How are you doing? Have some, many, or maybe all of your plans changed already? Are you stressed yet? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? Is your list of things that have gone wrong this year already longer than your list of things that have gone right?
Trust me. You’re not alone.
I’d like to share with you an outline that I came across in my study and maybe add a few helpful thoughts that might be an encouragement to you today.
The reason we get so frustrated in this life is because we forget WHO WE ARE, WHY WE’RE HERE, and WHAT A DIFFERENCE CHRIST HAS MADE IN US. You need to keep in mind that, in Christ, you are not defined by your greatest temptation or by your greatest success; your defined by your relationship with Christ. And, that makes all the difference.
The Apostle Peter wrote these words, in 1 Peter 2:9-10: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.“
1) You are not who you were
The first thing that Peter reminds these Christians that were consistently being beaten down by the pressures and persecutions of this world was simply that in Christ they’re different. They’re special. And the same is true for you. Before Christ, things were terrible because you did not have access to hope and help, but now you do.
So, when the Devil tries to remind you as to who you were, you just hold your head high and remind him that Christ changed all that. You’re not that same person anymore and he has no right to hold those things over you. It was John Newton, a slave trader turned pastor, who wrote these words, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
2) You are not what you feel
I get it. The pressures, the pains, and the problems that you find yourself facing today aren’t any fun. It’s easy to feel like you can’t press on anymore, like nothing is going to get better, like it isn’t worth it to obey God’s Word but you must keep your focus on the PRODUCT, not the PROCESS. Just like diamonds are the result of a process of both pressure and time, so is the child of God.
1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. The process can be hard at times, unbearable even. But, that’s why God gave us unlimited access to His throne and to His grace. So run to Him…Right now…Pause your reading and spend time in His presence and let His grace strengthen you today…
3) You are not where you fall.
Okay. So here’s reality: WE ALL FALL. WE ALL FAIL. And that’s okay. It’s a part of life. It’s a part of growing up. But, you have to make the decision to get up and get back to where you’re supposed to be. Living a consistent life takes time and consistent growth. Just like a child falls and fails many times in their younger years, we fall and fail in our spiritual walk. That’s not a surprise to God and He has NOT written you off either. God still loves you and, when you take that first step towards Him, He runs to you with His arms open wide, He hugs and kisses His child, cleans and clothes His child, and brings Him back into the house and sets him down at the dinner table and begins to spend precious, quality time with the one that He loves. Simply put, GOD FORGIVES. So, don’t stay in your sin or in your shallow Christianity because you don’t have to. Get up, make that move toward God and look at the potential that God will find in you and the amazing things that God will accomplish through you.
– written by Pastor Jay Overbay