“I'm not what I do. I'm not what I have. I'm not what other people say about me. I am the beloved of God. It's who I am and no one can take it from me. I don't have to worry. I don't have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His love with the world.”
I came across this quote and it struck something in my heart to begin unpacking the deep implications its truths have on my life.
We all have a fear of being rejected, left out, seen as weird, or uncool. Our society has put so much focus on conforming to a certain image, forcing us to find our identity in being successful, popular, and politically correct.
Even as strong Christians, these cultural messages seep into our thinking and rob us of the freedom we have in Christ. It enslaves us, bonds us to constantly searching for fulfillment in anything other than Christ. Satan uses these distractions not to make us hate God, but to distract us from living a life dedicated to His glory. He sidelines us, making our testimony obsolete and meaningless.
My fear of rejection from the world often silenced me from boldly living into Christ and who He created me to be. I knew the truth of the Gospel in my head and heart, but I was still attached to the world’s perception of Christ-followers. I wanted to love Jesus, but not too much. I wanted to follow Christ, but not too much. I wanted to live differently, but not too much...not too much that I couldn't fall back into what the world saw as acceptable. I was enslaved to the middle ground, constantly bouncing between the truths I believed and the world I wanted to fit into. Simply put, I was attempting to serving two masters.
Slowly, the Lord started to show me where I was clinging to the world and how it was preventing me from fully walking into the freedom Christ offers me. He allowed situations in my life to help reveal where I put my identity and trust. As I came face to face with the decision to walk out what I claimed to believe or abandon it and follow the world, the full gravity of Christ’s faithfulness to bring me through the fiery trials of life left me with a clear vision of where my identity was founded.
The Lord often strips away our faulty views of the Gospel by allowing suffering to lead us to our limitations. He brings us to the ends of ourselves, into our deepest fears and sorrows to grow new faith and dependence on Him. In 1 Peter, He calls us to suffer well, explaining that suffering produces a genuine dependence on Christ. If we cling to the promises of The Lord while our lives are broken through trials, He reveals Himself to be the ultimate source of Life, our only Hope, Redeemer, Healer, Sustainer, and Faithful Father. This produces the relationship needed to boldly stand up to the world and proclaim the Truth of who God is, what He has done, and who we are in Him. Our identity and allegiance are made known to us, propelling us forward into the world with unmatched confidence in Christ. We are no longer held down by the fear that once kept us from sharing the work of Christ with those around us. God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness enable us to get back into the game of life, fully committed to running after Jesus and living a life that gives all glory to Christ. We are freed from the desire to live up to the expectations of the world and become the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching a lost world desperate for hope and searching for confidence.
"In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."
2 Corinthians 12:9
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."