We know what we’d like to be called, “friend,” “fun,” and “athletic,” “creative.” But have you considered what you’d hate to be called? There are inner ways of being that creep themselves outward creating an identity we would rather abandon, though may be true. Here are two examples:
...Who loves to the leader. 3 John 1:9
Diotrephes who desired to be recognized as the leader became a stumbling block to his brothers and sisters. From the brief verses that make mention of him, we can surmise that he was influential, yet his influence was not a force for good. The text suggests he gossiped about other believers, refused to welcome newcomers and encouraged broken relationships.
When have you spoken negatively about someone else? Was it for your gain? What undercurrent of motivation guides your actions, speech and behavior especially toward or about other believers whom you may perceive as a threat?
…But did not inquire of the Lord. - Joshua 9:14
Israel’s covenant with their faithful God had just been renewed and they were poised to totally annihilate any and all neighboring opposition. But the nearby Gibeonites had other plans. The Gibeonites employed trickery to convince Israel that they had traveled from a distant land - donning “worn-out sacks and old wineskins...worn and patched sandals…and worn clothes.” They even packed dry and moldy bread! (And the Academy for best neighboring nation pretending to be from a far off land...goes to…) Yes, they spared no expense to maintain the charade. Yet, the Gibeonites’ award-winning performance was not the reason Israel was deceived. Israel was.
As my mama taught me, “All that glitters ain’t gold.” Like Eve, Israel rushed ahead to touch and taste before inquiring of the Lord. For this reason, Israel was responsible for its own deception. Deception is waiting at your door to master you too. Before you open the door to that deceptive knocking have you checked-in with God? What currently has caught your eye and is daring you to touch and taste?
God deals with us privately to address habits such as pride, lust, worry, fear, and envy, among others. But if we are unwilling to heed His call, He then deals with us publicly; in other words, we either “choose humility or humiliation.”
What choices are you making today? I pray that with each decision you would submit to God, resist the enemy and watch God draw you nearer to Himself through your obedience. But if we reject this path we will find our private struggles have become our public identity. If we choose.
May your witness for Christ by uncompromised by the vulgarity of the context our times. May God’s word and truth about who you are and who you are in Him define your world? May you, His child, choose Him. And His best for you. Today and always.
Amelia E. Thompson loves to see God create possibility out of what appears to be impossible. She became a Christian during her sophomore year in college. She and friends developed We Write Life into a platform for building community around issues of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness. Thanks to God’s guidance and kindness, she completed studies at Vassar College and St. John’s University and is completing a certificate in Youth and Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.