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Freedom in Christ

I have a lot of hot-button issues. Rejection being at the top of the list.

The effects of rejection turn me upside down and into a crazy woman. (Just ask my husband). Here's what it looks like for me.

Person: "Doesn't she look so beautiful?"

Me: "I must be ugly or why wouldn't I have received a

compliment, too?"

Person: "We're having a party next weekend."

Me: "No one likes me because I wasn't invited."

Do you see the pattern here?

Rejection compels me to take a simple statement that was not meant for me and make it all about me.

Yep, there it is. That ugly word as old as the Garden of Eden. PRIDE.

Anytime we take something and make it about ourselves, pride is at work within our hearts and minds.

We don't mean to make everything about us. It's simply become so second-nature that we've completely lost the ability to see when we are allowing the enemy a foothold. I am learning that anytime I have a feeling or thought that is not motivated by love and, therefore, compelling me to act in love, then that is not of the Lord. Fear is at the root of all rejection and pride. We've been hurt before and we're going to make sure we are never hurt again. So, we build walls, telling ourselves it's for our protection and all the while knowing it's for our preservation. We strive to preserve whatever we have left of ourselves that has been unhurt and unaffected by the hurts of the world. But, is that how God calls us to live?

God doesn't want us to preserve ourselves. He wants us to empty ourselves before Him. To lay it all bare so He can take our ugly and make it beautiful with the Light and life of Jesus Christ.

It's a beautiful thing to be re-made into the creature God originally intended us to be. He longs to give us freedom from the shackles of the flesh. Galatians 5:1 says "It is for freedom I have set you free." He loves us too much to let us stay in our unhealthy, sinful, preserved state. So, He begins to strip away the things that don't resemble Him. Everything He does and everything He allows into our lives all work together to transform us into the image of Christ so that we can be effective bearers of His name to a lost and broken world. How can we live lives that reflect the glory of God if we are consumed with lofty thoughts of ourselves? How can we fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, if we are incessantly gazing at image in the mirror, either in vain or shame? How can we fully love people if we are always looking to be hurt by them?

We need to walk in the freedom of Christ and live lives motivated by love of God.

1. Awareness is key. Ask God to reveal to you every area of your life that you are not operating out of love (Psalm 51:10 - "Create in me a clean heart, O God"). And, when you notice those same old feelings arising within you, choose to stop the cycle. You always have a choice to not give into the enemy; and, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, you have the ability to stop it.

2. Take it back to the Truth of God's Word (Philippians 4:8: " Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things"). If it isn't on this list, your mind should not be engaging in that thought.

3. Bring your gaze back to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted"). I find it very helpful to actively worship Him, making it all about Him instead of me. When your focus is on Him, He gives you a correct perspective through which you can view life and the particular situation that prompted you to retreat to the familiar.

Walk confidently in the hope of Jesus Christ, knowing that anything you encounter He can strengthen you to overcome. Act courageously, trusting He is working in your midst and in your situation to bring about His best for you. Glorify God by living a life reflective of the love of God. This is how we take hold of our freedom in Christ. This is how we point others to His love. Jesus endured the cross and conquered Satan not only for our salvation, but for our freedom, as well. Here's to the freedom found only in the love of God!


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