Tag Archives: opinions

Mirrors

Today is hard. I sit in the middle of the shop by myself writing this. Frankly, I have many days like today. As I’m sure many others do too. From the outside, and to many degrees from the inside, life is going well. But so often we can let what’s going on today get you down hard. That desire you’ve been asking God for, but He’s teaching you to wait. The expectation you had for the day up in smoke. Maybe your normal has been shaken up. Or today you just feel alone like me in the shop. Whatever it may be, today is hard. It’s days like these when temptation is strongest. “You know coming to me will make you feel better…” your shame will tell you. Most would that shame comes from sin, but it’s only shame that would suggest it. It’s what you look into that will give you an answer. Like a mirror. You go look at it to reflect back what you can’t see. On hard days you look into the mirror to see what’s going on. The mirror of shame looks back at you saying “You’ll always look this way and you’ll never change. You may as well go to whatever you’ve done in the past, it’ll feel good this time.” But the mirror of Grace says “Look at me, reflect what you see in me not what you see in yourself.” Grace knows today is hard but there’s hope for tomorrow, even for the next hour. Shame knows today is hard but wants you to think yesterday was easier. The only difference between yesterday and today is perspective. Yesterday you didn’t know today would be this way. Maybe you thought yesterday was hard. But Grace got you through it, or maybe you failed entirely. Shame will highlight that is was easier to sin yesterday, it’ll feel good today. But Grace knows sinning today will only make tomorrow harder. Resist the enemy and he will flee(Matt. 5:39). If you keep looking into the mirror of shame you’re only making room for the enemy to linger. Put it down, drop it, destroy it, leave no more room for shame in your life. Put a big ole fat mirror of Grace in your every moment.

“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:19‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What is it that reflects upon your face, Grace or shame? Even in your hardest day, you have to go to Grace. If it was the darkest night of your life, Grace still only reflects who you are and not how dark your night was. Keep Him in the middle. “This is my day and this is my Grace.” That’s what we need to be saying. He alone allows me to even breath. Even in the midst of hard days, if I’m breathing Grace is with me. And He knows just how tough your day is. I warn you not to put on the pseudo joy of grinning your way through. That will only lead to bitterness, both for you and those that experience your mask. Find real Joy and place it before you. The only way through in to truly experience Grace.

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

We go through exactly what Christ goes through? So if today is hard, Christ is right there too. The key is going through it with Him. Not just going through and seeing Him on the other side. The promise is not a good or easy time, but Christ with you through it all. What use would a good time be without Christ? Better to have one bad day with Christ, than a thousand good ones without Him. God is reigning you in until you are completely ready for the release of the glorious times. Let it be joyful anticipation that builds in you and not resentment.

“….Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer? God, they murdered your prophets, They trashed your altars; I’m the only one left and now they’re after me! And do you remember God’s answer? I still have seven thousand who haven’t quit, Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish. It’s the same today. There’s a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn’t succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The “self-interest Israel” became thick-skinned toward God. Moses and Isaiah both commented on this: Fed up with their quarrelsome, self-centered ways, God blurred their eyes and dulled their ears, Shut them in on themselves in a hall of mirrors, and they’re there to this day. David was upset about the same thing: I hope they get sick eating self-serving meals, break a leg walking their self-serving ways. I hope they go blind staring in their mirrors, get ulcers from playing at god.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:2-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Your loyalty to God cannot be based on what He can get you out of, but the purpose He has put in you. Your awareness of His purpose in you will be the key to getting through today. If your loyalty is based on what He can get you out of, you will become loyal to getting out. Who or what you’re comfortable with, you’re loyal to. Therefore what you go to for comfort will determine your loyalty. Is escaping reality what you’re loyal to? Whether that’s a substance, porn or unhealthy relationships. We can’t say “God get me out of this day.” We have to go through it good or bad. The challenge is to dive into reality and take it head-on. That doesn’t mean we can’t ask for help through it. This is where healthy relationships come in. How often we think we’re alone? If only we would look around. Beyond our problem to its purpose. What is it teaching? Many times I lay my problem down to engage with someone, only to find that encounter held the answer I was looking for.  Another perspective on my situation. A good friend will tell you who you are and that you’ve got what it takes. Maybe not in so many words, but God will use them to bring context and truth. If we will be open and not self-consumed. When we search for the solution to our problem out of our own self-interest we get into a hall of mirrors. Looking back at each other only reflecting the problem back on us. Where all you see is the problem and not who you’ve been called to be. The mirror of Grace says “Look into me and become like me.”

“Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:25-28‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Are you convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing you? Do you see the attention He is giving you today? Pruning and cutting back the lies that you’re believing. Yes, today is hard, but not without reason. Maybe today God is teaching you through your pain. Let there be more purpose than just a hard day. He is loyal to those He calls His own. He is tender to your pain but fierce toward the lies you believe. Look into Grace and remember who you are (James 1:23). Lean on Grace today, because tomorrow is coming.

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Deflating My Opinion

Dictionary definition of Opinion: A view or judgement that is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

I try not to develop opinions about people. When I do they’re usually wrong. I either elevate the person to something they’re not or develop a negative view of them. That view makes me want to punch them in the throat. This is where I have to humble myself, resist the urge to praise or punch them and have an honest conversation with the person. Setting my views of them aside and allowing them to reveal themselves.

For the people I elevate, I find they are way more awesome than I originally thought. They typically don’t want to be viewed in that way. Truly awesome human beings walk in humility, and have no need to puff themselves up with the opinions of others. Or I’ll find the person I’ve elevated doesn’t have the integrity to hold up the character they’ve chosen to show the rest of us. In these cases, those people do need to be lovingly punched in the throat. Most of the time it’s Jesus that needs to do the throat punching, not myself.

Now for the people I develop a negative opinion of. These are my favorite situations, because I’m the one that gets punched in the throat. This happens to me in two ways. The person I don’t know that I am pleasantly proven wrong about. Usually this a someone I’ve heard negative things about that I haven’t encountered myself. When I do have a conversation with that person my view is quickly changed. I then go lovingly punch the person who told me their negative opinion in the throat. Then there are people in high levels of leadership, that the enemy wants me to believe lies about. The enemy would love for us to think we have it more figured out than those ahead of us. But if we submit ourselves we’ll see the lies proven wrong. A great leader is willing to admit they need Grace just as much as the next guy. Negative opinions about leaders are almost always developed from gossip. That gossip is usually stems from jealousy of the platform that person has. We believe the gossip because of our own jealousy. If we want the platform another person has then we have to have the integrity and humility they have.

How do we fight our opinions? Let yourself be surprised. Allow people to be who they are. When we develop opinions about people we confine them. When we confine people we lose the joy of being able to see them walk out there calling. Possibly even preventing them from walking in their calling completely. In creating an opinion of someone we are creating a box they have to fit in. When they don’t fit in that box we get frustrated with them. Usually that frustration is expressed to them whether we know it or not. We have to understand the power our opinion can have over someone’s life. They can take your frustration and try to appease it. They are then becoming your opinion of them, rather than who God sees them as. Now this doesn’t mean don’t speak to another human ever again. See past your opinion to who that person is. Give people the freedom to be themselves. Stick to that facts, especially if you’re lovingly throat punching. Speak the truth in love, their negative behavior is because of a lie, opinion, they believe about themselves.

In some instances we get a glimpse of how awesome a person can be, then they don’t view themselves that way. They put themselves in the box of their own opinion. Take this as an opportunity to tell them what you see in them, loving throat punch. Speak the identity God has for them over their life. Some people simply don’t know how awesome they are. If we get people to realized the incredible identity God has for them, we will have people walking in power.

How about when someone has a negative opinion of you? This is where it get really fun! Situations like these are our greatest opportunity to come before God and ask what He thinks of us. Because of the Grace we have received, we don’t have to receive unloving throat punches. Understand why they have that view of you. It is rooted in some pain in their life that they haven’t dealt with. I have hammers in the shop that have all kinds of dings and marks on them, but they still do what they’re designed to do with just as much power. When we know who we are, we can allow the dings and marks to be there without conforming to their opinion. Our power doesn’t come from the opinions of others but the one who designed and formed us. We are designed to walk in power. We can only walk in that power if we are getting our identity from the designer.

What about when people have positive opinions about you? Humbly say thank you.

Abram believed an opinion he thought Pharaoh might have of him. So he told Sarai to pretend to be his sister. This brought plagues on Egypt and destroyed the possibility of a relationship between the two men. Joseph’s brothers acted on an opinion they had of him. They sold him into slavery and brought shame on themselves. Joseph never lost the power of the identity God gave him, even in slavery. Gideon defeated the Midianites with the identity God gave him. Jesus was able to go the cross because of the identity he has. He didn’t conform to the opinion the enemy had of Him. The cross was won when Jesus said no to satan’s temptation, when He was offered the world if He would bow the enemy’s high opinion of himself.

Genesis 12:10-20 and 37:18-36; Judges 6 and 7; Matthew 4:8-11

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