Don’t Hold Back

     I am convinced that most people do not have a clue how much glory is packed inside of them. We are made in the image of God and redeemed in Christ, filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing we are lacking in the love of God. We know that we are all so unique too. Even with all of that being true, most of us fail to recognize what we are carrying.

     We have so much potential.

     We have so much to offer the world around us.

     Every where I look (when I am seeing with God’s eyes, at least) I see massive gifting waiting to be developed. I see sharp-looking and stylish people who should be modeling. I see funny and intelligent people who should be writing and speaking. I see imaginative and strategic-thinking visionaries who should be changing the world and bettering society. I see artists, prophets, influencers, community builders… waiting to make their contribution. They are waiting to lift their voices, to take their stage, to be the face of the move of God happening in our generation.

     Most of us are only scratching the surface of what we are actually able to be and to do. We are just “toying with the idea,” while the earth is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God.

     I don’t want to miss my part in the drama of history. I don’t want false-humility, inferiority, or apathy to hold me back from fully investing myself in the dreams God has for me. I want to really go for it, and I want to be a friend who challenges my loved ones to do likewise.

     So let me just remind you,

You are sanctified.

You, in your own way, are a mover and shaker.

You’re heart has been made new in Christ and your deepest desires are in line with His.

Let what is inside of you out.

     Create your own content. Tell your own story. Reach your own crowd. Don’t hide your beauty — someone will really appreciate it. You are called to make your mark for the glory of God. He is your biggest cheerleader and loves to see you do brave things!

     You are the Father’s masterpiece of grace (Ephesians 2:10) and He likes to put His handiwork on display. So now and everyday, don’t hold back.

     Let your light shine.

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You Have Full Permission to Indulge

Often I find myself having discussions with other believers about God’s nature and character. It’s not unusual for someone to express to me, “My view of God is changing and expanding. I need to know though, is it really okay for me to explore the idea that He is as good as my heart is coming to believe? Shouldn’t I try to maintain some sense of Him being [insert judgmental, controlling, retributive, etc.] too?”

It seems to me that our souls actually need to be given permission to trust that God is radically good. We need to be told that there are no contradictions to God’s goodness within His personality. This is often a struggle though, especially for those of us who are well versed in traditional schools of theology that painted a more confusing picture of the Divine as we were growing up. Sadly, much of the Christian world is responsible for using the Bible to portray this false “balance” within God’s heart. That is, a balance between Endless Mercy and Harsh Judgment, Life-Giver and Destroyer, Intimate Friend and “Holy, Scary King…” etc. etc. Of course we don’t straight up acknowledge that is is the idea we are presenting. This is the impression honest seekers of truth are left with nevertheless.

Our souls actually need to be given permission to trust that God is radically good.

God spoke to me through a vision on 11/11/2011 that helped me as I was starting to grow in clarity on these matters. I was approaching Him in prayer, and I pictured in my mind the Throne Room in Heaven. Ephesians 2:6 tells us we are already seated in heavenly places in Christ, so I wanted to make that position of intimacy and authority with the Lord my starting place for communion with Him.

As I looked toward the Lord, I felt Him say to my heart, “Look at Me!” I realized I was shamefully looking down a little, rather than confidently looking Him in the eyes. I lifted my gaze, and when I did I saw His two beautiful eyes of fire that the Book of Revelation speaks of. They were warm and radiant. Immediately I was hit with the realization that they were gateways to His heart. The impression that I received was that one is the eye of Grace and the other the eye of Justice. Both eyes though were blazing with a fire that poured from the same pure heart. It is a heart of burning Love.

This was a metaphoric lesson I needed to learn.

The vision ended, and I was left with this feeling that God is for me. He’s never against me. I was liberated to indulge in my love for God’s grace, knowing that that grace consists of the same substance as His justice. The two are flawlessly in union with each other and in no opposition in how they shape God’s perspective of myself or the world.

Since this experience, I’ve learned a lot from Scripture and study that has convinced me God is only and always loving. It’s not just something that is “technically” true to me anymore. I am gorging myself on His goodness, His grace, and His love for me. Through this process I am finding it only to brings me greater health and maturity. It even gives me better discernment when needing to recognize false gospels and heresies that would seek to interfere with my relationship with Jesus.

Now I want to be a voice that gives others the freedom to search out the endless depths of God’s goodness.

So to those of you who are starting to revel in God’s extravagant kindness, but wondering if this is safe… 

Don’t over-complicate things.

Don’t feel you have to have an immediate answer for every objection that comes to your mind when you doubt that God is really as enjoyable as you find Him to be.

Don’t let tradition or skepticism hinder you from thinking outside the box and trusting the Holy Spirit to lead you.

Let God take you on a journey of discovery, and be willing to follow Him wherever He brings you.

I promise, as long as you are falling deeper in love with the Man Christ Jesus, you will not regret it. There is a feast to be had for you (Isaiah 55:1-3). You have full permission to indulge in it!

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Opportunities for Humility

One of the most defining characteristics of a Christ-like person is humility.

Jesus is the one who taught us that it is the “meek” who will “inherit the earth.” He modeled this by laying down His life for His friends. Friends He could have just won over with charm, charisma and divine power if he would have just asserted himself more agressively and practiced a little self-promotion. Instead, he chose an alternative wisdom and confidently did NOT defend, protect, or glorify Himself. He did not let some self-ambitious “ego” control Him.

I think God is constantly offering us opportunities to make the same type of humbling decisions. It is these kind of decisions that ultimately shape us into His image — into our full potential as Christlike leaders. All day, every day, these kinds of choices are presented to us…

Will we “save face” and over-explain ourselves when someone at work notices we goofed up on something we were working on?

Will we avoid working out because it feels disappointing not being as fit as the others around us at the gym?

Will we skip church on days we feel depressed, because we don’t want people to see us when we aren’t our best?

Will we refuse to share our art, our talents, our voices, or our thoughts with the rest of the world until our work feels PERFECTLY edited and never in need of revision?

Will we avoid starting a conversation with someone we have serious disagreements with, because there is a chance it will get awkward?

I feel like we are constantly faced with the dilemma of either making ourselves uncomfortable or preserving some shallow sense of dignity in order to “play it cool.”

If we can’t win these small battles, how can we ever be trusted to really do something courageous? Something that impacts history?

If we believe we are God’s children, fully backed by His validation, we have plenty of instances available where we can actually practice walking that out. Let’s not run from them.

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