Friday, May 30, 2008

Your Identity

No matter who you are, you have been identified at some point by at least one of your characteristics or behaviors. Maybe you even earned a special nickname. Maybe it is good, or perhaps it is negative. But you know what I mean. Here are a few possibilties:

  • the red-headed one
  • the fat one
  • the pretty one
  • the rich one
  • the smart one
  • the crazy one
  • the funny one
  • she's so "sweet"
  • he's so "hot"
  • the one with mean parents
  • the one in public school
  • snobby
  • rude
  • energetic
  • messy
  • strict
  • anal
  • greedy
  • lazy
  • a great mom
  • the lawyer
  • the doctor
  • the one that can't keep a job
  • the one that goes to every church service, but drinks monday -saturday
  • the adulterer
  • the shy one
  • the one that won't shut up
  • the victim
  • the perky, peppy, grossly happy one
  • selfish

I'll stop now....but wanted you to get the picture. We tend to be identified and categorized by what we produce. Today I read a devotional through email about Godly character, known as the "fruit of the spirit". The fruits are nothing new to me....but something today struck me as fresh and new. I must have needed it. Let me tell you how I'm pretty sure I've been identified at various times in my past. This won't be fun for we go:

  • needy
  • desperate
  • (poor) single mom
  • aggressive
  • envious
  • indecisive
  • quitter
  • hopeless
  • helpless
  • loyal (to a fault)
  • conforming (to a fault)
  • friendly (to a fault)
  • defensive, defensive, defensive
  • gets the last word
  • is always right
  • expectations to high
  • unrealistic

I'll stop there. That is quite enough. I've had good qualities too, but they were overshadowed.

So.....the fruits of the spirit are described in Galations as love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I would really like for that to be the description of ME. And if I ever needed proof that God exists and that I have really received Christ, all I need to do is look at myself on the inside today and I can see that these characteristics exist. I'm no Jesus......but I'm also not the Melissa I was 10 years ago. Amen.

There was a paragraph today from a devotional, written by Marcia Ford, 101 Most Powerful Promises in the Bible, that I just want to share.

"The key to acquiring and possessing these characteristics appears in Galations 5:16..(So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of sinful nature). This involves habitually submitting to the control of the Holy Spirit; it's a way of living, not a one-time decision. As you yield to the Holy Spirit, he produces fruit in your life: a godly, self-sacrificial love; a lasting joy that does not depend on circumstances; a deep, abiding peace that we cannot understand; an uncommon patience with God, with others, and with ourselves; a compassionate and tender kindness; a spiritual and moral goodness, an unwavering faithfulness; a humble and submissive gentleness; and an unusual measure of self-control."

Don't you want to produce such fruits? Man....that excites me! How much more potential I will have in serving the kingdom while I am here, if I could be that person. I can be that person. You can be that person too. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit of Christ. He will dwell in your heart if you will have him, and he will gradually change you from the inside out if you will seek Him...and focus on Him and the kingdom rather than our own agendas. Seek him. He is pursuing you and He wants you to resemble himself. Just ask. Let's have our new character descriptions be:

  • giving
  • loving
  • compassionate
  • faithful
  • full of joy
  • patient
  • kind (in all situations)
  • gentle
  • good
  • peaceful
  • having self-control

Galations 5:24-26: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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