Cleansed, Holy and Redeemed!
“What God has cleansed, you must not call unholy.” Acts 10:15 NKJV
Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby. (That is what we celebrate at Christmas! "He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Luke 1:51-53 KJV)
"We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation (that) we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow (ordinary) concerns of life." - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost
My journey of faith and my Catholic upbringing have often seen tension as it were between the holy and unclean. The devil can tempt us all to pose as profound, but outside of Christ, we are nothing! Nauseatingly so, we try to establish our own character and reputation by belonging to the right group. Schisms are condemned in scripture as carnal (1Corinthians 1). That is because Christianity is personal and individual. Our faith is before God and not man (Romans 14). Therefore, if God permits us to see ourselves properly in the ordinary flow of life, we discover that we are sinners by nature, who seek our own interests at the core of our motives. Everyone is broken and needs the transforming redemption found in Jesus Christ!
To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us. Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us, For we are greatly filled with contempt. Our soul is greatly filled With the scoffing of those who are at ease, And with the contempt of the proud. Psalms 123:1-4 NASB
We either fight to preserve an external identity associated with a group, or in mercy and grace, we discover our identity: Crucified in Christ. By the which we are able to live by the power of the Son of God Who gave Himself for us. Redeemed, we are accepted into the beloved! (Ephesians 1:6) Healing our identity comes when we realize that the affairs of this life are orchestrated by our loving Heavenly Father. He places His love indelibly upon us with chastisement that is designed to conform us into the image of His Own Dear Son. (Hebrews 12:5-12) Every one of us has an inbuilt need to feel God’s acceptance. However, until we receive that confirming assurance from Abba Father by the Holy Spirit, we remain trapped in the prisons and the shallows of our own limited perception of our lot in life.
Beware! Our personal outlook will drown us by shallow estimations. We will either drown in a profane view of ourselves, instilled by the scorn and the contempt of pride from those “better than us” or we will scorn others as “less than us”. In our own contempt, we will elevate our self-worth above everyone else whom we see as wallowing in the shallows down below.
If our identity does not spring from God’s view of us at the Cross of Christ, we will only overestimate or underestimate our sense of worth. Only through Christ can we see ourselves for who we really are.
The Apostle Paul said, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Phil. 3:7-8)
You and I must ween ourselves off the breastmilk of human praise and learn to eat the strong meat of our proper identity as found in God through Christ Jesus. Like Paul, we must, “be found in him, not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means we might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil. 3:9-11)
From the time that a newborn infant gasps for its first breath until it breathes its last, it will know conflict regarding its significance. Biblical child training understands that the foolishness bound up in the heart of a child is his first effort to make his significance known to the world. Our identity is distorted when significance is measured against others; but it is realized when it is measured against the gift of God that He has imparted personally and individually to every child of His.
“Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ’s. …For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things beyond our gifting, but according to the measure of the gift which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. …But he that glories, let him glory in the Lord. For it is not the one that commends himself that is approved, but the one whom the Lord Himself commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:7, 12-13, 17-18)
Children should not be scorned in contempt nor should they be doted over as if superior to others, even though this is the natural-fleshly pattern of identity. They must be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!
Let us no longer walk in a false sense of our own significance, nor in gloomy self-scorn and contempt in the eyes of others! Rather, let us walk in the anointing we have received as children of God, who are redeemed, born-again by the Spirit of the Living God; we are made into a kingdom of priests and kings. That is who we are; nothing more and nothing less!