A few weeks back, I had the awesome opportunity to share with our congregation about what a life that is well lived looks like. I was able to share with thousands about my journey and how I found identity in Christ.
As I reflect on the weekend, I thought of you, my schoolers. You have invested in my journey towards consistent victory in identity. So I wanted to share an excerpt for you. If you want more, you can always watch here.
My excerpt. 🙂 Enjoy
A life well lived also means that as you are going, you find Identity in Christ. I hope the impression I leave is that you look like your heavenly father. You look like His Son.
Now this is where we need to look at the greatest commandments again. For this is the place that so many throughout the history of the Church have skipped. We won’t do that today. Let’s look again at what Jesus said.
He said that next to Loving God, we must love others as we love ourselves. You see, we normally just talk about loving others. But here is the problem. Jesus did not simply command us to love others because we Love God, but to love them as we love ourselves.
Let me ask you. You may not like this one. This might be the hardest part of our time for you today.
Do you love yourself? Really?
Like when you are all alone, and the world around you is quiet, do you try to escape so that you don’t have to think about yourself?
Or perhaps this. Someone gives you a compliment. Do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable? Is it hard for you to consider yourself worthy of that compliment?
You see, the devil knows how to handle you loving God. He knows how to handle you loving others. But he hates it when you see yourself the way Jesus sees you. He loses when you are comfortable being who God loves and has created you to be.
As believers in Jesus, we have believed in a lie that says we must consider ourselves as less then human. Satan has used the scriptures us against us. For the Bible does say, that we are to deny ourselves. But just as he used scripture to try to tempt Jesus in the desert, he uses God’s words and twists them with us.
God wants us to love ourselves. He knows we are loveable. But too often, we feel like we aren’t worth loving. So, we end up defining ourselves, defining our identity as someone who is nothing.
The world is telling us, that we should be free to define ourselves.
BUT CHURCH! You don’t get to define who You are! It is God’s task! For He created you! He grew you! He died for You! He destroyed the power of death for you! God defines you! You don’t.
But, we live in a world that says we are allowed to define ourselves by whatever we want. By whatever we feel inside. We are told that if it comes natural, it must be OK.
This is problematic, for I have natural desires that are not right. Everyone would agree. You see anger comes naturally. It’s a natural desire that comes from within us somewhere. But for us to act on our natural urges, or simply from the way we were born would be problematic. To live in relationship, we must live out of the identity that comes from Christ, not the one that we define and are most comfortable with.
To deny ourselves is not to hate ourselves, but to let Christ define us instead of our own natural urges or desires. This is how we truly love ourselves.
I would like to share with you the story of how I found identity in Jesus.
It was over 10 years ago. I was a pastor, and I loved my calling. I wanted to continue to grow in my ability to serve others so I asked Jesus for a gift. I asked Him for something that would change my life forever, but not nearly in the way I thought.
I was sitting in my office and I remember very clearly. I cleared my mind and focused on Jesus. I then asked Him a simple request. I said, “Jesus I want to see people the way you see them.” That’s it. It wasn’t some big lofty prayer, or at least I thought.
It was not long after this that I experienced God. Again, not in the way I was prepared for. I had asked Him to help me see people the way He sees them, but the answer I felt would change me. You see, it was clear to me in that moment. God had revealed His plan to my mind and I knew that in order to see people the way He sees them, I would have to first see myself the way He saw me.
I wanted to see others the way Jesus saw them, but first I had to see myself the way He sees me. He drew me in to an intimate personal relationship with Him, then He showed me who I am. The good practical news is this, when you finally learn how to love yourself the way Jesus sees you, you will be able to love people with the power of Jesus because you will see them through His eyes.
A life well lived means that as you are going, you have intimacy with God and identity in Christ.