“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37 NLT
Living in New England, surrounded by avid sports fans and successful profession teams, it’s easy to live in victory when it comes to our regional identity. But, I have to confess, most of the time I don’t care who wins or loses a sporting event. (Don’t hate me Patriot’s fans.) However, when one of my sons is playing I really want their team to win. So, knowing that we are ALL on God’s Son’s team and that the victory is certain, I can also rest in my identity in Christ. Jesus secured the victory and we now get to join Him by taking our place on the field day by day. There is no condemnation if you drop the ball or strike out. In the end, we are all going to celebrate.
Nevertheless, the empirical force unbelief sometimes has on me is crippling. My fist holds tight to what I’ve experienced in the past when my heart longs to be free from the pain of living in a pool of insecurity. Negative self talk from the enemy chokes creativity and convinces me not to try. “Why bother? Nothing will come of it,” he hisses quietly. “You aren’t that good so why would God use you?” or “You certainly don’t know what you’re doing.” Then, to cinch paralysis, “You will be rejected, it will be painful and it’s not worth it.” There it is, the crippling lie that “I’m unloveable” lurking under the feeling of inadequacy.
Having said this, I know, from experience, that my experiences do not define me. Even still, I expect rejection and defeat because, growing up, that’s what I learned from human relationships. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Because of this truth, the best weapon the enemy of our souls is armed with is the ability to convince us that we are not loved by God and He will not use us. He first thrusts us to the edge of doubt before pushing us over the cliff of unbelief. If we take the bait then we are taken captive by the enemy, bound by a fortress of lies. The lies are effective because, in reality, we have blown it, experienced hardship and suffered rejection. The seen reality has told us we are unloved, worthless or unlovable.
But, God tells us clearly in His Word that He loves us so much He died for us. He also tells us that He will never leave us, has good plans for us, has given us Himself and we have the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit within us to do whatever God calls us to do. We shrug our saved shoulders and say, “Uh, okay?” This unbelief becomes a nagging injury that can only be healed by God’s truth. God really will NEVER leave you or forsake you. He really does, at all times and in all circumstances, whether you are cranky or having a bad hair day, deeply love you inside and out. You are gifted and have a role to play, not on your merit but because Christ is in you and you were chosen. If we could all live in the reality of the victory we have in Christ we would have complete freedom to love and be loved! So, let’s believe in the unseen reality that we will never be cut from the team and play with confidence because our uniforms are red and white, a picture of the victory Christ secured for us all.