Posts Tagged ‘Lord Jesus Christ’

Who Am I?

Who I Am?
Image by tonyhall via Flickr

We live in a world where identity crisis is rampant. When I was growing up, I remember hearing older kids, teenagers, talk about finding themselves. As I got older, it was understandable what they meant by finding yourself because who I became wasn’t exactly who I thought I was and I was glad.

I witnessed some people lose their way and heard some say that it was because they couldn’t handle who they were or that they hadn’t yet found out who they wanted to be. It’s still common to hear my mother say that men take longer to find themselves than it does women.

I learned in psychology classes that the emotional growth of a woman is stunted when she gives birth to a child too early in life, since she hasn’t fully matured yet. I had a friend in the military who was an anorexia survivor and continued to struggle with the disease. She advised me that those that suffered with anorexia and bulimia were suffering from an identity crisis. A friend of mine has a ministry in Florida and their goal is to minister to homosexuals and lesbians who are trying to find their way and have questions about their identities.

The Book of John tells us that we are both the children of God and a Friend to Jesus. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did accept Him and believe in Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” And in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I heard from my Father.”

The Book of Romans tells us we are justified, freed, secure and assured. Romans 5:1 states, “Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Romans 8:1-2, it says, “So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty. Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made me free from the law that brings sin and death.” And in Romans 8:28, “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called because that was His plan.”

In I Corinthians, it says we are united, we belong and that we are a member of Christ’s body. In I Corinthians 6:17, “But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.” And in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies.” And, in I Corinthians 12:27, “Today you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of that body.”

In Ephesians, we learn that we were chosen. In 1:3-5, “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. That is, in Christ, he chose us before the world was made so that we would be His holy people, people without blame before Him. Because of His love, God had already decided to make us His own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased Him.”

In the Book of Colossians, we learn that we are forgiven and complete. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “God has freed us from the power of darkness and He brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son. The Son died for our sins and in Him we have forgiveness.” And, in Colossians 2:9-10, “All of God lives in Christ fully even when Christ was on earth and you have a full and true life in Christ who is ruler over all rulers and powers.”

In the Book of Hebrews, we learn that we have direct access. Chapter 4, verse 16 states, “Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it.”

Finally, in Philippians, we learn that we are citizens of heaven! Philippians 3:20, “But our homeland is in Heaven and we are waiting for our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ to come from heaven.”So, is it an identity crisis or identity direction? Is it about knowing who we are, or is it not knowing who He is?

The Vantage Point

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, Oil on canvas

Image via Wikipedia

It’s the moment you wish for death. Perhaps you prayed it would never come. It’s a sickness, a loss, a financial catastrophe, or an emotional trauma so horrendous, you don’t think you will survive. You are hurting, angry and confused. As a servant of God, how does one reconcile tragedy in the checkbook of life?

The answer lies in these first few verses of James:

(James 1:1-5 KJV)– 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers’ temptations; 3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally…and it shall be given him.

James’ purpose in writing this letter to the twelve tribes of Israel was to encourage them regarding the persecution they had suffered. They were scattered abroad, as told in the Book of Acts, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God allowed this, so they would go out into world, spreading the message of the gospel.

James tells them there are four responses they should exhibit during tragedy:

1. EXPECT

In the second verse, James writes, “My brethren, count it all joy, WHEN you fall into divers temptations.” It wasn’t IF, but WHEN. It’s going to happen, we will have tragedy. Because of sin, death and sickness, as well as hurt and pain, were realities for the Christians during the time of James, just like Christians today.

2. ENJOY

Another word in the second verse to notice is joy. Confusing, isn’t it? There’s more clarification in verses 3 and 4, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience, but let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” It’s not the actual tragedy we are to be joyful about, but the result. Read I Peter 1:7 (KJV), “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” When gold is refined, it is burned at 1900 degrees to remove the dross. But, Peter is informing us that through this refining, we will one day be given praise, honor and glory.

3. EVALUATE

Again in verse two, notice that we are supposed to “count it” all joy. When you count, you are calculating. Anyone can experience tragedy, but it takes wisdom to evaluate what the profit might be. This is where verse five comes in, because it tells us that if we lack wisdom, all we have to do is ask God for some. And please notice that it doesn’t say that He might give it to us. James tells us that He WILL give it to us liberally. When I was a little girl, and I couldn’t see something, I would open my arms, lift them high, and ask my father to pick me up. When my father lifted me, I could then get a look at what he saw. When we ask the Lord for wisdom, we are asking the Lord to pick us up, so we can view our situation through His eyes.

4. ENDURE

In verse three, James tells us that the trying of our faith brings us patience. We have no choice but to walk through the trying of our faith. Sadly, some are not patient and give up, forgetting the words of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (KJV). But, if we endure, God has a promise for us: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12 KJV)

Where is the vantage point? It’s not in the traffic! Ask the Lord to lift you out of the chaos and up to the control tower. If we fail to ask for the outlook only God can give, we will wreck our lives instead of enjoying the gift He has given us.

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