This past week has really been an incredible week for me. It kicked off with the awesome conference we had friday and Saturday, followed by a youth service where God moved tremendously, and then several more encounters over the last couple of days that have really encouraged me. Over these few days I've been listening to John Bevere in the mornings and he said a few things that I want to discuss. First off he said we all have 3 dimensions of who we are. There is of course who we really are, our actual self, there is our projected self, the person we try to make ourselves be or who we try to make others see us as, then there is the perceived self and that is who others actually believe we are. He is taking this from the standpoint that all of us will stand before God one day and we will indeed be judged on our actual self, not who we could convince others that we are. It's a great teaching that really challenges you to look inwardly and see yourself for who you are.
In listening to him it really sparked inside of me that I want to project to others who I really am. I realize that not everyone is going to perceive us for who we really are. Some will not like you just because of who you are, perhaps whom you serve, some will put you on a pedestal, some may not care at all who you really are. But, I'm less concerned with how people perceive me and more concerned with who I am and who I project myself to be.
I want to be a person who glorifies God in my successes and is open and honest with my failures. I'm finding more and more truth in a statement that I read by Mike Bickle. He says, "Spiritual immaturity is not rebellion". I'm learning that many times when I sin or I mess up, my heart is not in rebellion against God. Don't get me wrong, my actions are still SIN, God still hates SIN, but my heart is not rebelling against Him desiring to do the very thing He hates. No It's more like Paul who says the very thing I wish not to do, I do. In other words Paul is saying, my flesh is WEAK, I'm immature, I have not arrived, I LOVE GOD, but I'm just not there yet.
There is a place we can go to of beating ourselves up for sin, a false humility that says I'm just one horrible wretched sinner, I'm damned to be like this on earth and will never be any better than this miserable condition I'm in right now. This is a thought pattern that I was taught for a few years in church, but the more I have studied, the more I have read the Word, the more I have communed with the Father, the less I find this to be true at all. IT'S JUST NOT WHAT THE WORD SAYS... See I was a terrible sinner, I was lost, I was wretched, but now I am found, now I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but He lives in me, now I have been redeemed, now therefore is NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST JESUS, Romans is the book of JUSTIFICATION... I have been JUSTIFIED.
More than I want to be "religiously correct" I want to look at myself the way God looks at me. God judges my heart. When I sin, He hates sin, but when I repent, He casts it as far as the east is to the west and now He looks on me and He sees the PERFECT BLOOD OF JESUS. As Mike Bickle says I encounter the weakness of my flesh, I encounter my immaturity, but I wasn't in my heart rebelling against God. There is a difference between rebelling hearts and immaturity. Which are you?? My HEART WANTS TO PLEASE HIM. Gosh, I fall short, I miss it, I say things I shouldn't say, I do things I shouldn't do, but when I repent the FULLNESS OF THE GRACE OF GOD IS RELEASED ON ME BY THE BLOOD OF THE ONE WHO PAID IT ALL FOR MY REDEMPTION. I could spend more time beating myself up over what God has already forgotten or I could get back up and say Holy Spirit help me, I don't want to do it, say it, think it, again.
Wow.. so that was a tangent I wasn't planning on going on at all :)
It is important for us to judge our own hearts. It is important for us to hate our sin. It is important to know what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. It is important to be in communication with the Father so that we can be loved on, encouraged, disciplined, convicted, etc. Jesus was fully grace and fully truth. He was complete love, mercy, compassion, without giving up His hatred for sin. We must find this place where the church doesn't allow Christians to go on in the midst of their sin thinking it is okay to betray the cross of Christ, but that we also don't spend time beating each other up over the weakness of our flesh and our immaturity. The key to look for is a repenting heart. Repenting meaning I know I messed up, I'm so sorry Father God, now Holy Spirit let's work together not to do this again.
Well seeing as I just spent the whole blog ranting. I'll try to take some time over the next few days to write two more precise blogs. One on our parts of self, actual, projected, and perceived... and one on the grace and truth paradox.
To leave you with some encouragement. In youth Sunday night we had one girl commit her life to the Lord Jesus, and in my class this week I had four girls give their lives to Him. God is moving and working in Liberty, TX!
Be Blessed, J. Tate