In the midst of this world's troubles, my goal is to make my faith the focus of my existence. It is what keeps me centered. And maybe it's just a consequence of the aging process, but I am just no longer interested in how the world perceives me; although I know that how I appear to others reflects who the Lord is to me ... I represent Him, and I try to be always conscious of that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it grieves me to see how so many people [both followers of Christ and unbelievers] are seeking identities that are validated by the world. The number of "likes" and followers on social media seems to increasingly determine how people feel about themselves, and their efforts to see those numbers climb consumes their waking hours.
As a human, and in my own sinful nature, I find myself being both compassionate and frustrated. I know there is so much tumult in the world that people are shaken to their core; I know because our Inner Healing Ministry is receiving an ever growing number of calls. I understand the desire to escape the anxiety and worry into anything that takes their eyes and minds off the world. And that evokes compassion in me because I so desperately want them to know who they are -- not only IN Christ, but TO Christ!
We, in the Body of Christ, are familiar with proclaiming that we are "in Christ", but do we really know all that this encompasses? Let me share my perspective. To be in Christ, means we are placed by God in our position to walk out God's purpose for us. Our life consists of dwelling in that place where Christ is. We "live in Him!" That means we have access to all the spiritual blessings, the power and authority, and the heavenly inheritance that He possesses.
When I contemplate who we are "to Christ", I see how much we mean to Him; how He feels about us! We are the passion of His heart; His joy in this world is complete in us because He created us. He desires that everyone of us be where He is. He prays for us and roots for us; interceding on our behalf when the world tries to defeat us. I once read an article that said if Jesus has a refrigerator in Heaven, our picture is on it. If He carries a wallet, our picture is in it. He is nothing less than crazy about us!
And that's where my compassion rises up. I want everyone to understand the fullness of those two concepts regarding our relationship with Christ -- both those who proclaim they know Him, and those who still reject or run away from Him. In our ministry, we see many people who come to us to learn about how Jesus can set them free from their torment, but who have no understanding of all He has for them, or how much He really loves them. Many have experienced years of Church doctrine and rituals, and still are unable to accept the Truth of who they are in and to Christ. And so they remain locked away in regions of captivity that Satan controls. It is out of our compassion and mercy for each precious soul that our spirit seeks the counsel of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to open those prison doors and free them from the sin that has enslaved them.
But there are also times that my spirit experiences frustration. I know that frustration is a human response, and while I recognize it, I always try to discern the root of it and how would Jesus like me to deal with it. And it helps to know that Jesus also encountered frustration while on earth. I mean, it could not have been easy to spend day after day for three years, modeling God's grace and miracles, while teaching God's spiritual truths to the masses and His closest Disciples, only to have them question Him again or display doubt and unbelief. There are plenty of examples of Jesus showing exasperation, anger, frustration and disappointment in people. Most of his anger seems to be directed at the overly religious and/or phony practitioners of their so-called "faith"; or for the ungodly who clearly dishonored His Father. So, I am honest with myself when I feel frustration, and then quickly turn to Jesus before it progresses into something that opens a door for the devil to exploit it, thereby defeating my purpose for God.
My main motivation to bring this to you today is because this world is full of reasons to experience both compassion and frustration. Sinfulness and lawlessness abound, and we must remain focused on Jesus in the midst of it and seek Him for appropriate responses. Whenever Jesus responded in compassion or frustration, it was an action that produced positive results. Our compassion must never result in making excuses for ungodly behavior, but rather provide guidance and counsel to walk a righteous path. Likewise, our frustrations must never be designed to punish, but to seek answers from Jesus to instruct us how to correct wrong theology, to forgive, and to eliminate hypocrisy. I'm not saying it will be easy; our flesh is always tempted to react from the soul (our own mind, will, and emotions). But it is the Spirit that will lead us into all Truth and action. It's a balancing act ... but when you are centered with Christ, He will show you how to walk that spiritual tightrope.
John 17:20-21 I’m praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in Me because of them and their witness about Me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—just as you, Father, are in Me and I in You, so they might be one heart and mind with Us. Then the world might believe that You, in fact, sent Me.