When it comes to our identity, and trusting in who we are in Christ, there are a lot of opportunities to get distracted. Opposing messages come from the enemy; the world; even our own mind. This is why it is ESSENTIAL to be in the Word – everyday. We need to know what God’s Word says (Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Isa. 40:8; Matt. 7:24), so that when those opposing messages come, we will have TRUTH settled in our heart.
God’s TRUTH should be so settled in our heart that when anything else enters in, we know immediately…and not only that, but we know how to draw our focus back to God when our mind, will and emotions are taking us in another direction. When we abide in the Lord, and allow Him to abide in us, we can walk through the difficult stuff, maintaining who we are.
But we must make a decision.
Let me give an example.
I battled depression for over twenty years. Some of those bouts took me into a darkness that left me with zero hope. I honestly did not care if I lived or I died. (I did a short series on depression that you can find here.)
For the first eight, or so, years of my depression I wasn’t walking with the Lord, but I knew enough to know that suicide was not His will for my life (thank You, Holy Spirit, for that revelation!). So, I made a decision. I promised that, no matter how deep in the pit I got…no matter how horrible the darkness…I would never take my own life.
I settled it in my heart.
And when the shadows hovered over my mind and I couldn’t see beyond the darkness…when all hope was gone…I clung to the decision I made. That decision saved my life more times than I care to remember. (I’m guessing this is what stayed my hands when I almost drove off of the overpass.)
The same decision can be made about love. Love is not primarily a feeling. Yes, we can feel love, but it is first, and foremost, a call. We love because God first loved us.
And we are called to love like Jesus loved…without condition. That means loving both the lovable AND the not-so-lovable. We do not love from our circumstances, but from our right standing with God, in Christ. We have to understand that no person is perfect. Every relationship, no matter how secure, will face some sort of strain or conflict. Even the ones who love us most have the potential to hurt us. And hurt us deeply.
We must settle in our hearts that people can, and will, hurt us (whether they mean to, or not). But that does not change the fact that we are called to love them. We can love them in the midst of their failures because God loves us in the midst of ours.
And when that hurt comes, we must decide that we will forgive. Forgiveness, like love, is a call. We are not told to forgive when we eventually feel like it. We are told to forgive, plain and simple.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
Loving the unlovable, and forgiving those who have hurt us, can be extremely painful. This is why it is necessary to make the decision, and settle it in our heart, to believe what God has called us to believe and to do what God has called us to do…preferably before the pain comes. We know what God calls us to do because we know what His good, pleasing and perfect will is. And we know what His will is because we are renewing our mind, daily, in His Word.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Settling TRUTH in our heart – believing that TRUTH and acting on it – is how we battle. It’s not about yelling at the devil, but about becoming more and more like Christ…because in Christ is the only place where our true identity is found.
I challenge you to take to the Lord, in prayer, any area where TRUTH is not settled in your heart. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to repentance, as well as, into the TRUTH of that area. And then make the decision to cling to, and act on, that TRUTH when the difficult times come…whether you feel like it, or not.
Quick note: I apologize that I have not been consistent in my posts. I had family visiting, making it difficult to keep up with posting. Now that my lovely family visit is over, I will be able to return to regular posting…which will be every other day, instead of everyday.
Thanks for stopping by! I’ll see you on Sunday. Be Blessed!