Every challenge is an opportunity
Do you meet challenges with dread or gratefulness? Sitting down to write this and being alert enough to coordinate my eyes, brain and fingers is difficult today, yet I don’t want to spend the day in bed and I want to write this for you. Pain is exhausting yet these chapters won’t write themselves. Life is a privilege and I don’t want to be as selfish for the rest of this year as I have been for the start of it.
The time I have with you is limited so let’s get back to talking about identity, because it always comes back to identity. Who do you see yourself as? Does it mirror how your creator sees you?
Do you quote scripture but not use it as a communication tool to connect with it’s author? Next time you read/quote scripture personalise it, and verbalise it as an intimate conversation with Papa.
Submit to God and in submitting to God resist the devil, sure beats trying to resist the devil in your own strength. Ignore the devil, don’t give him the time of day, use that time to commune with Papa.
Focus on the truth rather than the lies and live in the freedom given to you by Jesus. Exercise the truth until it becomes as much a part of you as the lies once were.
Your new identity in Christ
Habits and addictions take time to develop. Don’t let past mistakes/desires/impulses dictate your identity. Jesus gave you the opportunity of a new identity when he died and rose again and you no longer have to identity as the fallen broken person you once were. Who would Adam and Eve have grown to be if they never chose to be selfish? Who can you be now? What they missed out on can be yours.
Living by faith rather than natural knowledge will set you free to live a fearless life. I’ve dealt with anxiety so bad previously after a road accident I’ve been afraid of something coming out from behind a tree or out of a driveway even though I had a clear line of sight. I’ve struggled to walk from the front door to the letter box when I knew I was being watched. No I wasn’t paranoid, my lawyers had evidence I was being followed and filmed.
Yet during 2020 and 2021 with all that was happening in the world I was living in less fear than most I knew. I was never afraid of catching anything, wasn’t afraid of getting sick, wasn’t afraid of dying. Feeling that unafraid despite all that was going on felt even more liberating. I am so grateful for the gift Jesus gave us, of setting us that free, from the world we live in. That is why I’m writing this to encourage you to spend more time developing your intimacy with him than any other relationship in your life, so you can live free.
Encourage don’t discourage
If your revelation of God is more than others in your community be thankful for that, and don’t look down on them. Love them, encourage them, while focusing on continuing to grow yourself. They will grow at their own pace, but will grow more intimate with God quicker with love and encouragement than with condemnation and judgement. The only judgement we ever had to fear was God’s judgement and Jesus has already paid that debt. We have nothing to fear so live out that freedom and let others see your light shining bright even on sunny days.
It’s never too late
It’s never too late to give Jesus the rest of your life. Lived a good life all your life, give the rest of your life to Jesus. Lived an evil life, give the rest of your life to Jesus. Only started your life, give the rest of your life to Jesus. About to take your last breath, give the rest of your life to Jesus.
Regardless of what you have done, or how long you have done it for, he is holding out his gift waiting for you to accept it, unwrap it and use it. A gift is underutilised if accepted yet never opened, or unwrapped yet never used. Use his gift everyday, your community needs his love and you are his mirror. Can they see his love in you?
One of my favourite bands is Skillet they have many songs about being fearless. Part of the reason I love them so much other than their music is awesome, is how fearless John Cooper is. He openly talks not only of his faith and walk with God but does so in a world where to do so, can have a financial cost. He shares in one interview that early in the bands career he was told to not be so vocal about his faith and he would have great success in the music industry. He told them that openly talking about his faith wasn’t negotiable and he is still as adamant many albums later. It doesn’t stop there for him, some Christians will stick to socially safe subjects to talk about yet not tackle the most important current cultural issues. He has openly spoken on many current topics that have put his head squarely on the chopping block of the cancel culture industry.
Wrong thinking leads to wrong believing, which leads to wrong speaking that leads to wrong actions. This isn’t a question of if you are saved or not, it’s a matter of perspective and mindset.
Dont let fear, negativity or condemnation dictate your day. Jesus died and rose again to set you free from guilt, condemnation and shame. They are not of God or from God, if you feel any of those things give it to God and live in his freedom. Guilt, condemnation and shame produce death and Jesus came not only that you might have life but have it more abundantly.
“Guilt says I’m not forgiven, condemnation says my life is worthy to be judged, shame says it’s still who I am. Everyone of those definitions is anti gospel and anti Christ.”Dan Mohler
Through Christ you are no longer, guilty.
Through Christ you are no longer condemned.
Through Christ you are no longer ashamed.
Don’t live by the flesh any longer, live by faith, and live free.
When you live in his freedom you will start to hurt for people rather than be hurt by them, you’ll start to break for them rather than be broken by them. Being able to give others Jesus love is a privilege and one I am so thankful I am able to share with you. Thank you for reading this.
Jesus had to die because you sinned but he didn’t die just because you were a sinner he died because you weren’t created for sin. He died because you were a lost son/daughter and he wanted his family back. He loves you, accept his free gift today.
Focus on righteousness rather than on sin and discover how much easier it is to live a righteous life free from sin. When you are driving the easiest way to hit something you don’t want to hit it is to focus on it. Yet our natural instinct is to look at it in our effort to avoid it and steer around it. Instead if you focus on the road ahead and look at where you want to go rather than where you don’t want to go, you increase your chances of missing it and continuing on your journey safely. In the same way if you keep your focus on Jesus rather than the things you used to do that you no longer want to do, you will decrease the chance of you ever doing those things ever again.
Thank God today that through Jesus you have been freed and don’t have to live restricted by things that have previously limited your life. Anytime you stumble don’t go back to guilt, condemnation and shame, thank him for your freedom. Exercise your freedom and gratitude more than a gym junkie exercises and watch how different your life becomes. The gospel doesn’t guarantee you a perfect life but it does guarantee you will never face it alone. The more you live for him the less the things that happen to your earthly body matter. It sounds a little crazy to me to write that but I’m not just writing it because I’ve heard others say it. I’m writing it because it is also my lived experience. He is the truth, so live in the truth. The truth will set you free.
You were created for a destiny, your life has purpose, you are loved.
Your life sentence
You have a choice for the rest of your days on earth be a slave to this world or a slave to righteousness. The choice is yours. Which sentence will you choose to serve, the one Jesus offers you or the one Satan wants you to suffer through? A judge rarely offers the accused a choice of sentence but it’s the choice you have. Your future is within your control, you have the power to choose your destiny.
It reminds me of the choose your own adventure books I read as a child. At certain points in the story the reader is given multiple options of where the story line could go and based on your choice you turn to that page and the story continues in the direction you have chosen. This article is that point in your life. You have been given the power to change the direction of your adventure.
Unlike the options in the book where the different story lines are already written, the rest of your days haven’t been written yet. What will your next chapter be? It’s up to you, choose wisely.
The mercy of God has freed you to live life as if you never did what you’ve done til now, that you wish you didn’t do. Accept his mercy with repentance and live your new life free from regret.
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