Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beloved

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                I am my own worst critic. Even before I was a Christian, I tended to be very hard on myself. Always pushing myself to do better, try harder, and be more than what I was. It was something that was ingrained in me by my mother from a young age. She always wanted better and more for me and my sister, so she pushed us to be the best people we could be. There was nothing wrong with her wanting this for us, but unfortunately, I took it to the extreme and pushed myself beyond my own limits sometimes. When I became a Christian, this same mentality drove me. It pushed me into His word, it pushed me into striving to be more than I was, it birthed in me a desire to grow and abound as much as I possibly could. This is not a bad thing, but I sometimes take it too far. The Lord wants us to throw ourselves into Him and seek after Him with all we have. My problem is, when I fail, I become hard on myself and begin to see all my faults, failures and I become a disappointment to myself.
                This morning, as I was preparing the study for this week’s women’s group, I came across a word that stuck out at me. This simple word reminded me that I am my own worst critic. How I see myself is not how God sees me, and the only opinion about me that matters is His. This simple word touched my heart; the word is “beloved.”
                “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
                Beloved, what a powerful word that spoke to my heart this day. How I needed to hear His word over me this morning. I have found myself failing once again. Walking down a road I know He has told me not to go down, taking credit for things that only He deserves the credit for, allowing my pride to get in the way of His grace, and so many other sins that have come to the forefront of my heart these past few weeks. My insecurities, my weaknesses, my lack of obedience, all come rushing in and tell me that I am not good enough, I am never going to achieve the high calling of God on my life. (Philippians 3:14)
              But then, out of the depths of my soul I hear His voice say to me, “You are My beloved.” The word beloved means well pleasing, it means to be content with someone, to be chosen, desired, and favored above others. No matter who I am; what I do (good or bad) I am His beloved. I am well pleasing to Him. He knows all my faults, and all my failures. He knows when I am going to listen and when I am going to disobey. He knows when I am going to walk the path He has for me, and when I am going to choose my own way. He is not surprised by my stubbornness, nor is He surprised when I behave! To Him, I am beloved. I am well pleasing to Him. This was too much for my mind and my heart to take in! But that is what I am to Him, I am pleasing to Him. He does not look on me and see my failures. He does not wait for me to perform all the right moves and take all the right steps, He looks on me and says, “Well done My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)
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                These words that we read in Matthew are not only for a future time when we enter into the presence of the Lord, but for today, for right now. Today I am in His presence, and all He sees is His beloved. I have been chosen for Him. I have been chosen before the foundations of the word to be sanctified by His Spirit so that He can show forth His great love for all mankind through me. No matter how I see myself, whether good or bad, that is not how the Lord sees me. He sees me as His beloved. He sees you as His beloved.
                You may be saying to yourself today that you are a failure, but let me encourage you that that is not how your God sees you. He sees you as His beloved. You are well pleasing to Him. He looks on you and sees the completed work of His Son in you. You are His good and faithful servant- through the good and through the bad. We do not have to strive to be more than we already are- His beloved. We are to strive after Him, to know Him, to love Him and to surrender to Him, but we do not have to strive to be anything other than what we already are in His eyes. We are His beloved.
              I do not know where you find yourself today. But, I pray that you can take encouragement from the words the Lord has given me today and know that no matter what, in the good and in the bad, you are His beloved. He is well pleased with you. He is content to have you just the way you are, but remember, He loves you too much to leave you there. He is happy with you. He is not looking down on you shaking His head, but instead, He is singing over you, “You are My beloved.” He has called you chosen, and because you responded to His call, you are now His one and only beloved. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.