Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. Ezekiel 2:6 NLT
On my drive back to Charleston this morning I prayed and just asked God to speak to me. And the thing that stuck out most in my heart was “they don’t know…” God listed all these things that people don’t know about me and how He has used these situations, my surroundings and my different circumstances to shape and mold me into the woman I am today and who He desires me to become. Many Christians like myself go through a process of sanctification that gradually strips us of our worldly behaviors, attitudes, and mannerisms that transforms us from the old to the new person…unfortunately, most that don’t witness every step of this change tend to see our old selves and judge us for it.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
I admit, I’m far from a saint. I have had my own demons to fight and overcome, and for that, I am truly grateful. Sadly, every person will not learn from my life because they choose to look at me in my new light with dirty glasses, putting me under a microscope that has not been cleaned and judging me for who I was instead of who He is making me into. I had a mentor to tell me that my former party-girl attitude and ways would disrupt my witness, labeling me as a hypocrite. And this situation hurt me to the core, because primarily, I do not like finding out that I am the subject of someone’s discussions, but more so because they don’t know me! One of my favorite secular rappers is TI. This man has gone through many a transgression, much at his own doing…but one of his songs angrily says “You don’t know me.” As God spoke to me this morning, I heard everything He said and I say them to you, “They don’t know you!”
They don’t know:
- the tears you cried during your freshman year asking Him to save your family and free you from your pain
- the prayers you prayed as a child
- the times you’ve been filled with His presence
- the attitudes, thoughts, desires, and ways He kept you from
- the desires He stripped from you
- the man or woman He has transformed you into in just 6 months
- how many times He saved your life
- how many prayers He has answered for you
- the minutes, hours, days, and weeks you’ve spent faithfully on your knees
- and how He keeps loving you unconditionally, every time you fall short, every time you do not recognize a blessing He has given you, and how He picks you up every time you fall down
We often hear of the apostle Paul’s miraculous conversion experience, of how he went from a Christian killer to being one of the greatest apostles, responsible for writing most of the New Testament and proliferating the Good News through much of the known world. I commend our Christian brothers and sisters that experience deliverance and transformation this way and I know that our God is great and miraculous. HOWEVER, I am most like Peter at times, who loved Jesus the most and yet denied Him three times, but after Jesus’ resurrection, He called on Peter to encourage his brothers, to feed and care for His sheep(John 21:15-19). It was after Peter fell short in His faith, that Jesus’ love and encouragement allowed him to become the foundation for the growth of Christianity. It is Peter who is called the first Pope, the rock on which His church would be built (Peter’s nickname was Cephas, which means ‘rock’). I am like Peter, because I have denied Christ to my flesh and personal desires. I am like Peter, because I have gotten angry and done or said cruel things. I am like Peter, because I have turned my back at times when God wanted me to extend my hand. But for Christ, and His word within me, I am becoming the woman He called me to be, over 8 years ago as I cried on my college bed and nearly 20 years ago as a little girl. It is His love within me that is taking me from lukewarm, room temperature, to the fire that burns within and without! God’s love is straining those not so pretty things from me so that when its time to make my presentation, I am perfected in His light; I know He is doing the same for many of you.
Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:21-24 NIV
Today, I want you to know, they (the Pharisees of modern times) don’t know you! I honestly think many Christians forget where they came from when addressing others; allow what you have gone through to help you help others. Keep pressing and allow His light to draw all those designated to hear your testimony. Guess what light does–IT BLOTS out darkness! Darkness cannot exist where light is present. Be like Peter after Christ reinstated him, because it is Christ’s blood that cleanses and purifies us, making us righteous. Don’t let the words of naysayers and people who aren’t privy to God’s plan and purpose for your life discourage you–I have had family, friend, and foe alike to discourage my calling…but yet here I am! Trust God and watch Him work out the kinks in you to get you to your destiny! Because rest assured God will allow you to use that same testimony to help someone else get through. Shout and proclaim “I am the righteousness of God” because they don’t know you!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT