Earlier this year I was reading through the books of I and II Samuel. One thing I noticed about David that amazed me was that he always sought the Lord prior to engaging in any battle. Countless times He would essentially ask the Lord, “Should I fight this battle, will You go with me and will I win? If so, what strategy would You like me to engage in”. As a result, he was known as a great warrior. Really, he developed the sure fire strategy of victory: Ask God, and do what He says.
Interesting philosophy isn’t it? What’s more interesting to me though is how glaringly obvious a path to victory this is, yet we continually choose our own path. I’m speaking to myself here too. Right now I’m even thinking of something very specific that the Lord has spoken to me, yet I keep stumbling over it in disobedience.
I intentionally am keeping this blog post very short and to the point. I will close by asking us all, “What has God spoken to you, and are you being a good steward of that Word”. If He hasn’t spoken a clear battle plan, it’s time to ask Him for one. He will speak clearly to you. Listen for His voice, read His Word, and seek Godly counsel. Then go forth, act on His Word, and be victorious.
Lord, Speak Your plan to me,
As I obey I will walk in victory
Grant unto me a listening ear,
And a heart to obey all I hear.
Most people who know me well know that I’m a sucker for stray animals. Much to the chagrin of my next door neighbor I leave a bowl of cat food right outside the door of my third floor apartment. Many times when I’ve been coming home and walking up the stairs one or more “scaredy cats” have come tearing down the steps past me, not wanting any interaction with humans.
One day this week as I rounded the corner from the second floor up to the third I saw a cat that was not yet full grown by my door coming toward me on the stairs. It froze in place when it realized it was going to have to run past me. It began to panic, and looked around for another way of escape. The cat was backing up looking at me with terror as I approached. I just kind of chuckled and said to the animal, “So, what are you going to do now?” The closer I got to the top of the stairs, the more frantic the cat became. He kept backing away from me, and was looking over the 3 story balcony on which he stood. He was so terrified that instead of risking me touching him, he dove off of the third floor and landed on the concrete below with a loud thud. He just stood there for a moment, re-gathered his composure, and took off running. I felt so sad knowing that he was running in fear from a place where there was no danger. Not only did he run in fear, but he took a pretty drastic measure to escape a situation that in reality provided no threat to him. Honestly, my heart broke for the little guy (okay, don’t judge).
Later that evening as I was reflecting I heard the Lord quietly tell me, “You do the same thing”. How many times have I run in fear where there was no real threat? Just before coming home I was in a situation where I felt insecure and walled myself off. There was no real threat, but instead of facing it I dove off of a 3 story building in the form of walling myself off. The ways in which I’ve done this are countless. Usually my fear comes in the form of some sort of insecurity. Fear can cause us to do some pretty foolish things. I’ve walled myself off, backed out of relationships, gone on an eating binge, blew up at people and acted out sexually just to name a few of the brilliant ways I’ve dealt with my fear. What a lie we believe when we cling to our fear! I would have been so much better off if I would have just sat still, turned to Jesus, and let Him draw me so close to Himself until I realized He was the one that alleviates all of my fears. Moving forward, I am challenging myself to not get overtaken by the panic that comes from fear, and to invite Jesus in instead of running. Will you join me?
As I raised my hands to worship, I heard it echo through my mind, “You’re such a hypocrite. Put your hands down, you know what you did just this week”. I obediently responded, “Right, right, how dare I think I can worship after what I did.” On another occasion I was about to take communion and heard the same voice, “You’re such a hypocrite. You’re going to take communion after what you looked at this week online? Really?” This time I didn’t yield to the voice, instead I went ahead and took communion. However, I spent the next several days fearful that I had taken the Lord’s supper unworthily and that I was going “to pay for it”. And so it went. After a fall if I would go to pray, “You’re such a hypocrite”. Or if I’d listen to worship music in my car, “You’re such a hypocrite”. Even if I’d want to tell someone of the benefits of Calvary there came that familiar voice, “You’re such a hypocrite”.
This voice long held me captive, until one day I heard another voice speak to me about my hypocrisy. It was the voice of the Lord. He actually did confirm for me that I was indeed being a hypocrite. But I was being hypocritical so to speak, in a way that was much different than the condemning voice spoke to me. Whenever I would hear the familiar internal phrase, “You’re such a hypocrite” it came when I was doing something that would be considered pleasing to the Lord. What the Lord spoke to me was that by definition someone is acting hypocritically when they are living in a manner that is contradictory to who they really are. He spoke to me that when I worship, pray, tell of His goodness, take communion, etc., I am NOT acting hypocritically. I am actually living out my true identity, so those things don’t make me a hypocrite. I am a blood bought, cleansed, free, righteous, and loved child of God. All the actions I mentioned above are consistent with my true identity. What is not consistent with my true identity is my sin. When I fall to temptation, and am sinning, it is then that I am acting hypocritically the Lord showed me. He did not show me this in a condemning way. As a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite. He spoke it with such love and encouragement. It was as if I could almost see Him smiling, and saying, “That’s not who you are, step up here and see who you truly are, and let me help you live out of who I see you to be”. Wow! What a difference between His voice, and the voice I originally was hearing. .
Dear brother or sister who struggles (uhm, that would be all of us), Please stop believing the lie that your identity is defined by what you do or have done. Your identity was settled 2000 years ago on Calvary. You are a blood bought and free child of God. This life is a sanctification process where we get to learn how to walk out with Jesus who we really are. Let’s pray for the courage to live out who He says we are.
Lord, help me to believe you and not the voices of my sin, my past, or others. I am who You say I am. I am not defined by anything other than Calvary. Give me the grace to understand this. I yield to what you say about me, and will find my freedom by believing Your truth, not the condemning lies of the enemy. I trust You to complete Your work in me, and to lead me to anyone and anything that You have destined for that journey. Father, by faith I choose to believe You! Amen.
Kimberly ~ Counselor, speaker, teacher, author and most importantly broken but beloved daughter of Jesus.