Posts Tagged ‘ Confusion ’

Who Am I? Knowing My Identity

“Hello, again!

In the last few weeks, I have been hearing and reading a lot about identity.

Who am I?

In terms of identity, the major theme has been how we identify ourselves. This includes:

  • Identity politics — Being known by political party or with whom you most closely agree.
  • Job-based/Skill-set identity — Being known by what you do or know.
  • Relationship identity — To whom you are connected: husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/son, mother/daughter, friend …

It is this last one that has the most applicability to today’s topic, especially for the Christian.

Losing myself

What happens when the ideology, job, or relationship status changes?

You see, if your identity is dependent on something external, it can lead to major confusion and even crisis-mode inside. You could be screaming, “I don’t know who I am anymore!”

This is where someone may say, “This is why we need strong self-esteem.”

completely disagree.

Yes, I said completely disagree.

Why?

Because self-esteem focuses on the self. This is the antithesis of Christianity and relationship with God, as it says you can find peace within yourself.

Instead, you need something stronger.

So, how then should we live?

Where is your identity? How about starting with the Bible.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me”
Matthew 18:5

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:20

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:13-14

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;”
Mark 16:17

Now, what does Jesus mean by “in my Name”? Does he mean “Lord, please do this for me, in Jesus Name. Amen”?

No.

I think this hearkens back to the 10 Commandments, specifically number 3:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain …”
Exodus 20:7

Is using the Lord’s Name in vain using it as a curse word?

Partially, yes. Mostly, no. It is more like saying you are a Christian (My identity!), doing something wrong, and claiming God either approves or even commanded it. THAT is using the Lord’s Name in vain more than anything else.

But what does Jesus mean?

Literally taking on the identity of Jesus Christ.

Not just living by “What Would Jesus Do?”

It means to think, talk, and act like Christ.

It means you put yourself out of the way, and you let Jesus Christ live through you.

Then it does not matter your skill-set, job title, political affiliation, who you know … well … a little bit who you know … 😉

Whatever happens around you and in your life does not matter that much when you know you have the Lord of the Universe living in and through you!

So, how do you identify? What is your first thought when asked who you are?

  • I’m a Republican/Democrat/Libertarian.
  • I’m this or that.
  • I am a husband/father/wife/mother/sibling.
  • I know so-in-so.

Or is your first thought “I am a Christian. I am a child of the living God. I am a son (or daughter) of the Most High! My heavenly Father adopted me through my Brother, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”

This is why it is important to study and memorize Scripture (I admit to being weak in memorization!), because it helps us better understand the meaning of life.

What is the meaning of life?

To glorify God.

This is why theology is important. (Scary, I know, but that is the big reason I make these blogs/vlogs, to give you a hand in it.)

Theology is simply the study of God: who He is, what He wants from and for us, and how we can live for Him.

We find our identity by living for him. We glorify God the Father by allowing God the Son to live in and through us by the power of God the Holy Spirit in us.

Then we can know that no matter what is going on around us and in our lives, we are good to go. Because we are in Christ.

It is who we are.

He is our identity.

And it is not by our own power. It is through our weakness that He is stronger! (2 Corinthians 11-13, especially in 12:9!)

Be excellent, my friends!

 

Counting On (Daylight Savings) Time

Alrighty, everyone!

If you are not in Hawaii or Arizona (where I am!) – or a few small pockets – then you are waking up to Daylight Savings Time adjusting your clocks back an hour!

Now, if you are grumbling about being an hour early for church, here is some advice:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing …
Philippians 2:14 (ESV)

If there is any silver lining to DST beginning and ending every 6 months-ish, it is that it serves as a reminder to live out another biblical teaching:

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)

Happy Sunday!

Go worship God in word, deed, and thought!

When We Call, He Is Near

Find how close God is through His wisdom as discussed at Proverbial Thought.

This is a special reminder for all of us who are facing trials, confusion, and difficulties.

I will let God’s Word speak for itself:

“I called on your name, O Lord,
    from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
    your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you;
    you said, ‘Do not fear!’

“You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
    you have redeemed my life.”
Lamentations 3:55-58, ESV

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
. . .
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:18-21, 27

Olive Juice

Do not misunderstand wisdom and get some insight at Proverbial Thought!

There is a game called Mad Gab. This is a game in which your team has to guess what actual phrase or name is hidden in a series of similar sounding words. They are encouraged to say these words out loud to hear the sounds. For example:

Olive ewe

Have you gotten it, yet?

Here is the spoiler:

“I love you.”

(My wife and I follow a similar play on words. We mouth the words “olive juice” to each other. Have someone say it to you (or say it to yourself in a mirror) without actually speaking. It looks like “I love you” is being said.)

Why do I bring this up?

How many times do pastors/churches/denominations or teachers/professors and others hear what they want to hear or read what they want to read from the Bible?

How many people get confused over all of the teachings that are presented in church, bible studies, and in public?

How many people get caught up in the genealogies in the Bible (did they list actual descendants or only important descendants? The names are spelled wrong.) or seeming contradictions?

To really get controversial, how many people try to read evolution, social justice, and/or personal beliefs into their Bibles?

How many people hear God calling them to do something and misunderstand?

How many misunderstand the Gospel?

How often do you do these?

How do we confuse God’s “I love you” with olive juice?

charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
1 Timothy 1:3b-11, ESV

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:20-31

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 06/08/2014

Have a devoted love to wisdom and read the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

Please join me in celebrating with my friends, Dr. and Mrs. Steven & Amanda Churchill! Yesterday they blessed me with the opportunity to join their lives together in holy matrimony! (It was also my first time in New Orleans, LA!)

Now that we have adequately praised God for love and covenants, please note that the poem has absolutely nothing to do with their relationship! It was simply next in the line up!

There has been a systemic problem in the Western Church for a while, one that is gradually (and thankfully) being approached once again with fervor!

There is a rampant biblical and theological illiteracy amongst the faithful in our culture. We have been creating a people blind and deaf to the things of God, giving them instead a steady diet of fluff and half-truths.

Fortunately for us, God always has a faithful remnant whom He empowers to lead in strength and wisdom. May we be such a people as we await His return!

   blind and deaf
what is the church
have we become
as blind and deaf
as everyone
whom we try
to lead to Him
Who can heal us
and forgive sin
what do we have
that is different
from this world
and all in it
are we merely
the blind leading
the blind all while
we are screaming
to a whole world
who cannot hear
and we ourselves
cannot bear
to face the truth
that we are blind
that we are deaf
and lack insight
from God above
about our state
that looks just like
a world depraved
we must stop
our calling out
to those who are
wandering about
but see ourselves
in the light of truth
misguided
and destitute
then our Lord will
send us to them
that we might lead
them straight to Him
then the blind and deaf
will see and hear
and Jesus will wipe
all of our tears

Useless Studying

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
Titus 3:9

The other day I read this article from ABCnews.com about how the Pentagon had so many studies requested in 2010 that they had to issue a study to how much it was costing, but because they were taking their sweet time with no real results the Government Accountability Office has begun a study of the initial study of the 2010 studies.

In other words, everyone is wasting time and money looking into unnecessary things to see who is guilty of breaking the law or at least of wasting more time and money.

Do we not do this every day in the Western (and often Global) Church?

We get caught up in who was first or the longest.

We get caught up in who said what first or better.

We get caught up in who follows God’s/Jesus’ commandments the right way or the wrong way (usually “not our way”).

We get caught up over carpet color, community placement, ministry ideas, and how many inches are to be used on the weekly bulletin.

In other words, we get into fights and quarrels over who did/said what first, who is wasting more time and money, and who is more guilty of breaking the Law.

There is a better way.

We should start with Paul’s exhortation:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,to slander no one,to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Titus 3:1-8

Misunderstood Identities

I just might do a series based on the teachings I have done the past couple Sunday nights. Today’s post is an adaptation from the first night, October 30th. The two lessons were titled “Masks: Judging others” and “Masks II: Living for others.”

                                                    

Everyone wears masks. Masks hide our emotions. Masks hide our true thoughts. Masks hide our face behind make-up, humor, and life-style.

It is how we use our masks which can cause so many problems between each other. Today’s focus is sexual identity.

Our culture has turned sexual activities and preferences into identities. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

  • The average homosexual will not tell you about struggles with same-sex attraction. He is a gay man. She is a lesbian. Life
    revolves around their same-sex attraction. There is no separation between sexual desires and life in general.
  • A “playah” (a.k.a. pervert … sorry, guys) only knows a life of chasing women. It carries over into every area of life. Think of Barney from “How I Met Your Mother” on CBS. If you have ever watched the show, you know that Barney is a sweet guy, but he hides it behind skirt-chasing and getting with babes.
  • Many feminists make empowerment of women and hatred toward men the only way they can live. Real feminism seeks equality with men with the understanding that there are differences between the two genders. So-called “radical feminism” is what gets people’s attention, because radical feminists are the loudest. Some at least have been honest enough to admit that they want to see the roles completely reversed, that women should be the ones in power if men are even necessary. Their entire lives become replacing men, not seeking equality.

This is a general group with only three sub-groups listed. For this general grouping, there is a tendency for Christians to just write them off as beyond help or just crazy. We either want nothing to do with them or spend the majority of our time telling them how sinful and evil they are, or, worse, talk about how sinful and evil they are behind their backs. Our understanding can be just as darkened as theirs is of God’s love, grace, and justice (this last one includes his strict laws and wrath as well as forgiveness through Christ).

For years I based my identity on being single. I sometimes went out of my way to alert others to my singleness. This is no different, and I know and know of many people who do or have done the same thing.

Marriage is understandably different, especially from a biblical perspective. This is because the Bible tells us “the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31), and that means each person’s identity changes. They are not complete without the other.

David and Jonathan (Starting in 1 Samuel 18) demonstrated that marriage is not required for this kind of relationship, the kind in which one person is not complete without the other. It is not the same thing as marriage, but more importantly they did not base their entire lives on the other person. For both of them, their true devotion was to God.

This is not an argument about whether or not homosexuals, “loose” people, feminists (or chauvinist of any kind), or any other people who base their identity on sex and gender (or variations on gender) can be Christians or go to Heaven. The real argument here is that the problem has arisen that those who focus so much on “sexual identity” are not focused on God. Their understanding of God has been darkened.

The problem is selfishness. Sometimes selfishness can include others, including in a loving relationship. It reminds me of Terry Hoitz (played by Mark Wahlberg) in “The Other Guys”. He was so frustrated that his tagline was illogical (but quite hilarious): “I am a beautiful peacock! You have to let me fly!” ((If you are wondering why this is so funny, peacocks are semi-flightless, only able to go relatively short distances of a few hundred feet across land and fifty feet up.)) The reason I think of this line is that peacocks are often associated with pride and arrogance, and this line is slightly illogical as is basing your entire identity on how or with whom sex is or is not performed.

And just to make sure it is understood: None of my statements of the three sub-groups listed above are meant to be taken as universal. That would also be a logical fallacy and undermine my entire argument. All people, even Christians, can base their understanding of life on crazy, inappropriate, and sometimes weird things … not just sex (though you can see Christians and the religious right who focus on not practicing certain sexual act or preferences or whatever you want to call them).

So what say you? Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I off the mark or right on? Any comments to help clarify, support, or debunk my claims?