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It’s the Only Way to Fly

You have a bad temper, Elizabeth. I find it very difficult to be around you. I never know when you are going to blow sky high!

Can you handle that frank critique, Liz? That’s all right. Not many of us could.

Do you always straighten the pictures in the doctor’s office, Paula? Don’t come over to my house!

There’s nothing wrong with straightening the pictures in the doctor’s office, is there Paula?

Is there anything you can’t do, Tom? You’re one of the most competent, successful people I know!

Feel pretty good about yourself, Tom? Let me pose a question. What would happen to your good self-image if you had a stroke at 2:00 this afternoon?

You’re so negative all of the time, David. If we want a wet blanket around, all we have to do is include you in the group.

Are you going to the garden to eat worms, Dave? Wait a sec. There are several of us who want to go with you.

To Liz and Paula and Tom and David and all the rest of you earth-dwellers … welcome to the world and your false and twisted "world-system" identity. You know, of course, that you have been programmed to act in a certain way and to believe certain things about yourself. Maybe you’re "Livid Liz" with your exploding episodes; or "Paula the Perfectionist" as you practice your picture-placing procedure; or the life of the party, good old "Dismal Dave;" or maybe even "Terrific Tom" who has never had a failing experience in his life. I don’t know what you have learned about yourself in our world system, but I would say that the information ranges from being super self-confident to feeling intensely inferior. I do know that some of you have been pretty well destroyed in your private world. Some have come to see the futility of money and material possessions. Some believe themselves to be immune from the hurt and tragic events that take place in others’ lives. Read this carefully. I have one very important statement: Don’t take your shovel and head for the garden, Christian. I have great news! You’ve won the grand prize! The "real you" has been discovered! The problem is, you don’t know who you are!

You know yourself from your experiences and the people you have encountered in your private world — successful experiences perhaps, and people who loved you and encouraged you; experiences that have given you the self-confidence to meet your world. But maybe you know yourself from the unsuccessful experiences in your world. Or is that strong enough? Experiences perhaps that were not only unsuccessful but that absolutely devastated you and were replete with people who stepped over the line, rolled up their shirt sleeves and gave themselves wholeheartedly to the destruction process. You’re bleeding. You’re wounded. You’re stained. Whatever the story may be, you know yourself as someone who occupies a portion of the spectrum somewhere between "successful" and "devastated" … your world-system identity. Your true identity is dramatically different now that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus, now that you have been born again, now that your "old self" is dead and as a beautiful new person, you are "alive to God." Do you know just what a godly, delightful, acceptable, loved and lovable person you are?

Let me tell you about you. You are my brother or my sister in God’s Forever Family. You are altogether lovely, totally accepted and totally forgiven. You are standing before God with nothing He can even chide you for. You are justified, redeemed and sanctified, a saint who doesn’t always perform perfectly, but who really wants to please God. You are loved beyond your wildest expectations and have been given a Power that lives within you for meeting any circumstance that will ever come into your life. You are "more than a conqueror," the fragrance of Christ, and His beloved Bride. How’s that for starters?

"But, Anabel, I have lived this way for so long, and the patterns are so deeply programmed in that I don’t think I can accept anything you might say. It would just be too hard to do."

I’m still going to try. Let’s begin by looking at a picture. This diagram represents you … your body, your soul and your spirit (I Thess. 5:23). The word "soul" comes from the same root as the word "psychology," meaning "personality." Most psychologists agree that the personality is divided into three segments, the mind, the will and the emotions. So let’s divide our diagram into segments. Now, you don’t put up an argument when someone talks to you about your "new" spirit, how Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in you when you became a Christian. The Bible states it too clearly for us to deny that. I Corinthians 6:17 says that "the one who has joined himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him." It’s not understandable, maybe, but it is acceptable. All right. Put "Holy" in the spirit space. Now capitalize the S.

But, when I start referring to you as being new and different in your SOUL … your mind, your will, and your emotions, your ruff comes up and you are prone to say, "You don’t know what you’re talking about. You certainly don’t know me or the majority of the people who claim to be Christians in my world!"

Let me ask you three soul-provoking questions and then guide you in your answers.

Question #1: HOW MUCH DO YOU WISH YOU COULD "SET YOUR MIND" ON THE THINGS THAT GOD TELLS YOU TO SET YOUR MIND ON? Like Philippians 4:8: "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about." Wow! If I could just DO that! Well, how much do you wish you could? On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the very most, how much? Your answer? Ten. Right? Right. Okay, scribble a 10 in the mind space.

Question #2: HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE JESUS?Remember, love isn’t limited to our emotions. If you love only emotionally, then your love is too fragile; it’s subject to immediate change. There is so much more to love than emotions, and emotions essentially have no identity other than to enhance or enrich what our mind perceives. So when I ask, "How much do you love Jesus," I’m not necessarily speaking of a feeling. I meana constant, deep, abiding affection that determines your behavior. Loyalty. America. Mother. The stars and stripes. Your dog.

You love these things with an "abiding constancy." That’s what I’m talking about when I ask, "How much do you love Jesus?"

"Well, I would like to say ten, Anabel, but a scripture pops into my mind: If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15). I don’t always do that, so I’m reluctant to say ten."

Let me help you sort through something. You’ve entrusted your life into His hands … for eternity. That is something only love would do. You’re praying for your wife or your husband or your children that they will do the same. When you became a Christian your whole lifestyle changed: you had new friends, new books, new songs, new movies, a Christian radio station, a schedule that included church and most of the activities down there. Oh, you must love Him a great deal! You have exhibited a constant, deep, abiding affection that has determined your behavior. How about a ten? Do you agree? All right. Put a 10 in the emotions area.

Question #3: HOW ABOUT YOUR WILL? HOW MUCH DO YOU WISH YOU COULD SAY, "NOT MY WILL, LORD JESUS, BUT YOURS. I don’t want to demand that You do things my way. I’ve come to see that I’m not able to discern the right path, that I am not wise enough to guide my steps. I want Your will in my life."

Once again, you’re probably inclined to say, "I’d like to say ten, but there are some things that I KNOW are His will and I’m not doing them. Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I said ten?"

I didn’t ask you how obedient you are. I said, how much do you wish you could be receptive and open to His will? How deeply do you want His will in your life? I have no doubts whatsoever. Your answer is ten! Write 10 in the area of the will.

Look at it! You’re not a seven in one area and four in another. Do you see that you are a 10 all the way around? (That’s pretty nice for us gals, isn’t it? Some of us haven’t been a perfect 10 since the tenth grade!) You are new. You are different. So? Well,how about acting like who you are? Sure, the patterns for the old behavior are still there and Satan will still try to get you to go along with them. But let me tell you what to say when the thought comes to act out the same old scenario: "No! I’m not that person any longer and I don’t have to be that way! You can’t control me, Satan. I KNOW who I am. You’re barking up the wrong tree!"

Speaking of trees — I was out in the yard one day and saw this butterfly crawling along a limb — so I went over to see if maybe his wings were damaged or if something had happened that would hinder him from flying. Much to my surprise, he was talking to himself, lamenting his woeful condition.

"I hate crawling along this limb — eating this horrible worm food. How I would love to soar with the wind, but here I am — stuck in this tree! Look at those flowers. If only I could taste the nectar. Ah, the life of a worm is not a happy one. It is very depressing and confining. But then, God made some vessels for common use — and that’s me — common."

I said to him, "You silly butterfly! Why are you clinging to that limb, lamenting your lot in life — acting for all the world like a worm — eating worm food and wishing you could ride the wind to any flower your heart desired? And you believe that this is your "God-given" fate! Why don’t you just spread your wings and fly? Don’t you know who you are? You are a beautiful butterfly."

Let’s go learn to fly!

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.