16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Another way to put this…
16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (The Message)
My life has been filled with ups and downs. Everyones has. I am sure you can right now take account of several devastating events that occurred before you think of the most joyous. It seems to be a natural reaction. A great deal of my disappointments and pain came from my own poor decision making and lack of boundaries. Talk about a difficult pill to swallow! To come to the conclusion a great deal of hardships you survived were of your own doing in one way or another. Grant it I did not go looking for trouble but my lack of healthy decisions led me down many unnecessary paths.
I say this because there were people I allowed in my life that I also allowed to hurt me because I just didn’t want to be alone. I allowed people to cut me down knowing it was their attempt at boosting their self-esteem, because mine was so low. I had such a void inside even though I believed I was a Christian and had Jesus with me but I still felt alone. I used to sit alone and cry and beg God to explain to me whats going on inside me, why do I live in a cycling spiral of destruction…
Unfortunately this is not uncommon. Living in this emotional chaos is not foreign to a large number of people. I felt alone but HE was with me. I felt alone because I didn’t truly know Him. I believed IN HIM, I believed He died for me and sacrificed His life for mine. I believed all of that. I did not believe, despite my professions, that my Savior loved me unconditionally. I felt in my heart despite my knowledge, that I lived on a merit system with God just as I did with all those unhealthy relationships around me. I had in essence based my relationship with Jesus on the relationship with those around me that nearly made sport out of cutting me down. Why? I would venture to say it had a great deal with learning from and “looking up to” the wrong people as well as learning from various disappointments and pains. Disappointments and pain teach us as much or more as we intentionally set out to learn from any other source.
I so desired to learn from Jesus and what HIS Word teaches His followers but my flesh and past continually got in the way. Trying to carry baggage in the airport and on a trip… baggage rubs others baggage and create friction. This was apparent in my life and I used anger and sarcasm as a defense with those that meant the most to me because I could not bring myself to defend myself to those that cut me down. What a mess right? Luckily in all my mess God had a plan for me and a purpose despite my SELF. I would quote Jeremiah 29:11 but everyone already knows that verse so let me share this…
God declares the end from the beginning. He is already in your future. He holds your hand and says to you, “Fear not.” Is.46:10, 41:13
I was afraid. I was afraid that without my baggage I would have no identity. I did not realize the truth about my identity in Christ. My identity and purpose in Him was greater than I could ever fathom. I cannot say I “feel” like the identity Christ calls me but I believe it. I know it and I am grateful for it. I am thankful my heavenly Father is not a child abuser… isn’t that a weight lifted to know in all His perfection its not just a front!
I would love to tell you I have it all figured out. I have learned a lot and I have relearned a lot more. I am not where I will be someday but I am far from who I was. I am capable of being used on purpose by God, and I know where to look for my validation. To Him! He created me, He chose me, He knew me and conceived me in His very mind before my parents ever met. I am a product of God first. He still chooses me knowing every intimate detail about my life so much deeper than any human that has ever rejected me for more shallow things.
I want to say there is no greater freedom, peace, joy, and blessing than you will find in Jesus. He calms the storms as in Mark. He is peace in Luke. He is our Hope in Psalms, 1 Thessalonians, and 1 Peter.
Mark 2:17 …“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He is a friend to the sinner, the friendless, the lost, and the broken. They are not easy to be around. They are work. They are worth it!
Jesus set us an example and I can say I am so grateful for those in my life that chose to live by Jesus example and teach me differently. Jesus taught me who I am and how I should be treated and treat others then He sent people into my life to teach me that there are others that live by HIS example. What a relief! There is always a remnant.
Are you a friend of sinners? Am I? I have to ask myself this, check myself and make readjustments when needed. Don’t be the Christian that talks of beliefs that create an atmosphere of love and encouragement but live a life that does this. Live a life that will cause sinners, that have never met Jesus, ask you what you know that they are missing. I desperately needed someone to pour into me the love of Jesus, to show me His heart not a heart filled with flesh and personal motivation for success. Self-esteem should never affect the way you treat others. Have God-esteem.
If you are not sure if you are living the way God asks of us and don’t know where to start here are two places for your beginning:
Look at and learn the fruits of the spirit… are you living in these and producing…
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5
set your mind on these things… have the mind of Christ…
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
I have to constantly examine myself and Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)