Thursday, August 22, 2013

Remember Who You Are

When my son leaves the house I always tell him to drive safe, but I also tell him, "Remember who you are." There are times he will be out with friends and I will just shoot him a text with the same words. It is my hope that as he reads and hears these words from his momma that he will be true to who he is and remember most of all that he is a child of God. 

It's easy to get lost in this world we live in. Temptation is at every side. A friend invites you out to an evening at a bar. What do you say? You have never been to a bar, but you don't want to hurt your friend's feelings. After all, we don't want to offend anyone, right? This is our problem. We are too afraid of offending another person. In reality this not only brings more hurt to the person we are afraid of offending, but it brings danger to ourselves. 

We know our weakness. We know the things of this world in which we struggle. Okay, I'm gonna toss open the coat here and be as transparent as I can. I have friends who drink. Sure, some have a beer while barbecuing and others share a glass of wine with friends over dinner. I have made the choice not to drink. For me, this would be a disaster. This would lead me down a road of sin. How do I know? I come from a family of alcoholics. I have witnessed what too much drink does close up. Let me add something many do not know. I actually enjoy drinking. When I was younger this was something very real in my life. Amazingly once I turned 21 I really didn't drink much. After I was married I have not drank at all. Well, except for the Champagne on our wedding night. It has been 23 years since I have had a drink. 

Some may applaud. Some may say, "What's the big deal?" I have a friend who has shared the same past as me. When something horrific happens in our lives and we are in need we call one another. Our code for help? "I need a drink." I have said this through tears and these words have lead us to deep prayer. We know our struggles and once we identify them and face them head on we are able to draw strength from the Lord to fight them. 

For me, drinking would be a sin because I know of it's drastic temptation and I am fully aware of where it would lead. That would be a road I don't want to travel. I want to be an example of a woman who is walking in faith and trust of her Savior. I want my children to see that although their momma may struggle, she knows to turn to the Lord for strength. 

We can battle selfishness. We can struggle with being judgmental and unforgiving. If we seek the Lord and ask Him to show us the areas in which we need encouragement He is good to show us. Not only show us, but give us the strength and grace to overcome.

We can compromise who we are in so many ways. It's easy to lose ourselves in a crowd of people who don't know us. But what about those who do? Someone is always watching. Always. We are never far away from our Savior's eyes. Many times it is a younger person in search of people they can trust and look up to who sees us. 

Not all sin, not all temptation is seen outwardly. Some are. I can go overboard with shopping. I once had over 50 purses in my closet. Why so many? Well obviously it wasn't because I needed one in every color in the crayola box. When my heart was hurting deep, my quick fix would be to go out and shop for a purse. Sadly, that joy over my new gem didn't last long. There was always a new purse on the horizon. After all, more hurts were to come. I can share with you that I haven't purchased a purse in quite a long time. Not because I don't love them, but because I have identified my temptation and I am finding victory in Jesus. 

Just maybe we take a few items home from work each night. After all, no one will notice. Again, it's easy to lose ourselves in this world. With each choice that goes against who God created us to be compromises who we are. We need to be leading prayer filled lives. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way." Psalm 139:23-24

Friends, we each battle temptation. Some are seen by others, but some we hold deep inside. Gossip is one that many battle. This is one that not only tears apart the one we are gossiping about, but it leads to our destruction. Again, we just need to be aware. If the phone is a problem, keep it simple and short. Stay to the point of the call. If you get a call from a friend who loves to share the goings on, don't be afraid to offend. You can easily share that this is a struggle for you and you would rather not share in this conversation. This way your friend just may be inspired from your kind offense and she too may be able to identify that gossip is a pest for her as well. 

"Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2

"For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself special people, eager to do good works." Titus 2:11-14

Some struggle with food. Filling themselves from a deep discouragement from a place of pain. We all battle things of this world. Your battles may be different from mine, but friends, our battles are not a loss. We can learn and grow from them. We can understand our strength comes from the Lord. We can learn to depend on God. We can understand that this world cannot satisfy only what He can provide. 

Remember who you. I remind myself with the repeating of these words. I am never in a battle alone. I don't have to give in to temptation. This world holds no power over me. I can turn to the Lord for all my needs. He created me for greatness. He has instilled in me everything I need for this journey. This is why our walk with Him is a moment to moment journey. He knows what we will face up ahead. He knows the traps that Satan has set for us. He knows how this world entices us. It is Jesus that has the answer. It is in His Word that we find the wisdom we need for this life. It is through the Holy Spirit that we find the understanding of the wisdom God provides. 

"Wisdom is supreme-so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. She will place a garland of grace on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty." Proverbs 4:7-9

This world tries it's best to get us to compromise our everything. Friends, don't settle for nothing less than what the Lord has for you. Searching for love? Don't find yourself in another's bed trying to find love. There are so many ways we compromise ourselves. We give in when we know the choice is wrong. We don't fight because we are afraid of the battle. What will people think? Friends, more importantly, what will the Lord think? When He is our priority our choices are different. We aren't thinking of self, but of Him. 

Oh, how I stumble. I stumble with words to others. I stumble greatly when I'm on the highway. There are things that trip me up. Of course, I cannot stay away from the highway, but many things that cause me to stumble I can. Those that I must face daily, I face with prayer. 

Maybe gambling is a temptation that is a great struggle. Goodness, maybe something such as TV overtakes your time as you leave what is in need of your time. For some TV is not a temptation, nor a sin, but it can be when it overtakes our time and compromises who we are by what it is we are allowing our eyes to witness and our ears to hear. 

I'm only mentioning a few temptations. There are literally millions of temptations we face. Anger, resentment, selfishness and pride are more that we face daily. When I remind my son to remember who he is, it is a way that he can be on guard. He can be prepared through prayer and when caught in the middle of temptation, to call on the Lord in that moment of weakness.

We can learn so much from one another when we are honest with our struggles. It is through our struggles and the obstacles we face that we can share the victories of Jesus. It's okay to share who you really are. We don't have to hide behind a mask of perfection and have an, "All is great with me", attitude. It's in being real that we show others who Jesus is in our lives. 

Don't ever allow anyone to tell you that because you struggle you are less of a Christian. There isn't a Christian on this earth who doesn't struggle. Get in close with Jesus. Share with Him and lean on Him. He will never let you down. Fix your eyes on His Word and His promises. Most of all, remember who you are. 

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9



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