I have been reading Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven. I have about forty pages left, but I have been taking notes as I’ve read of things I wanted to further contemplate here.
For instance, when Jesus renamed Simon.
“Even though [Peter] had many imperfections at that time, Jesus was going to transform him into something remarkable and strong.”
Jesus called out the best in Peter. In doing so, He helped Peter to see that in himself and live it out.
The Lord sees us so much differently than we see ourselves. He sees us as He made us, with our unique gifts. He sees us as the people we can be if we rely on Him more than our own strength and abilities.
It is SO important that we get our identity from God alone because there are so many things we can believe about ourselves, and we don’t want to live out of the lies we may believe, we want to live out of the truth of who we are when He is with us.
“Peter must have wondered too what his fellow fishermen would say if they saw him taking his boat out to fish, as Jesus wanted him to do! They would have thought he had gone crazy and they would have whispered among themselves something like, ‘That’s what happens to a man when he takes religion too seriously. He loses his senses.'” (In reference to Luke 5:4)
It cripples us when we allow anyone but God to tell us who we are. It is so important that we don’t look to the world for validation or approval.
And yet, is that something we are even capable of?
I’m starting to think not. I think not caring what people think of us goes against the way we are wired as humans. The only way to get to that place is with the Lord’s help.
There is so much in life that we cannot accomplish on our own. And there is no shame in that. I am grateful for every moment in my life when I come to the end of myself, when I realize again that I am human and I cannot do it without Him, because that pushes me towards Him. And that’s where He wants us! We are not supposed to be self-sufficient. We are supposed to be God-dependent.
We’re never going to run out of opportunities in life to say that we cannot do it apart from Him. And that’s how it’s meant to be. It’s not that we are flawed or weak or need to be ashamed of the areas we fall short, we are wired that way. We are wired to need Him.
I need to be compassionate with myself every time I find myself inhibited because I am afraid of what someone might think. There is no shame in feeling like we’ve failed or messed up because that’s life and there is no such thing as failure when God can redeem anything. He can use anything to help us grow into the people He intended us to be. He can use anything to help us know Him more and depend on Him more.
His ways are not our ways. And so we have to keep our eyes on Him. We cannot go through life trying to be accepted and approved of by the world because if our ways are matching the world’s ways, it’s probably a sign that we’re off track.
“It is not the magnitude of the faith a person has that matters, it is where he or she puts that faith. We must not have faith in ourselves because we fail so often; we should put our faith in God, by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we need to take our minds off ourselves and our own concerns (which prayer and fasting can help us to do) and place our whole confidence in God who provides everything that we need.”
“Against his natural inclinations and experience, he was prepared to do as the Lord told him.”
I love that.
I love that so often what God wants us to do doesn’t make sense based on how we perceive the world, the failure we think is likely to result if we follow where we sense God leading (while depending on our own strength or abilities!), or what we think “needs” to happen next in our lives.
I love the adventure that faith is. I love that every day is filled with opportunities to live out our faith, often in disregard to what our commonsense tells us. Each day is filled with opportunities to choose what is more real: His Word or our “commonsense”.
And, again, that’s exactly where He wants us. We have spent our entire lives being taught about the world, first as infants as we absorbed what was going on around us, and then eventually through school and life experiences.
And now He has the incredible job of un-teaching us.
Lord, help me be willing to be un-taught. Help Your voice be the loudest one as I live out this life.
“We can imagine the excitement of the disciples when it occurred to them that their Master was, indeed, God’s long-awaited Messiah — the Christ of God…He was among them. He was the anointed, chosen one of God.”
When I read that, I unexpectedly burst into tears.
Had I been one of the disciples, I would’ve undoubtedly been sobbing in light of the truth of His identity. I would have thought, “He is GOD and He is choosing to spend His time HERE, with ME, in MY boat!”
What an honor. What an incredible, incredible gift. Who are we that He would want to know us and spend time with us?! It’s amazing!
And the fact that when Jesus died and rose again, He sent the Holy Spirit to come and be with each of us individually? It’s beautiful. No, Jesus isn’t here in the flesh, but His Holy Spirit resides within me. And so my tearful awe and reverence still applies- “He is GOD and He is choosing to spend His time HERE, with ME.”
How could I doubt for one single second my worth or value when the Creator of all things delights in me? When He wants to be with me?!
“All they could think about were political matters…Here, at last, was Jesus, the one whom they saw could drive out their foes and set them free from political domination.”
How often do we misinterpret what God is doing? How often do we minimize what it is He is trying to accomplish? How often do we narrow the scope of what He sees as truly important?
He sees things so much differently than we do. His plans are so much bigger than ours.
I am so grateful for that.
I am so grateful that it doesn’t have to make sense to me. I am so grateful that I can know God is working, even when what I’m looking at doesn’t appear to be changing.
Lord, help my eyes to focus on what it is You are looking at and working on. Give me heaven’s perspective.
“We have not just come to this conclusion because we have thought about it. We have understood this to be true because God has revealed it to us.”
THAT is why faith “doesn’t make sense”! For a long time I thought I needed a logical reason to believe. But we don’t! It’s deeper than logic. Faith is not a thing of the mind, it’s a thing of the heart. Faith is the result of God moving within us, helping us to see what we’ve been previously blind to.
I believe because I love Him.
And I love Him in a bigger, deeper way than I could ever have concocted myself. I love Him because I know He is with me. I love Him because I can feel that He loves me.
Faith is bigger than us.
It’s a gift.
All of it–life, grace, faith, hope, His plan, what awaits us–it’s such an incredible gift.