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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Becoming Me {Believing that I am who God says I am} {part 1} {April HBC Women's Ministry Small Group}

I believe that God is who He says He is. ..........check!

I believe that God can do what He says He can do......check!

I believe that I am who God says I am.  ..........Wait a minute.....Do I really believe this? 

I was talking with my friend Amanda about how we truly believe that God is sovereign and performs miracles and wonders in this world and in and through people around us. But when it comes to believing these things for ourselves, this is where we often find our faith lacking.  I think it's pretty safe to assume that Amanda and I are not the only ones who feel this way.  In fact, I would say that a large majority of women feel this exact same way.


What do these things all have in common?

They all spring forth from the same root.  That root being unbelief....We do not truly believe that we are who God says we are.  Many women do not believe this because they simply do not know God-they haven't been born again.  But many of us are born again believers and we still do not believe it.  It's sad.  When we become a follower of Jesus Christ, we in turn receive His gift of eternal life.  But that's not all.  We are also being transformed into His likeness.  When God looks at His born again sons and daughters,  He sees the blood that His Son spilled out on our behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:21)  He sees Jesus in us. He sees righteousness.  He sees beauty. He sees perfection.  But do we see that?

Most of us see 5, 10, 15, or 20+ extra pounds...we see acne scars...we see wrinkles...we see circles...we see bloodshot eyes...we see scars on our arms and wrists....we see depression meds...anxiety meds...pain meds...stretch empty wallet...debt...we see sexual abuse...verbal abuse...drug addiction...alcohol addiction...cancer...disease...abortion...divorce...broken dreams... We see too much.  We see too little.

But God doesn't see as we see:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."  2 Corinthians 5:17
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."  Ezekiel 36:26
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."  Philippians 1:6
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from he Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:18

"....even when we were dead in our trespasses, {God} made us alive with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."  Ephesians 2:5-6

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17-19

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
1 John 3:1

What do all of these verses say about who we are?

We are children of God! We are alive in Christ! God's power in us can break every single chain!!! But we must choose to see ourselves as God sees us.  

If you have a minute, go read Ezekiel 37:1-28.  I love this passage. If you don't have time to read it, here is a quick summary:

God transported Ezekiel in a vision to a valley full of dry bones and directed him to speak to the bones. The bones represented Israel's present condition.  She was a "dead" nation, deprived of her land, her king and her Temple after her defeat to Babylon.   Like unburied skeletons, the people were in a state of living death, pining away with no end to their judgement in sight.  They thought their hope was gone and they were cut off forever.  Ezekiel was to tell the bones that God would make breath enter the bones and they would come to life.  Ezekiel obeyed, the bones came together, flesh developed, skin covered the bones, breath entered them and they stood up in a vast army. (that always give me chill bumps!) The reviving of the dry bones signified God’s plan for Israel’s future national restoration. The vision also showed that Israel’s new life depended on God’s power and not the circumstances of the people

Did you catch that?

Isreal's new life depended on God's power and not the circumstances of the people!

Despite whatever my circumstances may be, my identity is in Christ Jesus.  I don't have to wait until I lose 10 more pounds to believe that I am beautiful because God says that I am beautiful right now.  You don't have to wait for an apology from the father who abandoned you to believe that you are wanted because God says that He wants you right now.  You don't have to wait until your career has taken off to feel important because God says that His power is living in you and that makes you important right now.  

Wherever you are right now, God sees Jesus in you.  He sees beauty.  He sees perfection.

Go find the nearest mirror right now.  Don't focus on the blemishes.  Just simply say, "I see Jesus." ....reapeat it....repeat it....repeat it until you believe it.  Repeat it every single day.  Three times a day....for weeks...for months...for a lifetime....whatever it takes.  When you receive negative criticism or have hateful insults hurled at you, repeat it.  When you fail miserably, repeat it.  You may have failed, but you are not a failure.  You have Jesus in you. Choose to see Jesus in you.

When you get to the end of your life and you stand before Jesus, are you going to be able to say, "Jesus you were enough for me.  You were all I needed.  You gave me strength.  You made me beautiful.  You made me brave.  You broke my addictions.  You made me feel loved.  You made me love.  You were my joy.  You were my happiness." ?

Or will you have to say, "Jesus, I loved you but I didn't really believe that you could change me.  I didn't believe that you were all I needed.  I didn't believe that you could give me strength.  I didn't believe that I was beautiful in your eyes.  I didn't believe that you could make me brave.  I didn't believe that you could break through my addictions.  I didn't believe that you loved me.  I didn't believe that I could love.  You weren't my joy or my happiness."

Will Jesus have to ask, "what was I to you other than a get-out-of-hell-free card?"

Oh ladies, why can't we see it? My heart is breaking for you.  My heart breaks for the old me that lived under this bondage up until recently.  If Jesus can save us, then He can surely change us.  

Ladies you have a choice to make. You can either keep living in bondage to your insecurities, afflictions and can break free from those chains that have been unlocked ever since the day you decided to follow after Jesus.  I pray that you will choose freedom.  The truth is, becoming a follower of Jesus means becoming like Him.  He already sees you this way.  Will you choose to see it and become it? become the person that God says you already are? become yourself?...the person who has been there all along, just hidden behind disbelief?

Imagine if we all decide to believe that we are who God says we are! Imagine the things that we can do for His kingdom and His glory if we believe in His power in us! When we believe this, we will rise up just like the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision.  We will rise up united under one cause- the cause of Christ.  This is our destiny.  This is our promised land.  

I can't go back and tell "18-year-old me" all of this.  Neither can you.  But will you choose this with me today? As long as we are still breathing, it's not too late to let Jesus break through these chains of deceit.  

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