Monday, January 31, 2011
Do you ever think that if you say something about your experience out loud enough times, it will become true? I'm not talking about trying to lie to other people, but proclaiming something spiritually about yourself until you actually experience it instead of just know that you ought to.
"Jesus, You are more than enough for me," proclaim so many songs and things Christians say. I sing them, because I know it ought to be true. In a fundamental sense, it is true, because Jesus in His person is indeed more than sufficient to satisfy my every need. I know it, so I say it, but that doesn't mean that that's always what I am experiencing from my limited, overly emotional perspective.
"I am satisfied in You," I want to say to Him. But often, I don't mean it. His person alone, I think wrongly to myself, is not enough to satisfy me. First, I need Him to give me this and satisfy that desire.
But that's not what being satisfied in Him means. And then I wonder, if I can't be satisfied in Him now, why do I think I will be later, after He answers this one wish? If I don't learn what it means to be satisfied in His person rather than what I think He can give me in this life, I never will be satisfied.
Ironically, some of the times when have felt most satisfied lately are not the times when I am denying the existence of the deepest desires of my heart that have yet to be fulfilled (denying my own feelings or thinking that they must be wrong or unimportant tends to be a tempting path for me, but I don't believe it's the right one--our deepest desires are often placed there by God for a purpose), but when I admit them to my Father and start asking Him to fulfill them. The satisfaction isn't in a knowledge of when or how or in some ways if that desire is going to be answered, but in knowing that He hears me, that He understands, that He cares, and in the sense that I get in those moments that He is working to answer that need, that He has a plan for what will happen in that area of my life and it is good.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Self-image. Self-worth. Identity.
Which is to say, how do we look at ourselves? Why or how much do we value or not value ourselves? How do we define ourselves?
Can we be satisfied in who we are, right now, without depending on some outside support or affirmation that may or may not come in the way that we want it to?
Genesis 1:26-31 says that God created man (i.e. the human race) in His own image. He blessed them (us), and instructed them to be fruitful and increase and fill the earth. And He "saw all that He had made [including but not limited to the human race], and behold, it was very good." In other words, He was satisfied with His work in creating us.
If we are made in the image of God, what more affirmation could we need? Yes, we as a race and as individuals screwed up. We fell short. But still, here we are, created in the image of God. And He loved us enough to send His only begotten Son (John 3:16), "Who is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power." (Hebrews 1:3) This Son paid the penalty for our disobedience and rebellion, and in Him we can be reconciled to God and renewed in fellowship with Him.
That means a renewal of identity for those who are in Christ--an identity not defined by the mistakes we have made, by the people who surround us, by the activities that we are involved in, or by the recognition that we receive or fail to receive from the world. We certainly didn't and couldn't do anything to deserve this newness and cleanness. That doesn't make it any less our true identity. God is perfectly capable of saving the most twisted and broken and reprehensible people and turning them into true Sons and Daughters of His. That's what Jesus died for.