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The Word For Today

Knowing who you are in Christ



'You are mine.' Isaiah 43:1 NIV

We hear about people being released from prison after serving time for a crime they didn't commit. It was a case of mistaken identity. Identifying someone means having the ability to recognise and say exactly who they are. Satan wants you to identify with who people say you are, versus who God says you are. And unless you know who you are in God's eyes, Satan will hammer you with feelings of condemnation and unworthiness.

God's grace and unconditional love for you is the only secure foundation on which to base your salvation and self-worth. Today he says to you: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine' (Isaiah 43:1 NIV). Jesus identified with God's opinion only: 'I know where I came from and where I am going' (John 8:14 AMP). People said terrible things about Jesus, yet here's what God said about him: 'The stone...the builders rejected has become the...cornerstone' (Psalm 118:22 NKJV).

Sometimes we're so busy telling people what to do that we neglect to tell them who they are. Knowing who you are in Christ gives you confidence to hold your head high. You are 'complete' because of your relationship to Christ (see Colossians 2:10). God sees you clothed in Christ's righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Once you accept that, you stop feeling like you constantly fall short. When you have money in the bank and you need to withdraw it, you don't feel pressured because you know it's in an account with your name on it. Likewise, you don't have to struggle for other people's approval when you know you're loved and accepted by God.

Soulfood: Zech 5-8, Mark 14:12-26, Ps 34

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Free from people's approval



'We are not trying to please men but God.' 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV

There's a world of difference between performing for people's approval, and being free to minister to their needs because you know you already have God's approval. Striving for approval is like any other drug; you can never get enough of it. And like all junkies, you go crazy when it's withheld. It places you at the mercy of other people's opinions and, as a result, you live on an emotional roller coaster.

That's not how God wants you to live! Paul was free to speak the truth in love: to confront people or to be gentle with them. When someone told Paul they didn't like him, he didn't lose sleep over it because his security and self-worth weren't built on their acceptance. 'We speak as men approved by God' (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV). Paul didn't go around comparing himself with others, demonstrating his superiority by trying to be top dog or the one who's always in charge. Knowing he already had God's approval set him free from such anxiety and meant he could enjoy the life God called him to. When we're immature, we worry about what others think of us. But as we become more mature, we realise that most of the time they aren't thinking about us at all. They're too busy thinking about themselves - or worrying about what we think of them!

Knowing you have God's approval gives you the strength to deal with criticism and conflict because you're secure in your identity. And your identity is this: you're redeemed, called and approved by God.

Soulfood: Zech 1-4, Mark 14:1-11, Ps 39, Prov 24:26-28

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Remember to forget



'If you have anything against anyone, forgive him.' Mark 11:25 NKJV

No matter how much two people love each other, conflicts are sure to arise that call for extending grace and showing forgiveness. Do you know that couples who are happy and stay married have the same number of disagreements and conflicts as couples who are unhappy and get divorced? Statistically, that is true! It's not the absence of conflict that preserves marriage, but the ability to manage conflict when it happens.

How do you 'manage' conflict? By practicing the kind of self-control that keeps conflicts from mushrooming into hurtful and divisive standoffs. It also means knowing what to do with hurt feelings like anger, disappointment and dashed expectations. In other words, it means knowing how to forgive it and forget it. But emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember.

So, what's the answer? Remember to forget! Try to act like God, who chooses not to hold against us what he knows about us. he says in his Word: 'I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins' (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV). That means if you are holding something against your spouse, there's only one solution: Forgive it and forget it. You may never forget how you've been hurt, but you can choose to forgive it and move on. No, it's not easy, but you can do it. How? By remembering the things, known or unknown to others, that God has forgiven you for and extending that same grace to your spouse.

Soulfood: 2 Tim 1-4, Mark 13:24-37, Ps 3, Prov 24:23-25

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