we do now, every choice and action we make, is building us into the character we are going to be for our spouse and children one day. The people we surround ourselves with have more of an influence on our lives than we realize. A wise church leader once told me, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” This spoke to me in that the person I will one day be, I am now becoming. These words are not meant to over dramatize our life. But they are to remind us of the significance of our present decisions and bring awareness of how they will affect our future.
Something I read a while back that helped me through a tough time was, “Sin is enticing because it offers a quick route to prosperity or pleasure and can make us feel accepted. But when we go along with it and refuse to listen to truth, our appetites become our masters and we’ll do anything to satisfy them. Sin, even when masked as attractive, is deadly. We must learn to make choices not on the bases of short term relief or satisfaction, but in view of the long term effects. Sometimes this means separating ourselves from people who want to entice us into activities we know are wrong. We can’t be friendly to sin and expect our lives to remain unaffected.”