Last Sunday, I didn’t go to church because somehow I ended up missing the opportunity to get a ride. It was early so I just went back into bed. I turned on my laptop and I planned to aimlessly scroll on social media. I’m not usually that unproductive but something was upsetting me and usually, when I’m upset I can’t concentrate on being productive so I just do nothing instead. I know that’s not the best way to deal with a problem and I’m definitely working on it!
So then, as I was scrolling on Facebook, I felt like I needed to be in the presence of God. Normally, I tend to overthink and worry when I’m bothered by something but I just felt like I needed God’s wisdom concerning what I should do. So, instead of scrolling aimlessly on Facebook, I decided to do something differently. I am currently watching Steven Furtick’s series, Seven Mile Miracle. It emphasizes the seven last words of Christ and how they relate to our lives today. I picked up where I left off at the sermon titled Complete the Cross. Before I began watching, I whispered to God, “Lord, please speak to me about this problem. Please show me what to do.” God never fails to provide and so, He answered my prayer and spoke to me through Complete the Cross. I want to share with you some of what really inspired me from this series.
The Cross is both vertical and horizontal.
So, about this issue that has been upsetting me. It stems from my fear. I was afraid of being used. My past caused me to naturally expect this result. So, I build a wall that prevents myself from being hurt without realizing that in the process I could be hurting those close to me.
I had a conversation with a friend that was left at a shaky, confusing place. Honestly, it might have all just been a misunderstanding. Somehow I couldn’t seem to get through to this friend. I kept trying to say things that would explain or make the situation better (but nothing I could say or do would get through with my wall up.) Deep down inside, I felt pushed to let my wall down. forget about my pride and truly get to the bottom of the problem. But, my pride was also tugging at me saying things like: Why should I care anyway? I didn’t want to put forth the effort it took to mend this broken place because if I did, I could end up leaving myself exposed and vulnerable. I would probably have to reveal that I’m not strong all on my own and yes, I actually need this friend in my life. Pride kept whispering, forget about it. There were two things I could do: Risk embarrassment and be honest and open or formulate all kinds of ideas in my head about how this friend wasn’t true. Then my conclusion would have been, no problem, it’s just me and Jesus here. Don’t need nobody else.
However, the cross tells a different story. It says to place my friend’s needs before my own. It tells a story of reconciliation. It says to view the situation from the opposite perspective. It says to go out of my way to make amends. Even at the cost of my pride. It tells me to love unconditionally. The God of the universe sent His son to die so that our relationship with Him could be restored. It’s not just me and Jesus. We are called to love. We are meant to have relationships. God uses our relationships to draw us closer to himself. It all works together. Our relationship with God will suffer if our relationships on earth are broken. The cross has a vertical line connecting us to God. But where is the horizontal line? Complete the cross.
Your validation is in the cross.
From time to time, I seek for validation from my peers. I fish for a compliment here or there. Don’t we all? If you’re fishing for compliments to define your worth, it won’t help. No one but Jesus can give you self worth. If you don’t already know who you are in Christ, no amount of compliments will ever make you feel good about yourself. I know many of us have blogs, write music or sing. We all have something that we’re passionate about that we wish other people would be passionate about with us. I want to remind you, don’t look to your peers to compliment your talents. It’s nice if they support you but if they don’t keep going. If you’re doing what you do according to God’s will, then you are already approved by God and you don’t need anyone else’s approval. Your validation is in the cross.
Everything you need is in Jesus. Receive it from Him and then give to others of what you have received. Don’t look to receive from people. You will always be disappointed if you do that. If you are sad go to God’s word. He will lift your spirit. If you are questioning your worth, His word says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you are afraid, His word says do not fear. You don’t need anyone to tell you who you are. You are God’s.
Don’t overlook those who are still with you because you can’t get over those who left.
People have hurt me. People who I once thought were with me were actually not. Surprise? People who I thought were true turned their backs on me. Elementary school is that awkward stage. Some kids were cruel and used my awkward stage as an opportunity to make fun of me. In the sixth grade, I wore a lot of denim skirts. Many of them looked alike. Kids would make fun of me for always wearing the same skirt. I had this one friend that never made fun of me. I thought I could count on her to stand by my side. But one day when they were all making fun of me, I turned to my friend looking for comfort only to find that she had joined in with the rest of them. For months later, I wondered why she turned her back on me. Even when I made a new friend who appreciated me for who I was, I still thought about her.
That brings me to the next point of Pastor Steven’s sermon that inspired me. Don’t overlook those who are still with you because you can’t get over those who left. People will leave you. It’s painful. But God will never leave you alone. When one person walks out, God will send someone else. Don’t overlook the people who are still in your life while desperately reaching for those who left you.
Even in his suffering, Jesus was concerned with others.
When something is bothering me, I find it hard to even think about what other people are feeling. Even when everything is fine, I find myself so busy and caught up with with things that I don’t take enough time to think about others. Jesus was suffering the most horrific death there was and still, He made sure that Mary and John were taken care of. (John 19:26-27)
I’m sure most of us take the time to ask how other people are doing. We even take some time to listen. But I think we should take it further. If someone in your life is in need, give sacrificially. Don’t give to be blessed, give because Jesus first gave to you.
Let’s stop living for ourselves. Let’s be quick to forgive. Remember that we need people. Let’s break down the walls between each other. We cannot truly see the fullness of the Gospel in its beauty and splendor if we cannot see the beauty in the people in our lives.
We need each other.
Watch the series here.