Around the summer, I heard a preacher from the Resurgence podcast called PJ Smyth. Liked him right away. He is a pastor of the Godfirst church in Johannesburg. It wasn’t until recently that I actually found the Godfirst sermons online. If you are interested in hearing him speak you can find him and other brilliant speakers here
I was listening to a message today that PJ was giving a message on Rejection. He made many points that really struck home with me. Especially the points of how we tend to act in certain ways in front of others so that we will be praised, admired or whatever. He goes onto say that it is a form of seeking acceptance, or identity from others, however when that fails (which it will eventually) we either grow bitter or cut them off. (something very much along those lines). That really hit home with me, recently (and I believe during the first term especially) I have been feeling very discontented. I, accurately or inaccurately, sometimes feel like I am being typecasted as this never serious, always laughing, ridiculous, weird person. I’m not…ok maybe I am, but not all the time. But I felt like that was what was expected of me. Afraid of rejection, I continued to act this way, while growing rather bitter with my friends, and especially during the first term, basically cutting them off.
In all honesty, I was wrestling with my identity. Yes I know, I can find my identity in Christ, I know that in my head, but it hasn’t been until recently that I can honestly say that I am beginning to believe that answer in the very depths of my heart. Yes, clearly I have issues. And maybe a part of me believes that in some shape or form I do not deserve to have an identity in Christ…correction, its not like I “deserve” it but rather, I don’t believe that God’s Grace will create and sustain in me a heart that believes that my identity is found in Christ. Even after seeing and hearing God do so many things, there is a part of me that still disbelieves that He could ever do something like that for me.
These days I just feel like the man pleading with Jesus ” I believe, but help me with my unbelief”. Which I admit isn’t a bad prayer, and maybe I won’t move past that for a while (if at all) because there just seems to be so many areas in my life that I just DO NOT believe that God can do anything with…..and we, of course, all know that it is a LIE.
Essentially, I need to start looking through new lenses, at my life. Pay less attention to how others see me, and pay way more attention to how God sees me. But I can’t do it alone, in fact, I desperately need Jesus to generate that spirit in me. Because without Him, my heart won’t change….my heart will never change. I realize that this shallow way of living, finding more identity in what others and what I, think of me, needs to be repented of. And I need to find my identity in Christ, in all that He is, and all that He’s done.
This goes hand in hand with surrendering to Christ. In that, He will generate it, maintain it, accept it, sustain it, and bless it. It really appears that this will be a struggle.
God help me. God help us.
PS: this other thought has been running through my head and has been giving me shivers recently: somewhere in Heaven there is an ex-con walking the golden streets who knows more about Grace than a thousand theologians.