With the wrapping up of our series, Living The Dream, we asked staff member Christopher Cook to share some words of wisdom about identity and purpose – you’ll want to take notes!
Our perspective about our position in life creates the posture by which we live life.
For some people, that equates to quiet confidence in their abiding sense of personal purpose from the Lord. But for others, their perspective is founded upon limitation, lack, and insecurity, just like Gideon from the Bible.
Setting up the scene from Judges chapter six, Gideon had been called by the Lord, however, he lived each day full of fear—fear of the Midianites, fear of defeat, and fear that God had abandoned His people.
“Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Though the Lord called him by name and ascribed to him identity (“…O mighty man of valor”), Gideon’s perspective about his position (a faulty belief that he had been abandoned and left helpless) created the posture by which he lived his life: paralyzed by fear and cynical regarding the faithfulness of the Lord. And in that moment, his response was to self-protect and justify his own unbelief.
Verse thirteen illuminates the fear in Gideon’s heart: “…if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” Does that sound familiar to you? Lord, if You really loved me…if you really saw me and cared for me…why did this happen?! How can I trust that it won’t happen again?! That’s the strength of the spirit of fear at work in our lives when adverse circumstances cause us to self-protect and separate ourselves in independence. We miss the sturdy promise of God’s abiding presence in every season and circumstance of life.
Underpinning this point, I’m reminded of one of my favorite verses of Scripture, words from the apostle Paul, recorded in Romans 8:37 (ESV): “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Because we, inherent to our identity as sons and daughters of the King, are “more than conquerors,” that presupposes that in this life, we’re going to have something to conquer! But here’s the kicker: our ability to live as “more than conquerors” isn’t based upon our own ability. Instead, our capacity to overcome is found in the strength of Him Who loves us and Whose promise is to never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).
Remarkably, He intentionally chose you and me amid our fears, doubts, and insecurities, to do something great for Him. Let’s look back at Gideon’s encounter with the Angel of the Lord in verse fourteen to illustrate this truth.
“And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he [Gideon] said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
You see, where the Lord sends you, my friend, His presence and provision accompany your journey. Will the trek be absent of challenges, however? Certainly not. Will you have moments of indecision, doubt, and fear? If you’re anything like me, probably. But will He be with you? Assuredly yes.
Maybe today, you’re in a difficult situation that totally caught you off-guard. Or perhaps you know the Lord has called you, like Gideon, but doubt and fear clouds your ability to receive your true identity and walk confidently in it. Here’s what God says: “Bring your doubts to Me. Bring your uncertainty to Me. Bring your fear to Me!” Will you let God meet you in the middle of them?
As my friend, Cliff Johnson, says, “He may ask you to do something epic for His kingdom, possibly even before you have worked out your doubts and fear. Our God is not insecure, He will wait patiently until you are ready to engage with what He has given you to do.”
So today, will you surrender your fear, shame, control, and independence to Jesus? Fear and intimidation prevent us from not only seeing what we need to see (His truth versus our facts), but it renders us paralyzed from taking the most important step forward: the first step.
May your perspective about your position as a son or daughter of the King galvanize the courageous, “more than a conqueror” posture from which you live each day of your life.
Christopher Cook not only works on staff at Kensington in the Worship Arts, but he is also an inspiring speaker and teacher who desires to lead others to live out of their true identity and purpose. Check out his website and podcast here.