Hebrews 12 : 11 - 17, Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. NKJV
Do you allow others to determine how you value yourself? You’ll probably say, “No,” and you should. However, there are times when we all allow what others think or say about us influence how we view ourselves. Even though you might not listen to a negative statement that has been spoken against you or your abilities, the words can still leave a residue in your memories.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that loves to hate. People might not walk up to your face and say that they hate you. Nevertheless, they can still do cruel things against you. Paul lists the works of the flesh in Galatians 5; among those are attitudes such as jealousy, contentions, and envy. Therefore, it’s our responsibility to be “prayed up” and “suited up” with the armor of God so that we don’t allow people to influence or taint the way we see ourselves in Christ. Let me explain the term “in Christ.” When God looks at us through the blood and obedience of Christ, He doesn’t see us as lost and undone. Consequently, God doesn’t have to tell us constantly, or even mention how awful we are when we make a mistake or blow-it.
Instead, God views us through the finished work of Christ; He sees us as righteous. God has chosen to redeem and restore us to wholeness by believing in us... that one day we will become all that He has already declared us to be through Christ. Now, here is the big question you must consider and answer for yourself: Do you get your identity from man or from God? If you look to people whom you respect and love for acceptance and approval, then you’re setting yourself up for a let-down. People (us) are flawed, and we all know it. Someone may love and respect you; however, they may be dealing with something in their own heart... a jealousy, envy, or other fleshly weakness, which causes them to give you a negative report that just isn’t true. Even so, if you lean too much on people’s opinions, you could receive a false diagnosis into your heart and lose the strength to press on into completion in Christ.
Therefore, we must look to Jesus, only hearing what the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have to say about who we are; we must not dwell on the opinions of man. Nevertheless, if we do seek approval from others (and we all do at times), then we must always remember that they don’t love us in the same way that God loves us. The world belittles anything and anyone associated with God, not because the thing or the person is bad, but because their hearts aren’t right toward God.
Over time, the world, if we allow it, can cause us to lose honor and value for the blessings and the acceptance we have found in Christ. This brings me to the point of today’s word: Esau was convinced by Satan through unbelief that his life was over if he didn’t sell his birthright to his brother, Jacob for a bowl of stew. Therefore, he sold his birth right, which represents the eternal and priceless, for something that was temporal and worthless in comparison; Esau did this because he was convinced that his life was over.
Just like Esau, if we, too, allow the world or people we love to decide our value, then we can be influenced to diminish the value of the eternal blessings that God has bestowed on us; and we will fall prey to living beneath God’s best for us.
Here is a practical example to help you grasp the importance of today’s teaching. Let’s suppose your spouse doesn’t give you the time, attention, and validation you would like to have. If you don’t turn those unmet desires toward the Lord and find fulfillment in your relationship with Christ, then inevitably you will begin to take on a mindset that could prove dangerous to your relationship with your spouse and to Christ. Because you’re not getting “your needs met” by your spouse, it could give you the “feeling” that you’re not worthy or that something is “wrong with you.” If you give in to these lies from Satan, then it could lead you into some dangerous waters.
Let’s suppose you’re at work or at your favorite store and someone of the opposite sex begins to notice things about you that your spouse discounts, and this other person begins to make you “feel” valuable once again. Now, you’re at a vulnerable place where you could fall into an emotional or illicit affair, all because someone has tapped into a need that your spouse should have provided.
Therefore, we must not draw our identity from anyone but Christ, lest we give ourselves over to seduction and fall into a spiritual trap. Through Christ, you can do all things and overcome all things. We all just have to be willing to walk by faith, not led by people’s opinions or our feelings. If this word describes where you’ve been emotionally, then I pray that the Holy Spirit will set you free from hurt and rejection and fill you with God’s love. After all, Jesus is our Bride-groom, and He will supply ALL our need.
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery