Pretend you are…

Earlier this week, after getting our two five-year-old boys Josiah and Kia up in the morning, I told them to get dressed and pick up their rooms.  After leaving their room, I overheard this small snippet of conversation:

J: Pretend you are a garbage man and you’re going to throw me in the garbage can.
K: No.
J: Why?
K: Because I’m a person and I’m going to get dressed.

HA!  Don’t you just love listening to younger kids talk to each other?  They always use such great imaginations, and they’re so frank and honest with each other.  I think we could learn a lot from how kids interact.  Yesterday’s post, “Five tips for developing confidence“, discussed specific actions we can take to define our self-identity and to become confident even in trying times.  Understanding and acting upon those tips are critical first steps to carrying out tonight’s post.

The conversation between Kia and Josiah is more than just cute.  If we were to change a few words, it would be a conversation we have daily with ourselves, our world and our enemy.  That conversation might sound something like this:

World: Pretend you are really cool and laugh at this off-color joke.  Or, pretend your life only matters if you wear the right clothes.  Pretend that law doesn’t apply to you and do what you want.  Or, pretend you can do whatever you want to whomever you want because you have that right.  Pretend all the blessings in your life are for you, and you alone, and shouldn’t be shared with those less fortunate.

But what comes next in the conversation?  Do you say “NO!” or “ok…”?  Your response depends largely on your level of confidence and your self-identity.  Does the world define you?  Are you swayed by what’s popular, fun or cool, rather than what’s right?  Do you have a measuring stick and compass that guides you through the rough waters, or do you float and bob aimlessly, wherever the waves carry you?

When the world offers you one path, a path that requires you to “pretend” you are someone else other than who God created and intended you to be, you can only respond truthfully in one way:

World: Pretend that you…
You: No!
World: Why?
You: Because I am a masterpiece and treasured possession of my Father in heaven.  I am redeemed and transformed by His blood and seek solely to do His will.

What is the world pressing upon you today?  What is it asking you to pretend about?  What “pretending” have you begun living out – things that don’t reflect God’s character or values?

Or maybe it isn’t the world – maybe it’s the devil, seeking to pull you away from the truths of your faith.  Don’t be persuaded by his lies!  Strengthen your confidence and self-identity so that when the devil says “Pretend you are…”, you can confidently say “NO!”  Being able to say “NO!” starts with confidence, and improves as your faith is strengthened.

Strengthening your faith is indeed key.  But remember, faith must be personal – it isn’t anything anyone else can do for you.  It requires you spending dedicated time in prayer, and time in the Word.  Think about it like this.  Our sin nature – our tendency to fall away from God’s perfect best for our lives – is a permanent injury.  The only solution for our injury is akin to physical therapy.  Others can guide us, instruct us, demonstrate for us, educate us – but if we personally do not engage in our own physical therapy – our injury will never improve.  No amount of watching others – even watching them do their physical therapy – will ever impact our injury.  Make time daily for your physical therapy.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect or done in a specific way.  But it must be done.

And when you’re daily engaged with your physical therapy, the next time anyone proposes to you, “Pretend you are…”, you’ll be able to confidently stand firm and say, “No!  I am a masterpiece and treasured possession of my Father in heaven.  I am redeemed and transformed by His blood and seek solely to do His will.”