Jul 25, 2010

Who Are YOU?

The last Sunday of each month, I help out in Nursing Home ministries that my father leads. Today, at the start of his message he said something that struck me and I think you all need to think about it.

"Usually when we get up in the morning one of the first things we do is look at ourselves in the mirror. Why? What are we looking for? What do we expect to see? Do we expect to see anyone else? Do we look at the wrinkles and the hair loss or color change? What do we see?"

I thought about that during his message and on the way home today and I want to ask you, "WHO ARE YOU?"



Think about that for a while. Do you know who you are?

Turn back the clock five years, ten years, twenty years. Think about the goals and aspirations you had back then, and what you expected out of life. Remember the good times and the bad times. Are you who you thought you would be five years ago? How about twenty years ago. What kind of person were you twenty years ago, and are you the same now?

I know that change can be good. Many of us are not what we expected to be. We are not living the life we thought we would have. But, is it better than what you had expected? Or has your life had many bumps and corners that have changed you? Is it a good change. Would the you from yesterday be satisfied with who you turned out to be?

Think about it.

Consider Samson.

He was born with a purpose. He was a Nazarite from birth. He had a destiny. It was laid out before him and he knew as a child what he was supposed to do. Most of us can say the same thing. We were born into a belief pattern, a vocation, or lifestyle and we never expected to ever deviate from that.

I remember so many times of how strong the anointing was in our churches when I was little, and even though I knew in my heart what God wanted of me, and was willing at the time, I really did not like the direction he was taking me when I was just a little bit older. But I was young. I didn't fully grasp the road I was on, and where I needed to be.

Life can come at you from all sides and before you know it, you are not who you were, or who you expected you would be. Sometimes that is a good thing. Most times, it is not good at all.

Samson thought he had it all together. He tormented the enemy. He would make fun of them, and he had the strength to do so. He made them an embarrassment among their own people, and he was only one man. He knew who he was, but more importantly, he knew who his God was, and he knew God would back him up.

Imagine tying the tails of foxes together and setting them on fire, and letting them run through wheat fields catching fire to the crops. What a destructive young man he was, but he was destroying the inquity of the time. Another time he took a bone from a donkey and slew thousands of the enemy. We are still talking about one man. Samson, destined with purpose, born to be a leader.

And then along came Delilah. Samson already had a promised bride. His plan was set forth before him, and a little bit of temptation got in the way.

Kind of like us right? We have a destiny planned before we are born; we have a purpose for being here, and yet...

In the beginning, Samson thinking he was something special toyed with Delilah too. He made fun of her, and was still destroying the enemies that came into his life. It wasn't a big deal. It wouldn't matter if he just looked, maybe touched it a little. He was still born a Nazerite. He was God's chosen.

And Delilah kept after him. He took his eyes off his destiny and looked at the temptation of what he could have, and he gave in to her seductive spirit.

I wonder how many of us grew up knowing our purpose, knowing who we were, knowing what we were raised to be? How did we get sidetracked? What was our Delilah? Ten years ago what was your expected life?

Some of us, we still act the same way we always did; just not as much. We still go to the places we used to go; as long as it is convenient. We still believe what we used to believe; unless some part of it bugs us.

Some of us grew up in families that go back generations of knowing plans, purpose, and destiny. I wonder what our grandfathers would think of the heritage we are leaving behind?

I imagine Samson thought the same thing when the enemy plucked out his eyes so that he could no longer see what was really good about life. Instead of making his own decisions, someone made them for him. He had no choice. He was the same as the oxen.

Do you ever wonder about blind people and food? Do they get tired of the same things over and over, or are they adventurous in trying new foods? They can appreciate the taste, the smell, the texture, but they don't get to see what they are eating, so they are forced to rely on someone else to make sure what they are getting is right and good.

Sin can blind us too. We take what we are given because we do not have a choice. We are forced to trust others to guide us and to lead us, to make sure we are okay. But like Samson, we end up trusting our enemy to make sure we are taken care of. Really? Five years ago, is this where you thought you would be tonight?

Now I realize not all change is bad. Some of it is very necessary for growth. Some of the things we leaned on when we were younger are no longer available to us, and we have been forced to change, to grow, to become who we are. But, ask yourself again, is this who you wanted to be?

Some of us when we were little wanted to be a fireman, cowboy, movie star, ballerina, etc. For most of us, those were hopes and dreams, but they were not based on reality. However, the bible says that 'while yet in our mother's womb, God knew us.' He knew the plan, the hopes, the dreams he had for our lives. He tried to direct us in those paths, but is that where we are?

I remember times in an altar at church camp where I wanted more than anything to have God's will, but sometimes I have thought is it worth it with all that I have been thru? There have been times where I wanted to run away, not just walk from the graces of God because the battle was just too much. I am sure it is the same for many of you who might read this.

There are things that we begged God for, or perhaps told God we would do in those moments of epiphany and whether or not we believe it now, we believed it then. Do we think God forgot our promises to him?

Sometimes, I feel like if we could only turn back time, do things a bit different, maybe this or that would not have happened. Sometimes, I wish I could go back and undo or change things I have done and maybe change the course of life I have been on. But we cannot. Am I who I expected I was going to be? No.

I am certain Samson thought many of the same thoughts we all did when he was blind and tied to the mill grinding out the meal. Not only was he forced to trust his enemy for his survival, he was forced to make food for them as well. Because of his decisions it changed the course of his life forever. From a leader to a slave. From the anointed to the lost. And all the time he toiled and I am sure cried out to God for forgiveness, he was mocked, laughed at, and treated like an animal by his enemy.

See, even before the enemy took his sight, Samson lost his vision, and it cost him everything. "If only I had not given in. If this had not happened... If only I could go back and do things different!" But it was too late. He regained his vision though that day he begged God to restore his strength. No, he couldn't see, but he caught sight of his purpose once again. He got lucky.

Some are not so lucky. Judas didn't find a place of repentance. Paul said, "Demos has forsaken me (truth) having loved this present world."

I don't mean to come across as judgemental, but look around you. I am sure each of us can look at someone we know and wonder, 'How did they get there? Why did they marry that person? Look at the mess their life is in!' What happened?

How about are own lives? Are we who we thought we would be? Are we proud of what we have become? Do we really know who we are, or have we become blinded by the enemy and we will continue as we are until it is too late?

I was talking to someone the other day about a friend of mind. I know they have been through some tough times, but what was so terrible for them to go to such a level as they have? What was it about their trial that took them down? I know that I personally have been through a lot that no one knows about, and yet I am still here, so what was it that destroyed them? I really want to know.

Was it just some morning they got up and looked in the mirror and did not know who was standing there looking back? Was who they saw not enough for who they wanted to be? Did they remember back to those times of deep committment and feel lost? I don't know. You don't know.

But, when you look in the mirror, ask yourself, "Am I who I expected I would be five years ago? Ten? Twenty? Is my life something I can be proud of and have no fear about? Is my future (children, shelter, lifestyle, needs) headed in a direction that I am comfortable? Who Am I?'

Who Are You?