We often see ourselves in a different way than God does. Sometimes we see ourselves as weak, when He sees us as strong. Or as fearful, when He sees us as fearless.
God wants to use each of us to advance His Kingdom; to desire a deeper relationship with Him; and to see ourselves through His eyes, so that we can walk in His best and fullest!
Join us as we discover how God can use us… and see how the lives of those in the Word demonstrated that how God sees us is the truth, even when we feel like it is not!
Expectation VERSUS God’s Reality
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”—Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”—Proverbs 16:9
The Word of God says that His thoughts are not our thoughts, that our ways are not His… and that He directs our steps. Yet, too often we seem to stand on our thoughts as if THEY are gospel, instead of standing on God’s thoughts which ARE gospel!
For instance, sometimes we:
- See ourselves as weak, but God sees us as strong.
- See ourselves as unlovable, but God sees us as truly loveable.
- See ourselves as fearful, but God sees us as courageous.
- See ourselves as proud, but God sees us as determined.
- See ourselves as foolish, but God sees us as wise.
- See ourselves as rough-around-the-edges, but God sees us as a diamond waiting to be shaped.
- See ourselves as slaves, but God sees us as His children.
- See ourselves as incapable, but God sees us as more than conquerors!
Over and over again where we see negative things about ourselves, God sees the underlying potential. Our TRUE nature.
And yes, sometimes when we see things in ourselves that we are not fond of, God is providing an opportunity for change… but quite often, the truth is that we are seeing ourselves through a lie; through eyes not aligned with God’s perfect view!
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”—Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV)
Many of us know the biblical figure of Gideon as a mighty man! One who commanded an army and, with the power of God, defeated a massive Midianite army that had been oppressing the children of Israel…
Yet, it is easy to forget, or even overlook, that when we first meet Gideon in the book of Judges, he is essentially hiding. And more than that, even when God sends His angel with a message of God's truth to this “mighty man,” Gideon sees himself, and his tribe, through a lie… through a false narrative.
But how did Gideon go from accepting the false narrative of weakness and fear, to standing in God’s truth? To seeing himself, and his people, through the eyes of God? To trusting all that God said and walking in strength and fearlessness?!
Well, prior to when we first meet up with Gideon, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. This led to the Israelites being handed over to the people of Midian who oppressed them severely.
The Midianites would come into an area of land that had once belonged to the Israelites and destroy all of the produce of the earth so that nothing remained for the people or even the livestock, and some sources say that they even stole the livestock. This oppression was so harsh and the starvation so severe that the children of Israel made strongholds in the mountains, living in caves and dens where they might be safeguarded from the Midianites.
Yet, this oppression, while unpleasant, prompted the children of Israel to cry out to God. And God, in His compassion, heard their cry… and chose to free them from their bondage. It is here, seven years after first being handed over to the Midianites, that we meet Gideon in Judges 6:11.
God sent an angel of the Lord to the area where Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress. Yes, Gideon WAS secretly threshing wheat in a winepress instead of a threshing floor in the hopes of evading the Midianites; essentially hiding the produce and himself away…
Now, this is not what we might expect a mighty man to be doing… hiding himself and his crop in a winepress. Yet, God directed His angel to say to Gideon at THAT MOMENT, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12, emphasis added).
The angel of the Lord was speaking what God saw in Gideon—which was not the actions based on lies that Gideon was engaged in. Yet, Gideon answered through the lie of how he saw God—a result of accepting lies as truth in one area coming to affect many. But God was not deterred. He had His angel ignore the negative things that Gideon said and had the angel speak, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:14, emphasis added).
Again, the Lord is telling Gideon through His angel that He sees something within Gideon that is mighty and valiant. And God sends him out to save Israel from the hand of the Midianites!
Still, Gideon had a hard time believing this truth of God’s because he had walked so long in a lie—living not as the valiant, mighty man that God had destined him to be. But God was not done with Gideon. Even though Gideon spoke forth that his tribe was the weakest and that he himself was the weakest in his father’s house… God assured Gideon that HE would be with him. That in Him, Gideon could overcome and live as God intended him to; as a valiant and mighty man!
Gideon offered a sacrifice to God immediately—the first sign that Gideon was beginning to believe the truth. Then He obeyed God, destroyed his father’s altar to a false god, and created a proper altar to offer sacrifices to the Lord God instead.
Yet, even after all this, Gideon requested that God give him assurance not just once, but twice! But God was gracious and gave Gideon that assurance both times, after which, Gideon began to walk in the faith and truth of who God created him to be.
So Gideon went on to command many men. An army of about 32,000, that God told Gideon to diminish to 300—so that none would be able to boast in their strength, but only in God! And Gideon was obedient…
With those 300 men God allowed the Israelites to take on an army estimated to be significantly over 100,000 men. And God was glorified!
And the man Gideon who had once walked in a false identity—a lie of who he thought he was—became a man who walked in the identity that God had prepared for him. That of a mighty man! A man of valor, who served the Lord unwaveringly once he accepted God’s truth!
Be sure to join us in the final part of this series as we explore how it does not matter how old we are, what our situation is, or who we think we are… because God can use us to do great things for His Kingdom! He knows us!