Friday, September 27, 2013

The Comfort in Identification

"You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip." Psalms 18:35-36 ESV

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalms 23:4 KJV

God's gentleness does something to us. God's power, willingness and availability to protect and cover us does something also. Both provide comfort. The comfort and contact combined with God's ability to be less gentle with those that mean us harm. The arms that embrace us are the arms that protect us.

We all need comfort don't we? Sometimes the comfort is the simple idea that we have not been forgotten. At other times it is a more active thing.

There is an identification in comfort. A person comes from a position of strength and meets us where we are living and by their actions or words reveals a connection to our circumstances or feelings. It could be just a hug or sitting together for a time. Sometimes it is a certain look across a room and it just says, 'Although I am standing over here I am also with you over there.'

Jesus mastered identification... the woman at the well... touching the leper... weeping over Jerusalem... Martha, Mary and Lazarus... He even identified with Judas although it was never reciprocated... Saul was persecuting Christians but Christ still said to him, 'It is hard for you to kick against the goads...' Christ knew what Saul was feeling and He communicated it. Saul became Paul the Apostle due to that brief encounter.

Jesus so identified with us that He hung on a cross in our place absorbing the full fury of God's wrath. He satisfied God's justice and made peace for us while shielding us.

God the Father looks at Jesus on the cross and sees us there also. That full identification carries us through burial into Resurrection and sitting with Christ (in Christ) on a throne in Heaven at the Father's right hand.

"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV

We comfort one another in identification... that is why condemnation is the relationship killer. It creates a barrier where identification has been denied for some reason.

Jesus never condemns us. He always identifies with us.

I don't know about you but that comforts me greatly today.

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