Lies Seem True the Longer We Live in Darkness
Years ago I led a mission trip to Bermuda. Yea, I know. You are thinking a mission trip to a beautiful island? Well, people there need a relationship with Jesus, too. One night I was walking back to the home where I was staying during the trip. There were no lights as I walked and every sound produced fearful thoughts that I was about to be jumped. Soon, I saw a dark figure headed straight for me. My thoughts raced just as fast as my heart. "Here it comes" I thought. I am definitely going to get jumped. As this island native approached, I prepared for fight or flight. Then...he said, "Hello" and kept walking. I had believed lies because in the darkness of the night my thoughts seemed like reality. While believing those lies, my feelings were following right along and made what I believed seem even more true. This story illustrates our spiritual lives. The longer we live in darkness in any area of our lives, the more the lies in our head seem true. Let me give you some examples of common lies Christians believe. "I have to obey God for Him to bless me and love me." Not true. We obey God because we are responding to our confidence that He already loves us and has already blessed us in Christ with everything we need to live our lives. "What I do defines who I am." Not true. My spiritual birth defines who I am. My faith in Christ gave me a new spiritual birth. Knowing who I am in Christ will directly affect my behavior and obedience to God." "I am sinning and disobeying God because I am not committed enough to Him." Not true. While we certainly need to be 'submitted' to God, being more committed to God often means deciding that we will try harder to obey Him. Instead, we need to ask Christ to live His life through us so we can obey God and His Word. Jesus said in John 8:32, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free". If His truth sets us free then what keeps us imprisoned? Obviously lies! Why don't we ask God to show us the lies we are believing about Him, ourselves and others so He can replace those with His truth. Until next time remember He loves us!
Here is a wonderful article about casting and carrying burdens written by Anabel Gillham.
Cast or Carry Burdens
Cast or Carry?
When a person comes into your life bringing his bag of problems with him, when a person carries grief and stress and pain into your world, when a person causes chaos over which you have no control, what do you do?
How do you deal with the pressure of painful encounters and fragmented relationships? With angry, rebellious people? With divorce, sickness, bitterness, and death? With loneliness? With the circumstance that you never dreamed would be a part of your life? With the weight of the burden that has worn out your emotions and left you physically exhausted? How do you handle it?
The Bible, our love letter, tells us in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.” Let’s paraphrase that: “Get rid of that burden; throw it on the Lord; fling it at His feet. Don’t sneak up to give it to Him. To cast means to throw forcefully. Once you have done that, He promises that He will take care of you, sustain you; He promises to be your sustenance.”
What sort of sustenance is the psalmist talking about here? It’s not physical—not food or drink. I need emotional sustenance. Emotional relief. I need stability, strength, and wisdom. I need peace, the therapy of rest. I need the calmness that comes when I know that everything is under the control of an authority figure, a professional, someone I can trust, someone who knows what to do. That’s exactly the sort of sustenance Psalm 55:22 is talking about.
Our desire for acceptance is so ingrained that we will often try to become what others want us to be in our quest to define our identity. It reminds me of a scene in the movie, "The Bourne Identity". Jason Bourne, having amnesia, is desperate to discover who he really is. He ends up opening a safety deposit box in hopes that his true identity will be revealed. As he unpacks the box, he is surprised by a stack of passports. To his dismay, each one has his photo on it under a different name. He is obviously shaken and puzzled as he realizes he has been a different person in different parts of the world under a different name each time. He leaves no closer to knowing who he is than before. We often allow ourselves to take on the identity of the people we associate with. It might be one with our family, one at work, one with our friends on Facebook and another at church.
One blessing in understanding the Gospel of grace is that we discover we have an unchanging, unshakeable identity in Christ. We are the beloved children of God. "What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it-we're called children of God!" 1 John 3:1a. As God's sons and daughters, we are holy, chosen, blameless, forgiven, accepted and so much more.Let me put it another way, our new nature is our identity in Christ. Our new nature is the new norm for defining us. Let that sink in. It's not our past, our successes or failures, our sins, our Biblical knowledge, the opinions of others or our performance in any area of life.
I've been teaching a more complete understanding of the Gospel for 25 years. The more I share it, the more I realize that understanding our identity in Christ frees us to be our true selves. We are each unique in our personality, spiritual gifts, God-given talents, personal passions and even body type. Ephesians 2:10 says it this way. "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in."
When we rest in our identity in Christ, we begin to discover and rest in our divine design. We can accept our personality type as the way God "hard-wired" us rather than wishing we were someone else. For example, if you are a high C on the DISC Profile, then God designed you to be very conscientious. Yet, many with this temperament wish they were high I's who are extroverts and tend to be the life of the party.
It's like a lighting store our Director of Counseling, Tom Short, told us about recently. It displays every shape and color of light bulb you could ever imagine: each one showing the light within uniquely. In the same way, God designed you to be a special shape and color to express Himself through. Isn't that freeing?
Why don't you tell your Father that you are standing firm in your identity in Christ today and that you accept yourself as the unique person God designed you to be. Christ in you is a gift to the world. Being confident in your identity in Christ will unleash the unique you to influence this world for God's glory, other's transformation and your joy.
Live Free in Christ,
Founder & President of Grace Life International
Date: Saturday, 26 July 2014