The Way I Am versus What He says I am – Purity 615
Purity 615 12/30/2021 Purity 615 Podcast
Today’s photo of “a brother and a friend” facing the setting sun on one of the beaches in Sandy Hook NJ comes to us as they recently made this epic photo their profile pic earlier this week. His identity is obscured as he was looking in the opposite direction of the camera and his name is being withheld because even though we are brothers, from our college days, and friends, he may or may not be in agreement with everything I have to say. I would like to think we can be friends even when we don’t agree on everything.
I hope he won’t take offense at my using his photo, like some ex-friends, to highlight the natural beauty of God’s creation that is all around him and the fact that our identities are likewise a part of God’s all surrounding kingdom. To my friend, if you do take offense, I ask for your forgiveness, sir. Like the Blues Brothers, I am on a mission from God and I got the indication that the Lord had need of it.
In perhaps what is one of his signature songs, “The Way I Am”, the rapper Eminem, instead of defending himself or trying to deny the media reports about him, decided to embrace the chaos, proclaiming:
I am whatever you say I am
If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?
In the paper, the news, every day I am, huh
I don't know, it's just the way I am
Eminem wasn’t really agree with the media reports of course and was making his own report of how the media tried to classify him in a certain light, how people were out to profit from him, and how he had no privacy because he realized his dream of fame and fortune but had to suffer the insults of the mainstream music industry who didn’t embrace him at the time as he states that “Radio won’t even play my jam”.
When I listened to Eminem back in the day, I used to pump that song to the max and angrily sing along with Marshal Mathers because after the loss of my infant son I had become disillusioned with the American Dream and life in general and idolized the Detroit rapper and the way he angrily proclaimed how he didn’t care what anyone thought about him, he was who he was and that was just the way he was.
As we go through life, we grow from children to adults having to decide who we will be in life through our choices. The things we like, the things we do, our tastes, our talents, our personality, and our relationships all come together to paint a picture of who we are, and our thoughts and actions are directed by who we perceive ourselves to be.
If the world tells you are an angry person, and you agree with it, you will behave in a way that is consistent with that perception. When offended, you will lash out because that’s “just the way I am.”
In Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes: “to thine own self be true”, but as we can see who that “own self” is can be shaped by the world around us and what we decide to be.
The world will judge you on your performance. If you don’t have riches, beauty, or accomplishments you won’t be much in the world’s eyes.
Satan and his demonic minions will encourage a spirit of rebellion in you and will insist that you are your own boss and like to do things your way and that no one is going to tell you what you can and can’t do.
You may unwittingly have sympathy for the devil and agree with him, as our American culture stresses individual freedom and has increasingly redefined the standards of morality to accept things that were once considered perverse, shameful, or illegal as normal.
Who we are is influenced by what we believe and how we choose to live according to those beliefs.
So as much as some of us like to think of ourselves as “self-made men”, we should recognize that we are influenced by the world, but we should also consider the Creator of the world, God.
There are no “self-made men as God created the heavens and the earth and all the living beings that inhabit it.
Part of our conflicts in choosing “who I am” comes from the fact that God made us in His image and gave us all a conscience, writing His law on our hearts.
Even though we may know in our hearts when we do wrong as children, we can harden our hearts and change our minds to accept our sins as normal and acceptable as we grow into adults.
And for most of us, who aren’t completely hardened in our own concepts of morality by sin, if we are honest, we know we are doing wrong and we are not right with God but feel utterly hopeless to change it because it’s “just the way I am”, right?
Well, the word of God tells us you can have a new and eternal life when you put your faith in Christ. So although you may feel set in your ways, God makes a new way when you come into relationship with Him.
No matter what you define your self as or what you have “made” yourself into, you don’t have any power to forge your own path into eternity. Those who don’t put their faith in Christ will have to face Him one day to be judged and suffer eternal separation from God in a place described as outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Not a pleasant thought, I know, but I have to share it because Jesus warned of it, and I have come to know that God is real, and people are only saved from His wrath by making peace with Him by putting your faith in Christ.
Just as our friend’s photo would be pretty lame, without the beauty of God’s creation surrounding Him, we don’t live in a vacuum. We live in the world and will be subject to the Creator of it. We have to come into harmony with that Creator as our purpose in life and the only way we do that is by aligning ourselves with Him by accepting His plan for our redemption and making Christ our Lord and Savior.
The world is a maelstrom of changing ideas, fashions, and philosophies but God’s word stands forever and what it says about us should be considered.
Without Christ, we are sinners waiting for judgement.
With Christ, we are saints that have been forgiven and provided with life eternal and power over sin.
So consider the big picture and the fact that you are living in the context of God. Instead of embracing the lies of the world that pass away, choose to believe the word of God that will stand forever.
Instead of being “just the way I am”, listen to the Great I AM and inherit all of the promises of God and a new identity based on what He says about you by putting your faith in Jesus Christ.
Our struggles to find an identity in this world come from the fact that we choose to ignore the big picture and deny the fact that the Creator made us and has a plan for our lives.
The struggles with our identity stop and peace, love, and joy come when we stop worrying about “whatever they say I am”, and we choose to agree with and own our identity of who we are in Christ. In Christ, we are accepted, secure, and significant.
Hey, we all make our own choices of who we will be in life, but I just want to encourage you to consider who you will be when this life ends and the possibility for living out a new life in Christ where you can know and experience progressive goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, self-control, peace, love and joy.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Philippians 2:13 (NLT2)
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Today’s verse teaches us that the power in our Christian walk of faith comes through God working in us.
Every person who puts their faith in Christ receives the Holy Spirit. After salvation, the Spirit of God encourages us to live according to God’s ways by making us more sensitive to the “wrongness” of our sins and by drawing us to pursue the things of God and to turn from our old ways of doing things.
As stated above, we, even people who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, can harden our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and continue in our lifestyles of sin.
But as today’s verse indicates, when we choose to follow the Lord’s will for our lives to be sanctified and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we receive “the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
So if you are wondering why you haven’t changed much from when you said “Yes” to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it is because you are not choosing to follow Him consistently and you are not letting God work within you because of your choosing your ways rather than His.
So let go and let God work within you to give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him by simply praying to God that His will be done on earth, and in your life, as it is in heaven.
Keep walking and talking with God and you will be amazed as your desires change and you see Him working in your life.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we begin sharing from Chapter 2.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
OVERCOMING FALSE GUIDANCE
If you really want to experience your freedom in Christ, the first step is to renounce previous or current involvement with any activity or group that denies Jesus Christ, offers guidance through sources contrary to the Word of God, or requires secret ceremonies or covenants. The Bible teaches that “he who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” 44 Renounce means to forsake or say no to something or someone. Renounce is the first step toward repentance, which means to turn away from something and towards something else. Repentance literally means a change of mind, but it is much more comprehensive in its application.
When the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to be baptized by John, “He said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.’”45 Jesus knew their repentance was incomplete. They wanted the blessing of God but didn’t want to give up their traditions, practices, and religious positions.
THE NEED TO RENOUNCE
The public declaration: “I renounce you Satan and all your works and all your ways” has historically been a part of the Church’s profession of faith since its earliest days. To this day members of most liturgical churches are encouraged to make that public profession at salvation or confirmation. In the Early Church, believers would literally face west and make that declaration. Then they would face east and declare their belief in God. The statement is only generic, however. Every work of Satan and every way of Satan had to be renounced in order for repentance to be complete.
To be free from the past, it is necessary to specifically renounce every false religion, false teacher, false practice, and every means of false guidance you have participated in. Many people come to Christ and make a profession of faith, but continue in their old ways of seeking guidance and participation in false religious practices. That is not complete repentance. If we declare something as true, then it is just as important to declare the counterfeit as false. You cannot believe the truth and believe a lie at the same time and experience your freedom in Christ.
The Cross dealt with the forgiveness of our sins. The Resurrection provided us with new life in Christ, and the Ascension of Christ to the right hand of the Father assured us of the authority and power to live a victorious life in Christ. But the moment we are born again, our minds are not totally renewed. That is why Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”46 The Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension make all that possible. Now we can repent and renew our minds. We can renounce the lies, the false guidance, and the false teachers. And we can choose the truth as led by the Holy Spirit.
DEMONIC FORCES AT WORK
The Apostle Paul warned us what we can expect in this world: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”47 Concerning the last days, Jesus said, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”48 These deceptive belief systems and false teachings are counterfeits. They may appear to mimic the truth, but they are in fact satanically inspired lies. They are taught by false teachers who often represent themselves as followers of Christ.49
When assessing counterfeits of Christianity, no criterion is more important than the doctrine of Jesus Christ. If any person or group will not or cannot say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the King of kings, and the great I AM, then they should be considered suspect.50 Many people under the influence of Satan can say that Jesus is Lord, but when asked to say Jesus is their Lord, they simply repeat, “Jesus is Lord.” The Devil knows that Jesus is the Lord of the universe, but will not profess Jesus as his Lord, nor will his followers.
A second identifiable trait of false religions and the occult is an offer of salvation or enlightenment through something other than faith in the finished work of Christ. Satan blinds the minds of people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.51 New Age proponents teach that we are not separated from God by our sin and therefore have no need to repent. They say we are God and only need to be enlightened. What a lie!
Third, psychics, gurus, shamans, and false prophets offer a special quality of life, esoteric knowledge, or special power that is available by connecting with cosmic energy sources, secret rituals, ceremonies, or covenants. Occult means hidden, concealed or secret, which is in total contrast to the nature of God, who does everything in the light. What is really hidden from view, however, is Satan, the puppet master. His goal is to keep humanity in bondage by drawing us away from the truth that would set us free. Genuine repentance is the means by which we experience our freedom, as we renounce the lies and choose the truth.
TAKING A VERBAL STAND
The believer has a responsibility to submit to God and resist the devil.52 In doing so they are recognizing God’s authority over their lives and His authority over the demonic realm.53 They are taking their rightful position at Christ’s right hand and standing against the devil, using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. They are exercising dependence upon God and the authority they have in Christ.
The Bible relates the story of unregenerate men who tried to exert authority over the demonic realm by using rituals and incantations. Such futility will bring disastrous results. The seven sons of Sceva were unbelievers trying to cast out demons in Jesus’ name without an authentic relationship with Him.54 They were stripped of their clothes, beaten up, and kicked out. Their efforts were similar to occultic practices that try to manipulate the spirit world to do their will, but not God’s will.
The biblical example of breaking counterfeit religious ties with the past is found in Acts 19:18-20. Many of the new Christians in Ephesus had been deeply involved in false religions and the occult through worship at the Temple of Artemis. Luke writes in verse 18, “Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices.” The open disclosure of occult practices was followed by the positive action of ridding themselves of anything associated with that darkness. “And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all.”
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