Sunday, June 1, 2014

People of Valor

This post is based on this morning's sermon by my pastor, Josh Holland. I give him credit for the quotes listed.

Sermon Recording:

Valor: strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness :  personal bravery

Judges 6:11-14:  Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joashthe Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

I don't read the Old Testament of the Bible very much. I have always found it boring and hard to understand. But my Bible Study leader loves the Old Testament and is renewing my interest. In addition, my pastor has recently done several sermons based in the Old Testament which explains things in a way I've never thought about before. Such as the verses posted above out of the book of Judges.

Today's sermon was the first in a series about Valor. In Judges, Gideon was called a "mighty man of valor" by an angel of the Lord. But in that moment, Gideon was not acting at all like a mighty and brave person. All he could see was the situation in front of him, and in what he could see, life appeared dismal and he was probably pretty fearful. Regardless, the angel doesn't say "you will be a mighty man of valor" he says "you ARE a mighty man of valor." As Pastor Josh said this morning, "Just as in this case with Gideon, God sees you differently than you see yourself. God looks beyond your present performance and sees your potential." God knows who you are on the inside because he created your complete person. He know who you are going to be when you are complete in Christ and He knows the gifts he put within you. I will assume that if you believe this, it is great news! I know it is for me. What a relief to know that there are great things within me that are yet to be tapped into. That God doesn't see the flaws and inability that I see in myself. I also find it a relief that God still has a job he wants me to do regardless of how I see myself. He could have looked at Gideon in his time of weakness and say "Never mind, I will find someone further along in their faith journey to get this done"...but no, He knew that Gideon could do it because he saw the bravery that was inside him.

"Sometimes the way you look at yourself affects how others see you." I'm not sure if the way I see myself has affected how others see me, but I do know that it affects how I interact with others. This particular point from this morning hit close to any good sermon should. The illustration used was that of a house of mirrors. We can look in the mirror and see ourselves so distorted from the original God made. I go through phases of really struggling with how I see myself. In some ways, that can be a good thing because it can cause positive changes. But, when it gets in your head and negative self-talk takes place, it is no longer a good thing. I do my best to fight that part...but I can't do it on my own. Because as pointed out...Satan is a master of illusion and the only way to see yourself as God sees you (a mighty man/woman of valor) is by looking into the mirror of God's Word. Reading what he has to say about you, His creation. Words such as Psalm 139:14 "...I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." and 1 John 3:1 "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." I do not look in this mirror enough, but I should. "This mirror is more important than looking in the bathroom mirror everyday." 

The challenge for growth: Spend time looking into God's mirror so that I can see myself how God sees me. How does God see me? As a courageous women who can do whatever it is He has created me to do. And as a woman who has the strength to be the person I am right now, in the circumstance I am placed in and with the challenges that come my way. Not to just look like I have it together on the outside, but to actually believe it on the inside.