Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Real Identity of the Invisible Girl

 Reflecting back on my past is usually never an enjoyable time and as  I did it this past week, it had all qualities of a castor oil snow cone - nose-squinching, mouth-puckering distaste lingering in an icy coldness.

 My faculties have not failed me and I have not forgotten that Christ has made me new and that I should not focus on my past. Normally, it is not a headliner for my day but occasionally, I get to a bump in my walk with Jesus and it is necessary to understand why I am hedging or pulling against the bit. The arena for this latest bucking is officially committing to a new church. 

 Why am I so concerned and bothered by the prospect? I realize that it requires as much seriousness as marriage, but this is more than that and it took me going back to get a grip on the real issue and relinquish it to Christ. 

  So, way back in the past is this girl: 

Fake smile, shoulders tensed up, dreaded picture day;
the photographer did unsuccessfully try to get those shoulders relaxed
 This girl did not like who she was and decided that no one else liked her either. She did not know God and she did not know who she was. Oh, she had heard others say things about her but she was not sure who to trust. Was she really stupid, ugly, too skinny, too quiet, too poor, unloveable? Hiding was the best option and so she became almost invisible. 

  BUT GOD does not allow us to hide away, especially not in our church. He calls us out from hiding, look at Gideon, or Adam and Eve, or get the point. But if I am not that girl, who I am? 

 1 John 3:1

 That verse is pretty clear but its practical definition needs encouragement and expounding that comes from studying the Word, serving, and also from the church Body...or at least it should. Why is it so hard to fully apply this identity in life and in church? Maybe we are afraid of the full meaning of it. It is after all the power of God indwelling and sanctifying us, the us who were enemies of God, dead in sin.

 So we resort to shallow niceties and pleasantries. We, as women, say things to each other like, "Your haircut is so cute," "Oh, I love your kitchen," and "What precious grandchildren you have," and while those things are nice to say, they are not profitable to us spiritually. What we need is more spiritual meat shared between each other. Maybe what is required is addressing the Jesus in a brother or sister, pointing out the Gospel in each other. 

 Follow along here because this is not saying to uplift each other to pedestals where we do not belong or build up prideful egos in each other. Not at all. 

 What I am saying is that we need to encourage spiritual growth by affirming what grace has implanted into a Christian. No, I do not mean making awkward comments like, "My Jane, your righteousness is looking very attractive" or "Hey Susie, your flesh mortification is top-notch today." 

 Well, maybe that would not be too terrible to do but what I am speaking of is more like what Paul did in his letters even when he referred to himself. "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God...," "To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints...," " give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge."

 Sometimes it may look more like this: "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you," "Fight the good fight of the faith," "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead," "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace." 

 The world calls for us to nurture self-esteem but as Christians, let us be about the business of nurturing the Gospel in our fellow brothers and sisters so that they can be strengthened and remember who they are in Christ. 

 So says the Girl-formerly-known-as-invisible but you can call me "sister in Christ who seeks to glorify God."

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