Focus: Being set apart
John 17:25-26 (NKJV) O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent me. And I have declared to them Your Name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
Probably all of us have had the experience of accidently walking into the wrong classroom or meeting room. The feeling you have when you realize that you’re in the wrong place is usually embarrassment, along with an eager desire to leave the area and go find where you’re supposed to be.
I pretty much felt like I was in the ‘wrong room’ most of my life. It’s still a little puzzling to me, how a person could feel like such an alien just about all of the time. Sometimes the feeling has been less extreme than others, but at this point, I’ve adjusted to it and understand that it’s the way God made me. Maybe if I had been more like other people, I wouldn’t have felt the deep need for acceptance that finally drove me to my knees.
Choosing Jesus sets us apart, too. When we’re really filled with Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit—He’s the most important thing in our life. Things that don’t have something to do with Him are not that interesting to us. The longings of our heart are satisfied in a different way because of His presence in our heart, mind, and soul.
The things that were important to me before I gave my life completely to God have now taken on a different meaning to me. I can appreciate some of the things I used to be interested in, but I don’t have the same passions now as I had then.
Being set apart for the Lord doesn’t mean that we’re flawless. In fact, we see our own flaws more than we did before we knew Him. We recognize that without Him we can’t do anything as well as if we rely completely on Him for His help—and the strength we need to live for Him.
I used to worry that I wouldn’t have the courage to be faithful to Him until the end of my life, if my faith were to be put to the test. I used to wonder how people had the strength to be martyrs. I would sometimes spend time thinking of all of the things that might happen and whether I could remain committed to Him if I ever had to face true testing to the point of death.
God has shown me that the secret to being faithful, is being filled. In John chapter 17, Jesus is praying for His disciples and for all those who would follow Him throughout the ages of time. He is acknowledging the love that His Father has for Him. He’s praying that through Him, we would all know the love of the Father and be filled with His love.
1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. 1 John 4:18 says there is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear. By meditating on those verses, I have been able to begin to understand how a person could have the ability to endure anything, whether it would be pain, danger, fear, loneliness, loss, or feeling like an alien. If the love of God is perfect and complete, and if I am filled with His love—as Jesus prayed I would be—then, I should not be terribly affected by any of those things, because of course God would answer the prayer of His own Son, Jesus—as He prayed for me.
Even after many years of following Christ, I still have to make the decision to trust God when I’m faced with things that cause me to experience discomfort. As humans, we have to choose day by day—sometimes, moment by moment—to trust God’s plan for our lives when we can’t see the way ahead of us.
I’ve come to believe that all of life is a test. All of the things that bother us, are things that God wants to help us find peace about. He doesn’t want us to worry about anything at all. He doesn’t want us to feel alone or afraid or have pain of any kind—unless it would be for the purpose of teaching us to trust Him and His ability to help us go through it—or bring us deliverance.
When I have experiences that cause me to feel like I am lacking—I have the opportunity to ask God to ‘be all that I am not.’ When I feel nervous about whether I might be accepted—I am able to say to Him, ‘Thank You, for giving me favor.’ When I am weak and at the end of my own strength—I can offer Him praise by saying, ‘In my weakness, You are made strong—be the strength of my life today and always.’
Declaration: I will find new strength by knowing that God would answer the prayer that Jesus prayed for me when He asked the Father to fill me with His love through Jesus. I will have the courage to face anything, knowing that His love is perfect and complete—and if I have His love in me, then I can be faithful to the end. If I feel like an alien, it’s okay, because I am who God made me to be. I am set apart, and I belong to Him.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book in 2013, by the grace of God. To subscribe to New Strength, select ‘follow’ in the upper left corner of this page.
For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, browse:http://www.youtube.com/user/NewStrengthMusic/videos?view=1&flow=grid