God is my defender.
I am healed in my heart,
in my mind and
in my body.
1 Peter 2:20-25 (NASB)
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, yet you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps,
“He who committed no sin,
And no deceit was found in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)
When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might not die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and the Guardian of your soul.
As our belief grows that we truly belong to God and our God belongs to us we are more able to stand in our circumstances, whatever they are. The stories of Abram and Joseph are excellent examples of how our God does defend us. Even when the world tries to tell us we are fools to believe God has our back.
Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 (read if you have the time)
In summary, God sends Abram to Egypt since there is a famine in the land. He lies to Pharaoh about Sarah, saying she is his sister, so as not to die. Divorce was not a common answer in those days, murder was. God intervenes, coming to Pharaoh in a dream. Pharaoh confronts Abram and confirms his dream. As God's friend in Pharaoh's eyes Abram is asked to leave Egypt and does so with Pharaoh's blessing as a multimillionaire.
God had Abram’s back, even though he lied to Pharaoh. Abram was doing his best to interact with the world around him and honor his relationship with God. God has never asked us to get it right and uses our performance as a standard of how much He loves us or a condition of what He will do for us. We do our best to honor Him in the truth we know in our understanding and He does the rest, drawing us closer and maturing us all along the way.
Genesis Chapter 37:12-36 & Chapters 39-41 (read if time allows)
Joseph the youngest of 11 brothers gifted and as Dad's favorite this creates jealousy among his older brothers. Joseph gets sold as a slave by his brothers. He gets raised up to be the head slave running a household estate. He gets set up by the boss's wife after rejecting her advances out of reverence for his God. She falsely accuses him of trying to have sex (attempted rape) with her. Joseph spends 10+ years in jail before being raised up to be the second most powerful person in the world.
Even though circumstances did not look like God was involved in Joseph's life He was. Even though God is never presented as a father until Jesus, God, as a father would, was preparing Joseph for his future in fulfilling God’s purpose for his life. Joseph was full of pride over his strengths and abilities as a result God humbled him through his circumstances. This was not a punishment. God was to preparing him to succeed when he was given a position of power. In every harsh circumstance we recognize that Joseph never stopped being his best and never lost sight of who he represented as a God centered man.
Many of us today consider hard times and struggles to be a form of punishment. When most often they are a part of life that strengthen us and help us to develop godly character through perseverance. Let us judge not, but do our part as God is with us all along the way.
When Jesus took on all of our infirmities He also took on the wrongs and the slights that have wounded us, our past that we have carried into our present day life. It is the effect of these wounds that is washed clean by the blood Jesus shed for us. It is with the renewing of our mind, washing our soul in the Word of God and spending time in His presence that these wounds to our heart, mind and body are healed. We are still aware of having them, but we no longer have to be protective of these areas in our life. We are becoming healthy people able to love freely because of how God loves on us.
Often, when we have something in our past that is still cropping up and affecting our life and the lives of those we love it is because we have unfinished business with our old wounds. It is not that God is refusing to heal us; it is because we still have our part to do. This can mean changing our behavior patterns as a reflection of the new day and hope we now have. Also, almost always, we have yet to truly forgive from our heart the person, people or even the event that has hurt us.
Some times we have forgiven the deed without forgiving the person who has wronged us or just the opposite. We have forgiven the person, but not the deed. True forgiveness is in both word and from the heart forgiving both the offender and the deed. Even when we cannot see doing this our God is faithful to help us let go, if we are willing. This can happen sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. Our part is making the choice to forgive and standing on that choice. We can trust God to do His part to heal and purify our broken heart of even our deepest wounds when we let Him. He is the Potter and we are the clay in the Master's hand.
Forgiveness does not mean we pretend it never happened. This is denial not forgiveness. Going through the motions never works with our God. We can know we have truly forgiven others when we can bring up the memory and no longer be emotionally attached to it. Anger is a secondary emotion that is triggered by our original wound such as rejection; not being good enough, not accepted or affirmed. Betrayal is another area of being deeply wounded. No matter what the wound or how deep God is big enough and willing to heal us and make us whole again.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to me…?
How does today’s message apply to my life?…my beliefs?