Our perception of ourselves is our reality. Indeed, as man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Left on our own, our greatest tendency is to think lowly of ourselves just because this is how we feel and what we see. But God Who so loves you and me sent His only begotten and BELOVED Son, Jesus Christ, to save us, and that includes saving our thoughts, changing them from how we perceive ourselves into how He sees us as children of the Most High God, deeply loved, highly favored and greatly blessed. Nothing Less!
One day I was in a place where the person whom I thought was beginning to see Jesus and His finished work was talking to a friend of hers. Much to my surprise, the words that I was hearing were contrary to what I thought. More so, she was mentioning ideas and facts that really pierced my heart for they all went against what I absolutely believe in and about Jesus. If I were to listen to my feelings, I would have been offended. But God Who is rich in mercy and abounding in love bridled my thoughts and held the reins of my heart to BE STILL and KNOW that He is God, and I am not!
Praise God, Holy Spirit took control of my thoughts and emotions. Hmmmm … it was indeed a great time to exercise His fruit of “self control” in and through me. Instead of thinking against the person, He reminded me that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities, principalities and rulers of darkness. He wooed me to inquire of Him how I am to maneuver myself in times like this. Before the day was over, my heart was still.
The very next day, I woke up with this song in my heart … “I am chosen, not forsaken; I am who You say I am. You are for me, not against me; I am who You say I am.” The prompting was so strong that the very moment my feet touched the ground, I started singing and went on singing. A few minutes later, the Lord opened my eyes to see how I was to combat the thoughts that I had the day before. I heard the word “Persecuted”. Although those words were not spoken directly to me, I was affected, and He is teaching me how to rise above it. Oh how He DAILY loads us with BENEFITS and arms us as we go through the course of our day.
He impressed strongly in my heart, “BLESSED are those who are PERSECUTED for RIGHTEOUSNESS’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. BLESSED are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. REJOICE and BE GLAD, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)”
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE and JOY in the HOLY SPIRIT (Romans 14:17 AMP).” Mind you, the kingdom of God is IN THE HOLY SPIRIT Who is the present-day Godhead resident inside of us. It is He Who guides and leads us in the way we should go. It is He Who quickens us and put these verses into our remembrance that we may be able to keep our PEACE and JOY as we journey with bumps and humps in this life.
No wonder, every single morning He invites us to “SEEK (aim at and strive after) FIRST of all His kingdom and His RIGHTEOUSNESS (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33 AMPC).
We are to be established in righteousness, our identity in being the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. As we are established, we shall be far from oppression for we shall not fear and from terror for it shall not come near our dwelling (Isaiah 54:14).
We are to be the salt and light of the earth. Salt to add value and encouragement to others and light to illumine and bring hope. We are to exercise patience, steadfastness and tenacity as we carry His presence wherever we go for the message of the cross is foolishness to the world. Just as we were in the past, God was so graciously patient with us until we got captivated by His love through the divine encounters that He divinely orchestrated. It is in these encounters where our intellect gets challenged and eventually dislodged. Sometimes our mind gets offended just as so He can reach our hearts. Then, we come into submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives by the Holy Spirit.
Our lives are to be examples that we do not put others under compulsion nor domineer over them according to what we believe in, for His kingdom is all about relationship, NOT DICTATORSHIP. He gave us FREE WILL to choose Him as He reveals Himself to us. I believe when His word said, “many are called but few are chosen” is all about His invitation. He calls us but those who respond to His invitation and come under His sovereign lordship shall become His chosen ones. It is all up to us. Do we humble ourselves under His might hand? Do we cast all our cares to Him for He cares for us? Do we really believe that He loves us so dearly that He never withheld His Son, Jesus, for us to come to know Him as our Father Who takes pleasure in our well being?
The enemy is on a look out whom he is to devour. He prowls like a roaring lion with His lies. He is there to steal, kill and destroy. He is there to take away our PEACE and JOY, and the only way to rise above it is to submit ourselves into what He has freshly spoken. His word is the sword of our spirit and as those Spirit-breathed words take root and take up residence inside our hearts, no amount of lie can overcome the truth of His word. The enemy knows the scripture. Oh yes! That is what he used when he tempted Jesus. BUT Jesus overcoming the enemy stood His ground as the BELOVED Son of God, not just the Son of God. Jesus yielded Himself into what was spoken to Him during His baptism, before the temptation, “Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)
The battle lies in our identity. Who He is in our lives? Who we are in Christ? Whose we are? Are we whom the Father loves? Every single day He adds value to us, for this journey that we have IN CHRIST is from faith to faith, from strength to strength, from glory to glory. We haven’t scratched the surface yet compared to the greatness of Who He is. He is beyond comprehension. He is ALMIGHTY! He is the MOST HIGH GOD! He is EVERLASTING! Our daily partaking of His Spirit-breathed word arms and sustains us for the day.
To top it all, these words that He has unveiled my eyes to see and my heart to cling to, made my day.
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].” (1 Peter 5:10 AMP)
As we come to meditate His word day in and day out, we get enabled and empowered to COUNT IT ALL JOY, not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God and see things according to His perspective that PEACE may dwell in our hearts RICHLY! He is the One Who started a good work in us and is faithful to finish it. It is He Who molds us into who He wants us to be and that is to be according to in His image and likeness. Then, just as He is, a blessing God Whom we receive all blessings and favor from, we get to bless those who are seemingly persecuting us, as we allow the love of God to fill and flood our hearts by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for always looking after us. You are the wall of fire around us and the glory within us Who rebukes the enemy by unveiling our eyes to see the truth of Who You are, who we are in You and whose we are. Thank You, Jesus, for overcoming the world, depriving it of its power to harm us and conquering it for us. Thank You, Holy Spirit for keeping us in perfect peace in Your power and presence. Amen!
Photo Credit: Erik Quianzon