Time is valuable. Actually, it is quite precious. With that in mind, I am pretty particular about my time invested in movies. It is a pretty simple plan; One, confer an amazing message, and two, preferably a true story. I don’t know about you, but some movies do not deserve space in my brain. For us sensitive souls, some movies effect sleep, our dreams and our emotions. And scary movies which encourage fear, no way! Give me wholesome, truth, or nothing at all.
For the last two weekends my husband and I have invested our time most wisely, watching two very impressive films. The first movie, “The Case for Christ”, we watched in the theatre, while the second, “Greater”, we enjoyed in the comfort of our home. The performances of the actors was excellent, authentic and believable, but more important, each story was inspiring and memorable. Best of all, they were both true stories. Both movies were amazing messages of hope and trust.
The best stories are those which require us to take a closer look at ourselves, not to measure against the character in the movie, but rather, against the person God knows we can be. Both of these movies triggered some really thought provoking questions, including, “Am I living in fear or by faith? Am I living a life of mediocrity or one which challenges me to move into my destiny?”
While one movie seemed to end happily, and the other seemed to end tragically, both movies demonstrated that even when bad things happen to good people, the Hope of God’s Kingdom is ongoing, for now and beyond. Both movies were very different but had the same transformational message; what we believe about ourselves positions us to be who we are in Christ Jesus, and in turn, has eternal implications.
Those nasty old four letter words, fear, pain, and society’s pet word, fair, if allowed, can steal your destiny. We can play the victim and claim the curse “woe is me” and say “this is how my life is going to be because nothing ever turns out right”, or, we can choose to count our blessings and trust God to use His transforming power on us. Before we were born, God wrote out an assignment, our destiny, and all we need do is walk into it. We were born to display His greatness and love on the earth, but sometimes we allow our circumstances and lack of faith to jack-hammer the path to our destiny.
In “Greater,” Brandon Burlsworth is an extremely overweight kid who loved the game of football and had a big dream of playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Brandon seemed to live Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Brandon knew who God called him to be, even when he was a child and the odds were stacked against him.
Brandon could have easily claimed a triple dose of nasty four letter words. People criticized him, laughed at him, made fun of him, lacked confidence in him, and even his family doubted he could fulfill his dream. He refused to settle for anything less than his dream and his destiny. He worked hard and did what the coaches told him, but most importantly, he trusted God. No matter what the dream-stealers and naysayers said, Brandon never veered off the path God had given him to walk.
Brandon walked out each step of his training with faith, boldness, confidence, determination, discipline and courage. He left no room for fear to enter any part of his life. One of the keys to his success was the people strategically placed in his life by God to offer encouragement. A little bit of encouragement will go a long way with a person who knows their destiny! Proverbs 12:25 tells us, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”
How are we living our lives, in fear or by faith? If we are operating in fear instead of trusting God, it’s like opening the door to the enemy and saying, “Come on in and wreak havoc on my life.” It may not be done intentionally, but this is the outcome of fear. Many fail to realize their destiny, or purpose, in life because they are second guessing and searching for where they should be or where they should go. Fear is the root of displacement, causing insecurity, feeling burdensome to family or society, or simply feeling like you don’t belong.
In “The Case for Christ,” fear tried to separate Lee Strobel from his wife and family, and left him estranged from his father. Fear stems from feeling rejected, abandoned, falsely accused, word curses, jealousy, pride, addictions, grudges, and un-forgiveness, just to mention a few. Fear must be dealt with in prayer, study of the Word, along with the help of mature and wise counsel. You must stop believing the untruths about yourself to fulfill your purpose.
Joshua 1:9 reminds us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Living by faith knows where you are going, and that God will be with you every step of the way. Faith propels us from the strength God places within us. Finally, in everything we do our lives should be a living example of Jesus Christ, not by our strength but because Jesus lives within us. With our demonstration of living faith, others will be encouraged to do the same. You may be unlocking someone’s greatest potential!
When we fully trust God we win!
This Shaped by Faith Column appeared in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer May 6, 2017.