Religion: A Twitter Rant (In Pictures)
Religion is a man-made institution that seeks to categorize and control people. YAH (God) never meant for us to have or follow a religion.
"…you should become “fools” so that you may become wise." 1 Cor. 3:18b
Religion is a man-made institution that seeks to categorize and control people. YAH (God) never meant for us to have or follow a religion.
Wholeness is God’s highest call for us. The work He has begun is to that end.
You may have seen many captioning their photos and videos on social media with “God’s Plan” from Drake’s hit song by the same name. Many use it to announce certain milestones, fulfilled dreams, and accomplished goals. For example, “First one to graduate college! #GodsPlan” or “Got married to my soulmate! #GodsPlan”
It’s not bad to believe YAH (a shortened name for the original Hebrew name for God) is a part of good things that happen to or for us. For YAH desires good for us. However, even higher than that, YAH desires wholeness for us–completeness.
Wholeness is God’s highest call for us. The work He has begun is to that end. We see evidence of this desire for wholeness in quite a few places:
“being persuaded of this, that He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah” (Philippians 1:6).
“And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught” (James 1:4).
Oftentimes, due to the fallacies taught in religion, we believe this wholeness has only to do with us. Sermons taught on Joseph become about our dreams and promotions. David and Goliath becomes another story about knocking down your haters. Jesus and Judas becomes about snakes in the grass (or whatever a lot of these rap songs talk about).
When we remove these accounts of true events from the overall scope of the Bible and Yah’s plan for humanity, we lose the power therein–the reality of the Gospel (Good News). We cannot compromise the integrity of the Gospel. It needs to be pure for, “it is the power of Elohim for deliverance to everyone who believes, to the Yehudi (Jew) first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16b).
We must read and interpret them within the context of the entire Bible. When we do this, we see each one as part of this exhilarating account of the exchange between Yah and mankind.
It’s about more than just me. It’s about more than just you.
“then יהוה your Elohim shall turn back your captivity, and shall have compassion on you, and He shall turn back and gather you from all the peoples where יהוה your Elohim has scattered you. “If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under the heavens, from there יהוה your Elohim does gather you, and from there He does take you“ (Deuteronomy 30:3-4).
“But now in Messiah יהושע you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and having broken down the partition of the barrier“ (Ephesians 2:13-14).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a renewed creature – the old matters have passed away, see, all matters have become renewed! And all matters are from Elohim, who has restored us to favour with Himself through יהושע Messiah, and has given us the service of restoration to favour, that is, that Elohim was in Messiah restoring the world to favour unto Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of restoration to favour” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
There is a “me-centered” gospel and perspective that has circulated for far too long. “God sent His Son to die for me.” He did–but not just for you. Why is it important for us to understand the distinction? What’s wrong with making what God has done for all about me? Quite a bit. It removes what He’s done from the proper context and renders the reality of it ineffective.
You must understand where you fall within the unveiling account of Yah’s relationship with mankind. Otherwise, you have not believed the true Gospel–Messiah. He is the Good News!
“And daily in the Set-apart Place, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and bringing the Good News: יהושע the Messiah!” (Acts 5:42)
YAH isn’t just out to make you whole. As an individual, you are a tiny (significant, yes; in that He cares for you) piece of His plan for wholeness in His kingdom.
We’ve heard this term, the “kingdom of heaven” and understood it to mean “the rule and reign of Yah.” This is correct. However, the way it’s been taught in Christianity limits the scope.
It’s not about God having authority and reign over you as an individual (though that’s included). It’s about the rule of Yah’s Son (a King) over the nation of Israel–original and grafted (Romans 11).
We’ve long understood that this term “kingdom of heaven” was not talking about a physical place but a people–those who are in Covenant relationship with Him. A king is not king but over his own people.
“For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares יהוה: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
This has been #God’sPlan from the beginning–that we know Him as our Elohim (power) and be His people. Through the life and sacrifice of His Son, we no longer are slaves to sin (Romans 6). Through the coming of His Spirit (Acts 1-2), we have been empowered to live according to the Spirit and not the flesh. The Set-Apart (Holy) Spirit teaches us and empowers us to be Yah’s people (John 14:26).
We now have the “want to.” We now have the “how to.” We now have the “why to.” Messiah (Jesus) came to bring wholeness and a proper perspective of the how, what, and why of being Yah’s people.
Every move that Yah makes is to bring His people into true healing–wholeness. Knowing this, we can look at what we often call bad and be assured that #God’sPlan will prevail.
A lot of the time, when we see sin, we slap a morality bandage on it to “cure” it. This won’t do. Where there is sin, there is a need for healing.
This may be the shortest blog I’ve ever written. You’re welcome.
Where there is sin, there is a need for healing. A lot of the time, when we see sin, we slap a morality bandage on it to “cure” it.
Ideologies like, “if I do enough good stuff, then I won’t feel so bad about the bad stuff I used to do,” and “I can do enough to be holy,” and “God doesn’t love me because I’ve done something bad,” or “God loves me more because I’m on track,” indicate we are addressing symptoms, but not root issues.
Sin is an illegitimate means to fulfill a legitimate need. The Most High desires to provide for every need. Love, intimacy, relationship, etc.
Sin is when we go outside of God to fulfill the needs we have. Lying, fear, doubt, worry, murder, stealing, lust etc. are all outward expressions (evidences) of an inner problem.
The Most High desires to heal us so that we see Him as our Source — so that we don’t go to what kills thinking it’ll heal. Without an intimate relationship with the Most High and others, we will not have the proper perspective. We’ll continue to believe we can fill GOD-shaped holes with temporary satisfaction; but it’ll never address the true issue.
This is why we seek and serve the Most High. So, make a decision today to pursue intimate relationship with the Most High. Be vulnerable before Him. Take everything to Him.
He won’t let you down.
“Letting go” isn’t usually easy — especially for me. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s much easier for me to let go of things I know I don’t need and don’t care about — but what about when it’s something I really care about?
This one’s for me.
“Letting go” isn’t usually easy — especially for me. It doesn’t matter what it is. I’m incredibly sentimental. My closet in my living room has been opened a total of 5 times since I’ve lived there (3 years)! I have yet to clear out its contents because I have some sort of sentimental attachment to those things (awards, memorabilia, etc.). Also, I’m pretty sure there are spiders in there and I’m not really built for that kind of battle.
It’s much easier for me to let go of things I know I don’t need and don’t care about — but what about when it’s something I really care about? What if I have to let go of something God has said is for me? What if I have to let of something that’s good for me? What if I have to let go of something I never expected to part with?
Well, that’s me right now. I won’t go into great detail; but I wanted to express some ideas that have been swarming through my mind.
While God does not cause much of our pain, He will use it for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
All things — suffering, work together for my good.
All things — loss, work together for my good.
All things — obscurity, work together for my good.
All things — rejection, work together for my good.
All things — (fill in the blank), work together for my good.
It is important when you are walking (sometimes crawling) through a season of loss to watch where you put your focus. Social media is a trap I’ve found myself falling into many of times.
Scrolling through highlight reels of the lives of those around me serves as a constant reminder of what I’ve lost or doubt I’ll ever have. Eyes up. Meditating on what was and being worried about what will be — eyes up. Getting stuck in grief, bitterness, self-hatred, frustration with God — eyes up.
God will always be the remedy for what we’ve lost.
He can be trusted. Let this verse permeate your heart in this time:
“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).
There are some things we believe because they’re true. Then, there are things we believe because we’d prefer to believe them. This is proof that we take our perceptions of God into conversations like these and refuse to expand our view of Him.
When you hear “The Law” mentioned in Christendom and Judaism, people are referring to the sum of about 600+ laws given by God through Moses to the people of Israel. God gave them numerous laws, rituals, and regulations, meant to keep them pure and holy.
Many have created resources that attempt to provide understanding of the functionality of the Law and Grace in our lives as believers today. It is a point of great spiritual and doctrinal controversy.
Some believe we ought to still keep the law as strictly as the Israelites of old. Some postulate that because of the Messiah’s sacrifice, we are no longer under law, but under grace; and are free from the requirements of the Law.
What makes these conversations so difficult to process is because of the various verses that speak to how the Law and Grace operate in our lives today. It can be difficult to interpret them.
One of our biggest obstacles for understanding Law vs. Grace is our desire to believe a specific thing. Some WANT to believe we have to follow the Law in the specific way in which the Israelites did. Some WANT to believe that GOD’S grace cancels the Law.
For some, following the Law seems to be too oppressive and it doesn’t sound like God to them. For others, Grace seems to offer more freedom than they could fathom God giving.
This is proof that we take our perceptions of God into conversations like these and refuse to expand our view of Him.
No matter where you fall on the proverbial spectrum of this idea, choose to lay down your preconceived notions to perceive God in a new way. Allow God to reveal Himself afresh to you. There are some things we believe because they’re true. Then, there are things we believe because we’d prefer to believe them.
It’s dangerous to get to a place in which God doesn’t surprise you anymore–or God agreeing with EVERYTHING you do, say, or think. At that point, I’d begin to question whether or not it’s God you serve–but you.
I’ve been craving depth in my relationship with the Most High and understanding of who He is. I’ve prepared myself to think and live differently depending on what He reveals about Himself, me, and others.
I don’t want to believe what I believe because it’s comfortable for me. I want to believe what He says is true. Sometimes, that will put me in a position to look foolish to the world and that’s okay; because I’m not living for them.
I live for God in hopes that others would see and know Him. But He is my Authenticator, my Refuge, my Father, my Friend, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Judge, my Answer, my Everything.
My prayer is that if you’ve made it to the end of this post that you receive the blessed opportunity of knowing Him.
You can pray this prayer below and continue on a journey of knowing Him. Once you pray this prayer in belief and faith, there are some things that will automatically change. You may not feel it, but it has.
There are other things that will require a journey of becoming in relationship with Most High (God). Have faith and be encouraged.
Thank You for revealing Yourself to me. I believe what you’ve shown me. I believe that You sent Your Son to Earth to die to reconcile me to You. I believe He resurrected in victory over sin and death — the very things that separated me from having relationship with You. I have faith and believe that You are the one true God. Thank You for saving me. I ask that You continue to show me who You are and teach me Your ways. My heart will never be separated from You. I ask that You connect me with people who will help me grow in my relationship with You and knowledge of You. Thank You for loving me.
In Your Son’s Name,
Scriptures to study: (the whole Bible…but here’s a few to get started)
I found the reason I was trying to be “relevant” was not because I wanted people to accept God, but I wanted people to accept me.
Disclaimer: This is for the Christians. It is not to be used as ammunition toward any specific Christian, church, or denomination; nor has it been written motivated by the actions of any specific person, church, or denomination.
Instead, I’m writing because of something I’ve periodically observed in myself. I believe it’s something many Christians might observe in themselves if they’d search; this desire to be relevant. This is not specific to Christians, but that’s what we’ll deal with today.
Relevance in and of itself is not evil; but the desire for it must be qualified. Why do we want to be relevant? What does relevance look like in the life of the believer? Does it mean I can’t be fun anymore? How do I serve God without being out of touch with “reality?” To whom do we want to be relevant?
These are all important questions and our answers to them reveal something about the posture of our heart toward God and the things of God. So, let’s dive in.
First, I want to deal with two different perspectives we may observe in the Church (the Body of Christ, followers of Christ) concerning relevance. People often swing to one extreme of the spectrum or the other.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “in the world, but not of it?” Yes? Well, this is an understanding of several verses in the Bible; though it is not a verse itself. Basically, it means even though we exist in this world, we are not of the same nature of the world. There is a culture and citizenship we possess that supersedes that which we experience here. We (children of God) are of a different world which is unseen. Below are some of the verses which compile this theological idea of ‘in the world, but not of it.’
John 15: 19
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
1 John 2:15
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
“…and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
The First Extreme
Some interpret these verses to mean we can’t do anything that appears even remotely ‘secular‘– which means ‘worldly.’ For example, some believe we can’t have any sort of relationship with those who aren’t believers–not even any association. Granted, a believer must be wise and discerning when pursuing intimate relationships with unbelievers.
However, there is a difference between being separate and being separate. What? The kind of separation required of believers is one that distinguishes. It is not to isolate or quarantine our faith but to live separate to GOD. Being separate to GOD means we seek to become what GOD desires for us to become.
This was a common issue the Messiah encountered while He walked this Earth. He was constantly brought under scrutiny for spending time with sinners and the ‘unclean’ of society. This didn’t line up with the idea the religious leaders of that time had about being separated or holy.
In one account, the Messiah is eating dinner with tax collectors (oftentimes manipulative con men) and other sinners. One of the ruling religious groups in Israel at the time, the Pharisees, reasoned among themselves and concluded that He was unclean because of this.
You can find some accounts of this encounter here: Matthew 9:10-17, Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27-31.
Believers, we do ourselves and the world a disservice by segregating (isolating) ourselves and the truth we know. Be careful not to build and sustain cozy environments that only welcome those who agree with you (even specifically those of the same faith as you). In response to His being questioned about His interaction with sinners, the Messiah responded, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Luke 5:31-31).”
This inclination to isolate in comfortability without challenge hardens the heart of the believer and allows religion to calcify our minds. This causes us to lose sight of the call of EVERY believer–that is reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11-21). We are called to reconcile people to GOD. This cannot be done if we’re walled up physically or spiritually within four walls of a quaint church that make us feel comfortable, secure, and unchallenged.
There are people who are falling away daily and many more who have not heard the truth and love expressed in the Gospel of the kingdom of GOD. If we’re honest, in our hearts, there is often fostered this culture of ‘staying’ — of finding a safe, comfortable place and resting there; comfortable in our religion. Our call was never to stay, but to ‘go.’ (Matthew 28:18-20) That doesn’t mean everyone is going to live the life of a traveling missionary or what have you. It does mean that we have to come outside of ourselves to reach the lost and those who have fallen away wherever we find ourselves.
The Second Extreme
The other extreme of the spectrum typically involves this need to prove likeness. “I’m just like you.” “We’re the same!” “I like that kind of music too.” Have you ever met a believer who is always trying to convince people to follow Christ or accept them by proving believers aren’t that different from everyone else? Better yet, have you ever been that believer? I know I have.
It didn’t happen overnight though. I’ve always been very vocal about my faith and the importance thereof. However, over the years, I saw a gradual change. I started wanting to compel people to come to Christ by convincing them that things wouldn’t change much or that I was still like the ‘Darveiye’ I was before.
This is problematic because I was compelling people based on a lie. I’m not just like you. We’re not the same. We may seem incredibly similar on the surface, but there is an inner change that differentiates us. It doesn’t mean I’m better, it means I’m renewed. It means I’m saved. It means I’m redeemed. It means my mind has been changed. It means some things will not and cannot stay the same. It means I have a new nature. I may be “in the world, but I’m not of it.”
I found the reason I was trying to be “relevant” was not because I wanted people to accept God, but I wanted people to accept me. I’d spent so much of my life being rejected and bullied for my interests, my looks, my faith that I found I started to work hard to prove I was normal. However, the reality of the life of a child of God is that you will not be accepted by the world and you are not normal. It’s not something that “gets better” or changes with time.
If there comes a point at which I am completely embraced by the world or indistinguishable from it, I’ve ceased being separated. I may find I’ve begun to seek relevance from the world compromising my reverence for God — which is the result of seeking relevance.
For you cannot completely love and embrace God and still look like, think like, and live like the world. You will hate one or love the other. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24a).”
This dynamic isn’t often easily detected. Sometimes, we’re still doing all of the things we usually do (go to church, read the Bible, talk about God) but will find our hearts are far from God in the process. This is why checking your heart is so important. Always ask, “why am I doing what I’m doing?” “Why am I saying what I’m saying?” “Am I trying to get people to accept me or accept God?” “Am I cutting myself off from the people who need to hear about the God I know?” “Am I discerning or am I just judging people?”
We often treat this walk with Christ as a one size fits all. Granted, there are elements that are one-size-fits-all (salvation, loved by God, call to reconciliation, and many others). However, we have these misguided ideas of exactly what it should look like and get lost in trying to look like that (clothes we wear, how we talk, going to church, reading the Bible, being kind to people, etc) and forget to check if our hearts are truly one with God’s heart.
To sum all of this up, choose reverence over relevance.
Be sensible. Be fools.
Over and out.
Many women have been encouraged to write a list that spells out all that they’d want in a boyfriend/husband. Many times, we make these lists identifying our wants, but not our needs. There’s nothing wrong with identifying what you want, but don’t compromise what you need for what you want.
This is for the ladies. What do you want in a man? What is something you refuse to compromise on? What are your must-haves and must-not-haves? Many women have been encouraged to write a list that spells out all that they’d want in a husband. I have heard stories of women who have done this and the man they married was “everything they wanted and more.” I believe this really does happen.
It’s important to note that “the list” is as individual as the person writing it. It’s specific to you, your purpose, and the man the Most High will present to you. I’ve written lists before and have found that my list changes as I get older. Some things have remained the same (8 years ago), but for the most part, it’s changed a lot. This is due in part to my coming into an understanding of who I am and what I need.
Many times, we make these lists identifying our wants, but not our needs. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to ‘want’ something — but every desire must be qualified. Why do I want what I want? What will I do with it once I get it? Who will it help or serve?
There’s nothing wrong with identifying what you want, but don’t compromise what you need for what you want. Typically, the things we want are temporary things anyway. The things we need are things that our purpose and the very core of who we are cannot live without. ‘Needs’ won’t change — for the most part. ‘Wants’ will. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be of my greatest benefit to evaluate and desire a man based on something that does not change. The WORD of God.
Now, when I say WORD of God, I’m talking about Yeshua, the Messiah (many have referred to Him as Jesus–that’s a blog for another day). Although many refer to the Bible as the Word of God, it is not the WORD of God.
John 1:1, 14 says, “In the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was with God in the beginning. The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us…” See, the Bible contains words from God, but it is not the WORD of God. Moving on.
The WORD of God doesn’t change and I can be secure in who He is and who I am IN Him. Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” If we are the offspring of God, we are produced after Him — meaning, we look (and are) like Him.
So, if I have a relationship with the One who does not change (James 1:17), whom I’m created to be like (Genesis 1:26-28), it would be important to note what He celebrates and deems good — hence the purpose for this blog.
In Matthew 5, we read of one of the most powerful teachings ever taught to mankind. I’ve been hearing this since I was about 5 years old and am only now coming into deeper understanding of it. Verses 3-12 have been infamously referred to as the Beatitudes. It’s that passage in the Bible that each verse starts with, “Blessed are…”
Many of sermons have been taught on the Beatitudes. My church recently went through a study and it was mind-blowing. Before we had even studied it, I had decided to write this blog. I’m going to take a look at the first three verses and how they influence what I should look for in a relationship. (These are in no particular order — although they are numbered).
v. 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Yeshua was speaking of one who is crouched low before God (humility). One who is poor in spirit does not place confidence or value in their own human authority; they recognize God’s authority as highest and truest.
So, this verse encourages me to bless (praise) what Christ has blessed (praised) — which is a man that recognizes God’s authority and governs his life according to it. A man who isn’t submitted to God is a man unprepared to lead you or himself in God’s will.
A direct result of being one who recognizes and acknowledges God’s authority is the quality of being teachable. Being teachable allows you to be ready to learn because you aren’t under the impression you know everything. If you’re under the impression you know everything, you can’t learn.
2. After God’s Own Heart
v. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.”
Like verse 3, this verse does not mean what it would appear to mean. Yeshua would always talk in parables and His lessons would always have a deeper meaning. The revelation I received when studying this was that the one who mourns what God mourns, will be comforted (brought near).
The one whose heart breaks for what the Father’s break shall be brought near to the Father. This means, an intimate relationship with the Father results in caring about what God cares about — which in turn results in greater intimacy with the Father. A man who cultivates an intimate relationship with the Father is a student of Love (for God is Love) and will constantly be growing in the fullness of who God created him to be.
“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
Yeshua is speaking of humility again. This ought to be no surprise to us given how much God hates pride. (1 John 2:16; Isaiah 2:10; Proverbs 11:2). “But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).”
The Bible is very clear that God favors the humble and hates pride. God hates pride because it is often at the root of any sin. Pride exalts itself higher than it ought. Pride says, “I know better than God.” Pride doesn’t allow us to accept God because we will believe there’s no need to.
A man that walks humbly before God and man will walk in the favor of God. To have the favor of God means to have God’s face turned toward you in approval. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).”
If God approves of you, He gives you what is His. He gives you influence and authority. It may not look the way we think it would, but it’s the kind of influence and authority that can only come from God. This kind of approval (justification) comes with intimate relationship (sonship) with God. “For they will inherit the earth…” You inherit because you’re an heir, a child of God. I want to be with a man that recognizes he’s a child of the Most High and is in pursuit of what that looks like.
So, as we can see, the Bible can inform us of what God values and help us make sound decision in our relationships. Since marriage is God’s, it makes sense to seek Him about His desire for it. Some questions I’ve asked God are, “what kind of person should I marry?” “What kind of person do you want me to be in marriage?” These questions are informing me of God’s desire for me in relationships.
I hope this blog encourages you to seek God about your relationships and to trust that He knows best!
I’ve chosen not to go after things for fear of rejection. I have gone after things I knew I’d succeed in so not to lose or be rejected; all based on a conditioning by broken people.
What you will read below is a note I wrote in my phone to process my thoughts about my fear of rejection. It’s not going to be well organized. It’s my thoughts nonetheless.
I’m putting this up here in an effort to be vulnerable, transparent, and encourage someone who can relate. When I’m in places in which I can’t express myself, I write. I write to understand what I’m feeling and come to a place of resolution. So, here goes.
“I think I have a fear of rejection. I can trace it all the way back to when I was a child.
I remember pulling out of the student council race for president because I thought I’d lose. I don’t invite people places because of fear of rejection. I never wanted to throw parties because of fear of rejection. What if they don’t show up? They’d be rejecting me because they think I’m not worthy of showing up for.
In various seasons of my life, it’s been communicated to me that I’m not good enough to other people. That my voice doesn’t matter. That my interests were lame. That I was almost pretty, but not actually pretty. That I was almost cool, but not quite.
This is sad because I’ve let it rule my life for way too long. I’ve chosen not to go after things for fear of rejection. I have gone after things I knew I’d succeed in so not to lose or be rejected; all based on a conditioning by broken people. How are broken people going to tell me what I’m worth? I’m worth the very GOD of heaven coming down to save me. That’s invaluable. No one can ever provide that for me.
So, I’m not broken. I’m whole in Him.
I’m not rejected. I’m accepted by Him.
I’m not unworthy. I’m worth it because of Him.
I’m not pathetic. I have purpose in Him.
God has already planned amazing things for me to do. Some will seem glorious, others not as much. But it’s what He has planned. And I’ll be glad in it. I don’t have to shrink back and pretend I’m not worthy of what is mine. Instead, I will step up and fully embrace that which God has called me to. I am more than enough.”
Here’s the thing. God loves you. Passionately. Everlastingly. Unconditionally. This matters above all else.
It doesn’t matter what people have said or done to you. You don’t have to believe them. Any thought or idea lower than God’s idea about you is a lie. God knows you the way no human will ever know you.
David, King of Israel, was a man with many issues but a heart set to please God. He understood that despite his shortcomings, his inward sin, his outward sin, rumors about him, betrayal, and his lowest points that God knew him and loved him still. David had done some terrible things in his life; things that many of would hate ourselves for. David knew that what others thought about him and what he thought about himself had to be subject to what God knew about him.
Read below what David was expressing about God’s intimate knowledge of him and you too!
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
May you leave this believing the best about your Father and who He created you to be. Be blessed.
No one tells you to ‘hang in there’ when things are easy. God never promised we wouldn’t suffer; though He did promise that He’d always be with us…
“Have the kids drove you crazy yet?” she asked. “Absolutely.” I replied.
“Hang in there.”
Those three magic words calmed and reassured me as my coworker with great empathy encouraged me. I didn’t even know I needed to hear that or that it would have the kind of effect it had.
The beauty of those three words strung together is that there are no empty promises or frilly pretenses. It means what it says. “Hang. In. There.”
No one tells you to ‘hang in there’ when things are easy. The very reason for which they’re saying that to you is because things are NOT easy. ‘Hang in there’ means:
The Bible says, “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit” (Galatians 6:9 MSG). Paul is specifically addressing believers and how they engage with other believers and those who do not share their faith. This response is important because it’s not a response to humans, but a response and result of relationship with God.
Paul is teaching the church at Galatia that God does not ignore our efforts, hard work, good intentions, good deeds, etc. While those things are no good in and of themselves to save us, God still recognizes them and responds to them.
The verses before verse 9 explain a basic principle that most people believe regardless of religious or cultural background. Some call it karma. Some call it ‘energy’ or ‘vibes.’ Some call it the power of positive thinking. We call it many things without fully understanding the weight of it.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Basically: whatever you plant, grows. Whatever you put in, you get it back. The beautiful thing about God is when you choose to plant according to His desires, His nature, and His will, you don’t just get back what you put in. You get a HARVEST. You get MORE than what you put in. Unfortunately, some of us feel as if we haven’t seen anything that looks like a harvest.
Some of us are frustrated right now because we don’t feel like our efforts are being noticed by the people we’d like to notice. Some of us feel God doesn’t seem to care about the pain, discomfort, or difficulty we may be walking through. Know this:
The Bible also says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
If there is anything that you take away from this, let it be this: God sees. More importantly for some of us, God sees you. Specifically. Clearly. Lovingly.
So, whatever you’re going through, know that God has a beautiful plan for you. It may not be easy or comfortable; but it’s worth it. God never promised we wouldn’t suffer; though He did promise that He’d always be with us (Deut. 31:6). So, hang in there. Better yet, rest in the One who is holding you.
Tell them that you can’t do this anymore. You’re not happy anymore. You stay because there are times it seems you’re on the same page and they want the best for you. They haven’t fulfilled you because they were never meant to…
Serve the papers. Tell them that you can’t do this anymore. You’re not happy anymore. Truthfully, you’ve never been happy. You thought that some day, they’d bring you fulfillment; but it just hasn’t happened.
They haven’t fulfilled you because they were never meant to. They don’t have the capacity to provide what you truly need. You stay because there are times it seems you’re on the same page and they want the best for you.
Let me just tell you, they don’t want the best for you. Who am I talking about? Better yet, what am I talking about?
Opinions. Not just any opinions. The opinions of others.
There’s such a strange power in the others. They dictate so much about your life and how you view yourself because somehow you’ve been taught that what they say or believe matters. You’ve been taught to filter your decisions through the ‘what will people say’ and the ‘what will they think’ filters.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. There needs to be some consideration of others; but it’s not in the way we normally do it. We ought to care about the needs of others; not the opinions. It doesn’t mean you don’t respect the opinions of others. It means you do not allow yourself to determine your self-worth, destiny, or purpose based on the limited perspective of other people.
An opinion is just that: a limited perspective. Opinions are not truth. Your opinion is not truth. My opinion is not the truth. While you may have considered facts to form your opinion, it is not inherently truth.
One of the most unhealthy relationships we could ever get in is a relationship with the opinions of others. Some of us are married to their opinions. We’d do anything to have them favor us. We don’t make a move without first asking if it’s okay. We’re ‘one’ with them.
I’ll tell you like my pastor, Marcus Howard, tells us all the time: You’ve got to divorce yourself from the opinions of others.
With divorce, there is always tremendous pain; even if you don’t feel it right away. So, it will hurt; but it’s necessary. To divorce yourself from the opinions of others is to no longer give them “legal” right to speak into you.
Now, don’t confuse opinions and advice with each other. We all ought to have someone in our lives that gives advice and provides accountability. However, we have to be sure this person gives unbiased advice that propels us toward our purpose.
We need people in our lives that will give us advice they may not even agree with because if it’s what’s best for us. Furthermore, we need to be people that give the advice that’s best for someone even if it’s not our preference.
So, there is a time and place for someone to give advice. However, we must learn to discern and decipher what is purposeful advice or empty opinions.
Opinions are empty. They’re empty because there isn’t true life in them; because they aren’t based in truth. Most of the time our opinions are based in pride, fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, indifference, apathy, rebellion, etc. None of those things are life-giving realities.
While there may be things that are ‘true’ about a person’s opinion, no human’s opinion is in and of itself the truth. It just isn’t. It doesn’t matter how right we think we are, our opinion is not truth. The Bible says, “there’s a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Every human believes he or she is right. Oftentimes, it is the thing that comes most naturally to us. I know it is for me.
For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be an intelligent person. Others have concurred thus far. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’m far less concerned with viewing myself as intelligent or others seeing me that way, and more concerned about being humble regardless of what I do or do not know.
Still, most of the time, I think I’m right! I do. It’s really unfortunate. I’ve recognized this trait in myself and how naturally and instinctively it shows up in my more intimate relationships. I’d like to naturally and easily consider other people’s thoughts as valid; but I’m not entirely there yet. I’m better now than I was before; but I’ve got a long way to go.
As the verse said, “there’s a way that seems right.” The reason it seems right is because we’re looking with the wrong “eyes.” If we’d look at every situation and person the way God does, then we’d KNOW what’s right.
Funnily enough though, the way God views things is oftentimes beyond what we can fathom as humans. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
The reason we don’t see certain things the way God sees them is because we’re thinking ‘too low.’ This is the very definition of a human opinion. It’s a low thought. It’s a compromised thought. It’s a thought from dimly lit vision. It’s blind.
I heard Pastor Touré Roberts say it like this, “think the highest thought.” God’s thoughts are truth and the highest thoughts. It would behoove us to learn what God’s thoughts are and align ours with His. If we knew what God thought about us, we’d never need the opinion of another to validate us ever.
Paul writes to the church at Galatia, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
We ought to stop trying to win the approval of others when we come into relationship with Christ. There is no greater freedom that the freedom from others and yourself. You don’t have to be affected by your own opinions any more than you do the opinions of others.
Be free! Let God show you who you truly are.
There is but one opinion that matters–God’s. What does God think of you? Check these out:
I hope this encouraged you!