I’ve been a follower of Christ for almost 21 years now (the day I surrendered my heart to Jesus). I’ve committed my life through baptism publicly twice (first for a girl, second time for life). Yet if you were to ask me what my greatest achievements for Christ has been up to this point; I’m not sure is have a good answer. It seems like much of my “Christianity” has been summed up in my identity crisis between the new life I’ve chosen in Christ; and the world that feeds my lusts for the here and now.
I’m 37 for about 2 more months and I’ve made a goal for myself to be a public speaker for Jesus Christ by the time I’m 40. That’s a pretty good goal that seems achievable! Yet I repeat again that I’ve been a Christian for 21 years and I’m not a public speaker for Christ yet?? What have I been doing all this time for real?? Better yet, what have YOU been doing for Him since your preempted rebirth?
I feel a lot like the two pictures above. You think you are doing right, living right and being the absolute BEST for Jesus, as His sheep and then you realize some time later (for each differently) that your perception of reality in Christ is NOT the same perception He sees….let alone anyone else! At a phenomenal leadership conference Amber and I was blessed to attend this weekend at Southeast Christian Church, my brother-in-Christ Dave Stone (Senior Pastor), used these words that shocked my heart a beat:
Christian leaders aren’t much different than strippers; we both have our own stage names.
Think about it. My eyes, maybe even your eyes….have been closed. Our perceptions have been focused on our stage names the world has given us. The names of our sins, failures, addictions, obesity, etc. JESUS doesn’t call us by those names even though he knows all about them. JESUS calls us by our real names for He doesn’t recognize those perceptions! Our biggest weaknesses, in my opinion, are allowing Jesus’ love for us to be overpowered by the perceptions of our mistakes! To the world, Perception is REALITY, but reader let me tell you….to Jesus, PERCEPTION IS A REASON FOR GRACE!
Irrelevant, insignificant, imperfections that we close our eyes to anything that is different that was PAID FOR by the blood of our REDEEMER! The church, sadly enough, has bought into this perception of itself and tainted God’s magnitude of His power and meaning of His words to make the gospel WEAK. Christians are living defeated lives when they aren’t the ones who’ve been defeated!
So here’s the question….What has happened to our Depth Perception? What has happened to our humility of truth? Where we open the core of our insecurities and fears to see God’s perception of who He sees? No one ever feels good enough or even worthy to carry the cross; yet we cannot hold on to that unworthiness as truth!
Christ died for us when we were unable to help ourselves. We were living against God, but at just the right time Christ died for us. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else, even if it is for a good person. Someone might be willing to die for an especially good person. But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us. (Romans 5:6-8 ERV)
We can believe we are good enough and that when others look at us that we may even have it all together. Baring that cross proudly and through all thistles of life! You believe that?? How many times have you felt the stick of the world’s poking at your heart? Having a shallow perception of your life when you claim to know (and have a relationship with) Jesus Christ prevents the unchurched from seeing the VALUE of His sacrifice! We are simply not rooted deep enough in Christ.
The North American church as a plethora of choices to be educated; great teaching in abundance, but a poverty of obedience!
Until recently, I have felt like I’ve lived my walk within that poverty of obedience. Poor in commitment and bankrupt in faith; my acceptance of fear and inadequacies affected my endurance of His word in my service. I was tired emotionally trying to put real intimate effort into my messages and my walk. I would slip and curse word here and a negative thought there. Glance impurely multiple times and be mean to my wife and daughter. All along wanting to serve Christ better and more often. My depth perception was adequate leader, husband & follower and I was OK with that. But what I was seeing happening wasn’t what was real. It was the world infecting my faith.
Doesn’t that sound so like King David? A man after God’s own heart, but a man who emotionally responds like this:
Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. (Psalms 102:1-7 NLT)
The world caused David to cry out to God and for him to admit to his God that, My heart is sick, withered like grass. Yet David didn’t allow that perception of how he was feeling currently define who he was in The Lord! God continued to show the depth of His perception of David by responding to his cries. Thus David continued to raise praise to The Lord for His faithful responses to his displayed intimacy!
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. (Psalms 103:1-4 NLT)
He redeemed David and I know He has redeemed me. He has redeemed you too! You may not know it as you read this, you may haven’t even experienced His real intimacy within; BUT His perception of who you are is out of this world! I realized that more and more lately as my passion to want to serve as a FT minister again was shown to me through HIS perception that I already am! No matter if I have to serve as a Pastor in a Terminix uniform or at a pulpit preaching; I AM in full-time ministry! His perception of my heart is showing through the world’s status quos and my heart FEELS and my eyes SEE the difference of who Jesus sees me as! My eyes are opening again….
Are they finding the REAL thing in you? Is His real perception of your white as snow forgiven self shown through you? We can’t make Disciples for Jesus in non-Jesus ways! My heart LONGS to serve and I’m content in whatever position God sees that being. Do I want to preach and teach 24/7? Absolutely! With all off my heart!!! But is that the depth perception of where God sees me? Maybe….but until that becomes a reality through HIS eyes, I will see myself as He sees me (to the best of my human ability) and serve Him, pray to Him, & walk with Him fervently. 21 years and counting is just a babe….I have an eternity to go!
My depth perception of Jesus is that He IS walking on the water of life and I WILL reach out, and go to Him! He’s all I want and need…..is He for you?