In my graduating class I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed." That may seem like a good thing and it beats some other titles, but the quest for acceptance to fill my empty tank made me become a driven person. The rejection I felt due to the issues at home ripped a hole in my soul and the vacuum of emptiness made me an overworking stressed young person. All that tarnished the shine on that trophy.
Jesus Christ has loved me to fulfillment that I'm no longer a driven woman who tries to be the best. Excellence and being a faithful worker is important to me, but needing to be the best and wasting my strength in comparison to others is gone.
Strong Gentleness is a term I came to see many years ago as I was studying Jesus in the New Testament. I was drawn to His courage and His compassion. I realized I'm most gentle when I am not threatened. In fact, bullies always pick on people they are sure they can conquer. Think of the battered women issue: big guy feels threatened at work, etc and he punches his little wife to feel big and bad and in control. So, Jesus knew He never encountered anyone He couldn't manage.....He had all of Heaven at His call. Once I realized I live "in Christ," I calmed down and I felt His strength in me. I sensed His strength and I could bend down and humble myself to anyone in His gentleness whenever there was a need. "In Christ" life in me flows and I'm not on my own mind!!!
Fear still knocks on my door regularly, but I know how to lean into Christ when it does. Doubts and anxieties try their best to rob my joy, but I know now how to quote Scriptures to answer them. In this strength through the Holy Spirit I am coming to know gentleness in ways that are amazing to me.
Here are some new ways of living I am coming to know I'm "in Christ" as I live daily:
I am receiving mercy and I am learning to be merciful as Christ is merciful:
Mercy (Strong 2617/1656). Mercy is mildness and tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries or to treat an offender better than he deserves. There is no word in English precisely synonymous with mercy in its original language. "The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving inquity and transgression.." Numb 14:18. "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" Luke 6:36. Again the appeal is for us to reveal mercy because God is merciful. This is the essence of the Christian life, leading us on the journey to the freedom that He promised.
Growing up in an alcoholic's home where there is mental illness I was taught to "put up a good front" for the sake of the family name. Translation: Lie about everything so we don't look so bad to others. So, I had a problem with lying until I came to Jesus and lived in Christ. Knowing that Jesus is truth gave me incredible strength to overcome this character flaw. Some folks wish I would tell some little white lies when they ask for my honest opinion. I usually warn them, "Are you sure? I gave up lying."Truth: (Strong 571, 225) Truth is conformity with fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, has been, or shall be. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6. Truth is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. "My mouth will utter truth." Proverbs 8:7a. "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17. Truth is the nature of God because God is reality. The closer we get to reality, the closer we are to God. It was truth, Jesus said, which would make us free (John 8:32).
Loyalty and faithfulness have been my traits all along. My faith in God has shown me that I must hear from God who He wants me aligned with. Now that I live in Christ I must be mindful who I connect myself with. Everyone will not appreciate Jesus in my life. But oh the assurance to have God's faithfulness and know He will never leave or abandon me lets me live in peace.
Faithfulness (Strong #2617/4103) The Greek word is hesed meaning fixed, determined love, to be kept, guarded, watched over, and preserved. This is covenantal faithfulness. Once God gives Himself covenantally it is impossible for Him to desert or abandon the person or the convenant (Heb 13:8). It is firm adherence to truth and duty, true to allegiance, careful to observe all compacts, treaties, contracts, or vows. In other words, true to one's word. God's affection is what makes the covenant. "know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Deut. 7:9).
Bob Mumford in Agape Road, p. 25 : "Christ is the covenant maker...the agreement is between Him and His Father, not between God and us. Hebrews 7:20-22 explains that the covenant between the Father and the Son is forever. This arrangement cannot and will not change. Jesus explains that "no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6b. In Christ I am joined to Almighty God forever.
Bitterness and unforgivenss ate away at my goodness before Jesus forgave me for all my sins and wrong thinking. Knowing what He paid for my sins has empowered me to seek to forgive all who have hurt or cheated me.
Forgive (Strong's #5375/5746) This word means pardoning, remitting, disposed to forgive, inclined to overlook offense, mild, merciful, and compassionate as a forgiving temperament. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (Matt. 6:12)
Jesus pours His life in me and love without end flows:
- Unconditional love
His life flows out of me onto others. My life is not my own and I live to glorify Him. Hallelujah.