Monday, August 27, 2012

I AM changes i am

Three weeks ago, I began a series I was titling “The Other Side.”  My thinking was to reflect on what it is like to be on the other side of things we hear talked about as Christians.  For example, what if we’re the one wanting to be forgiven, instead of the one who needs to forgive?  What if we’re the receiver of hurtful words, not the one who must learn to guard our tongue?  However, in light of the start of a new school year, and a new chapel theme at Arizona Christian, where I work part time, I am going to put that series on hold.  Our theme at ACU this year is “I AM changes i am.”  #transform. 

In June of 2011, I felt led to purposely look at the ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus.  Even then, we discovered, that A (if I truly understand WHO HE IS) + B (who i am because of WHO HE IS) = (then) C (I will live confidently in my identity).  So, if you feel so inclined, you can go back to those blogs for a refresher.  However, in light of our new theme, and a conversation I had with a student this week, my goal is to dig more deeply into the concept of who I am, really, in Jesus.  It seems all of us struggle with living out of our true identity.  The student I met with this week has head knowledge, just like all of us...but she struggles with the “how” part of the living out - the place where reality is met with her theology.  As we start this series, I begin with a note and a challenge I wrote her:                                                                                       

Good morning,

I’ve been thinking about our conversation this week.  I’m not trying to force any “Aha” moments, where all of a sudden you just “get” the how of victory in Jesus. I do, however, pray that you can begin to believe the very things God believes about you (no matter what your “feelings” might say).  Somehow these truths need to get from your head down into your heart. I’ve wondered what is blocking that from happening.

The most interesting truth struck me today as I was reading Mark 6:5-6.  Basically, without writing out the verses, it says that Jesus could not do any miracles in his hometown.  Why?  What limited him?  What held him back from doing what he was doing everywhere else?  Verse six holds the key, “He was amazed at their lack of faith.”  Their unbelief limited God’s ability to work in the life of the very people he had come to help.  Think about that.  Just a question for you – could the victory you are seeking be blocked by this very thing - faith?

Of course, even our faith, Scripture tells us, is a gift of God.  It is not anything we can “work up.”  So, how do we increase that faith, which will help bring victory into reality?  My mind went first to the story revealed in the gospels about the healing of the young boy from an evil spirit.  Jesus words to the man seemed a bit harsh, “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:23-24).”  First key to increasing our faith is prayer for God’s favor.  It’s OK to ask for the gift of faith.  It should be a regular prayer request.

I also remembered the passage in Romans 10.  “Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of Christ (17).”  Second key is continual exposure to Scripture.  Freedom is found in the truth (John 8:32).

So, let’s pray for an increase of faith, together...and let’s explore the Scriptural truths about our identity.  As we do this “work” – we may be overwhelmingly surprised at the miracle of freedom.

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