Contented?

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How content are you in your own skin?  Crazy question, you think?  Approach it this way. Consider some or your recent decisions, nothing big, just something like what you chose to wear, or some place you wanted to be seen. Now ask yourself, “Why did I do that?” Was it to impress someone, to try make others think of you in a certain way? Or, was it a genuine expression of who you are?

So many people spend huge amounts of resources, time, and energy trying desperately to make others like them, to be who they think they others want them to be. In the process, they turn into empty shells, living behind a mask of pretend, saying things they don’t really believe, buying things they do not really need.

My point today is not to point you in the direction of self-centeredness nor am I suggesting that you would be better off if you chose to be an obnoxious person who cares nothing for others. Understanding how others perceive us, learning how to participate in the social interactions around us is an important part of a happy life. But, it is a lie, a terrible enslaving lie, that tells us we would be loved more if we were taller, thinner, richer, smarter … and the list goes on.

One of the basic truths of the Gospel is this – God knows you, inside and out, and He loves you! He does not love you because you are white, black, female, male, old, young, poor, rich:  He loves you because you are. Christian, do you know this to the core of your being? By faith, will you accept that He loves you, right now, where you are, as you are? Paul, inspired by the Spirit, puts God’s love in focus with these words. “”Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:7-9, NIV)

In love, He offers to enter our lives, by the Spirit, and walk with us in a process of transformation that we Christians call – sanctification. That is just a big word that means we become useful to Him as we discard the old ways that were centered on Self and take on the character of Jesus Christ. IF we know He loves us, we do not do this to try to make Him like us, nor are we concerned about the opinions of other people. Our one desire is to be who He wants us to be, nothing more, nothing less.

What freedom is found when that truth is received in faith and becomes the cornerstone for our daily decisions. The silly choices to pose and pretend make no sense to us. The pressure to conform to the expectations of others has no effect on us. We learn to rest securely in our Father’s embrace. “Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:2, The Message)

 

Are you sick of trying to be someone you are not?

Does the constant stream of messages about who you must be and what you must do get tiresome?

Is your heart constantly restless, comparing and coveting in a search for happiness?

Give it up! In prayer thank God for the life you have and for His love where you are. Confess the failures and sins to Him and thank Him for His promise to transform you, inside out. Get real – truthful with yourself, refusing to participate in the world’s “BS” (sorry, I just can’t think of a better way to say that) that makes slaves out of those who keep saying things that are inauthentic.  The peace of God will settle over you.

Here is a word from the Word. Meditate on it, in all of its simplicity and profundity!   “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7, NIV)   At peace with who we are in Christ, letting the Spirit make us who He wants us to be, and focused on our eternal home given to us as a grace gift – we will live with joyful peace.

________

Good, Good Father

(Casting Crowns sings a great song about God’s love)

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

 You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

 I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

 You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us 

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

 Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett © 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Housefires Sounds (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

 

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