This past couple weeks I have been challenged to think about my response to the question… “how are you?” I get asked this all the time. But our pastor challenged me to think on this differently.
The answer, “I am fine,” is the common response to the questions of how we are. We say it for many reasons, because it is a habit, because we believe others may not want to know how we really feel or because we just don’t want to go there or talk more indepth. Whatever the reasons… we are simply pushing aside our hearts.
This is the acronym that my pastor used…challenging me to be able to say I am fine with all honesty.
So when asked how I am, even on the darkest days of this journey, can I look at this and say, “am I fine?”
When all the world is crashing in and I feel like I am being crushed by the enemy and all his lies. Lies that I am worthless, never going to be good enough, guilty and stained, I can say, “I am FORGIVEN.” God has wiped away the stains and taken the guilt. He cannot see my mistakes because Jesus sacrifice stands in front of me, God sees Him first through the filter of His Son’s sacrificial blood. The sin on my hands is erased by the nail scarred hands that hold mine tenderly. The darkness and doubt in my mind, is covered by Jesus thorny crown transformed to beauty, as the blood mingles with His sweat and tears into a crown of love that He places on my head. It is made of gold, fashioned with precious gems and shining from the simplicity of this broken clay vessel. God could no longer see the guilt of my mind. No longer does God see the ashes and sackcloth of my sin and grief. Jesus took me into the presence of His Father, presenting me as His daughter, dressed in pure white, clothed in purpose and worthy of His love. This is what it means to be forgiven.
To be IMPORTANT. It is hard to fathom, being important to to God. I have been told many times, God made you, that makes you of value to Him. I am a part of His plans. Just think, we are important to him. The passage in scripture that comes to mind is when he speaks of the bird and how he knows when a bird falls from its nest, how then more important are we to him when we fall. And Psalm 139, speaks of how well he knows us from the beginning of our existence. He planted that seed, and watched over its forming into a tiny bud. He delighted as it opened into a beautiful flower, born into the adversity of this flawed world. He watched over it, watered it and knew it’s fragrance. When the petals were bruised and crushed. He was there to pour out His healing balm, to send his people to tend it gently and He even uprooted it, transplanting it into better soil. Yes, we are important to him.
But I wonder about being NECESSARY. Can it be that we have a special purpose, something we were designed to do here in this broken world? Yes, He could do it without me, but He chooses to use me to accomplish His work, because it will draw me closer to Him and transform me into his likeness. All this so that I may shine His light. His word speaks of him desiring that we ask for the way in which we should go and He will show us. He speaks of us being His ambassadors, His hands and feet. He has given us the authority to stand on the heads of snakes and scorpions, and not see harm. (Luke 10:18-19). Those cunning creatures so filled with poison, we will stand on them and he will help us overcome the powers of darkness. Yes, He has called us and made us necessary pieces.
Then there is being EMPOWERED. I wondered about this as I am an introvert. Like being necessary, I struggle to see this as a possibility. But He has not given us the spirit of fearfulness, but of power and so much more. To pray in the power of the name of Jesus, to ask for the blood of Christ to cover our homes, our children and our nation. God has given us purpose, as we stand armed in his armor and in his grace. We are not to stand by and take the blows of the enemy, we are to call on the Warriors of heaven in the name of Jesus and battle boldly the snares and evil. To be empowered we must also be humble. Bold in our stand, but humble in knowing we cannot stand in that kind of boldness alone. We must ask our brothers and sisters to stand in agreement with us and that is not easy. I am so thankful for those who have stood with me against the enemy. Yes, God empowers us as a band of mighty warriors.
So when asked how I am, I can say F.I.N.E. because he has forgiven me, I am important to Him, I am necessary in His plans and I am empowered to stand in his name to battle the powers of darkness. This scripture means so much to me, in light of being fine in Jesus name.
Ephesians 3:12-21 The Message
11-13 All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!
14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.