It is so easy to become so consumed with Thanks- giving and Christmas activities at church, school and home that you lose track of who you are and what it is like to be you. Sunday School dinners, class plays, decorating, shopping and holiday baking, gift making and wrapping …you become driven by your list until your spouse asks who you are and what you’ve done with the real you!
(Photo courtesy of Fotolia)
The book of Proverbs says that a deceitful heart keeps people from finding and doing good. (Proverbs 17:20) Someone not synchronized with God becomes vulnerable for perversion, deceit, and distortedness. All of these characteristics obviously are unhealthy and do not promote life. Paul helps us understand more on keeping an open connection to God and acting the way you are designed.
Writing to a group of believers, Paul says sin impedes your ability to act like yourself. He explains that everyone is capable of sinning, or failing to act like themselves–we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. Romans 3:23
- You are not justified by your works or through your deeds.
- You receive justification from a holy God through faith alone in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
- You require and need atonement to pay for your sins.
However, a struggle still rages as you discover how to act like yourself and stay synchronized with God.
Paul’s struggle with not acting like himself. In Romans chapter 7, he shares his discontentment and frustration with how sin caused him to do things he did not desire to do. Sin, the deadly gene passed down from Adam and Eve caused Paul to fail at acting like himself.
Paul concludes the problem is sin and the flesh. Who Paul really is desires to please and serve God. As a Christian you are no different than Paul. A battle still rages in your members as you wrestle with sin (death) and acting like yourself, which is life.
Your well-intentioned and prearranged strategies are not enough to enable you to act like yourself. You require practice with experienced people to be examples and models. You need people who remember who they are when upset and act like it.
When you remember who you are when upset you are motivated by love rather than fear.
Love and desire are motivations that result from the frontal centers of your brain.
Fear and problem solving activities result from the back of our brain.
Desire enables while fear disables your ability to act like yourself amidst distress.
The disciples learned the difference of operating from desire and from fear during their time with Jesus. All of them endured hands-on training and gained experience, especially during the distress of having their Teacher taken away.
For example, Peter experienced enough distress to interfere with his well-intentioned (desire driven) plans. In Mark 14:27a, Jesus prepares and informs His disciples about His impending death, Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night…”
Peter speaks up and professes his utmost devotion, desire, and loyalty to follow his Lord – even if the others leave Him. After Jesus prophesies his denial, Peter speaks up again, recorded in Mark 14:31, But he (Peter) spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise. You know what happens, and can speculate Peter’s fear overran his plans, desires and hopes to be able to stand firm next to his Savior to the very end.
Had Peter acted like himself while feeling terrified, he would have fulfilled his hope to not deny his Lord and possibly died. Thankfully, God had a plan full of redemption and reconciliation for Peter. After Jesus rose from the grave, He not only restored Peter but replaced Peter’s three denials with three commands – to feed His lambs, tend and feed His sheep.
All of these activities are desire driven functions that Peter would do throughout his ministry. However, the Lord informs Peter He would ultimately fulfill Peter’s pledge to join his Lord and prophesies about the type of death Peter will undergo. Church tradition holds a remarkable account that says Peter acted like himself all the way to his death. Supposedly, Peter went to his death still motivated by desire rather than fear. Peter, finding himself unworthy to die the same death as his Lord, asked to be crucified upside down.
Whether you feel shame, terror, hopeless despair, rage, sadness or disgust, you fare well when you remember who you are and act like it. You stay flexible and your ability to recover improves when you act like yourself.
If you would like to learn how to live from the front of your brain and be yourself in good times and bad, consider starting to prepare for Thrive Training or bring Connexus to your church.
Go here for information on Joy Starts Here groups, Thrive and Connexus.
Thrive Training Reminder…
Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas
July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Registration Information here.
May your Christmas joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology – Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
Carol A. Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com
Carol’s email – firstname.lastname@example.org