If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

"I YAM WHAT I YAM" Popeye 1933

Are you who you are?  You might say, "Yes, I am."  You might say, "No, I'm not."  Maybe it's just, "Huh?"

I have to tell you, I am not who I am.  And that's kind of exciting! The "about me" section of my FaceBook profile says, "I'm not who I was." And that is true.  But, I am not yet who I am. Or, am I?

After all these years I think I've got it!  I'm coming to an understanding  of a HUGE truth of life. For so long I missed it.  I just missed it. (Yeah, I know, I say that a lot. That's just because I miss a lot.)  Maybe I am alone in this, but I don't think so. I hear too many things, see too many comments. There are a lot of people who spend a lot of time dissatisfied with their lives, which is probably the way they express their dissatisfaction with themselves. 

Why would we be so at odds with ourselves?  Why can't "life" be what we want it to be more of the time? Well, there is your answer.  We are at odds with ourselves. 

"What are you talkin' about, Dent?"  (I often counsel my self using my daddy's nickname for me) "If you are not you, who are you?"

That's a good question! That's the one we keep asking ourselves in so many ways! Who am I? Who am I supposed to be?  What am I supposed to be doing with my life? (enter your version of the question here)

Not everyone struggles with this, and that is a very good thing. It shows the rest of us that it is possible to find our place in this world.  And the good news that I'm reminding you of today is that it is quite possible, it is not that hard, and, as a matter of fact, it is intended for all, including you and me!  And that from a person who is not yet there.  BUT. I am finally on my way. And I am confident for the first time in all these years that I will get there.  (Hint: If life is not playing out the way you think it should, change directors.) 

Here is the truth about each and every one of us (including you!):

 Psalm 139:13-17 (NLT)  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.   Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!  

God made you and me like no other. We are His handiwork, made in God's image, His unique image for each of us. Fearfully (reverently) made. Wonderfully made. Look at the world around you and the wonder that you witness every where you go.  Look at God's wondrous works in the faraway lands that we are to this day learning new things about.  The depths of the seas hold such amazing forms of life and man still has not seen all that is held there.  Great telescopes are constantly discovering new wonders in outer space. The more knowledge mankind acquires the more we realize how wonderfully made and beyond our comprehension is this universe created by our God. 

We look beyond ourselves, near or far, and our hearts are as filled with wonder as our eyes.  We need to look within, and see and accept how wonderfully made we are.  God placed His unique stamp on us. He worked on us in our mother's womb as  individuals. And He has a unique place in His creation for each of us.  He did not create us and forget us, nor did He intend for us to wander this life alone finding our way by the hit-and-miss system.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Non-believers like to express their feelings of intellectual superiority over Christians by saying that we are just people who need a crutch to get through life, and Christianity is our crutch.  This may sound harsh, but, I believe that many Christians do use their Christianity and the Word of God in particular as a crutch.  Not in the same sense as we are accused, but as a crutch no less. God forgive me, I know I have.

Yes, God's Word has brought me through innumerable times of difficulty.  There was a time, though, that once over the hump, once the rain was gone and the skies in my life were clear and blue or maybe even just "partly cloudy", the Word that is meant to be my daily bread went back in the corner.  I gave a true heart felt thanks for deliverance and moved on to the next thing.  My crutch stood there where I knew it would be until I needed it again. God's precious promises, so powerful and so true, relegated to something that helped me hobble through this life because I had been crippled by Satan's deception.

The truth is that God had good plans for you and me long before we were ever born. And, when He knit us together in our mother's wombs He built in us every physical and mental strength and characteristic that we would need to succeed in His plans for us. When Jesus Christ went to the cross and died and was resurrected, every scheme and weapon that Satan would ever bring against us was defeated and made ineffective against us.  When we accepted the truth of Jesus and asked Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives we received everything we would ever need to defeat Satan's endless attacks upon us.  When we, through the work of the Holy Spirit and God's Word, renew our minds - learn and grow and believe and increasingly understand what a wonderful thing God has done for us - we can increasingly and ultimately live the life that He planned for us so long ago.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 was not given as a crutch to help us through difficult times when we experience doubt about what we are here for and whether God knows or cares about what we are going through.  It was given as a statement of God's intention for our lives.  It is to tell us what our lives are supposed to be.  And God's intent is not like our intent. Even when our free will leads us to a faulty decision, God's intent does not change. God's intent is a done deal when we realize that, and when we agree with God to live that.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

"All things" means all things! Even the mess we make. God's plan for our lives is not only possible, it is within reach. We really have only to grasp it.

So, back to "What are you talkin' about, Dent?"

How is it that I'm not me and maybe you are not you?  Here it is.  God created me uniquely to be me. He created you uniquely to be you.
That is who we are.  That little yet-to-be-born baby our mamas were carrying around is who we are.  If we are living in any way or according to any plan other than what God made for us then we are living according to our own sinful nature.  We are living out Satan's chaotic desire for us. Satan's plan, such as it is.

Satan is a liar and a deceiver.  He tells me that I came to Christ too late to be of any real use to Him. That's a lie.  He tells me that all those decisions I made to direct my own life so long ago have taken me so far away from God's plan for me that I can never get back to it.  That's a lie.  Satan tells me that the things that I really want to do, the desire of my heart that God has given me, are not for me. They are the same worthless and frustrating day dreams that I have carried with me all of my life.  I was never meant to be what my inner most being drives me to be. That's a lie. Satan will influence us to become anyone other than the person God made us to be.  
Therefore, the person Satan influenced me to be is not the real me. The real me is the guy God created and made plans for. And he's still in there!

Satan goes to work on us directly and personally from the moment we take our first breath in this life. For we are then breathing air polluted by the effect of sin on creation.  We grow up in an environment affected by sin and among sinful people.  At some point in our young lives we become accountable for the things we do that are contrary to God's will for us and we become sinful people ourselves.  Under the influence of our own sinful nature we become someone other than the person God uniquely made us to be.  We all, at some point in our lives, become the result of the devil's work on us.

Romans 3:23  "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

1 John 3:8a  "The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning."

But, help has arrived by way of Calvary, not the cavalry! 

1 John 3:8b  "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work."

"The devil's work" covers a lot of territory. It includes all of creation. And, yes, Satan has been working on us from the beginning of our lives to make us someone other than the person that God formed in our mother's wombs, but Jesus came to destroy that work. Jesus came to destroy every work that Satan has performed upon you and I!  Jesus has come to restore us to the person He made us to be.  And He is well able to do just that!

There is a book titled "Your Best Life Now".  I have not yet read it so I cannot speak for it or against it.  What I can say is that your best life is THE life that God has for you, the one He specifically and uniquely designed for you.  If you are not already, you can live that life now no matter how young or old you may be.  You can start from where you are. Let God direct whatever moving is to be done.  Don't get discouraged or tangled up in what should have been or could have been.  We don't know what any of that might be and can't do anything about it anyway.  Trust God to get you on track and get you into His plan for you from where you are right now.

As I said before, if Jesus is in your life, you already have everything you need.  If you have not yet come to know Him as Lord and Savior, you can't even begin to know what God has in store for you because God has no plan for you that does not include Jesus.  That is the beginning.  From there, it continues with accepting the premise of the promise.

So, to wrap it all up, (This has been a long one. Sorry) I have stated that I am not who I was, yet I am not who I am.  Does this mean "who I am" is a destination? Nope!  As a matter of fact, I am going to step out, or up, right now and say that Yes! Actually, I am who I am!  Because I am surrendered!  A heart fully surrendered. That is who God wants us to be. For only the surrendered can be molded by God into what He wants us to be.  And then we will realize the fullness of the person He made us to be!  If we are surrendered, He will do the perfecting. 

Dare I say it's easy?  Just stop believing what Satan says about you and start believing what God -your creator, by the way- says about you.  The destroyer? or the Creator? One who hates? or one who is love?  It's your choice. 

For everyone everywhere, the details may be different, but the story is the same.  The need is the same. And the promise is the same and just as true!  So much of what I have written here says I, I, I and me, me, me, and some of them are not so good.  Please understand that I am not holding myself up as anyone to follow.  All I want to do is lift Christ up as the only one to follow.  Of course, I want to be everything that God made me to be.  I have come to a place where I fully believe and trust that, by His grace, I will be.  What I pray that you will see is the best of all these "I, I, I's" and "me, me, me's" as "you, you, you's" living everything God made you to be!   And if you already are, then praise God and pass on the encouragement that such a life brings!

Here's you video. It's kinda neat.  ( . . almost put the Who video up . . .)


And just for fun . . . Popeye, my old favorite!