You are a Person

image

In all the world, you alone bear the divine stamp of the Creator. You alone have a spirit. There are seven million yous on the face of the planet, but that doesn’t detract from your value, the value that you have because you exist, because He made you to exist. You are a person.

So you deserve that I value you, too. You deserve my respect for the kind of person that you are. You deserve that I listen, even when I don’t agree or I’m not interested or tired. You are worth more than my time, my schedule, my to-do list. You deserve my attention, my acknowledgement that you do exist and that you do have value, even if you talk different from me, even if you talk different from me, even if you enjoy different things than I do. You are a person.

It doesn’t matter how young you are, how old you are, or what the world might say is wrong with you. You are a person.

You might be from a different country or speak a different language. That doesn’t change your value. Despite the label that someone else might paste on you, you have just as much worth as the richest, most famous, most beautiful celebrity out there. No matter what you have done or what your family has done, you are a person.

I can’t say that you are perfect. None of us is. But I’m not the one to judge you, because God is. He says I’m His ambassador. I might be telling you that you have sinned against Him and deserve eternal death. I’m not telling you because you don’t have value. Because you do. And that’s why I’m also telling you the good news – that God indescribably loves you and sent His Son to take all of God’s wrath in your place. In order that you – a person in His image – can believe in the blood of His death and the power of His resurrection and become right with God. Although none of us deserve this gift, it’s there, and those of us who have it have the responsibility to tell you. Because you are a person. Jesus died for people – people who are sinners – so that people can become God’s children.

I’m bad at sharing it. I’m bad at treating you how you deserve. I want to get better at it through God’s strength and grace. So that this love and value that He places on us through the cross of Christ, He Himself will be glorified and enjoyed and lifted high and loved and worshipped above all else.

We are but people. He alone is God. Let us give Him the glory that is due Him and honor one another as He has taught us.

Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelotuscarroll/9226014586/”>Lotus Carroll</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Advertisements

Not by Myself

Person Alone

God taught me something beautiful this week.

When I am struggling, when I have sin in my life, God does not push me away. He does not wait to help me until I put it all it all right.

If it were not for Christ, I would be hopelessly separated from God because of my sin, my mistakes, my failures—my self-seeking heart. There would be nothing I could do to correct those offenses. I would not even have the ability to seek after God.

But I am in Christ. That (up there) is not my reality. He conquered the power and the darkness of sin. His grace has made me a beloved child. His love for me is greater than I can ever know, and His grace is has greater power than evil.

Because Christ’s blood has made me right with God, my sin does not drive me away from Him. Of course, it does not please God, but He is there to show me how to overcome sin—in Him, through Him, for Him. He will never leave me or forsake me. His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)—including this sin and these struggles.

I don’t have to find victory before I come to Him. Not by myself. I find victory in Him.

Remember these verses in 1 John 2:1-2:

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Yes, I will make mistakes. But I am in Christ, and this doesn’t change me back to my preconversion state—being an enemy of God. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, I can come boldly to the throne of grace to ask for mercy and help. I can receive forgiveness. I can receive strength to choose righteousness.

Not by myself. Only in Him.

~Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/estherase/5801366938/”>estherase</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Four Things I’ve Learned about The Church

God has shown me some beautiful and freeing things about His children the last several weeks. At first it seemed like a bunch of individual lessons—but today, I realized that each “lesson” falls under the heading of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Pews

1. If you’re a true follower of Jesus Christ, nothing makes you better than other believers.

No teaching, group, or denomination that I can ever be a part of will make me any godlier than my fellow believers. In fact, if I take what someone says about the Bible more seriously than what the Bible says, there’s a problem. We are sinners justified and being sanctified purely by the blood of Jesus. If we are children of God, we all have the gift of the Holy Spirit to understand God, and we all have the ability to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can discern His will. We have the Word of God, and nobody’s going to get any more special revelations equal to it. If I box myself in with some exclusive teachings, I will miss so, so much that God is showing the rest of His people.

2. Focus on unity, not differences.

Because we’re all so different anyway, it’s my natural tendency just to see the differences between me and my brothers and sisters in Christ. And my focus on differences inevitably leads to comparisons. And comparisons lead to judgment—and the conclusion that I’m better than everyone else.

How wrong that is. God has made us all different, but sin makes divisions sharp and ugly. But the Gospel is the only thing in the world that can join us. Jesus earnestly prayed that His followers would be one, just like He and His Father were one. “There is one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4, ESV).

Several evenings ago I was gathered in prayer with some wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray differently. We come from different homes. We listen to different kinds of music. We dress differently. We talk differently. We enjoy different things. But there God reminded me that we were all His children saved by the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s what changes everything, and the love that we are to have for one another will make all those differences fade away.

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)

3. Talk with fellow believers, not about them.

Being so different from all my fellow believers gives me a lot to talk about. Good stories, right? Talking about them helps me figure them out. But wait … is that understanding them or judging them? I admit that usually, I’m placing a false verdict on someone—because I don’t really know. But when I talk with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I understand them better. When I talk with them, it softens my heart to their perspective. When I talk about them, I tend to see the bad and try to make up some good. When I talk with them, my eyes can be opened to how God has gifted them.

4. Be concerned with what God has called you to do instead of comparing it to what other believers are doing.

Earlier this week, I was really upset because of some things another believer had done and set that seemed to fly in the face of what I believed something that God wanted me to do. I couldn’t rejoice with those who were rejoicing or thank God for what He had done.

But God is so faithful to show me the truth when I look to Him. He kept reminding me of 1 Corinthians 3. We are all workers in His field, and whatever our efforts may be, He is the One who determines the outcome, and He brings the outcome. Not only that, but any good that I do is really from Him. It’s not my job to tell another believer, “You can’t do that! That’s my job!” Well, maybe God does want them to do that. I may not know why He doesn’t let me do it, but a slave doesn’t ask “why” or micromanage. A slave does as he is told, all the while trusting that his Master is working it all out to perfection.

I pray that this will encourage you in your walk with Christ and relationship with other believers. May we never stop thanking God for what He has done for us!

~Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/zionfiction/9252626788/”>r.nial.bradshaw</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Control

Teamwork

Last night I was playing a game—one of those relatively-simple-but-complicated-to-explain games. Let’s just say that my team and I were trying to get our pegs around the board before the other team did.

Should be fun, right? But games can stress me out. Like, I want to win, and I can see how to win, and although my teammates and I share the same goal of winning, we can’t “table-talk”—laying out our cards together and making a consensus on the best course of action. In order to win, of course.

(Card games would be much less stressful if we could collaborate card hands with teammates. Sigh.)

But this card game taught me something about myself that needs to change. Not just in card games, but in real life, with other people.

See, I desperately wanted to take control of that game—I thought I knew exactly what it would take to win … or at least get closer to winning. I wanted to “play” people: “You move that peg there. Then this one here. Then send theirs back to start, and get my peg home.” My subconscious thought was, “If they will just do what I want them to, this will work.”

Card games don’t work like that, though. Real life teamwork doesn’t, either.

I realized that when I am in a team, and I have responsibility, I want control. I have expectations for the end result and how I want everyone to get there. I tend to approach the job with the goal of trying to get everyone to align my ideas. But you don’t control people like that. It’s futile. And frustrating. And wrong.

It wrong because, first of all, I assume that my way is the right way. How proud can I be? But it’s so easy to overlook other equally valid opinions and therefore overlook the interests of the person behind those opinions! I forget that I am human and fallible and prone to make mistakes!

It’s wrong because it makes me forget that God has made us all differently, so we will all “play our cards” drastically different as well! I may not understand, but I have to release the control, be vulnerable, and trust that you are seeking God and reaching for the same result that I am.

It’s also wrong because I forget God is sovereign. He is in control of the entire board, and He is going to win, no matter what. He sees everyone’s cards, and He promises to work it all together for good. It’s hard to release being in charge, but it’s an indescribable relief to know that winning is not up to me.

And so here we go. We’re all a little blind to what’s going on in someone else’s hand, but we serve the same God. He has us all in His hands. We have to trust some, yield some, release some, and remember that we are on the same team, even if we don’t understand one another or see the big picture right now.

I just started learning this. I believe that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. So I want to lighten up some, release some of the micro-managing, and love and give and work freely.

~Rachel Sue

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/xavitalleda/7995406021/”>xavi talleda</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Comparisons and the Body of Christ

Apple & Orange

I’ve been journeying through 1 Corinthians lately, and I’ve found myself parked on chapters 12 and 13. The best thing that I discovered about the Body of Christ is that “God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as He chose” (1 Corinthians 12:18, ESV).

At first I feel a sense of exhilaration—He chose me to be a particular member in His body! Who I am, what part I play, how I can encourage others—it’s all a part of His perfect design. I forget so often that I am someone He created to play a unique part in His kingdom.

This passage makes me more secure, too. It’s freeing. Comparison with others eats at me daily, but it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t be possible to compare two people who aren’t supposed to be similar at all. Dissimilarity is not God’s mistake; it’s His purpose. He didn’t make me like He made you. Why is it so hard to remember that one member isn’t better than another? Is it because this world tells us over and over who should be better?

So there’s no point in comparison. God made us to play different roles. I think this makes me better able to focus on His purpose for me instead of trying to be like you. And I think it makes me respect you more, knowing that you are fulfilling a different purpose.

One more thing that amazes me is how God’s Body brings together people from the most diverse backgrounds…”For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13, ESV). Jews couldn’t be more different from Greeks, or slaves from free, but each one of us—from any culture, social status, or background—are a member of the Body of Christ.

I’ve heard these things my whole life, but if I stop and really think about it, it’s breathtaking. The Body of Christ. He has given us manifestations of His Spirit. He really works through each one of us in unique ways to encourage one another. It excites me to think of the great potential of the Body of Christ, empowered by the very Spirit of God.

~Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebusybrain/2492945625/”>TheBusyBrain</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;