|‘…You are my servant; I have chosen you…’ Isaiah 41:9|
Have you ever wondered how animal trainers used to control a five-tonne elephant and keep it from running away? They did it by controlling the animal’s thinking. When a baby elephant was being trained, a rope was put around its leg and then tied to a wooden post secured in the ground. The elephant, which was not yet very strong, pulled at the rope but was unable to break it or to pull up the post. Eventually it gave up. From that point forward when the elephant’s leg was secured it believed it couldn’t get away-even though it was fully capable of escaping, and had been for a long time. It remembered its struggle. That’s one reason it’s said, ‘Elephants never forget.’
And we are like that too. Our thinking limits us, just as an elephant’s does. Usually it’s because of fear. The truth is fear can steal your dreams. You may be afraid of failure. You may be afraid of rejection. You may not want to make a fool of yourself. You may be afraid of trying because you believe you can’t succeed. If you give in to these thoughts and believe that you can’t achieve your dream, you’ll be right-and therefore unable to achieve your dream. Often what we fear has no connection to reality. But here’s the good news: Fear can be overcome.
The first step to overcoming it is to believe God when He says about you: ‘…You are my servant; I have chosen you…do not fear, for I am with you…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ (vv. 9-10 NIV).
‘..Approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him….’ 2 Corinthians 5:21
God loves and accepts you as much on your bad days as He does on your good ones. In a performance-based society, that’s easy to forget. But you mustn’t!
God’s acceptance is based on your standing in Christ, not the state of your life at a given time.
‘For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His (not our) goodness].’
Think of the cross as a trading post. There God took every sin you’d ever commit and laid it upon Jesus. And the moment you place your trust in Christ, God takes all of Christ’s righteousness and wraps you up in it. From that point on, He sees you only one way – in Christ.
How liberating! Liberating, because now you realize that your worth isn’t based on what you do but on who you are in relationship to Christ. God actually assigned value to you by allowing Jesus to die for you. ‘But I can’t believe that God doesn’t care about what I do.’ You’re right! And your rewards in heaven will be based on your stewardship here on earth. God wants you to do good works, but He doesn’t want you to depend on them; He wants you to do them out of love for Him. Once you understand your position, who you are in Christ, you begin doing the right things for the right reasons. Amen.