We all have them. Bad days, bad weeks, even bad months…when it feels like we are living under a dark cloud of depression. All circumstances seem to agree with the discouraging thoughts inside our heads. Yet if we know Jesus, we understand that this is not the abundant life that Jesus promised. We realize something is wrong, but exactly what and how to fix it is a little fuzzy. Fuzzy because the vultures are circling overhead, creating a dark atmosphere that blocks out the light of the Son.
How can we live a life without those pesky vultures bothering us?
For me, they speak a language that I readily understand. A language of condemnation, self-doubt, and self-pity. Whenever I fall short (which is every day), my perfectionist nature can hear the toxic voices of the vultures. I agree all too often and lose sight of God’s truth. How do I stay out of their reach?
The book, The Final Quest offers a clue. In Rick Joyner’s vision, he was fighting in the Lord’s Army. He saw many Christians in the enemy’s camp being held captive by weak little demons of fear and being oppressed by the vultures of depression. They could have easily fought off these puny creatures with their glorious swords, but chose not to.
Even the Christians who were not prisoners but were mighty warriors on the mountain of the Lord, were still vulnerable to the vultures. If they drifted too close to the edge, they could slip on the condemnation vomited on the rocky cliffs by the vultures. Once they had fallen off the mountain, they were easily carried off by the enemy. Rick avoided this fate by spending his free time driving his sword (the Word of God) deep into the side of the mountain and tying himself to it. He finally climbed to a level that was above the reach of the vultures. This level was called, “Galatians Two Twenty.”
“…and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NRSV)
This scripture speaks of a life I have not yet learned how to live, but I want to. I want to climb up that level where I dwell in the reality, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”
My life is no longer about me. My life is about Jesus! No one (not even myself) has any grounds to judge me. My value doesn’t come from being good, or perfect, or hard-working, or talented. My value comes from the value God puts on me. He knew me before the world began. He made me. He knows who I am in the depths of my being. He knows who I will become. He knows that His word is powerful to enable me to do anything He tells me to do. He knows His finished work in me. He says that I am worth His Son – His Life, His Death, His Resurrection.
It is no longer about me!
It is Christ living in me!
My past mistakes – Jesus has signed his name to those and claimed them as His own.
My victories – I win them in His power.
My weaknesses – He is turning them into strengths.
My Strengths – It is His likeness in me.
My shame – They no longer apply to me!
My condemnation – I say to those vultures, “Take it up with Jesus! This life belongs to Him!”
It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me!
When I start to get discouraged, when I tumble down the slippery slope to depression, I am focusing on myself.
Why I am to blame for all the imperfect circumstances.
Why other people don’t like me.
How I could never become the person God wants me to be.
Why all His goodness doesn’t apply to Me!
I AM SO TIRED OF FOCUSING ON ME!!!!
Even Bill Johnson said that no one comes out of a time of deep introspection encouraged. There are times that the Holy Spirit will lead us to look into our past or look into our hearts, and shine His Light and Love on whatever we find there. But looking inward all the time with our own understanding makes our world smaller and smaller, darker and darker.
“Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” Romans 8:6 (MSG)
I want that spacious, free life! I want to soar above the circumstances, soar above the vultures. I want to mount up on wings like an eagle and rise above the grey clouds, to see the sun paint glorious colors on the sky.
When I am being bothered by those vultures and thinking all sorts of disparaging thoughts about myself…
I turn my gaze to Jesus! I start to worship Him for all of His excellent attributes. I rehearse all of His goodness to me. I see how beautiful and powerful He is. I give Him His job back, being the King of the Universe. My burdens become light. He becomes so big. My problems become so small. I lift my arms in surrender and I feel faith arise within me.
I feel my wings unfold. I feel the wind of His presence lift me high. High above the vultures. High above everything…