As Kristen concluded her teaching on Jesus' letter to Sardis last Sunday, I was captivated by these words: "I am you, and you are me. Because of you, I am perfect. Because of you, I am good enough." I asked her to elaborate on them.Â She did and it was helpful. Have a read.
These were not just a few well thought statements to nicely end a teaching. These statements literally stopped me in my tracks and brought me to hard tears.
Teaching for me is a process. At the beginning I always wonder if I'll pull it off again, because it almost always ends up being something beyond me. Yes, I study and research, I have my favorite go-to books of smart guys who have already done a lot of work before me. But more than anything I sit. And it comes. Things, ideas, pictures, all that are smarter than me. I get surprised, excited, emotional, and I take notes. I tend to have notes scribbled on page after page, spread out over my table. And when it feels like the time, I write the story. Then I learn the story and share it.
So, those statements were from God to me first.Â I knew if it was hard to think them, harder to say them, and next to impossible to teach them, then they were worth paying attention to.Each has it's own context and story in my own life, and I wonder what they mean in yours. What I'm learning is that we are more the same then we are different.
The first, "I am you and you are me." says something to the constant battle of falling away and then coming back guilt ridden for falling away. If I believe we are one, then I can spend more time truly living, and less time lamenting over the great distance I daily create between God and myself after failing to live up to an impeccable standard. When we screw up we are not on our own until we get it right. He is with us throughout.
"Because of Him, I am perfect." This goes against all common sense.Â Clearly, I make mistakes and have my flaws. But there is a difference in who we are and what we produce. The things I can not change about myself, the me that is out of my control, she is perfect. This is hard to believe, and even harder to live into. But when we do begin to live into our belovedness we put the one who created us on display, and free up our time for kingdom work.Â But when we believe the lies that surround us about our identity we choose a lonely path full of distractions and quick fixes that never hold.
And last, "because of me, you are good enough." This statement is freedom. Freedom from trying to fix what is not broken. Freedom to focus on something better, the Lord. For me, growing up I wasn't ever affirmed on who I was, I was affirmed for what I did. I see now that pushed me to want to be better at all things, because with enough affirmation over those things, maybe it would fulfill the insecurity I felt over who I was when I wasn't doing anything impressive. I am good at an abnormal amount of stuff for that very reason. So the statement you are good enough backed by you are perfect is freedom. It's a break, a chance to just be, and rest in an intimate relationship with God.