You won’t find freedom in a bottle (of any kind). You won’t find freedom in a carton of cigarettes. You won’t find freedom in that next piece of cake. You won’t find freedom in not having any pieces of cake, either. You won’t find freedom between another’s sheets. You won’t find freedom from a blade. You won’t find freedom by that boy you like so much (or that girl). You won’t find freedom on your computer screen, you won’t find freedom in your rebellion. You won’t find freedom in a needle either.
You find freedom when you set all of those other things down at the cross.
I’ve been off tumblr for a while, been sorting out my heart, head, and handing in my masters dissertation. I still get intrusive thoughts about self harm and suicide but I’m on the way to loving myself through the grace of God. Only with the aid of Jesus have I managed to first accept my sexuality, and now being transgender. It’s all down to the merciful love of Christ. Let us always remember the sacrifice of our Lord daily, may our sins be washed away in the water of life, and let our lives be a telling of the gospel.
There is ambiguity and misunderstanding wrapped into humanity’s perception of God. We have all assigned labels to Him, sometimes deeming Him the cause of our problems, or angry, or distant, or not even there.
In your mind, maybe you’ve toiled with similar labels for God. Maybe to you He is the reason you struggle, or is cold towards humanity, or doesn’t want anything to do with you or me. You might find yourself desperately striving to adhere to the Bible’s standards of a good person, because you feel like that is the only way you can keep Him around or loving you. Our perception of God sets the foundation for our relationship with Him.
Wanting to understand who God is, is not a new endeavor for humanity. When God calls Moses “out of the midst of a bush” (Exodus 3:4), and into his purpose, Moses immediately questions the identity of God. “And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them?” God’s simple response was “I AM.”
God’s being is not so easily defined or interpreted in few words, so I believe He allows the ability to perceive His character on an intimate level. To those of us who know Him, God says to us I AM your friend. I AM your provider. I AM your strength when you have none.
God is so many things, to so many different people that we can’t pin just one definition to His being, likewise, the Bible describes Him as everything to us.
“…compassionate and gracious… slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” “…a consuming fire, a jealous God.” “merciful… he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant…” “[he] is the one who goes before you like a devouring fire…. driving out [your enemies]…” “…the one who goes with you…” “…your refuge…” “…the one who sustains me…” “…flawless…” “…faithful…”
God’s self-description is “I AM,” because if there were ever a word that could perfectly encompass the character of the One who would send His son to die for us, or take us back time and time again after we’ve wandered, or embrace us when we’ve felt we’ve lost everything, we have yet to find it.
In our limited understanding, the best definition I could ever provide for you, would be 1 John 4:8, “…God is love.” And love pursues the object of its affection. Love is blind to boundaries or limits, it overlooks faults, love perseveres, and love never fails.
In your relationship with God, whether or not it even exists, He pursues you out of love, out of his very nature. God is love, and love motivates God’s endeavors. It is undeniably God’s desire to strip away at all your preconceived notions of who He is, in His pursuit of you.
My series titled #ThePursuit is all about God’s pursuit of you and the ways He pursues you, not because of you - it has nothing to do with you - but has everything to do with Him. An understanding of who God is can help us try to just begin to understand why He would pursue us so fervently, so lovingly, and so jealously.
“Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
“Paul, an apostle not from men nor through man, but through Jesus
Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead, and all the
brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to
you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave
Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil
age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory
forever and ever. Amen. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who
called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not
another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the
gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any
other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be
accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches
any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be
accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please
men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached
by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor
was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted
the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced
in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being
more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when
it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me
through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him
among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I
went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three
years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen
days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s
Today I remembered how Jesus chose, hung out with, and trained up 12 messy, sinful, average underdogs (aka. the Apostles) who carried out His plan and preached the Gospel, shared His love, and made disciples in nations all over the world… and I thought about how flawed and average I feel sometimes, but how God can take what seems small, average, and unusable, and use it to change the world.