Thursday, December 29, 2016

Integrity over Image

“Choose Integrity over Image.” 
In a season of making resolutions, setting goals, and striving for change - I finished a devotional on my YouVersion app this morning. This one was, to say the least - shareable! I have added the graphic below from YouVersion - hopefully you download the whole thing and give it a read. But the last day just spoke to everything about finding our identity in what we do, rather than in Jesus. We are a crazed people when it comes to Image, and this was just a great read! Enjoy!! 


Oh, friend, what is our obsession with image? It’s like we just can’t stop tooting our own horns and posting pictures that capture the very best of our lives. I guess that’s because there’s no way to really photograph the hard stuff. I’m not going to stop crying in my cornflakes, or acting really selfish, to take a selfie, are you?
Actually, our obsession with image started back in Genesis, at the fall, when Adam and Eve hid in the Garden. God asked, “Where are you?” and they were like, over here, hiding, pretending like we didn’t just get hustled by that serpent. There’s another story in Genesis 11 about the people in Babylonia who wanted to be famous and make a name for themselves, so they built the Tower of Babel. 
God stopped them, but that spirit lives on today. These days, we see people refer to fame as a career path, and if we’re not careful, whatever we are building – even in Jesus's name – can be more about us and our platform than about Him and His glory.
Let’s just be honest about it, even with Jesus, pride is a central issue in our lives. Personally, pride has kept me bound up in unforgiveness. Pride has hindered relationships in my life. Pride has given birth to control, anger, fear, insecurity, and jealousy in my heart. Pride has kept me at odds with the will of God. At different times in my life, pride has made my image, my desire, my insecurity, and my intellect my god. I can think of nothing more destructive to the purpose of God in our lives and in the lives of others than pride.
I’m sorry, this is sort of heavy for a last day… How are you doing? I’ve loved journeying with you, and we’re getting to more encouraging bits, I promise. I wonder if we build an image because we are searching for significance. We haven’t learned how to be found in Christ, so we look to find ourselves in a person or career, in the clothes we wear, car we drive, pants size and Instagram likes, being better than other people, or proving ourselves to someone in our past, because that makes us feel significant, like we matter. Listen, I’m not anti any of those things, but if our motivation is to exalt our image above our integrity, then we’ve rooted our pursuits in pride. 
If we can surrender our image to Jesus, we can learn to live adverse to haughtiness. That’s what Paul did. When he met Jesus, he conquered the pride that shaped his religion and exalted his intellect. So when he writes in 1 Corinthians 2, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified,” we see a man completely changed by the power of the gospel. We see a forgiven man who has let the idol of his image die on the cross with Jesus, so that he can walk in the truth before God and man. 
Our image-obsessed world can sometimes be a hard place to find God. We can lean into the Holy Spirit and find His presence and power to heal us from our past, to receive forgiveness, and to forgive those who have hurt us, so that pride and it’s offspring does not rule our lives. 
I pray you continue to find God in the hard places of life. Thank you for the privilege of walking with you on your discipleship journey. You are so loved. 
PRACTICE: Read Saul’s conversion in Acts Chapter 9. As you enter into his story, ask God what He wants you to see, what He wants you to understand. Is the spirit of pride keeping you focused more on your image than on Christ? Is there anyone God is asking you to forgive so you can move forward?

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