Thursday, March 3, 2016

Know Jesus; Know Yourself

We lie to ourselves all the time. We try to convince ourselves of an alternate reality because we are not willing to be honest when we are faced with our own failings and faults. We lie to ourselves when we say it is well with our soul, knowing that we are far from where we are suppose to be with Jesus. We even rationalize our sin, saying Jesus understands, as we throw ourselves under the power of that sin.

We may be kidding ourselves but we are not kidding our God.

Do we forget how we are connected with him; Jesus in me and me in Jesus? He is not some deity or power who stands at a distance; he is one with us, knowing all out thoughts, emotions, plans, ideas, dreams, desires, longings, sins. He knows us and wants us to know him even more. So when we ignore him, lie to ourselves and place ourselves under the power of sin again, we break his heart.

The Word of God has been given to us to reveal God to us, to teach us, to rebuke, correct and encourage. When we study it, looking deep into it's depth, some amazing things happen. The Spirit speaks to us, warning us when we are going astray and encouraging us in the right direction.

A couple of the warning signs that things are not well with this relationship is when we are plagued by fear and anxiety. When we are strong in the Lord we know he holds our future and we do not fear the unknown. When we are lying to ourselves about this relationship, we find it hard to think of the unknown, to face major obstacles, to even consider our future. We are overcome by anxiety, fear, helplessness, a sense of not having the resources to overcome. It isn't anything new.

We should be able to identify with the Israelites as they faced the command to move into the Promised Land, the first time. This was the generation who were possessed by the slave mentality and could never seem to go beyond it. These were the whiners, complainers, rebels against Yahweh. Not having a solid and growing relationship with the Lord is shown in their reaction to the command to possess the land:

"All the Israelites criticized Moses and Aaron. The entire community said to them, 'If only we had died in the land of Egypt or it only we had died in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our children will be taken by force. Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?'" (Numbers 14:2-3)

See where fear of the unknown takes us? We imagine the worse case scenario. It was Yahweh who had promised this land to Abraham's children. It was Yahweh who rescued them in power from the slavery of Egypt. It was Yahweh who was defending them and feeding them in the desert. It was Yahweh who went ahead of them, leading. If they had only examined this relationship they would have marched boldly into the land, as their children would do 40 years later. Instead they allowed themselves to be led by fear.

If we are weak, filled with fear and anxiety, it is because we do not know who Jesus is, what are his promises and who we are in him. Paul reminded his student Timothy:

"Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

In another place the Spirit reminds us  "we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed". Fear and anxiety do not belong to those who are growing in Christ but to those who are lying to themselves.

Know the Word. Know the promises. Know the Lord. Know yourself and be honest. We are all going to get there in the end if we do not let go.

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