Who we ought to be

identityYou should do this!  You can make a lot of money.  You should do that!  You’d be so popular.  Society tells us a lot of things that we should be doing.  More often than not, those things lead to immediate gratification, pleasure, wealth, and popularity.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Feels good to have money.  Feels good to know that people like you.  But is that the ultimate goal?  As we’ve seen time and time again portrayed in movies, what happens to all the friends when the money is gone?

Romans 7:24 tells us who we should be.  “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  This is exactly what life is like for those who have the world’s perspective on happiness.  There is no hope.  No lasting satisfaction.  Not until one finds Jesus Christ can there be a true sense of being complete.  When we’re accepted in to God’s family, we’re set free from the “old life”.  Ephesians 4:22-24 explains very clearly who we ought to be.

“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Many have a hard time with this concept.  They don’t know what to do with the idea of grace.  They don’t know how to accept something that is completely free for the taking and requires no effort.  Society says accomplishment takes hard work.  The old “survival of the fittest” mentality at its best.  This is why I believe so many can not accept Christianity.  Can it be that easy?!  I’m here to tell you that it can!  Scripture tells us that all we have to do is cry out to the Lord, confess our sin, and believe in Jesus (Romans 10:9-13, Acts 16:25-31).  The only “work” you have to put in is the willingness to humble yourself and realize that you, in fact, need Him.  So, you may ask, “What’s in it for me?”  Allow Pastor Chuck Swindoll to answer that one:

“Grace brings a freedom to do something else—a freedom to enjoy the rights and the privileges of being out from under slavery and allowing others such freedom. It’s freedom to experience and enjoy a new kind of power that only Christ could bring. It is a freedom to become all that He meant me to be, regardless of how He leads others. I can be me—fully and freely. It is a freedom to know Him in an independent and personal way. And that freedom is then released to others so they can be who they are meant to be—different from me!… This freedom to be who we are is nothing short of magnificent. It is freedom to make choices, freedom to know His will, freedom to walk in it, freedom to obey His leading me in my life and you in your life. Once you’ve tasted such freedom, nothing else satisfies.” 

And author Max Lucado provides another explanation:

“You can’t be anything you want to be. But you can be everything God wants you to be.”

All you have to do is accept the free gift of salvation.

We are “dead” in following the course of the world.  We all thought at one time or another that we were living the good life.  Yet, the good life we thought we had was all in vain.  The bible tells us that we have to die to ourselves, our passions, our desires, and our way.  We have to rid ourselves of the notion that we are able to accomplish anything on our own.  Ah yes, what I call the paradox of Christianity.  Read the following:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:18

It seems a little backwards, but doesn’t it make sense?!  The life we thought was good, truly meant nothing.  We thought we were wise, but truly knew nothing.  It was void of all that we needed.  Jesus gave up His heavenly palace, became poor, so that we would be able to experience the riches of His grace, mercy, and eternal glory!

What is it that we truly need to fill the void in our lives?  “It [GRACE] is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

The ultimate question is: Are you willing to let go and be free?

When our circumstances shout, “Not gonna happen!”  When everyone around us is chanting, “Are you serious?!”  Can we look them in the face and declare…

“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.  For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.  Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.  The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains.  I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God, When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.  Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay.  Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2)

With God’s promise in hand, there isn’t anything that you can’t do.  As Mark 10:27 proclaims, “…For all things are possible with God.” 

Finally, let us adhere to the promise God made to Joshua before crossing over in to the promised land.

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:5-9

Rak Chazak!!  God bless you!!

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