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Food for Thought - Spiritual Formation

Be Yourself

To the One Whom Jesus Loves,

Read the salutation again. Let the reality and truth of those words sink into your heart. You are the one whom Jesus loves. You are Jesus’ chosen one in whom He delights. Yes, you! The you that you are right now, in this moment, in this place, at this time. You are the beloved of God. End of story.

Yet, sadly, this is a truth that many Christians do not embrace. Many Christians are drawn away from this reality, away from the deep knowing of this truth and the embracing of their belovedness. Instead of being who one most truly is, many have assumed identities crafted and shaped by the world, by their own woundedness, by the expectations of others, the expectations of churches, friends, parents, the media…and the list goes on and on.

It is a great temptation to be who others, your circumstances and your woundedness urge you, even demand you, to be. This tendency to clothe yourself in the false identities pushed on you by the world and those in the world rob you of the freedom that comes with living life out of who you most truly are and robs the rest of us of the experience to know and enjoy whom God has made and called you to be.

Jesus invites you to be yourself, to be the unique one-of-a-kind creation that God has created you and re-created you in Christ to be. The plea and urging of Jesus ‘to be you’ is an important statement for you to embrace. These words contain the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and point you toward the path that leads to experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised you. These words may sound like a copout, kindred to “that is just the way I am.” But I assure you that is not their meaning. Through these words, Jesus encourages you to be you and to embrace the highest calling in the land. The words ‘be yourself’ invite you, challenge you, and free you to explore who you most truly are as God's child, Jesus' friend, your Lover’s beloved one. These words encourage a journey of discovery; the getting in touch with who you most truly are. The words ‘be yourself’ involve a commitment to cooperate with the working of the Spirit to birth and surface who you most truly and deeply are as a child of God.

The good news is that Christ gives you the power to escape the identities the world, others and your circumstance have sought to thrust upon you. Jesus enables you to embrace and live life out of the reality of being a new creation, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece crafted by God, the one whom Jesus loves.

This path is not easy. This is not a journey for the weak or timid. It is a journey for those who have the courage, commitment and longing to look deep within themselves, naming and embracing the reality of who they are in Christ. By embarking on this journey you are able to see more deeply the person God sees, the person you most truly are.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to begin this journey? The first step involves believing, even in the midst of unbelief, that you are deeply loved and prized by God just for being you. Once you can do that you are on your way to embracing the freedom to be you and entering into the abundant life Jesus offers you. This extraordinary journey will lead you to a gradual realization that the greatest gift you can give to the world and to those with whom you travel through life is you and that is exactly why Jesus is inviting you to be you.

As you move forward on this path you will discover that it is not your training, knowledge, power, or wealth, but it is you that blesses the world. It is you being you. And it is you being you that is God's deepest desire for you, God's will for you. You see, God does not want another Moses, Esther, Peter, Mary, John, Paul or even Jesus. God wants you to be you. God has created you to be you and has called you to be you because it is you that the world needs. You are the one thing you offer at any event or circumstance that no one else can be or bring. You are God’s gift to the world when you are most truly who you are. So purpose to cooperate with the internal working of God’s Spirit by entering the journey to becoming more and more who you are as God’s unique one-of-a-kind creation.

Below are some prompts to help you to realize and more fully embrace the wonder of who you are.

Spend some time considering these words:

I am the beloved of God and the most important resource I bring to any situation is me. What draws you to these words? What causes you to reject them? How would your life change if you could really believe them? How would your interaction with others change if you could really believe them? What could you do to help you internalize and embrace the words stated above in bold?

I am a one of a kind masterpiece of God (Ephesians 2:10), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), chosen, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12). What draws you to these words? What causes you to reject them? How would your life change if you could really believe them? How would your interaction with others change if you could really believe them? What could you do to help you internalize and embrace the words stated above in bold?

God’s deepest desire for me is for me to be me, the me He created and re-created me in Christ to be. What draws you to these words? What causes you to reject them? How would your life change if you could really believe them? What could you do to help you internalize and embrace the words stated above in bold?

Consider these questions:

What is holding you back from believing you are the beloved of God and from becoming the you God has created and called you to be? What can you take from your life and/or put in your life that would free you to be you?

What identities that the world, others your circumstances do you currently make use of that are hindering your ability/desire to be the you God created you to be? What gives these identities their power over you? What do they protect you from? What do these identiies promise to provide you with?they promise you? If you gave them up, what do you fear would happen? Ask God to help you discern the answers to these questions. What is God asking you to do about these false identities?

What will you do to help you yo more intentionally embrace the truth of God's love for you and God's celebration of who you are? Remember there is NO condemnation in Christ.

together on the journey,

Larry

P.S. This journey is contingent upon your ability or at least desire to see yourself as one deeply and unconditionally loved by God.



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