, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have written in the past about the “Fake It Til You Make It” lie and I wrote about it from my experience in just trying to survive the life I was leading before Christ, before the church, and before I experienced true love and freedom. Everything I did was for show. I would put on my mask everywhere I went and do whatever necessary just to get by. I had a plan of action for every single establishment I ever stepped into, never recognizing my true weaknesses which were: trying to get ahead of others, being jealous of what others had, putting too much stock in temporary benefits, and seeking the approval of others. In turn, I looked down on everyone around me from my perch of control and became narcissistic and uncaring. We see this in the church everyday and I get it, but it’s exactly what satan wants. If I fake it until I make it in pews next to people who are doing the same, then where is the healing taking place? When I walk out of the doors to reach others on the outside, how will I be able to reach them if all I am doing is wearing a mask that people can actually see right through? It then becomes an open door back into the pit of guilt, shame, remorse, and feeling less than and I have to start all over again where I left off before I spent all my energy proving myself to others instead of falling on my face before the One who can change me. A shooting star only lasts for a brief moment before it falls again. How many of us (if we are truly being honest) listen to that nagging voice daily telling us that we are full of it? I know for me, I am tired of putting up false pretenses. I want to be real in ministry. I want to show others that it is ok to have a bad day because I’m human but it’s just not ok to stay there long because we have a Jehovah-Rapha, a God who heals. We have a Jehovah-Nissi, a Lord who is our banner lifted high. We don’t have to perform in order for HIM to perform!

Imagine this…I am standing outside the beautiful gates of heaven, the pearls that adorn it are bigger than the trunks of hundred year old oak tress and they shimmer in the Light that seems to come from nowhere, yet everywhere. As the gates swing open in a wide arc, I take my first step onto a street made of gold that is so brilliant in all it’s luster that I am paralyzed by the sight. The colors that surround me are not of earth, beautiful hues never before seen by human eyes. In my ear, I can clearly hear the prayers of the saints in every single earthly language…and the SINGING!!! It’s as if I am standing center stage at the largest opera house in the universe and there stand millions of singers, their voices lifted in harmonious perfection and praise to their Savior who sits high on the throne ahead of me. The angels are soaring overhead and around the throne of Light and their wings beat in unison to the music and create a breeze that blows against my face…the Mighty Wind of God…and touches me like a sweet kiss. I then hear my name that sounds like thunderous waves crashing into my heart.

The next thing I hear in my spirit that tears me from the perfection I have always sought is this:

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV) –  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

What a miserable legacy to leave. What a terrible way to end my life. I may be a sinner, but I am forgiven because of the sacrifice Jesus made for me at Calvary. I am a blood bought precious daughter of a King, but I don’t need to walk around acting like my life is perfect and judging others for their imperfections, donning my crown and acting better than the rest. Food for thought…you may not understand a person, but to sit in judgment over them is now your demise, regardless of your deeds for the kingdom. That hurts me to know that I have some things I need to work on in my own life in this very area. I am so unworthy of the beautiful, constant, unchanging love that I receive, so why I am so hesitant to give it? God offers grace in the middle of bad circumstances and we ALL find ourselves broken in this fallen world. So who am I to put unrealistic expectations on my brothers and sisters who are just trying to walk this thing out the best way they know how?

God is not impartial to anyone. In fact, He says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that NONE are righteous, not one (Romans 3:10). The Lord also says in John:

John 6:40 (NIV) – For this is the will of my Father, that EVERYONE who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

The Lord doesn’t want ANY to perish but for ALL to come to repentance, even the people of religion and not relationship, even the people stuck in addiction and adultery, even the homeless people on the street, even the throw-aways of society, even the leaders of the church wearing masks afraid to show weakness. If we carry Christ in us as proclaimed Christians, then how are we truly showing Him to others if we are just faking it? We are ALL broken in some way so let it become a part of your testimony! Being sincere in your feelings and your brokenness are actually the things that will set another person free because you KNOW where your help comes from and you can share that with someone else who doesn’t.

I had a verse come to me in my spirit once when I was praying where I heard clearly the address of a specific book, chapter, and verse that I had never read before. I doubted what I had heard until I opened my Bible and found this:

Zechariah 3:2 (NIV) – The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

When I went on to read the rest of that story, I was astonished to know that the Lord was speaking of Joshua, the humble man turned leader after the death of Moses. Even Joshua was viewed by God as a sinner saved by grace.

Zechariah 3:1-5 (NIV) – Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

Did you ever think that sometimes the only people who can snatch wounded others from the fire are ones who have already walked through that same fire and come out clean on the other side?

Jesus has one question for us that will ring in our ears for eternity. “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15-22)

What do we do everyday that proves our love? What words are spoken out of our mouths that show our love for Him and for His people? What about our actions? Do we spout off at people, gossip about them behind their back? Do we plot against them because we don’t like change? Are we jealous? Are we looking at ourselves when we feel dissension or are we always pointing the finger and following the crowd? Are we being uplifting and edifying others or are we speaking negatively over everything?

Peter, the Rock on which Jesus would build His church, denied Jesus THREE times before the crucifixion. In greek, Jesus asked Peter the first time if he loved Him in a self-sacrificing way (Agape). “So, Peter, what are you willing to give up to love and follow Me?”

The second time was the same.

The third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, he used the greek word, phileo, which means affection or brotherly love. “Peter, are you really my friend? Are you who you say you are? Are you really loyal? Are you really going to have my back when times get tough? Are you really going to stand by me and love me even when you don’t want to? Do you LOVE me??”

Jesus was getting to the heart of the matter and giving Peter an opportunity to repent and by showing true forgiveness. After all was said and done, Jesus said, “Follow me.” Two simple words. Peter did NOT say, “Follow where? When? How? What about MY way? What about what I WANT? What about ME?” No, Peter realized that if he truly LOVED CHRIST, he would be willing to go, no questions asked. Peter knew that he would find himself in difficult situations; but he would go, without a fight. But where was Jesus going? Where was Peter to follow Him to? Jesus came for the outcasts, the broken, the hurting, the fearful, the ones who don’t trust, who feel less than, the ones outside the four walls faking it as well as the ones inside who are faking it. He came for ALL of us.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG) – Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Matthew 19:30 – But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.