by Janet Henry
A hope FILLED gospel is a perspective change. It lacks the pressure of feeling like we need to do anything to be in right standing with God. Getting into the presence of God and the word isn’t a ritual that is required to be a Christian. The perspective change is understanding that we find ourselves, our identity in God’s presence and in His word. We find LIFE!
Don't you feel your best when you've been in His presence? Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the LIFE.” When do we feel the most inspired, encouraged, joyful, hope filled? When we've been with Jesus, right? It's because HE is LIFE! It's not about the messenger who brings a great word, it's the LIFE in Jesus that your spirit, soul and body find nourishment and healing and IDENTITY. It's not about empowerment. It's not about what you can do or become...it's about who you truly ARE! You're fullness is in HIM. Your LIFE is IN HIM.
I believe when Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they were going to leave after many others had left, Peter had a glimpse of his recent walk with Jesus and how he had, for the first time, experienced LIFE to the fullest. His identity was changed, he saw himself as Peter, the Rock. Jesus asked “do you want to leave to?”, and right in front of Peter stood the option of LIFE or death, so crystal clear, that all he could say is "where else would we go?"
“I have set before you LIFE or death…choose LIFE!” Deut 30:19
by Janet Henry
I’ve lived long seasons of my life striving to prove my importance. The days of performing, being fully aware of what I’m capable of and pushing to show it; operating in excellence and nothing being good enough but the absolute best…the subtle un-fulfillment would begin to throb a little more and more after the final “t” is crossed and the performance comes to a brilliant end. Something was off. Everyone tells you how amazing of a job you did. You sit back and soak it all in, proud of your work. It’s a beautiful representation of you and the gifts God has given you. But it’s over. The air is let out of your sails and you begin thinking about the next thing you plan to pour your life into because you can’t just enjoy life, the moment, your friends, yourself. Your future depends on what you accomplish, your value is in your purpose, and in the story of your life and what you’re supposed to become.
It can, at times, be a ton of fun and there’s nothing wrong with working hard, except for when the world starts to crumble around you, and your value is found in that which is falling. That my friend is a yucky place to live!! When you’ve lived there and go through the process of getting free, letting the truth sink deep into your heart that your value is solely in who you are and WHOSE you are, can be a process. But that’s where freedom is found. And the freedom that comes from that can also come with a strong will to protect it. I don’t particularly like the feeling that I’m expected to show what I have to offer, who does? Especially if I get the sense that someone would like to see me perform so they can determine if I’m worth an investment...of time, love, etc. The Lord spoke to me one day recently when I felt like I was being challenged to prove myself. He said “You are 100% valuably designed by ME, and there are certain facets of that value that will only be encountered by those who seek out and discover the precious jewel that it is.” There are times, like for a job interview or in HEALTHY relationships that you show what you have to offer and it’s fulfilling because it comes with a valuable exchange. Mind you, you’re value is still not in your job, the money or in another person. But during those times where there is a sense of manipulation or control, go ahead and step off of that stage of striving to perform, because you have nothing to prove.
I saw a post the other day by a well-known pastor and it began with “How do you get God’s attention?” I have no idea what his answer was because I couldn’t stop thinking about that question. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “you’ve already got it”. No, it was more like “do this, then do that”. And that may have rung true with me a while back but when we’re resting in God’s goodness, we’re fully aware that we already have our Father’s attention. “Before you were born, the days fashioned for you were written when as yet there were none of them.” Not only did we already have his attention, He wrote our story and set out to pursue a life with us by eliminating all possible breaches that could come between us and Him. You see, a diamond never has to waive a flag to get anyone’s attention or perform to prove its value. IT JUST IS!
The beautiful thing is, unlike a diamond, it’s our imperfections that make us even more valuable, relatable…even pursuable by God! A friend of mine said a phrase this past week “I want to live a messy, imperfect, authentic life as I pursue the One who pursues me”. “People are longing for authenticity. What has to die is the leader who acts like he or she has it all together: the plastic veneer we put on hoping no one sees the real us.” -Carey Nieuwhof. People can sense fake and they can feel if you’re trying to fix them, it feels judgmental. They can relate to genuine and messy and imperfect authenticity. That is where healing, deliverance, restoration and transformation will come from. And taking it a step further, it’s Jesus who in our imperfections saw us worthy to pursue us and makes us perfect in Him!! #mindblown
Eric Reeder is joined by other leaders of RISEmovement to reveal the heartbeat of The HOPE-filled Gospel.