The Lord has been consistently trying who I am. As I am preparing for marriage and, at the same time, praying that the Lord would show me what He has called me to do with my life in specific ways, I’ve been hearing how as Christians we too often define ourselves by who we aren’t, rather than who we are.
A friend was sharing about a book she is reading and one of the themes is righteousness isn’t about what we aren’t doing but about what we are doing. So what that you don’t drink, cuss, sleep around, do drugs, etc. Do you love your neighbor? Do you speak loving words? Do you teach The Word? Are you a witness in your Judea (hometown)? Are you transforming your mind?
Some times as Christians we can become so pious in what we don’t do when all we’ve done is followed a check list. Unsaved people can do that! Matthew 12:33 says, “for a tree is known by it’s fruit.” Isn’t that true? You don’t know it is an apple tree because it doesn’t have oranges on it. You know it is an apple tree because it has glorious red apples on it.
I was speaking with the men’s and married young adult’s minister at our church and he was talking about how God really shook him on this whole concept when he went through seminary. He said that he realized he had missed out on who God was- powerful, loving, just, etc. He- like most of us- became so consumed by what we weren’t supposed to do, that we missed who we are in Christ!
One of my mentors in college encouraged me years ago to do a study on the word “self.” So I did it again this week. I picked up Webster’s Dictionary and read pages of words that started with “self.” I wrote down the “self” words that I felt like consumed who I am… that I need to be freed from. It was an incredibly sweet time with the Lord to be reminded that, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me!!” (Galatians 2:20)
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24