Confidence in The Father’s Love: Part 2

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In my last post, I related my personal revelation of the Father’s perfect love for His imperfect children. In this post I will go into further detail about being in Christ as well as the ways God-confidence affects our lives practically.

Our deepest need is to be loved and valued. This need for acceptance will either manifest itself as insecurity if we do nothing about it, or manifest itself as security, if we let God fulfill that need. 

Although God perfectly loves all people, His perfect love cannot fulfill our need for acceptance unless we allow it to reach deep down inside of us and transform us from the inside out. We are not made perfect in His love if we choose to sin and to refuse His great act of love of Jesus dying for us. His love is finally made perfect in us when we turn from sin, put down our guard and accept Christ in our life.

Jesus was, is, and will always be, but right here and right now is when you need to let Him into your life. You need Him. And wow, I need Him, too–as desperately as ever! Inviting Him into every corner of my life is a continual process for me.

When we believe that He loves and values us just as perfectly as He loves and values Jesus, we have nothing to fear! With this total confidence in the Father’s love for you, you have a solid rock of courage from where you can bring glory to Him—to love others well and proclaim His truth both gently and boldly. With Him, anything is possible. You are a new person in Christ capable of doing wonders for His kingdom if you rely on His strength and power rather than your own.

So, what does it mean to be a new person in Christ? How is that possible when we are so sinful and prone to wander?

Well, when you put your trust in Christ, you are made righteous in God’s sight. You are given a new identity. Your sin filthily covers Christ, and His righteousness graciously covers you.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

We must identify ourselves with Jesus now; as little Christs. When we do wrong, that is not a part of our true identity, and this must be thrown off from our lives so that nothing can hinder us in our victorious walk with Christ.

God is slow to anger, and patient to forgive you. Never be afraid to come to Him brokenly and honestly to let Him heal and restore you! It is NEVER too late to confess your sins and let Him forgive you. It is NEVER too late for you to be made new. He gives everything to anyone BECAUSE HE IS GOD, and not because of yourself. He loves you so much!

In your time of need, remember that this is a particularly crucial time to have confidence in your Father’s love. Jesus has paved the way for you to approach your Heavenly Father, so have the confidence to come to Him for help!

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Because of this new identity and this full acceptance you have in God’s throne room through Jesus, you have all the confidence you need to obey His commands no matter where they might take you out of your “comfort zone.” His ways for you will bring healing to your soul, while your former ways have only led to self-destruction. Jesus Himself says that following His commands is for the sake of your joy to be made complete!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:9-11

Praise God for the confidence we can have in Him to follow His ways! He filled me with confidence that night when I received and trusted in the perfect love of my Heavenly Father. Remaining in Him is the greatest joy!

If you struggle with low self-esteem, remember who you are—a beloved son or daughter of a good and merciful Father! 

The next morning after God revealed His perfect love to me, I woke up, and my first reaction as always was to panic: Yet another day. Yet another day to have wavering beliefs and a mundane life lack of courage.

But wait a minute! Why does my reaction to living a new day have to  be negative when I have a God of infinite love and power on my side? When I remembered the love God showed me the night before, my heart was filled with so much joy once again. The truth set me free!

And so each day after that I am making the aim to press onward, each morning renewed by the Lord’s mercy. Life has full meaning and purpose with Jesus on your side. The gospel is for us each day, not just that day long ago when we came to first believe in Him. Jesus Christ sustains us now and forever!

When you feel like you will never measure up, be confident that God is still ready and able to work powerfully in your life. He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!

“[Be] confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

And, finally, Beloved, when you are tempted to throw away your confidence in Jesus Christ, stand firm and do not waver. He is coming soon. There is unspeakably marvelous things awaiting those who stand firm till the end. Trust in the Lord — by the grace of God, you will remain confident in Him till the end of the ages. You are not the one who is going to shrink back and be destroyed!

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” – Hebrews 10:35

Remember who God is and who you are, Beloved. Let Him take all your burdens on yourself. Have a beautiful day! (Also, this song is amazing!)

P.S. I didn’t have time to go more into this, but I highly recommend you check out this short blog post from Joseph Prince Ministries about John 17:22 (I mentioned this verse in my last post). Basically Jesus has given us the same glory the Father gave Him, which means the glory of God shines through us and makes in impact on others. We have weightiness as children of God, and the essence of our beings is influencing people for the Kingdom of God, even when we don’t realize it. All the more reason to be confident in the Lord! Here’s the post: https://www.josephprince.org/blog/daily-grace-inspirations/gods-glory-has-been-restored-to-you

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Confidence in The Father’s Love: Part 1


Do you struggle with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence? Are insecurities a daily battle for you?

I have been wrestling with this for awhile. Only recently did I decide to confront it with the Lord more directly, and pray for Him to give me confidence. I prayed that this confidence would not be in myself, but would be totally and completely in Him and Him alone.

The Lord gave me the confidence that my prayer would be answered in one way or another (which was all the confidence I needed in that moment!). This was a desire I had that He would graciously fulfill. Ask and you will receive! This is the fullness of joy that God wants us to experience—our prayers being answered.

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” – John 16:24

The other night I had a different topic other than confidence on my mind as I was thinking and praying. I hadn’t felt God’s acceptance for me very deeply for a long while. I’d been so prone to insecurity, and I knew I was in need of His steadfast love—the most secure thing to rely on. Living insecure is not only not how we want to live, but it’s not how our Father in heaven wants to live!

As I was thinking and praying, a thought entered my mind that I now realize must have come from the Holy Spirit: As the Father perfectly loves His Son, so He perfectly loves you.

Could this be true? It was a radical idea. Although I’d heard something similar before, I was never totally sure I believed it. Could the God who called Jesus “My beloved Son” call us His beloved sons and daughters (Matthew 3:17)?

That night I wasn’t sure if the Bible agreed with that beautiful, incredible thought that entered my head, but I couldn’t help experiencing His perfect love in that moment and being filled with His joy. His perfect love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18)

Though it was incredible to think that I could share in the same kind of love the Father bestowed on His Son, believing this truth was setting me free. It had to be true. After all, the truth is supposed to set us free! (John 8:32)

And, sure enough, the next day I found this passage from Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17:22-23:

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (boldness added)

This astounds me! The Lord Jesus Christ has given us who trust in Him the same glory that the Father gave him. He gives us the honor that comes from being declared righteous because of His blood, and being declared children of God. This divine awareness of the glory we have as sons and daughters of a great Father, makes us more than able and more than willing to be united together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

With a united confidence in the Father’s love for us and a united goal to do the Father’s will, anything is possible! Our unity as believers allows the world to see that Jesus truly came from the one and only living God and that the Father pours out His perfect love on His children.

And so it IS true: The Father loves His imperfect children perfectly, just as perfectly as He loves His perfect Son, Jesus.

Let this fact bring joy in your innermost being! The Father delights in you and cherishes you just as you are. He accepts you in all your brokenness. He reaches out to touch you even when you feel completely flawed. Let this lead you into awe and worship of the Holy and Righteous One!

And if you have not been adopted into the Heavenly Father’s family yet, never fear! He perfectly loves you, too. He Himself is Perfection, so He can love you in no other way but perfectly.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (boldness added)

No matter where you are in life, God loves you perfectly. He is always reaching out to you, and He is never very far from any one us. (Acts 17:27) Choose to turn from sin, insecurity, shame, and guilt; choose to believe in Jesus who takes all of that upon Himself for your sake! His truth will set you free!

It’s so easy to assume I maybe-perhaps-kind-of believe God loves me, but that night, I knew I believed. Wavering beliefs are a huge factor in insecurity—or perhaps the only factor. If you aren’t sure of what you believe, it’s impossible to be confident. You may appear confident on the outside, but it’s really just a façade you put on to cover up your insecurity.

Let’s not cover anything up. Let’s be real and honest with God about our insecurities. Ask for confidence in Him and Him alone, and watch how He changes you!

I hope and pray the Holy Spirit fills you with confidence and certainty of the Father’s love for you. I pray the Holy Spirit overflows you with the love of God. Today–or tonight–rejoice in the Lord, who is your strong tower!

P.S. I wrote so much about this that I had to separate it into two posts, so keep a look out for Part 2!

 

Victory Over and In Things—Because of Christ

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We should expect to be victorious in the Christian life, not because we have any strength, but because we have HIS strength. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13) By trusting in Christ’s strength, we have victory over sin and death–this is because Jesus died on the cross, paying the price for our sins. Not only that, but by trusting in His strength, we have victory in our everyday life, because He rose from the grave after three days. We can “live by faith in the Son of God” and allow it to be not we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

This is all a part of the good news! The gospel is for our everyday lives. Anything that is not lived by faith in Jesus but by faith in our frailness or the pleasures of this world, we can confess to Him. He will always forgive you when you confess to Him! (1 John 1:9). Once you have admitted you are wrong and turned to Him, you can ask Him to change your desires to be aligned to His.

He will pick you up when you fall in the miry pit and set you on a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2). Then you can move forward loving Him and trusting in His strength to live your life according to how He commands you.

In a relationship, you desire to please the other person. This is the same with Jesus. You only rebel against a person if they are your enemy; Jesus is your greatest friend and hero, and He has given everything you need to live a godly life. So there is no reason to live in defeat! We have full victory in Jesus! The only thing that can hold you back is (1) disbelief in Jesus’ power or (2) disbelief that God’s way is the best way.

(1) This leads back to the beginning of the post. You can do all things, not because of yourself, but because the same God who raised Jesus up from the grave can lift you out the miry pit of even your deepest, darkest failures or circumstances. He lifts up the lowly! You are able to live freely in the right way when you trust that Jesus’ righteousness lives inside you and you allow Him to live through you!

(2) A godly life is a good life–a sweet fragrance of purity, love, and righteousness–it is life-giving, peace-giving, hope-instilling. It is lived because of, out of, and through the LOVE of God. A godly life is BEAUTIFUL, because it’s the reflection of a soul-satisfying relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s reflection of our genuine love for Him. This kind of life is healing to the soul. “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” (Hosea 14:4). Living compelled by Christ’s love is the life God created us to live, and He created us to live it FOR OUR GOOD.

When I choose God over my sin and I seek Him and find Him, I begin to see that the godly life is beautiful. I don’t have anything to live this beautiful life when I look to my own resources; but when I look to Jesus, spend time with Jesus, and get to know His character, I have everything!

It is by grace that we have victory OVER death and victory IN life! Thank You, Jesus!

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

Freely Flowing

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I want to live like I write – flowing and flowing – every moment rich and full with meaning – not missing a beat – catching the present moment and soaking it in – deeply soaking, dreaming of now. Being there—no, right here – and not in the clouds – taking in everything as it is and nothing more. – I don’t want to assume or to wonder or to ponder over hidden things that I do not know – I want to enjoy what I do have – to breathe without panting – to climb the cliff without pausing and waiting over the dreaded heights. I don’t want to panic – I want to jump overboard with joy and breathe in the sweet aroma of peace. What is it that keeps me from freely flowing whenever I go out and live? What is it that stops me and breaks me into a million pieces leaving me wandering and wanting for more? Dear Lord, help me, because I want to die. Either that or I want to thrive – I don’t want to be stuck in the middle – just wishing. Please, set me free. Give me a life of humility under Your wings, living in safety. Then I can flow out like a river and be like streams of water and find the ocean to spread out and wander farther than I can see. Being with You right here – Lord, teach me how! To be freely flowing, every moment rich and full with meaning – living just like I’m writing right now.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” – Galatians 5:1

The Persecution of the Spirit of Fear

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Though we Christians in the United States are not being persecuted with threats, weapons, torture, or imprisonment as Christian in other countries are, we are being persecuted by our overwhelming lack of courage, our sense of powerlessness, our deep desire to fit in, our passivity, our complacency, and overall, our terror to bring love, joy, peace, truth, and righteousness to other people. Persecuted Christians job is to count it all joy to surrender their physical lives to Jesus; our job is to count it all joy to surrender our self-focus and fear to Jesus.

“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.” – Jeremiah 1:17

We talk about God’s love so much, but we don’t know what it is. If we knew God’s love, His perfect love would cast out all our fear.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

Please don’t settle for anything less than what the Holy Spirit has already given access to you–a spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 2:7)! There is fullness of life in pressing in to Jesus!

If You Trusted That I Cared

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I wanted a kiss from God,
So here I am awaiting it.
Somber mind and somber heart,
Doubting good things come from this.

From this
Wait.
Patient wait.
Feeling nothing,
Longing for something to satiate
This emptiness.

You’re here, and I want You—
But do I want just You
Or do I want something from You?

What is this desire—
Unholy or pure?
To feed up my hunger,
To find me a cure.

Shouldn’t I just want You,
Whoever You are,
Rather than grasp from Your hands a wish-upon-a-star?
You’re more than a genie—
I’ve heard it before—
But then why can’t I be happy just following Your rules?

Child, You say,
It’s because those rules
Are not Me;
They are only an illusion.
The real Me is found when you lose your perception of what you ought to be or to do or to say,
And with simple faith listen, trust, and obey.

In that way you can see
That the only way to genuinely want Me
Is to forget about your self, your plans, your rules—
And to bask in my care
To receive my kiss
To not doubt it, because it’s there.

Trust and see,
Wait patiently.
The only way to feel is to know I’m here;
To know I want you, to know I want to feed you,
To know I want to cure you from your curious disease that makes you see me
As selfish,
When all along I really felt that
We could be together
If you trusted that I cared.

The Real Me

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My ego is fighting for attention,
But that’s not the real me;
God did not give me a spirit of timidity,
He did not endow me with self-pity,
Or riddle me with anxiety;
I riddled myself with all of these things.

Why do I always have to focus on myself?
My ego is begging me to—
In the name of Jesus, Holy Spirit,
Break it down and shrivel it up!
If I only allow Him to,
If I only let Him be all of me,
All I need
And nothing less,
Then I could finally be set free.

Free to love, free to give, free to die to my selfish pride,
Free to function normally,
Free at last to be me—
The real me!
The one God’s always meant me to be;
This is my true identity.

Through Jesus Christ
I have access to the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind;
I have access to freedom,
If I only reach out and grab it;
Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Because of the risen Jesus, I have access
To everything I need.
My ego has no power,
And I can finally be
The real me.

 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

An Excerpt: This Huge Space Inside Me

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An excerpt from my work-in-progress historical fiction novel, The Thrall’s Sword!

“Would she ever realize her efforts to love him could never thaw his icy heart?”

Grace Caylor

(Glossary note: Iosa is the Irish word for Jesus)

“What am I looking for?” I whispered.

Tyra pulled her blanket up to her chin and stared up at the thatched roof above us.

“Sometimes I feel like there’s this huge space inside me, wider and emptier than a starless night. Nothin’ I do can fill it up. Nothin’ but God, nothing but the grace He has given us through Iosa. That may not be what you’re looking for, but it’s what we all need, Sigrid. If it weren’t for God bursting inside of me, I wouldn’t be able to stand Ragnar. I’d run. He’d catch me and whip me. I’d run again. But with God, I’ve learned to have compassion on Ragnar. I’ve learned to fill up this void with Iosa’s love and His… strength.”

Tyra gave a gentle, rippling laugh. “God is good, Siri. He is so, so

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How to Release the Burden of Self-Focus: Gazing at Jesus

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“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Are you burdened by a yoke of slavery?

So many of us are heavily enslaved. In fact, Paul makes it clear that we are all slaves. You are either a slave to righteousness or a slave to the flesh.

In many people’s minds, being a slave of righteousness basically translates to an anxiety-riddled life, full of empty religious duties, constant fault-finding in yourself, and lives heavily burdened by human-imposed rules.

But, surely, this is not the path to righteousness. There ought to be a way to free our minds from guilt and shame and to set us free to genuinely love Christ and follow His commandments out of that love for Him.

And, praise God–there is!

In Matthew 11:29-30, Jesus paradoxically reveals the freedom of being enslaved to righteousness: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus does indeed tell us to learn righteousness from Him, but it is only after laying our burdens of our own conceptions of righteousness and finding the freedom of simply hearing His words, trusting, and obeying. Instead of constantly analyzing your actions, let His grace sustain you and constantly push you forward into grateful acceptance of His love and eager desire for more of Himself.

After all, what kind of righteousness do we desire to seek? Is it the kind that gives glory to ourselves or glory to God?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

So many people seem to seek first their own righteousness, failing to trust in the righteousness only given when we simply behold the glory of the Lord.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

I can testify to the truth of this verse. It isn’t merely a beautiful passage, it’s a practical reality. When I remember to behold Christ in all His righteousness, holiness, kindness, and beauty, I unconsciously reflect what I behold. Christ is large in my life, and everything else looks dim in comparison. His power far surpasses any problems I face. His freedom sets me free from every chain that held me so strongly before. His love is all I know, and it is all I radiate to the rest of the world.

Beholding. Trusting. Abiding. Resting.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

The Bible urges us to gaze upon Him, just as Peter gazed at Him as he walked towards his Rabbi on the water. This is the ultimate act of trust, to simply look at Jesus. I believe it goes along with what Jesus is talking about when He commands us to abide in Him.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5 (ESV)

Abiding in Jesus requires the eyes of your heart to be united with the character of Christ, just as fixing your eyes on Him brings a fellowship of loving who He is and becoming who He is all at once.

In fact, I truly think looking, trusting, and abiding in Jesus is what Hebrews is talking about when the author urges us to “strive to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:11 ESV). In Hebrews the author reveals that the way to enter the rest of God, is by believing. There’s no other way. Non-belief keeps you from experiencing the freedom that God promised us in Christ Jesus. It kept the Israelites from the promised land, and it keeps us from a beautiful fellowship with God. All God wants to do is shower His love on us, but we simply refuse to accept it, thinking it must be too good to be true.

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the power of sin can be put to death, and we can have victory and freedom in a relationship with Jesus. In fact, the Bible says we can be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Trying to take control of your religious life demonstrates that you do not believe that victory is found through Jesus alone. That’s like a thief or a robber trying to climb over the fence instead of going through the gate—that is, Jesus, the good Shepherd (see John 10). Only Jesus provides the “new and living way” by tearing apart the veil so we can enter the presence of God (Hebrews 10:20).

Trying to be in control of following God looks so good on the outside – you’re doing all the right things, you’re being generous and kind and dutiful – but in reality it’s being a slave to the fleshly desire of pride. Because if you have your hands all over everything, that means your eyes are all over yourself.

As an illustration of what I mean, this summer as I entered a discipleship program, I was very excited to grow in my faith in God. Or, perhaps, a better word would be earnest. Later on, God revealed to me that I was idolizing my growth. I was more focused on my growth than on Him. He showed me that the most important thing is to be with Him, and to enjoy Him in the present moment. He’ll take care of the growth part (see Philippians 2:13). Our job is simply to listen, trust, and obey.

If we try to follow what we think is right while staring at ourselves the whole way—even if in fact the action we are doing is what Jesus commanded us—are hidden motive is to bring glory to ourselves. But if we gaze at Jesus and in our wonder and love for Him find ourselves running after Him and enduring the race just as He endured the cross—our attentions are totally absorbed in Christ and are motives are entirely to bring glory to Him.

So how do you get out of self-focus and into freedom in your walk with Christ?

My simple answer: stop focusing on yourself.

My less-simple answer is: behold the glory of the Lord and have a soft heart to the changes He wants to make inside you.

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” – Psalm 51:2

Ask God to restore the joy of the salvation He has given you in Jesus Christ. It is all too easy to give into complacency about the miraculous gift of eternal life we have received! Once this joy has restored your mental health into fullness of life, ask Him for a willing spirit to naturally pull you through in your excitement and love for Jesus to obey His commands and give Him glory.

Following Jesus is the greatest joy. He sets you free from the yoke of slavery, which is often simply the burden of self-focus. He leads you into the freedom of self-denial, the peace of walking with Him, and the hope anchored in your soul for the future glory in heaven that far outweighs your present suffering.

So, forget about yourself and start looking at Him in all His glory and majesty and splendor. He is far too wonderful for you to waste your time getting your hands all over your life. Let Him take control. Let His beauty overwhelm you.

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” – Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)

He is so good! Rejoice continually at the salvation He has given you through Christ Jesus. Magnify His name, for He is awesome and powerful!

In the words of Paul: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Widen your eyes at His breathtaking-ness, and sing for joy at the tender, personal love of the Father. Turn you wailing into dancing! Salvation has come, justifying yourself completely so you do not need to focus on yourself anymore.

People are desperate for the true sacrificial love you of few people have experienced. Strive to enter the rest of God. Let His love flow through you into the lives of others, and you will never be the same again.

How Tenderness Awakens Us: Accepting Your Identity as Abba’s Child

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How do you think God perceives you? Many of us might say with a shrug, “Well, the Bible says He loves me, so I suppose that means He loves me.”

So many of us have all this theological, intellectual head knowledge stifled up inside us overflowing so there’s no room for our hearts to truly be affected.

It’s just facts.

But when it comes to actual, practical, nitty gritty “real life,” everything’s different. When we mess up, we curse ourselves. When we enter social settings, insecurities pile up and stifle our true selves. When others point out our faults, we feel like completely miserable good-for-nothing creatures. When we try to follow God, it feels fake and we’re left empty.

We assume that when our hearts condemn us, God must condemn us, too. But that is so far from the truth!

“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” – 1 John 3:19-20 (ESV)

God is greater than our hearts! In fact, the very reason Jesus came into the world was to free us from condemnation.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17

I apologize to anyone reading this who knows me and has seen me live with a hard fist against myself. I don’t want you to think that my good Shepherd isn’t taking care of me. It wasn’t His fault at all, it was my own. The truth is, He has been a good Shepherd this whole time, but for much of my life I didn’t fully entrust myself into His loving care, and was left a starved, straggly-looking sheep.

I want you to know that my God is a God of comfort, and that knowing Him brings the deepest delight. In Him there is life, and life to the fullest. (John 10:10) As I begin to know Him more, I begin to trust Him more. And as I trust Him more, I feel less inclined to condemn myself and more inclined to give it all up to Him and let Him free me from all the darkness within me.

So, yes, beloved. In Christ, there is NO CONDEMNATION. The condemnation we feel is a LIE. It’s not from God but straight from the devil! He tries to tear us down so we can have no confidence before God. But God doesn’t want us to feel perpetually condemned, but only temporarily guilty when we have sinned so we can be forgiven and then have confidence before Him!

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” – Ephesians 3:12

This past semester I was reading a book called Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning (which I highly recommend!) and this was a quote that stuck out to me:

“But we cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves—unless we love ourselves compassionately, intensely, and freely.”

I don’t think any of us can say we love ourselves as deeply and unconditionally in the manner which God reveals His love toward us. But the truth is, while we go off condemning ourselves, God is extravagantly loving us!

If we would only accept this unwavering acceptance God shows us, what freedom we would have!

Later in the book, Manning states: “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

God calls us Beloved! Take this to heart. Rejecting His tender voice is the same as rejecting Himself. Rejecting our identity as His Beloved is the same as rejecting Himself.

If God is love, but we believe that we are not loved by God or that His love isn’t enough to erase the condemnation we deserve, then we don’t really believe that God is who He claims to be. We don’t believe in the real God, but a masqueraded version of Him that has poured His wrath on ourselves rather than on Jesus, who willingly took our place on the cross of shame! If in Christ we have life to the full because of His resurrection, then, quite plainly, if we believe in the real God we will have life to the full!

If we insist on condemning ourselves, then as we move forward in walking in obedience to Christ, our actions will be external, marked by fear instead of faith. If we insist to our souls that God deeply cares for us, then we can move forward to serve God, internally affected by His love, and acting out of faith in Him.

Knowing deeply God as your Father and experiencing His love for you teaches your soul to love others, as Christ has commanded us. Rather than treat people flippantly, we can reach their hearts with authentic, genuine tenderness which we ourselves have received from God.

Later on Manning explains this concept this way: “If I am not in touch with my own belovedness, then I can’t touch the sacredness of others.”

People are sacred, because they were created in the image of God. They have souls. They have needs within their souls, deep longings to be loved and known. Hunger, whether they realize it or not, to be filled with the fullness of the living God.

When you yourself have been utterly swept up in His love, all your defenses broken down, and all your fears melted away, the way you interact with others changes. No longer are you insecure, prideful, or self-seeking. Now all you know is the Lord’s tenderness, and so you express that to others, seeking for their well-being and caring for their hearts, just as the Lord has done for you.

This isn’t just obeying God anymore. While it is that, too, it’s also abiding in Him. Loving Him. Being united with Him.

It’s not acting out of a false identity anymore, like a white-washed wall that is ugly when you look passed the surface. You’ve been changed from the inside out. You naturally live as the Lord wishes to, because the Lord is your good Shepherd who is taking care of you. Why would you run away from Him and try to take care of yourself, when you know you are a helpless and silly sheep who cannot find green pastures on your own? Or why would you entrust yourself to a Shepherd who starves his flock?

In either of these cases, you would simply be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Trying and trying to look good on the outside, but starving on the inside. Being outwardly a decent human but inside being a wretch who desperately needs to be rescued and cared for by the good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. (John 10:11)

In Abba’s Child, Manning calls the false identity “the imposter” while living in our true identity requires accepting our identity as God’s Beloved and living each day in the victorious reality of Christ’s resurrection.

“The imposter starts to shrink only when he is acknowledged, embraced, and accepted. The self-acceptance that flows from embracing my core identity as Abba’s child enables me to encounter my utter brokenness with uncompromising honesty and complete abandon to the mercy of God.”

Accept that you have a white-washed wall, and then brutally tear it down. Let God rebuild you into a new, beautiful creation, that is at the core His Beloved, and at the core exempt from all condemnation.

Sink deep into this love, and don’t lose sight of the magnitude of the Lord’s tenderness toward you. His compassion never fails. Be completely honest with Him, and He will be sure to lead you into an authentic relationship with Him.

Never give up on pursuing Him, because He certainly will never give up on pursuing you, Beloved. Enjoy this song, and have a beautiful day!