Browsing Tag:

identity

the miracle of being kept by God

Posted in faith

I turned 26 this week, and the day was great.

As many do when their birthday rolls around, I tend to be reflective. Looking at the past year – how have I grown? what I have learned? what am I thankful for?

Year 25 held much refining and changing from God, much wrestling in my faith, much growing as a communicator, much shaping as a teacher and woman in ministry, much humbling and learning as a graphic designer, and much enjoying as a wife, sister, daughter, and friend.

Amidst highs and lows, one reality stands out like a flashing police car at midnight: if my faith in Jesus, or my love for others, or my diligence with work, or my enjoyment of Scripture, or my joy in life hinged on me, not one would be present with any kind of fervor or endurance.

It’s possible that I could stay connected at work because I like being creative.

It’s possible that I could choose kindness and humility within difficult relationships maybe 50% of the time. Because I was raised to be a peacekeeper.

It’s possible that I could find a little joy in every day, but it would be weak joy, brought on by a new shirt or fun meal. Not durable.

Now, to the one with enough power to prevent you from stumbling into sin and bring you faultless before his glorious presence to stand before him with ecstatic delight, to the only God our Savior, through our Lord Jesus Christ, be endless glory and majesty, great power and authority—from before he created time, now, and throughout all the ages of eternity. Amen! Jude 24-25, The Passion Translation

I start this new year, my 26th year, with a clear understanding that if it was up to me to keep me in the Light, keep me turning from sin, keep me loving others as myself, keep me loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength… I would be flailing.

 

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Why do I say this? Because life is grounded in one major reality: I have been born again, I am a new creation, I am a child of God. 

How did this happen? I certainly didn’t do anything to create this new identity for myself in life and gain more in death.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1), but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (v. 5).

May we remember we have limits; God is infinite. We know little; God knows everything. We have weaknesses; God is all-powerful and never tired. We can’t see things coming; God is sovereign, with everything under His rule and authority. We have inescapable boundaries; God is always present in all places. We are flawed, with a bent toward sin; God is unchanging, perfect and whole. We were born and we will die; God is eternal.

In great power and love, He made us alive with Christ even when we were buried in sin, and He promises to sustain us.

 

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  • “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-20
  • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.” John 14:16-19
  • “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
  • “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins… For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:13-14, 16-17
  • “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:19-20

 

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“The glory and majesty and power and authority that it takes to keep you and me alive in Christ — to keep us praying and trusting, to keep us in the love of God — was secured for us sinners, when Christ died for us. Therefore the glory and majesty and dominion and authority that keeps us from falling and presents us blameless and joyful to God is through the blood of Jesus Christ — the blood of the covenant. And therefore when we ascribe glory and majesty and dominion and authority to God we do it through Jesus Christ.” John Piper

Without Jesus, my identity would be bound as a timid communicator, approval-seeking pleaser, religious Pharisee, self-absorbed friend, joy-starved human, misguided worshipper, and discontent wife. These days I recognize the miracle: my identity as one flawed, yet entirely kept by the faithfulness of God and beautifully changed by the gospel every day.

I encourage you in this: Jesus is the Yes to all God’s promises. When we become His, His Spirit seals us in. Lean in to the miracle of His joyful faithfulness to you. Explore the wonder of His character and your redemption. Ask for eyes to see how the gospel transforms and grows you. Find joy in your daily need of Him and in His great desire to be your strength.

Let’s keep ourselves as close to Him as we can, and when our keeping abilities are spent, live grounded in the grace that for the glory of His name, He will always hold.

resurrection vision: letting every sense of your humanity send you deeper into Jesus

Posted in faith

I was teaching a group of 7th-8th graders, reflecting on Easter’s truth, and it came out of my mouth before I even really knew what it meant: “in my time as a Christian, I have had a difficult time reconciling my continual sin and my identity as righteous in Christ because of his death and resurrection.”

The Bible speaks plainly and beautifully:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-10)

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

 

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Confession: I apologize to God most often for my forgetfulness.

I am blown away by the goodness of God, then I idolize entertainment and miss out spending time with Him. I am overrun by His Fatherly tenderness and love for me, then I make a mistake, am consumed with anxiety, and try to earn His favor. I forget the magnitude of His Son’s death on the cross in my place, and I give affection to lesser things.

Is it crazy to confess on the internet that I dislike this about myself? I don’t like that I still struggle with sin as badly as I do. I don’t like the constant battle with idolatry, pride, and selfishness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s right to hate sin. But I don’t believe feeling weary in guilt-driven effort to avoid, stuff, and conquer it is what God planned. I don’t think this is the reality Jesus died for me to walk in.

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interrupt anxiety with praise

Posted in faith

Sometimes the wonder of Jesus Christ wells up in me so strongly I want to cartwheel and weep at the same time.

Does that ever happen to you?

It wasn’t until the gospel of Jesus entirely captured my mind and conquered my Pharisaical heart that I began to understand fighting lies with praise.

It wasn’t until the lavish, freeing love of God filled in the cracks of my lack did I begin to comprehend the strength and hope to be found.

It wasn’t until I wholeheartedly believed in the perfect guidance, and constant companionship, of Holy Spirit that I discovered peace in the unknown and uncertain.

Worship of God is the rope to pull you from anxiety’s enveloping quicksand.

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