“WHO ARE YOU?”

Normally I begin each post with a story from the past or maybe from the present, and then end with a short lesson.  For a change of pace I have gone straight to the lesson.  The subject is about the pain we suffer in the everyday walk of life.  There is pain everywhere we look around the world, so I think it is important to learn how to deal with that pain…whatever it is.

Exit Strategy:

 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.—1 Corinthians 10:13

This is the story of Jesus when He had explained He was God.  The people became an angry mob and got Him out where they could throw him off a three-story cliff.

Somehow amidst the screaming, scrambling, fist pumping, and chest beating, Jesus simply walked through the crowd and went about His Father’s business.

The whole commotion was caused by a conflict over Jesus’ identity.  He claimed to be God.  They labeled Him a blasphemer.  Jesus was committed to who He was—not who the crowd was trying to define Him to be.

We must first be committed to who we are, the people God made us to be.  You cannot let pain, or the people and circumstances causing your pain, define you.  If we remain committed to who we are in spite of the pains of life that come our way, we will walk through them and do something significant in the world.

When you experience pain, you have two response options.  They are both directly related to how you define yourself.

First, you can allow the negative nature of pain caused by rejection, tragedy, or misfortune to define you as weak, as a failure, or as not good enough.  This was Satan’s accusation about Job; this was the claim of the men Jesus faced in the synagogue.  If you choose to allow pain to redefine you in these terms, you will probably not see God’s exit strategy.  Even if someone walked up to you with God’s solution, you wouldn’t believe it would work.  You already have accepted this label of loser.

The second potential response to pain is to define yourself as a courageous victor by identifying yourself as belonging to God.  You can acknowledge that He loves you and has never forgotten you.  You can label yourself as someone who is in the middle of a lesson that involves pain as a tool to sharpen your reliance on the Lord.

If that is who you are, God’s exit strategy will be clearer to you.

Because Jesus knew exactly who He was and was aware of the plan associated with His identity, He knew that death by “cliff crash” was not how He would “go out.”

However, though Jesus took advantage of a divine exit strategy and walked away from the cliff and the mob that screamed blasphemy, He did not walk away from the mob that cried out “Crucify Him!”  (John 19:6).  Being crucified was part of His fulfilling the purpose of His identity.

Knowing who you are will not protect you from every being hurt by pain.  But it will ensure that pain doesn’t only hurt.  It will allow you to take advantage of God’s exit strategy for you.  Remember, even though Jesus died, He still had an exit strategy:  His resurrection.

Are you a child of God, or not?  Did God give you a clear purpose with a plan and all of the necessary preparations made for you to succeed in that plan?  Yes!  Therefore, no matter what pain you experience, hold on to who God made you and look to Him for how to respond.

God is always confident you can find the exit strategy He has for you.  But you have to be willing to look for it and act on it.

God promises never to allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear (1 Cor. 10:13).  If you will make the decision to not allow pain to redefine you.  God’s exit strategy will be staring you in the face.

After all, God does not create an escape route toward failure.  Satan has already taken care of that.  For example, if you want to drink your way out of your problems, that is the devil’s option.

And the devil’s options lead to more pain and self-destruction.

If you are in a painful situation today, do something about defining who you are:  victim or victor.

If you are a victor, God has an exit strategy for you, and all you need to do is walk through it.

Choose a painful situation you are going through and ask yourself, how is my pain trying to redefine me?  Compare that label to who the Bible says Christians are, such as members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), Jesus’ brothers and sisters      (Mark 3:35).  Now, based on your biblical identity, write down how you will respond to the pain.

Dear God, I am Your child.  Please show me how a child who trusts in You with their whole heart would respond to my trial.  Please give me the direction I need.  Help me with my response to pain and align it to me “God identity.”

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One Response to ““WHO ARE YOU?””

  1. Una Wright Says:

    Jerry this is so much on the mark for me especially today. Thanks. Blessings, Una

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