Life is full of dragons. Some dragons are manageable while others prove to be formidable opponents. Learning to face our most formidable foes is a path that sets us free from worldly limitations and opens us up to endless possibilities.
Sunlight began to fill the room. Joe rolled over in bed and rubbed his eyes. Thoughts of happier days filled his mind. With a deep sigh, he realized the futility of dwelling on such thoughts. He tried to think of something else, after all, his friends told him that positive energy brings positive results. Speaking out loud he said, “Ah, the beginning of a new day, this day will be different.” “Today I will find work, today I will regain my dignity?” Unfortunately, the encouragement didn’t last; he signed again and said, “How did I end up like this?” “I thought I had everything under control, now I find that I am nothing more than a statistic in a harsh and brutal world.”
Not long ago, Joe was living carefree and confident. He enjoyed life and believed he was invincible. He poured all of his time and energy into his work. He loved what he did, and what he did made him feel successful. When Joe lost his work, he also lost the very thing that made him happy. Now, hopelessness filled his heart.
Enter the dragon
In life, dragons fly around ready to swoop upon us when the opportunity arrives. To put it plainly, anytime disappointment, loss, or hardship enters our lives, we come under attack. Our broken emotions reveal the battlefield. Are you battling a dragon right now? Who do you think has the upper hand…you or your dragon?
Enter the battlefield
When facing difficulties in life, we must restore our confidence, and reaffirm our identity and worth. More than anything else, holding onto our identity as children of God is the key (or spear) that destroys our deadly foes. Developing a strong identity in Christ comes through staying focused on Christ.
Sadly, our demanding lifestyles compete for the focus of our hearts. When our focus shifts to earthly relationships and positions we tend to use them to shape our identities. We become the best “wife”, “husband”, “cultural citizen”, “worker”, “farmer”, “businessperson”, or “____________” you fill in the blank. The longer our focus remains on earthly matters, the more enmeshed our identity becomes with them. We see ourselves as a cultural citizen, spouse, parent, worker‚ … and nothing more.
As believers in Christ, we are given an identity that conveys so much more than we can ever imagine. Think about the phrase, “In Christ”. These words imply intimacy with Jesus. The way I see it, the Holy Scriptures communicate a beautiful story illustrating a deep passionate love poured out from a Father onto his children. It’s an unbelievable love that words can’t easily describe. When I read passages that describe who I am in Christ, I see these words as precious gemstones surrounded by pure gold. I treasure them deep in my heart. And every time I feel challenged in life, I gaze upon these rare treasures and let them reaffirm my identity and faith. These words help me defeat my dragons. These words can help you too.
Listen to your heart as you hear these words in your mind:
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” (Ephesians 1:3-6 The Message Bible)
Did those words spark any feeling within your heart? Don’t worry if they didn’t, just keep dwelling upon them and let them resonate in your mind. Look at a few more ways the Scriptures describe believers; children of God (John 1:12), sons and daughters (Gal 3:26, 28), beloved (Rom 1:7), friends of God (John 15:15), a royal priesthood (1Pet 2:9-10), heirs (Rom 8:17), chosen (John 15:16), and dearly loved (Col 3:12). These are intimate terms suggesting a strong sense of family. This is our identity. This is who we are. These words give us substance to life. They spell out our bright futures even when our present days are questionable. These words show that our connection with Jesus is not superficial; it’s deep, very deep. Believe it!
Like clockwork Carla woke up at the crack of dawn. After starting the coffee, she routinely walked around her home. Her mind fills with memories of her children as she wanders throughout the rooms. She pictures Johnny rushing to get ready for school and hears his voice in her head; “Morning mom, what’s for breakfast?” Shaking the picture, she moves on and finds herself thinking about Tina. She begins to chuckle as she remembers her energetic daughter. Tina loved to start each day with questions, quotes or quaint topics of interest.
Caring for her children was the highlight of Carla’s life. She made sure they grew up in a loving home. Now, her parenting job was over, her children were grown and her house grew silent. Silence became a daily reminder of everything she lost. Carla’s husband Stan tried to understand her grief, but couldn’t quite grasp it. He said, “Carla, I can’t stop your pain, but I know someone who can…Jesus can help you deal with your grief and give you courage to face each day.” Eventually Carla realized the only way to manage her sorrow was by connecting with Jesus. She started a new morning routine, one that involved prayer and Scripture reading. She told Stan, “Thank you for praying for me. I know your prayers are answered because I feel better. I still hurt a little, but I know one day I will be ok.”
Enter the Dragon Slayer
No matter where we live in this world, dragons will be in our midst. Facing each difficult moment in life with prayer and Scripture not only shields our hearts from the attack, but also provides us the means to fight back. Facing our dragons is never easy. Yet, knowing without a doubt, “who we are”, “who we belong to” and “where we’re headed”, gives us an advantage.
Every battle holds different results. And, no one wants to face violence, discrimination, poverty, joblessness or any other negative consequence, but, if we can muster up even the smallest amount of courage in the face of fear we open ourselves up to endless possibilities. God is not bound by our limitations, and it only takes a little faith to move mountains.
Thoughts to Ponder
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