What really determines your future?
You may think of many things, but there is one key that is often overlooked.
Recently, my husband and I went on a mission trip to Brazil along with an entire team of fired-up believers. The first morning that we arrived in Brazil, I met an unassuming woman who told me an amazing story.
I asked her where she was from, and she answered, “I’m from Florida, but I’m a missionary to Peru.” Now that got my curiosity up, but I was not able to talk to her until a week later when we were sitting and eating dinner together.
Seizing my opportunity, I asked her, “So, what do you do as a missionary in Peru?”
She leaned forward with visible excitement showing in her face. “I’m a church-planter. I go into villages in the jungle with a team, look for a community service that we can do, and then we are able to share Jesus and start a church in that community. Then we go on to the next village.”
Then, she told me something that I will never forget. She said, “The thing is that in the jungles of Peru, women do not have a voice. They won’t talk to a man, and if they are asked to give a cup of tea to a man, they look away so that they don’t have to look him in the eye.”
Questions were going off in my mind like fireworks. If men see her as inferior and not having a voice, how does she get the cooperation of the leaders in the village? I asked with genuine confusion, “How do they receive you then?”
She answered, “Oh, very well! The reason is because I don’t dress or act like their women. I wear pants instead of the traditional dresses. I speak directly to the men instead of looking away.”
The light came on! She refused to internalize the expectations and the opinions of the culture, and that is why she was successful!
You see, the voice that you internalize largely determines your future! That is the key that is too often overlooked!
We need to hear the voices that God has put in our lives to lead us even when it is a corrective voice. We have blind spots! However, we can unknowingly internalize the wrong voices - the voices that made us feel that we are not powerful or anointed or able. Those voices may have come when we were a children or even as an adult. When we internalize the wrong voices, we put limits on ourselves which ultimately limits our future.
Paul told the Corinthians in II Corinthians 5:16 that we should judge no man on human standards. We have to make some judgements in order to protect ourselves and those we minister to. My husband and I form judgments as to whom should come and speak at our church all the time. The key, though, is to not make judgements based on HUMAN STANDARDS - appearance, money, gifting, popularity. No, we need to look deeper! Do they walk in integrity? Are they faithful and reliable? Do they demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit? Are they humble and teachable?
Some of you have most likely judged YOURSELF on human standards. You have internalized the opinions of a culture, even a Christian culture, and have overlooked what God says about you. The voice that you internalize will largely determine your future. When we internalize a voice that says that we aren’t powerful in Christ, we put limits on ourselves.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said, “WAKE UP, SLEEPING ONES!….” (Ephesians 5:14) In other words, you need to come to a place of awareness! We sometimes “sleep” because we have listened and internalized those wrong voices.
We need to wake up to three things:
Who God is. Father God is deeply invested in you! He believed so much in you that He put His Spirit inside of you. He loves you with an everlasting love.
Who you are. You are a son of the most High God! You have unlimited potential inside of you because of your new birth and because of the Spirit who lives in you. You are not powerless or inferior to those around you.
Who the world is. People all around you need what you carry. They need healing in their mind, emotions, and body. You have the power within you to bring that healing.
Too often we are like “supermen” sitting in a room saying, “If you need anything, here I am! I’ll be right here in the four walls of the church, but I’m not going out THERE! It’s dangerous out there!”
Hey, “superman, “ have you forgotten who you are? Your place is “out there” because you have what they need!
This missionary that impacted me so deeply knew who she was. She was an “awakened one.” She refused to internalize the voice of a culture that said she was powerless.
I choose to be an “awakened one, too. How about you?