EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE

God knows your likes and dislikes. He made you with that exact personality, so use it and all the strengths that go with it for His glory. If you are strong-willed, then be strong-willed for Jesus and fight for justice. Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). Fight for what’s right in the eyes of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:18). If you are an encourager, then please use your gift to lift up the body of Christ. We need you! Bless those around you. When you think of an encouraging word, say it to someone. Don’t hold it in but give him or her the gift of your kind words. We live in a day when so many people are discouraged, and what a soothing salve your words can be to their souls.

Embrace how God made you. Don’t forget that the One who made delicate and intricate flowers, breathtaking mountain ranges, and glorious sunrises carefully designed you. The One who placed the stars in the sky and put the earth into motion made you. You are not a mistake, and neither is the way you are made. God saw you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), and He has been crazy about you ever since.

It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I began to understand how crazy God is about His children. For me, every morning is like Christmas morning when I see my children. I am simply crazy about them! I can’t wait to get them into my arms, to hug them, to kiss their sweet little cheeks and tell them that they are loved. The simple act of watching them sleep brings me so much joy, and yet they really are not doing anything. I love simply looking at them, watching them enjoy an ice cream cone or play outside with their friends. I take great delight in helping them learn how to color, read, or ride their bikes.

As a parent I understand that they are not going to do any of those things perfectly the first time. They are going to make mistakes. They are going to “color outside the lines.” They are going to fall off their bikes, hurt themselves, and want to quit. But just as a loving mother comes alongside her children to help them learn and grow, encouraging them to press on through the hard times and not give up, God lovingly does that with us. He picks us up when we have fallen down. He brushes off the dirt, washes our clothes, and gives us another new, clean garment to wear.

Of course, there are times in our lives when we will need to be disciplined by God because of our willful disobedience, but the Bible tells us that it is because of His love for us that He reprimands us (Proverbs 3:11-12). God disciplines those He loves because, like any good parent, He loves us and wants us to grow in godliness and maturity. Sometimes the path to maturity means we have to walk down some rough roads. But the wonderful thing about God is, when we walk with Him, we never walk alone. He is always right beside us, loving us, encouraging us, and helping us, even when we do not see it or feel it, just as any good and loving parent does.

Taken from You Are Loved Bible Study by Sally Clarkson & Angela Perritt, copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

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