Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, and 2 Thessalonians 2

2 Thessalonians 2 imageBy Emily Cummins, guest contributor

Three months ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I packed up my little 2003 Toyota Solara with everything I owned, and drove 2,220 miles away from my family and support system to land in perhaps what’s known as the sin capitol of the world … and to call it home.

Now many at first called me crazy. Some perhaps still assume I am. However, something much deeper drew me to Las Vegas than flashy lights, urban culture and an epic career opportunity. And my first three months in the desert have taught me something so much more valuable than anything I could have initially hoped this time could have. It’s taught me that I’m a warrior.

Moving across the country into a new environment forced me to evaluate my belief system. For the past 22 years, it’s been left somewhat unchallenged by my own mind, simply because I never had to face the tough questions that have met me out here on my own, in the valley. From where I sit today, I’m asking questions for myself. Questions like, “Do I really believe this? Or is this something I’ve just always agreed to because that’s what those around me believed?” Through really diving into the root of these questions, I’ve been discovering who I am, who I want to become, and the steps I need to take to get there.

One of the most eye-opening truths I’ve learned is that God hand-picked me to be exactly where I am for a specific reason and purpose. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 in Eugene Peterson’s The Message says, “God picked you out as his from the very start.” It’s so easy to think that so much in this life is random or purposeless; but God’s Word says the exact opposite!  Our lives are built on purpose—and not just any purpose, but a purpose specific to who He designed us to be. That’s incredible.

After allowing this reality to sink in, I also began to realize that purpose doesn’t stop there. Yes, God has chosen me for such a time as this, and in this exact location; however, it’s up to me to lean in to that purpose. I’ve had to wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, shame of past decisions, and doubts about whether what God says about me is even true. In those moments, the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 ring true:

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

I also love how Eugene Peterson words these three verses in The Message, “So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.”

Purpose is lived out by my willingness to stand firmly grounded on what I believe. Having discovered that truth, I’ve been honing in on my core beliefs and outlining for myself what I believe, for me—not what my parents believe, what my friends advocate for, or even what culture says is right or wrong. What do I believe for me? That’s what it came down to in my own life…and that is exactly what it came down to in order for me stand up firmly.

I read a recent article by Sarah Bessey in which she declared that we’re named by God as “Beloved Warriors.” I couldn’t help but fall in love with that concept. And I think Sarah’s on to something—in order to live out my purpose and stay rooted in my belief system, I have to fight for it. I need to lace up my boots, stand tall and claim victory. I need to be who God already says I am!

Purpose is rooted in the choice to lace up your boots, brush the dirt off your face and declare yourself to be the beloved warrior God already designed you to be. It’s a declaration of war on purposelessness, in pursuit of the victory that is already ours to claim.

My prayer for you and my prayer for me is that God puts “a fresh heart in [us], invigorates [our] work, and enlivens [our] speech.” May we be women anchored in our beliefs who passionately pursue the purpose God has on our lives, and may we not be afraid to lace up our boots.

image credit: DVIDSHUB cc

Today’s Question: How can God’s “eternal comfort and good hope through grace” give you the strength to lace up your boots?

EmilyC_200Emily is a University of Florida & College of Central Florida alumnus who’s passionate about storytelling, connecting people & making a good cup of coffee. Emily is the Associate Director of Communications & Branding at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, and partners with churches nationally to discover and implement their voice on social media. If you can’t find her tweeting, you can probably find her Instagramming…or researching what the latest iPhone app has to offer. Blog: emilybcummins.blogspot.com – Twitter: twitter.com/emilybcummins – Facebook: facebook.com/emilybcummins – Instagram: instagram.com/emilybcummins

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