The Person You Were Meant To be….
Someone said, “It bothers me that with all the hacking going on, someone could steal my identity and use it to make thousands of dollars behind my back. But it mostly bothers me because I currently have this identity and I can't figure out how to do that...
It can be easy to look at the future with rose-colored glasses, after all, everything is better in the future. You have a deeper relationship with God in the future. You are a better spouse in the future. You’re a better parent in the future. And that can all be true and more! However, these things do not just happen. There are layers of decisions, delayed gratification, and necessary experiences, that undergird every effort which leads to success. A man went for a consultation to get the results of his wife's tests. The nurse on duty tells him: "I'm terribly sorry sir,but there was a bit of a problem with your wife’s test results. You see, your wife's tests were sent in along with another lady with the same last name, to the lab. The results came back, but they got mixed up, and we don't know which one is which. The results may either be 'bad' or they may be 'worse'!" "What *……do you mean?" asked the old man anxiously. "Well one woman has Alzheimer's and the other one has Covid! - we don't know who is who” "So what do I do now?" the worried manasks. "Well, your doctor recommends that your wife keep her mask on, then drop her off in the middle of town. If she finds her way home - you better not get anywhere near her!" (The vows did say “I take you for better or worse”)
So we must ask ourselves the question, “Are we making decisions that are pushing us towards what we want out of life, or are our choices pushing us away? It’s like the frogs that wereput in warm water which was then gradually turned up little by little in temperature until their goose was cooked…(you didn’t know frogs had a goose, did you?) If the frogs had known where they would end up, they would have jumped out quick and not tolerated it. Because it was not the path which would take them where they wanted to go… Speaking of gradually turning up the heat till your goose is cooked…..
The party in power is once again wanting to take gender titles out of our vernacular… No more men or women’s bathrooms…. Men that identify as women can now compete in women’s sports…. People are identifying as animals and even the animals are getting confused! God doesn’t care what is or is not on the bathroom door… He made women to be women and men to be men! Jesus cast dumb spirits out of people, and He would have his hands full today, because I’m seeing dumb spirits working everywhere!!!
But God has not changed His mind about what He has promised and He has made a covenant of restoration with His people in all the places we may have missed it, because He says what He means and He means what He says, and He will do it!
And the good news today is, God Is Still Saying “I Will Restore”
Deuteronomy 30:3 “God, your God, will restore everything you lost, He'll have compassion on you, He'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where your inheritance was scattered. v4 No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there v5 and bring you back to your possession. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than before. v6 God, your God, will soften your heart and your children's hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live.
v7 God, your God, will set Himself against your enemies who hated you and were out to get you. v8 And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his word that He has given you. v9 God, your God, will outdo Himself in making things go well for you. You'll have babies, see increase in every area, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will take joy in you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for so many before you. v10 So, listen obediently to God, your God, and keep the principles and covenants written in His Book of wisdom. You must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, and mind, holding nothing back. v11 For, this word that I'm giving you today is not out of your reach”.
The book of Job tells us that “… the LORD restored Job’sfortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!” God gave Job a double portion of all he’d lost, restored his marriage and many of his relationships, gave him a new housefull of children and allowed him to live happily to a ripe old age.
But I want us to notice that it wasn’t until after Job lost everything but his nagging wife, that Chapter 42 takes place….
Job 1:21 Job says, “The LORD gave me what I had, and it is the LORD’S to take away. Praise the name of the LORD!” He totally believed God would cause him to become what he was always meant to be! Despite his suffering, he trusted God’s will for his life and continued to praise Him. As a result, not only did Job’s faith soar, but his life did as well. The reset button was pressed and Job began to make a come back! Job’s story is there to tell us that no matter how bad it looks, how far down a person has gone, How much they missed it, God will turn it around!
Winnie enjoys doing cross word puzzles, where they give you words and names or even phrases that are scrambled within the puzzle and you have to find them and identify them.
We used to do picture puzzles together, and put all the pieces together to match the picture on the box that it came in. I discovered that everyone has a different method…. Some folks start with the corners, others with the edges, and some pick out the horse, or house or a person and start there. But the real point is that when you buy the puzzle, you trust that the company that made it, has put in all the pieces that you need to do what they said you could do, in the box or in the book. So if we can trust a company to provide everything we need to finish the puzzle, once we begin, How much more can we trust God to provide all the pieces of this puzzle called life, that He has promised us…..And when we miss it or mess it up, He knows how it is supposed to all fit together!
When I start a picture puzzle, I am given a picture on the cover, of what the finished picture will look like. God has given us a picture in His word of what a life that is lived for Him, and puts Him first will look like. It is up to us to put those pieces in place and watch it happen!
It’s important that I believe what God has told me in His word, more than I believe everything around me in this natural world….
That’s what Paul was talking about when he said….
Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, v14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
No matter how far off course and how far away from the picture God has given us, we have gotten ourselves to, we can get back on track, and back to His original intention for us. The prodigal was in the pig pen, Peter was cursing and denying Jesus by the enemy’s camp fire, all the disciples but one abandoned Jesus during His trial and crucifixion, Come on, we’ve all had places where we totally missed it, but… “It’s never too late to be what you were meant to be.”
When I was a kid, Charles Atlas was a big marketing deal for weight equipment. In the commercials, you would always see this skinny kid, that everyone was bullying and making fun of, come to the place that he had had enough. He would stand in front of the mirror, and shout out, “I’m not going to take it any more”! So he gets a weight set and starts eating right and shows up on the beach and finds the guys who were bullying and taunting him, and confronts them with his new hulked up, fabulous body. Charles Atlas was a real guy, and it was his real story! Everyone at some level, could relate to his experience!
When we get to the place that we can say, “I’m not going to take it any more”! We are willing to do all the things that we didn’t do before, to confront the devil, our inner circle, our own selves, and become the person we were always meant to be!
We must find a balance between our public and our private lifeif we are going to escape the horns of the bull. A few questions are in line here… Does a person's private life affect their public life? Of course it does. Can a person continually make poor decisions in private matters and be expected to make good ones in public matters? The chances are slim to none…. How do we live when no one is watching? What do we listen to? What are we watching? What are we looking at on the internet? How do we treat our family behind closed doors? Here’s a question for all of us. Would we live the way we’re living right now if we knew that all our family and friends could see it all?
Reputation and Character are two different things. Look at them as twins on a seesaw….Reputation is what other people think about us. Character is who we really are. In Luke 8:17 we read, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
But the big question before us today is, “At the end of our life, will we be the person we were meant to be”?
Johnny Hamer played Danny Thomas’ son, Rusty, on “Make Room for Daddy” for 11 years. After the show ended, John was never able to transition into new roles in Hollywood. He became type cast and could never find other work as an actor, so, he became bitter about that the rest of his life. In 1990, feeling he had no options, he shot himself. When your identity is based on the wrong things, it can take you to a dead end street. Johnny got stuck in a place that was only meant to be temporary.
Scripture tells us that if we want to become the person we are meant to be – who God intended us to be, we must become likethe prototype which He gave us as our pattern, which is Jesus Christ. The more we spend time with Him, the more we become like Him…
One of my favorite descriptions of Christ is in Hebrews 1:9, He “loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” In His humanity He loved equity, fairness, justice, and upright dealings with others, and at the same time He hated wickedness.
Romans 8:29 “God has “predestined [His people] to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory”
The constant challenge is to look more like Him tomorrow, than you do right now today.
A big problem in our country, which has led us down the socialist path, is that we allow our leaders to separate theirprivate lives from their public lives. The poll numbers bear this out. Polls show that Americans believe as long as leaders aredoing a good job with the economy and continuing the social issues that they endorse politically, then half of the American people do not care what they do behind closed doors. "Give me mine, and you can go do whatever you want," is what they are saying. "You're an all right guy if you just scratch my backwhere it itches”. “I don't care what you do in your personal life,Just keep giving me what I want."(Gimme, Gimme, my name is Jimmy)
Scripture doesn’t agree with that….. The bible says that “a little yeast will leaven the whole loaf”. You can’t keep yeast from spreading through all the dough, it won’t stop until it spreads everywhere….it will show up in the whole loaf! In the same way, what is done in private will spread out into our public lives eventually…..
Numbers 32:23 puts it this way, “Be sure your sins will find you out”…
1 Corinthians 11:31 Now if we judge ourselves properly, we shall not come under judgment. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.…”
1 Timothy 4:8 Paul says we need to “train ourselves.” In the Greek the words “Train yourself” is (gymnazo). It’s where we get our English word gymnasium. The word literally meant, “to exercise naked,” which was the way ancient Greek male athletes usually did. In this passage the word is used spiritually, to make the point that Christians need to train themselves, fully exposed to the truth! Not covering anything up, or hiding anything. The other day someone was complaining that he was feeling more and more powerless every day. He had no sway with his wife. His daughter pretty much ignored anything he asked her to do. His job was not going all that well. And he was just feeling a little discouraged with life –and powerless.
Imagine what a group of Jewish fishermen living underoppressive Roman rule in 1st century Palestine felt like when it came to having power over their own lives. So, Jesus tells these guys who are living far below the people God meant for them to be, up on the side of a mountain. These are not remarkable guys –they are fishermen at the bottom rung of society, they have no political connections, No connections to the religious hierarchy. They’re everyday people just trying to make a living. Yet, Jesus blows their ever loving minds as He looks at them and tells them: You are the light of the world! Then He tells them they are the salt of the earth. Something folks can’t live without, Salt, and Light!
The purpose of light is to illuminate, to drive back the darkness, and to put the spotlight on things of value, things that are profitable, eternal, but mostly on Christ . Jesus was telling them not to hide who they were in Christ, but let it shine! The purpose of salt is to be tasted, to influence everything it is around, to prevent decay, to purify, and to keep the water from evaporating, in this case, the water of life and vitality for life.
Jesus was telling them what they were going to be, not what they had been, but what they could be….See, the real power of this narrative, is that Jesus was actually talking to every believer, regardless of their situation or who they saw themselves to be….He became the constant North Star in their identity….“Follow Me and I will make you”….
The Kendrick brothers released a film called “Overcomer”. It’s a story about a small-town, high school basketball coach who’s got an up and coming team. They are all looking forward to winning next year’s championship. But then the town’s biggest employer relocates and takes with it pretty much all of Coach Harrison’s team. He ends up coaching the school’s cross country team that has one member – and she’s an asthmatic girl being raised by her grandmother. He also gets a 10% pay cut. Coach Harrison is feeling pretty bummed out and powerless.The coach joins his pastor to make some hospital visits. At the hospital, he happens to engage with a patient and shares his frustration with life. The patient is also a Christian and challenges the coach with this question: “Who are you?” The coach replies, “I’m a basketball coach.” “But you’ve pretty much lost you team now,” says the patient. The coach answers, “Well, I’m a history teacher too.” “But you could lose your job, then who would you be?” “Well, I’m a husband and a father.” “Yes, but life is not always predictable and certain. And if it happened that you were to lose your wife and children, then what would you be?” The coach paused for a moment to consider his answer and then said, “Well, I’m a Christian.” The patient pointed out to him how far down the list he had placed his Christianity as part of his identity. It leaves us with the conclusion…”When you find your true identity, it will change your entire perspective….It’s a great movie and you all should see it. When the coach found his true identity, it affected everyone around him. That little conversation was the most powerful part of the movie script for me. Because it caused me to ask myself, “Who am I? Where do I find my identity?” If we look to other people, or our job, or some other factor for our identity, that will change as people come in and out of our lives, won’t it? It’s vitally important where we find our identity.
It all starts with MAKE A COMMITMENT…When you make a commitment, you build hope, and when you keep it, you build trust.
James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The process that takes place is Decide, Commit, Succeed. I put decide first, because if you commit to the wrong things, it is only an exercise in frustration….But with that in mind, Unless commitment is made, there are only promises, but there is no contract that binds you to success… without commitment we live in the transitional zone of indecision.... James1:6 For those that wavers (without commitment) are like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. v7 Let not that person think that they shall receive anything from the Lord. 8 For a double minded person is unstable in all their ways.
Each Day Have A Time Of Self-reflection…Daniel maintained his identity throughout his exile by going three times a day and bareing himself before the Lord in prayer. Don’t let things accumulate and get piled on top of one another…or you willprocrastinate and keep putting it off. Self reflection is a date you have with yourself. It is a getting to know you better time. Checking your status with God (is He first), are you being true to the truth (is truth being crowded out), it’s a time to check your character (are you being true to yourself and your goals), examine your relationships (are you considering the needs of others)… It’s a time to stop avoiding the actions you know you need to take.
Trust God That He Will Do What He Said…. Matthew 6:4…”Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” He sees your sacrifice, your secret giving, the choice you made to take a different path, the times you gave up something, or you refused to compromise…. Not everything will happen quickly, it’s a process, and God is building line upon line and precept upon precept. The Father has placed the evidence and the substance of what you’re hoping for within you, and He’s using your faith, your commitment, and your obedience to bring it into the earth. Too many want God to do something to them, but God is wanting to do something through them…..
Do what is Right, not what is easy, no matter what everyone else is doing….What if Noah had only done what was easy, and what about Abraham, or Joseph, or Moses, or Jesus… Being righteous is about doing the right thing as He has revealed it to you in the moment you’re in, which has come through the training you have let Him bring you through. It’s just another word for obedience. Remember, no one else is going to stand before Him in your place, You will stand all by yourself. And on that day it will all be open, if we haven’t taken times of honest self-reflection, and began to establish the right priorities in your life.
1 Corinthians 3:10 “But let each one build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even as one who barely escaped through the flames”.
How much better to deal with it now, to make the right choices beginning now, than to wait till it’s too late to make a difference, too late to get it right… Amen!
We’re sharing communion together today, Jesus said that it was a time of commitment, a time of self-reflection, a time of trust in His finished work, and a time of doing the right thing, He said “do this in remembrance of Me”…..If something is out of order in your life, if your priorities are out of whack, if there is hidden sin, Jesus tells us as we come to communion, settle it between you and God before your receive the communion emblems, then go ahead and take them! We call and He answers!