Posted in Faith

Location Really Matters

compass

If you talk to a real estate agent, they will tell you about the importance of location. “Location, location, location,” they will say. A house can be beautiful, but if it’s in a bad neighborhood, it will be difficult to sell. An office building can be appealing, but it will be overlooked if it’s in the wrong part of town. Our location as Christians is vital to our faith, as well.

The Bible speaks of two different locations for believers.

First, Christ is in you. When we trust Christ as Savior and Lord, His Spirit dwells within us individually. This would seem impossible if the Scriptures didn’t say so.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, NIV).

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

We are more than followers that are helped by Christ. He literally lives in us, empowering us by the same Holy Spirit present in the Resurrection. He dwells in us and is with us every moment. We have more than enough power to live for Him and accomplish the plans He has set before us.

Do you realize that Christ is in you? What difference does it make to know that He makes His home in you?

Equally important, you are in Christ. This provides an image of the greatness of Christ and the Church.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).

Sometimes I limit the power of God in my mind by the way I view my own humanity. I know the Holy Spirit dwells in me, but I also know myself—my weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. However, I also know there is something so much greater than myself. I am part of the fullness in Christ and share in the glory of His body. I am blessed to participate in beauty, diversity, and corporate strength.

Do you realize that you are in Christ? What difference does it make to know that you are at home in Him?

Location really matters. Christ is in you. You are in Christ. Let the truth of both locations sink into your mind and heart, and set you free.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ is in me, and I am in Christ. Open my eyes to truly understand what that means. Let me believe the truth of Your Word. Empower me by Your Spirit to thrive in life, in my relationships, and as a leader. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Advertisements
Posted in Character, Faith

Be a Victor Not a Victim

winner

Take a look at these words: victim and victor. They are similar in spelling, but so very different in meaning. The word victim originates from the Latin word victima, meaning “sacrificial animal.” It was first recorded in 1490-1500. The word victor also originates from Latin, but from an earlier time in the 1300s. It is derived from vincere, meaning “to conquer” (dictionary.com). The two words represent a difference as vast as night and day.

A victim is pictured as helpless, like a lamb led to slaughter. A victor is pictured as a seasoned warrior who wins after fiercely fighting a battle. Which one do you relate to more?

I am not a victim. Yes, terrible things have happened to me. Yes, traumatic events have affected me. However, they do not define me. By the grace of God, I refuse to allow them to rule the way I live. I am a victor!

You do not have to be a victim either. Your parents may not have been there for you growing up. People may have abused and harmed you in the past. You may have experienced hurt and disappointment that you should never have faced. But don’t get stuck there. Don’t look back at others and blame them for where you are today. Even if your offenders aren’t ready to acknowledge the pain they caused you or to participate in the work of reconciliation, don’t allow them to keep you from moving forward.

You do not have to be like an injured animal, constantly licking your wounds of regret. Neither should you be an ostrich, avoiding and ignoring the difficult areas of life. Nor should you be like a hyena, laughing and pretending that all is well. (I know…I’m taking these analogies way too far!) Instead take an honest look at the things that should not have been and invite the Lord to heal you. Accept responsibility for the unhealthy choices you have made as a result of brokenness and trust the Lord to restore you. Surrender yourself to the Lord, relying on His Spirit to empower you to thrive.

Your identity is based on what the Lord says about you as His dearly loved child, not what others say. You can live and lead with confidence, knowing that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you (Romans 8:11). He gives you the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Our early Church leaders faced great persecution, and yet they lived as victors rather than victims. Their faith-filled perspective inspires us today.

Our great power is from God, not ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked does, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:7b-10).

…In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

Don’t settle for living as a victim. Stand firm in the victory that is yours through Jesus Christ. You are a victor!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You take the ashes of my life and make them beautiful. I praise You that no matter what I have faced in the past or face right now, You work all things together for my good, because I love You and am called according to Your purposes. Help me to have faith in You above my circumstances. Help me to live as a victor instead of a victim. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

Posted in Faith, Servant Leadership

Know Who You Are

Insecurity can wreak havoc on a leader’s effectiveness. After all, it’s tough to love followers and put their best interests in mind when you’re looking over your shoulder in self-protection mode. Nagging self-doubts grow into attempts for affirmation. The search for validation interferes with equipping others to succeed.

Next to knowledge of God, a knowledge of who you are—especially who you are in Christ—is by far the most important truth you can possess.

There is great freedom in knowing and appreciating your identity!

Do you know who you are in Christ? Study what the New Testament says about your position an Christ.

[F]or you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9, NLT).

  • You belong to a family distinct from the common world, selected with kindness, favor, and love.
  • You are granted the highest position and possess the dignity of showing the Lord’s majesty to the world.
  • You are like God in character.
  • You belong to God, and He’s given you His name.

And that’s just the beginning!

Take time to know who you are in Christ. “Knowing” means having an intimate personal connection, not merely being aware of facts and circumstances. When you know who you are in Christ, it is a powerful game-changer in life and as you lead.

When you know who you are, you know what to do.

If you follow the story of the British royal family, you know that William and Kate recently gave birth to Charlotte Elizabeth Diane Mount Batten-Windsor. This little girl will be trained as early as possible to live up to her name, so by the time she is in the public eye her actions will be automatic. She will know that she is a princess and she will know what she is supposed to do.

Kate, officially called “Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge” was not born into royalty. She had to take lessons, and I’m sure she is still learning how to behave. But she knows who she is and that there is a proper way befitting of royalty to do things.

Who are you? A royal, holy child deeply loved by God with all the rights and privileges.

You know what to do. Live like Jesus in this world; worship God and do His will. Show others the goodness of God, because He called us out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

Perhaps like the Duchess of Cambridge you’re still learning. Thankfully when you’re not sure what royalty looks like, there’s the Royal Manual—God’s Word—to consult.

When you know who you are, you have what it takes.

We may be royalty, but we live in a world in which we are not citizens. One day we’ll return to our heavenly home which is perfect, without sorrow, pain, sickness, or difficulties. But until then there are challenges around us. However, when you know that you know that you know that you a royal, holy child deeply loved by God with all the rights and privileges, you have a confidence that cannot be moved. You cannot be shaken when life gets hard.

Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

Knowing who we are does not mean we are superior to others. On the contrary, we are like Jesus who said that the greatest is to be servant of all. We use our position to serve and love others, to reveal God’s glory wherever we are.

When we know who we are, we live in God’s strength.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).

Know who you are. Live, love, and lead as a favored child of the Most High God!