Never underestimate the power of sin. Never underestimate the power of community.
This was the sermon at church today…
Grant referenced Romans 7:18-20, which says “For I know that in me dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
In our world today, it is so much more acceptable to modify behavior rather than heart. Modifying the heart is tough, an all-out war in some instances… But I tend to becoma a chameleon and reflect who people want me to be rather than knowing/being my true self with them… That’s part of the reason I started this blog.
We were meant to share our lives with other people. We were made for community. But if we aren’t sharing our true selves, we can still feel completely isolated in the midst of being with people. Its when we start to open up and share ourselves, strengths and weaknesses, highs and lows, that we know and become known.
It all started me thinking about identity. Who determines my identity? Do I identify myself according to what others think of me? Do I change myself to fit in with people? Do I know who I am? I know that I can’t be the only person who struggles with an identity crisis.
I want to know what God would say about me. He knows me better than anyone and I want his perception of me to be my perception of me… But I also want other’s perception to be the true me. I don’t want to hide anymore.
John 8:12 reads “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” he was defining himself. He was saying, “I know who I am.” More than 18 times in the Bible, Jesus says, “I am” and then gives a description. He described himself as the door, the bread of life, the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life. Over and over, he defines himself. Jesus knew who he was and, as a result, he was not under pressure.
This is the principle of identity. As long as you are unsure of your identity, you’re going to be pressured to fit into other people’s molds. They will manipulate you. They will try to make you into what they think you ought to be rather than what God made you to be. It causes feelings of isolation and loneliness and an inability to accept yourself because you can’t be what anyone else wants you to be…
I think that one of the biggest causes of stress comes from trying to be somebody that you’re not. When you are fearful that someone’s going to find out what you’re really like, that you might not be able to keep up the façade, it causes stress. I have been there too many times to count. For my entire life, I have lived with this expectation of perfection from myself, and I have attempted with everything I could to present that image to people. And because of the stress, I broke. I couldn’t do it anymore. And I am not interested in doing it anymore.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I am weak and fallable, but it is through the cracks in my life that the glory of my heavenly father can shine through.
The only way you can counterbalance outside external pressures is to have an internal sense of satisfaction about who you are and who God made you to be. You discover who you are by knowing whose you are. It brings peace that passes understanding and allows you the freedom to breathe and live and BE. That is what I am looking forward to. This journey of discovering whose I am and my innate value…
The Bible says that we were created by God. We are deeply loved by him. We are accepted as we are. He has a plan for my life. Until I can settle this issue of identity, I will be insecure and pressured by stress. I cannot serve other people until its settled. I realize it is not an overnight process. I have to take it day by day, and within a few years, the changes will be like night and day.
Jesus constantly did things that surprised everybody else. He put himself below others and served them. None of the other disciples would have ever thought to wash each other’s feet in the Upper Room because of their insecurity. But Jesus always served from a position of strength. He knew who and whose he was, so it didn’t matter that he lowered himself to serve them.
Service comes from self-esteem. Until I overcome the insecurity and feel good about myself, it’s really difficult to help anyone else. The only way that I can be effective in my life and make a maximum impact is to know and be secure in who I am and whos I belong to. That is my goal.