Sunday, 23 February 2014

Did You Get A Good Reference?

Did You Get A Good Reference?

Reference points - we all have them; good or bad.  Whether it be reference for marriage via our mum and dad, work ethics or any other aspect of our lives, we all follow from the examples set for us and that becomes our reference points.

As we grow from infants through puberty to adult hood, our lives are shaped by the people around us.  We are influenced by our parents, siblings, aunts and uncles or even our teachers.  These people shape our values in key areas of our lives in terms of finances, relationships, love, emotion, sharing, openness, work, education and our lives tend to unfold and take direction largely based on the input and influences of the people around us and on their value system and reference points.  Even the area or type of accommodation we live in can determine what we aspire to achieve.  Many people who grew up in council housing aspire to get council accommodation because that's their point of reference.  Many who grew up with out of work parents didn't understand the value of work or even education as they never saw the fruits of their parents labour.

If you grew up never experiencing a loving relationship, grew up in a single parent family or in an abusive home, those are the things that will be your reference points and could shape your aspirations for your future.  This relates to all aspects of your life because your influences and  gauge for where you go or what you do are based on your informative years.  Unless you can focus on what is inside you as opposed to what you are being shown on the outside.

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary so his reference point was purity (Matthew 1:18-25).  However the circumstances he was born into was not where he was destined.  His reference point was quite different from what God had placed in him.  If you take a look at Mary and Joseph's lives, Jesus' life could have gone in a different direction but the key thing was what was in him. You see what God has placed in you is not dictated by where you're from or the influences and reference points of this world.  We all have a God given purpose but sometimes our reference points are contrary to that purpose.

My background in terms of where I grew up and what I was taught dictated to me that I would be an under achiever and never produce anything great.  I was pointed in the direction of failure.  My reference points for marriage were negative, abusive and one sided therefore my reference point for interacting with the opposite sex taught me to give as little as possible but take as much as possible. It was about interacting from as far as distance as possible; just enough to get what I wanted from it. My reference point for treating and appreciating the opposite sex was on two levels because at home mum was not equal to dad so her opinion was never valued and outside of the home it was not a level playing field for women.  The value system from a male/female perspective was more take than give.  

We behave according to the examples set for us. From the age of ten to nineteen we become more aware of and imitate what we learn (Proverbs 23:17 - As a man thinketh so is he); we adopt learnt behaviour but what is the reference points for the young men and women of today?  Nothing good, that is unless they're from the same postcode.  So their whole value of their lives is based on misguided reference points. There is nothing of value for them to gauge their journey by. When a ship is about to sail, they use reference points to plan the journey and to track  their progress. What examples are we setting for our young people today; what tools and examples are they gauging their journeys by? 

I needed to make a conscious decision to alter, disregard and not fall into the norm of the learnt behaviour of the people around me and not use the reference points of my parents, uncles, brothers, peers, teachers or neighbourhood as my gauge because that placed me at a disadvantage of selling myself short.

When we come to the Lord it redresses the balance because we no longer use the world and those around us as reference points.  We get born again. All things are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17 - This means that in Christ you have become a new creation). Coming to Christ renews our minds and we get new reference points and new directions.  Chains gets broken; we get unbounded and untied.  he greatest thing that happens is we start seeing ourselves as God sees us and we realign ourselves from virtually everyone.  Sometimes even Christians are misguided and we have to realign ourselves from them. When we come into relationship with God we evaluate and measure ourselves against his standard as opposed to that of our parents, friends, teachers, aunts, uncles or any other standards. We come into line with God because he now becomes our reference point. When we come into relationship with the Lord we go on a journey but the biggest turning point is baptism. It is symbolic of the dying of the old and birthing of the new; of renewing our minds. Things change and we start to reposition, reprogram and recalibrate. We get released into our true potential. Not what people think you are capable of, but what God says you are capable of. Your journey gets re-plotted.  Like Jonah you are freed from the belly of the whale;  freed from the bondage of your old reference points.

When the Lord sent Samuel to Jessie's house to anoint the future king, Samuel went with his own reference for what a king would look like. Jessie also had his own reference point for which son may be chosen.  He presented all his other sons and left David out, but Gods chosen person was David.  Away from being in relationship with God we chose things based on previous experiences and examples.  We choose a husband/wife based on what we can see in the natural and not their spiritual nature because our reference point was what went ahead of us. but if we allow God to be at the centre and to be in charge, it will be a different story.  When Samuel got to Jessie God revealed to him who he was looking for because Samuel was in relationship with God (1 Samuel 16 & 17).  Through being in relationship with God he will reveal a new reference point to us.  As Christians we are called to be someone else's reference point. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:16 - let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven). Some of us are flying unequally balanced because that was our reference point.  Suddenly God comes into our lives and we begin to be equally balanced.  It starts in our minds and reflects in our homes. 

Without the right amount of air in your tyre, your car can't operate at its optimum.  Without God in our lives we progress below our potential.  When you come into relationship with Christ your life must reflect him because someone you meet will have you as their reference point. As men we are our sons reference point of how men are supposed to act and to our daughters reference points of how men are to treat them as women.  Our actions can either position and propel us into Gods presence or prevent us from reaching our true potential.

A hawk who was raised by and amongst chickens spent many years believing he was a chicken and incapable of flying until one day he discovered his ability to fly.  He didn't know he could fly because his reference point was the life of a chicken.  How would you feel if you found out too late that you could fly but didn't know because you were running peep peeping and cluck clucking instead of spreading your wings and soaring?  That's how our lives are when we do not have God as our reference point.  Lots of people believe that because no one in their family went to university, owned a business or was successful that means they can't either.  I am someone who was the first to break barriers in my family and it's all because God became my reference point. 

The Bible told me that I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:14); That greater is he that's in me than him that's in the world (1 John 4:4); Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is good and acceptable will of God (Romans 12:2).  When you are in relationship with God he transforms you by the renewing of your mind; you become a new creature; the old you passes away and a new you is birth.  He makes you a winner not a quitter (Winners are only quitters who didn't quit). The only difference between a winner and a loser is what is in their minds. When David defeated Goliath, he used his God given reference points.  He knew that if he was capable of killing the bear and the lion in the mountains then he was capable of defeating Goliath.  God had given him victory over the wild animals as a reference point.  Goliath saw David's stature and mocked him saying - you come at me with a stick? Am I a dog? (1 Samuel 17:43) David responded - I come with the Spirit of the Lord (1 Samuel 17:45).  Everyone's reference up to that point was Goliath's size and the need for big weapons.  David used God as his reference point and was guided and guarded by the Spirit of the Lord and was victorious.  If we are guided by God we can all be victorious.

When Moses sent the men to check out the Promised Land, they returned saying that there were giants in the land and that in their own eyes they were grasshoppers. Only two of the men who went used God as their reference point. Caleb and Joshua saw through the eyes of their relationship with the Lord and said - we can take them (Numbers 13:13-33).  They did not look at what the world showed them as their reference point but chose instead to see the situation as God saw it, as he had revealed to them.

Our victory and strength lies in our relationship with the Lord.  He is our reference point.  His plans for us are to prosper us and give us life and life more abundantly (Jeremiah 29:11) so that he can be reflected through us a reference point to others.

Make The Lord your Shield, your Rock, your Strong Tower, your Portion and your Ever Present Help in times of need....Who could ask for a better reference!!

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