This week on ShineTYC.com I wrote "Be Honest With Me" on the importance of being honest with ourselves and accepting who we are, what we want, and why. Please, take some time to read it as a compliment to this week's topic.
John 8:32 is often quoted by Christians and the general population as cliche'. "The truth will set you free." However misused it may be, it is true. Truth sets you free and the ability to accept and live your personal truth is an important part of living on purpose.
This is why I love Paul. Did you know Paul was a murderer before he became a Christian? Over and over in the New Testament letters Paul honestly acknowledges his past and his shortcomings.
In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul puts it all out there: "This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all."
How refreshing to hear someone keep it real about who they were before they found Jesus. It's often our human nature to change and keep it to ourselves. We want other people to see us as perfect, flawless individuals. Honestly, it's why my job is so difficult as an evangelist. Many people I speak with don't want to come to church because they believe they have to get cleaned up first. They believe they need to fix things in their lives before they can meet Jesus. If we, as Christians, would be honest about our faith walk and personal journey, more people might see Christian living as accessible and achievable.
Paul was on his way to kill Christians when he met Jesus. Just let that sink in. He wasn't at synagogue. He wasn't in prayer. He was doing something he believed was right and Jesus showed up to correct him.
Won't he do it??!! This is how Acts 9 starts:
"Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers."
Now, here is verse 22:
"Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah."
Talk about a steep development curve! Paul went from killing Christians to writing a third of the New Testament that guides our Christian lives. #becauseJesus
If we want to get to the next level of our faith, if we really want to live the purpose that God created for us, we have to be real with ourselves about who we are. Here are some high level tips to help:
Search Your Heart. Line Up with the Faith.
Only follow your heart when your heart is following Jesus. Only trust your gut when you've eaten enough of God's word and are well fed. Living in truth is not simply letting your feelings dictate your decisions and behavior. Go one step further and ask yourself if those feelings line up with the principles of our faith.
Accept Your Story
Listen, nobody could want a different backstory more than me. I spent years trying to ignore it. After I couldn't ignore it, I tried to change it. When I couldn't change it, I tried to outrun it. Finally, exhausted from my efforts, I just accepted it. It is what it is. Take it from me and Romans 8:28 — it's all good. Accept your story and let God use it for your good.
You'll Never Be Perfect
One of the most freeing revelations of my life is that we aren't headed anywhere but Heaven. There is no emotional or spiritual destination on earth where we can just chill for the rest of our lives until Jesus comes. Life Happens! In 2 Corinthians 12:7, my man Paul illustrates this for us.
"So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud."
Paul, who wrote a third of the New Testament (I keep reminding you of how dope he was for Jesus) had a thorn that tormented him to keep him humble. I have one, too. So do you. If you don't know what it is then you might want to take some time to figure it out so you won't let it distract you from your purpose. Paul had to keep it moving with that thorn. And so do you.
"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
Be honest with yourself about who you are, what you want, and take time to think about why you want it. Is it because God planted the desire in your heart or is it because people, pain, or your past are driving you towards it?
I love you and I'm praying for purpose to shine through your cracks.