Friday, July 18, 2014

We'll Be Back

Bon voyage!

The Identity Project will be on a two-week "summer hiatus" (Kristen is going overseas with little access to Internet). But we'll be back the week of August 4th.

In the meantime, send me an email if you're interested in writing for the blog or joining our team of writers: kristenleighevensen@gmail.com. [Check out the "Join Us" page for more details.] The team has been growing, and it's very exciting!

May God bless you and keep you in his peace these next two weeks. Until next time!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Not Dating, Just Waiting...with Patience

By Katie Marie Evensen
When you look around our society, love is only a four-letter word that can be temporary, come-and-go as we please, casual and easy.  

This is not to say all relationships are like this, but from my own experience a lot of television shows or series include forcing this “dating lifestyle” on teens and young adults.  I’m 20 years old, a Senior in College, and I have yet to find this “love of my life” - but I’m completely content with that.  I struggle with patience, though, and this is something I pray about all the time.

I’ve been transparent to my best girl-friends lately, letting them know about my insecurities with patience and God’s timing for my “love life.”  Sad, isn’t it? That I am sometimes impatient with God about waiting for the right, loving man He will bless me with one day?  

Recently, my sister Kristen got married to her soul mate, Brad, and I was so honored to be the maid-of-honor on this special day.  I could not have been more overjoyed on May 31st of 2014 to see my older sister and my role-model walk down the aisle to the love of her life.  Witnessing this special day as her sister made me really reflect on what marriage is, the reason behind marriage, and how one reaches that point of becoming married.

May seem simple to you, but when you really stop and reflect on the commitment of marriage, it’s a lot more detailed than you may think. Mark 10: 6-9 reads: 

But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”  

The beautiful, yet complex result of marriage isn’t just to gain the man’s last name, to please one another sexually, or to have a companion to talk to when you’re bored.  The goal of marriage and God’s ultimate plan as spoken in Mark is to come together as one union in Him, glorifying His name as a married couple in all that you do together.  

Pastor Tom Olson, who married my sister and Brad, explained one of the most beautiful passages during his message in the wedding.  He said to Kristen and Brad, “Be quick to forgive one another, but also be quick to ask for forgiveness.”  This is something that society (and I) struggle with as well in relationships.  Human nature’s first response is to complain, gossip and talk dirt about the person who hurt us, right?

Ephesians 4:31-32 reads, Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  

This is a command from our Lord Jesus Christ, not a strong suggestion.  Seeing Christ-centered relationships in my family and friends' lives, and now my sister’s, is truly an inspiration for me to gain more patience and wait for the man that the Lord has set out for me.  

What is patience?  Patience is waiting, even when it is hardest.  For me, this is waiting for my first date, my first boyfriend, and eventual husband for a lifetime.  Paul states, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).  

Having patience for anything can be difficult because you don’t know the end result.  But that’s the joy of knowing Christ Jesus: knowing that He has all control over every situation and already has it all planned out.  

That is patience...trusting in God’s ultimate plan for your life, praying constantly that you are given the gift of patience and trust, and then praising Him in the sunshine and in the storm even when it is hardest to do so.

I am hopeful that God has someone special out there for me, but waiting for that person can be hard at times.  When you are in your 20’s and on a college campus, it is constantly shoved in your face that if you don’t have a boyfriend or you aren’t flirting with someone, then something has got to be wrong with you.  

My thoughts are these: I’m waiting for the man who God has already set out to be my husband.  And it isn’t easy, but I trust Him completely.  I cannot wait for the day when I meet the love of my life, and we can go through trials together, pray together, laugh together, cry together and grow spiritually together.  

Until then, I will have patience.

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Different About You?

By Anna Bachinsky
"I do."

When a bride joins her groom at the altar and says, “I do,” she commits to a lifetime of loving him. The same goes for Christians when we believe in Jesus by faith, saying, “I do” to a lifetime committed of living for Him.

From that moment on we stop living for our own passions and desires, and we live for God, as we become His ambassadors to the world around us (2 Corinthians 5:20).

As His children, we no longer represent our old sinful nature and lifestyle, but we represent the nature of the One who adopted us as His own.

We replace our worldly pursuits and passions with heavenly ones, and we put away our old ways of darkness and become His light to the dark world around us. We permeate our world with His fragrance.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

As Christians we shine the brightest where the world is the darkest. We spread the sweet fragrance of God’s love, truth, and grace the most where the world is the dirtiest.

Even though it can be difficult at times, God places us in those dark and messy environments for His very purpose: To be a reflection of Him in everything that we do, from our words, to our attitudes, to our actions.

And as we go about our day, He entrusts us with His light that shines brightest in the darkness.

One of the environments God placed me in was at my first job when I was sixteen years old.

I started working at a bank with all young people who were unbelievers, living to get the most of what the world had to offer.

Walking into that bank daily was literally like walking into darkness, as I listened to one story after another of each individual’s version of chasing the pleasures of the world.

From gambling to partying to indulging in impure relationships and more.

I always felt like the odd one out because my lifestyle resembled so little to theirs.

But I realized that this was the exact place that God wanted me to be to spread the fragrance of His love and light and to shine His truth in the darkness.

I started praying for Him to help me see new opportunities daily to make a difference and be His light in everything I did. And every day my light shone a little bit brighter and the fragrance spread a little bit farther.

When my co-workers told me stories of their weekend partying, I told them stories of my weekend attending church events, outreaches, and fellowship with friends.

When they were hurting because circumstances in their lives were hard, they would talk about running to alcohol or temporary fulfillment to relieve their pain. I would talk about how they could run to Jesus, and I'd say that I would pray for them.

When they talked about me behind my back and belittled my faith, my purity, and my lifestyle, I turned the other cheek and blessed them with my words anyway.

And with time they noticed that there was something different about me.

That I lived for something beyond what the world had to offer and that I had someone in my life in whom I could find true happiness.

It was hard at times, and I wasn’t in any way perfect. But with God’s help I slowly did what I could to be His light in the darkness and to spread His love, truth, and grace to those around me.

A few years later, when I walked out those doors for the last time, I was not changed by the environment I found myself in. I didn’t become part of their world, but I knew I had planted a seed (little as it might have been) by being Christ’s ambassador to everyone around me daily.

By the end, they didn’t belittle my faith and think I wasn’t making the most of the world because I didn’t live like them. Instead they respected my beliefs and my lifestyle because they could see that I lived out what I believed and that Jesus was much more than just a historical figure to me - He was my Savior and my everything.

They may not have been brought to Christ, but I know that throughout those years I was a fragrance and light that brought a piece of His heart to them.

And He calls you to be the same, as well: To be His ambassador to those who are lost in your world whether it’s your family, your co-workers, or your friends.

What this world needs most is the sweet fragrance of Christ and the light that shines truth on His forgiveness and grace in spite of man's sin.

Every day you have opportunities, big or small, to make a difference simply by carrying your new identity in Christ everywhere you go.

Dear Lord, I pray that I represent you well daily as I walk out your truth and strive to be your light to the dark and broken world around me. Help me look for opportunities to share your love with others and leave a sweet fragrance of you everywhere that I go. Thank you for strengthening me in my weakness and helping me become more like you every day.

Amen.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why Christians Do Conflict Differently

By Jill Daniels
My mind went straight to conflict. 
When considering what things I do differently (or should do differently) because I am a Christian, conflict was where my thoughts ended up.

For the past three years I have been faced with how I deal with conflict. Marriage has a way of bringing that out in a person. I’ve been humbled by the reality of how far I am from living the Christian life in times of conflict and have been convicted to change. So as you read this know that I am far from perfect in this area, but I do know from experience that if we follow what the Bible teaches about love and forgiveness our lives will be so much better! 

In the Bible two main themes are love and forgiveness. It’s funny how both of those go right out the door in times of conflict or in heated arguments! What I want to focus on, though, is why these two themes matter so much in these circumstances. Let’s take a deeper look into love and forgiveness.

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). This verse is a popular verse to hear at weddings. It gives the message that we want to love because God first loved us - but why would we love because He first loved us? Looking a little earlier in the chapter might explain the why of this verse a little better.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:7-12).

God first loved us by sending his one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could have an eternal relationship with him. What an amazing love! In this context we can then draw the connection that because God loved us this much, how could we then not love others as well?

My automatic answer to that question is, “Because others have hurt me and haven’t shown me love!” I know my heart can be ugly! It’s true though; I tend to feel as if others who have hurt me don’t deserve my love back. What does the Bible have to say about this?

“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matthew 18:21-22).

Jesus tells Peter in this verse that we should continue to forgive, even when it feels like we have forgiven someone multiple times. Jesus isn’t saying we should just forgive exactly seventy-seven times and then never again, but to continue forgiving. Again, my childish mind asks the question, “Why?”

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-17).

In this verse we are given the why. Since God gave his only Son in such a loving way on the cross to take the penalty of our sin, wiping our slate clean, why shouldn’t we then also forgive others? God gave us grace by putting each of our past, present and future sins on the cross that day and forgiving us forever. Dwelling on that gift of grace gives me grace to give to others. 

Why should I hold something against someone when I have been forgiven of so much?

If you’re anything like me, at this point you are feeling a little defeated. I tend to know these concepts and believe in showing love and giving forgiveness, but it’s so hard to live them out in the middle of conflict! What do we do when our lives don’t reflect these Biblical truths? I can think of three things that have helped me and will hopefully help you, too!

ONE: Pray, pray, pray! Pray before conflict, in the moment, and after. It may be hard to know when it’s coming, but just pray! Pray that your heart will be changed and that God will help you to practice what you believe in times of heated arguments!

TWO: Take a step back when you feel yourself getting riled up, and ask God to fill you with his Spirit to give you the power to give love and forgive. Ask Him to show you where you are out of line and where you could give forgiveness and love to the other person. Don’t step back into the situation until you have taken time to talk it through with God first. This is the hardest for me to live out, but it has helped the most!

THREE: Give yourself grace! It can be hard to forgive yourself for blowing up at someone for the third time in a row - especially when you feel like you have had little victory over this area of life. But know that God gives grace! You may need to ask the person you were angry with for forgiveness for approaching the situation the way you did, which can be so humbling. Just keep at it and know that you can’t do it without God’s help. 

It’s his love, grace and forgiveness that you are giving, not your own!

God, I thank you so much for the model that you have given us of love and forgiveness. The grace you gave us on the cross is truly amazing grace. I pray that we would dwell on that grace and be prepared to hand it out to people we may have felt hurt by. Help us to love those people and forgive them with your love and forgiveness, God! Fill us with your Spirit to give us the power to do this. Thank you! 

Amen.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Glory Not in Your Independence

When the world looks at you, what do they see?
For Christians, this is a very important question and one we will hope to address in this next series, "Raise Your Banner." Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15: 

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing...

If you are a believer, then you are one with Christ - you are "in" him. Because this is the truth, you are also the "aroma of Christ to God," spreading the fragrance of Jesus everywhere you go. What a wonderful task. What a wonderful responsibility. What a wonderful blessing!

In these next few posts we will explore what this looks like, hearing from several different women about being the fragrance of Christ to our broken world. 
------------------------------
By Kristen Wetherell
I love playing the hero.

And when I say “love,” what I mean is that I simply cannot resist the tendency to do so. To appear weak before other people, to admit that I cannot perform certain functions or that I’m at a loss, often seems like the worst kind of failure.

So I pull up my bootstraps, wipe the sweat off my brow, and pretend I’m Miss Independent.

The last time this happened in a grand scale was not my proudest moment. A significant foot injury had landed me in a hard cast for six weeks. The doctor’s instructions were to “take it easy” and elevate my lower half as often as possible.

Somehow, in my unspoken desire for independence I interpreted those instructions as, “Go grocery shopping, even though your foot hurts, and don’t bother to ask for anyone’s help.”

Great idea.

Needless to say, that shopping trip ended with a face full of streaming tears, while my injured foot throbbed even more incessantly in pain.

Yes, I should’ve admitted to my need and asked for the help I so flippantly rejected.

Such is the condition of man. Our sinful nature tells us that we are independent creatures on a lifelong journey to deeper autonomy. We believe that life is about “finding ourselves.” We believe that the way to reach happiness is to follow our hearts and to do justice to our unique, independent persons.

Isn’t this the case every time I demand before my husband that “my way is the right way”? Isn’t it the case every time I convince myself that physical beauty will make me feel better about myself? Or how about those instances when one mistake at work sends my anxious thoughts over the edge, and I grow worried about my fragile reputation?

Glorying in our independence is an ironic dead-end road.

The Results of Our “Independence”

We quickly learn that this way of thinking leads to the following results:

Selfishness. If I want what I want, but I do not get what I want, then I potentially grow increasingly self-focused, wondering how and why I did not attain my goal. If succumbed to, my independent thinking will only lead to a “plan B” and further selfish ambition.

Frustration. If I make my life all about me and my own plans then, when things don’t go “my way,” I will feel entitled to my rights and, therefore, frustrated. If succumbed to, my independent thinking will only lead to an even stronger sense of self-deserving.

Bitterness. If life is all about the journey, and if people or circumstances become obstacles in that journey, I will feel upset and antagonistic towards them. If succumbed to, my independent thinking will only lead to anger, blame, tension in my relationships, and a nursing of my personal wounds.

Pride. If I believe that certain worldly pursuits will ultimately make me happy, then any one pursuit that fails will be a blow to my personal pride and dreams. If succumbed to, my independent thinking will only lead to a more narrowed, closed scope of the purpose of life and an inflated sense of my personal responsibility to reach “it” – whatever “it” is.

Selfishness. Frustration. Bitterness. Pride. Interesting results for the so-called pursuits of an independent life.

Clearly, there are holes in our pursuit of independence. We cannot live this way. Our hearts cry, “There must be more to life than this!” But no matter what we do, our natural tendency is to keep pursuing our own way, our own wisdom. We want what we want.

But the natural results of a pursuit of independence reveal that we simply cannot glory in it. In our search for independence, we are actually losing ourselves.

The Result of Our Dependence

In what or whom do we glory then? Scripture would argue that the secret to our contentment, our joy, and our purpose is actually our dependent need, the losing of our own self-will.

In favor of what, we ask? Of humble, obedient dependence, of glorying in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dependence on the Son is the key to our ultimate satisfaction and joy. Christ is who we most deeply need, and who will most assuredly set us free from bondage to serving ourselves.

When we place our hope in Christ, the veil of self-glory and spiritual darkness is lifted from our faces:

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.  But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).

When we realize that our ultimate satisfaction is found in the Savior of the world, and not in fulfilling our own personal journeys and dreams, the result is our transformation into his likeness brought about by a joy-filled brokenness. We realize how desperately we need grace. Our hardness of heart is softened and broken by the gospel-reality that Christ laid down his own independence and agenda for our sake, to obey his Father and destroy death once for all time.

No longer do failure or weakness or obstacles cause us to fret: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (4:7). We glory in joyful dependence upon Christ! Without him, without his work on the cross, without his perfection gained from suffering and rising to glory, we would be utterly lost to our wayward selfish ambitions and our dark, independent journeys to destruction.

But “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (3:17). So glory in your excellent Lord and Savior and be unchained by the freedom of the wonderful cross!

Gracious Lord Jesus, Thank you for saving your people! When I was without hope in the world, you considered me and rescued me from myself. Only in you is my freedom found and my security truly known. I praise you for salvation and worship you for dying to purchase me!

Amen. 

[This post first appeared on Unlocking the Bible, July 3, 2014.]

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why Swimsuits Make Me Mad

By Hannah Firestone
He came up to me and said, “Look, Hannah, I just want to let you know that I really appreciate your modesty. The other guys feel the same way.”
Seth was a good friend, so his words meant a lot.

“Thanks, I try,” I replied.

And I did try. I tried to help my Christian brothers. I realized how much they struggle with what they see, so I did my best to make sure there wasn’t much to look at. In the words of a youth group leader, I tried to “lift them up.” Not let them fall into sin. Men want a woman they can respect. Modest is hottest.

So I wanted a length, in inches, of how long my shorts could be above my knee. A length in centimeters of how far away my shirt should fall from a beauty mark. How much bra strap to show? How much shoulder? What about my midriff; cover it completely or can I allow a sliver? 

Swimsuits just made me angry. They break all the rules. I resorted to wearing a T-shirt and shorts every time I went to the pool. “Are you insecure about your body?” asked the friends. “No, I just feel immodest in a swimsuit.” And they looked away, embarrassed in their bikinis.

The church boys thanked me. Parents complimented my parents on their conservative daughter. I saw the other girls wearing less than appropriate clothing, and I smiled to myself. How immodest they are, how crude. I’m pleasing in the Lord’s eyes.

I felt so smug in my modesty. Then I became a Christian. 

When I truly recognized the power of what Jesus had done for me on the cross and accepted Him as my Savior, I lost my shield of modesty. Before, I was like a Pharisee. I prayed, “God, thank you that I’m not like the other girls who disobey you and dress immodestly.” But I was never obeying the Lord. I was setting up my own rules in order to please the people around me. It was fake worship.

God revealed this to me as I got dressed one morning. I was examining my outfit and praying, “God, is this modest enough?” I swear he shouted, “Who cares?” I plopped down in front of the mirror in disbelief. Excuse me, God? You care; this is for you. Isn’t it?

He slowly brought me to the realization that my personal dress code was never for His glory. It was for my security. Modesty can be an idol. I’ve scoured the Bible for a dress code. Nada. Funny, maybe God would have included it if it were a necessity.

Then my church had a fun Q&A night. Anyone could submit questions anonymously, and my pastor would answer them. Among questions about sexuality and spiritual growth lay this gem: “What counts as modest?” I didn’t submit it.  But I sure as heck was grateful to whomever had the guts to fill out the online form. I looked at him expectantly.

“Ask Jesus what he thinks.” My pastor said matter-of-factly.  “Yeah,” someone retorted, “But then I could just claim that God told me I could be immodest.” Not skipping a beat, my pastor replied, “Only if we don’t follow a living, talking God, who communicates with his people!” If I ask Jesus what he thinks about my clothing, then he will tell me. If I search his Scripture, then the Holy Spirit will convict me. 

And this point really stood out to me.  “I don’t care if you run around naked in the streets like the prophet Isaiah, if that’s what God asks you to do.” It had never occurred to me that God might ask you to do something outrageous like that. But if I was going to be ready to obey Him, I had to let go of my personal morality and surrender to the reign of the King.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, with Jesus as my king, there are no minimum or maximum requirements for being a disciple, there is only “Follow me!”

Modesty is not a thing to stress over. It’s a thing to place in God’s hands. It’s not below his intervention. If you’re someone who stresses over whether you’re dressing modestly enough, I would encourage you to trade in your pride for obedience to the Lord.  Your clothes are not your gift to the world. 

If you’re someone who knows they dress to incite sin, I would encourage you to trade in your pride for obedience to the Lord. Your clothes are not where you should find your acceptance. 

If you’re not sure, I would encourage you to trade in your pride for obedience to the Lord. Your clothes are not beneath your attention. Whoever you are, ask God for guidance, and when he provides it, obey.

“But Hannah, how will I know what He’s saying?” is what you’re thinking. I can only speak for myself. For me, in addition to God’s word and the illumination of the Spirit in prayer, it’s through my parents. They are both wonderful Christian individuals, and I submit to them as the Bible commands. If an article of clothing is questionable, I parade downstairs to ask my mom. More than once I’ve come down saying, “Mom, I know this looks good on me and I really like it, but please tell me I can’t wear it.” As I grow older, I understand more fully the boundaries that I need to maintain with my clothing.

For you, it might be your close friends who approach you sincerely with a concern about how you’re dressing. Or your husband, who can testify to what clothing would make him nervous to see you wearing around other guys. Or the Holy Spirit may convict you through your conscience. Or at this point in time, you may be perfectly comfortable with the way you’re dressing, and you won’t need to alter it. Some helpful questions: “Is this outfit loving to myself and those around me?” “Do I feel beautiful and dignified wearing this?” “Do I invite others to see me as a precious child of God?”

So modesty rules can be different for each person? I believe so.  I believe that God has different standards of modesty for a mature believer than for a new believer who just entered into the faith. For the new believer, modesty is not high on the list of what she needs to understand. Down with the centimeter measurements! Just obey the Lord.

And in case you were wondering, swimsuits still make me mad.

Holy Father, I submit myself to you in every way. I want to surrender the clothes I wear and my attitude about them to you. Please guide me. 

Amen. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

For When We Stumble

By Roxann Morgan 
...But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up (Ecclesiastes 4:10).
I walked into the kitchen bogged down by my many thoughts then I realized it was June 10.  I realized 16 days after my 11th anniversary that I had missed the day I would celebrate my coming into salvation.
I've never missed this day before. It was always at the forefront of my mind, and I would sometimes even have a countdown. But I missed it this year. I was so weighed down with worry because of my struggle with sin that I forgot the anniversary.
As I walked into the kitchen, I felt ridiculously foolish. Foolish for forgetting. Foolish for always failing. Foolish for failing and then flailing my heart with harsh words and accusations. And then He spoke. He said, “When a child is learning to walk there are usually multiple falls.”

I sighed. I really don't want multiple falls. At 11 years old I should be standing steadily on my own two feet and walking with my head held high because I can (I should be able to) confidently handle the long journey and obstacles.
But that's not what happens even while walking this earth, is it?
I distinctly remember falling many times in my teens, tripping over the edge of my skirt in my early 20s and tumbling down a flight of stairs (in stilettos!) in my mid 20s. And I know that I tripped many times after that. In fact, I’m still stumbling at 31. So why do I continue to whip myself with condemnation at 11 years old in Christendom?
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves (1 John 3:18-20 MSG).
The truth is, I’m not as merciful to myself as He is to me. I often refuse help and think it is justified punishment to deny myself His grace. But He wants repentance when I fall; He doesn’t want self-condemnation (1 John 1:8-10). He wants me to go to Him and confess and receive His grace, not run from Him and hide beneath my makeshift sin covering. 
That’s what started this downhill journey into sin in the garden in the first place. He wants me to trust that He loves me and is able to rescue me from sin. He did the work (Revelation 1:5).
My conversation with the Lord continued.

When a child falls doesn't the parent rush to check for wounds and tenderly attends to the child?
Yes, Lord. They do. Good parents do.
So, why would I be any different with you?

But, God, I'm 11. I am 11 years old! I should be walking by now. I should be running confidently. Less trips, more steadiness. My legs shouldn't wobble, and I should be able to stand. I should be...I should be self-confident.
But is that what I want?
Is that really what He wants from His children?
He's not expecting self-confident strides. Yes, He expects growth and He brings growth and will continue to. But He wants dependence because He knows how we are. He knows that we are weak; He remembers that we are just dust (Psalm 103:14). He knows we will trip every now and then (sometimes even regularly) over the "edge" of our flesh (Romans 7:21), so He wants us to depend on Him completely for our good and for His glory.

He knows this road. He knows that it's those who are led by His Spirit that walk this road to the end and emerge as conquerors (
Romans 8:14). It's not the self-confident, trust-your-gut-feeling, walk-like-you-own-it people who win this race. It's the dependent-on-grace, always-leaning-on-Him, eyes-fixed-on-His, God-confident people who endure to the end and see His face.

He knows this so well. He has walked this road before. He was tempted as we are and He overcame, He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities—our weaknesses and our testing (
Hebrews 4:15). He knows this race and He already won; He won this race for us. We have the advantage; He already trampled and thoroughly defeated the enemy! (Colossians 2:15)

He wants us to know that if we trip, whether we are 11 or 70, He is right there to catch us.

He wants us to know that these weak legs become stronger with time spent in Him, and soon we won't trip over the same sin all time.

He wants us to abide in His love for us (1 John 4:16).

He wants us to know that He is able to keep us from falling...from falling and shattering...from falling and being crippled by fear...from falling away.

He IS able. He wants us to know that a day is coming when all this will be done away with, and we will be spotless, we will be presented as pure and clean (
Jude 24).

I'm Roxann and I'm only 11. But my Daddy, my awesome Father, He IS eternal and He makes everything new
(Revelation 21:5).

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust (Psalm 103:11-14 NASB).

Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness. When we are faithless You remain faithful. When we stumble You are able to catch us. You are also able to keep us from falling. We could not and cannot save ourselves so You did it for us. We commit ourselves to You, all our times are in Your hands. Please help us to trust You with our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. 

Amen.
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