Saturday, April 04, 2009

See Yourself As God Sees You

By: Rev. Angela Lee Price
"She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me," for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me'" Gen. 16:13.

The story of Hagar is timely tailored to teach us three things:

1. Admit Our Sins –The angel asked Hagar, “Where have you come from and where are you going? God asked an almost identical question of Satan in the book of Job, “Satan, Where have you come from?” God already knows the answer to every question He asks. It’s up to you to provide the correct answer. Admit your sins. The bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness….” Hagar admitted, “I am running away….”

2. Submit to God – The angel of the Lord told Hagar, “...go back to your mistress and submit to her” and “I will so increase you descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” I love this part of the story. Oftentimes, we think we have a plan. We think we know what we are doing. We think we’ve got it “going on!” But watch this! Hagar’s plan had nothing to do with her returning back to her abusive circumstance and everything to do with her running as far away from Sarai as she could possibly run. Can’t you hear The Temptations in your sanctified imagination, “Runaway Child running wild! You’d better go back home where you belong!”

That’s the problem now. We’ve developed “run-away” mentalities. The least little thing happens and what do we do? We run away. When there’s a problem in our marriage, we run away. When there’s a problem on the job, we run away. When there’s a problem with our children, we run away and they run away. We don’t discipline them. We don’t correct them. We throw money at them. We run away. When there’s a problem at church, we run here, there, and everywhere. We run away.

Hagar’s life should convince you tonight that you have to be where God wants you to be even if it is not the place of your first choosing. I know I’ve just said something. Yes, it can be painful, but you’ve got to be where God wants you to be even if it is not the place of your first choosing. That means you’ve got to get on God’s agenda and take Him off your agenda. Submit to God. He’s working it out for your good!

If we are going to be the women and men God has called us to be, we have to take our eyes off our situation and put them on Jesus. If we are going to be the women God is calling us to be, we have to see ourselves not as disobedient, selfish divas running, and ducking and dodging responsibility and every little problem, but as queens humbly submitting to the will of God for our lives. James 4:7 says, “Submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you! You must see yourself as God sees you!When you see yourself as God sees you, you can dare to declare with all authority, "On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!" If it had not been for the Lord on my side, where would I be? When I think about His goodness, and all He’s done for me, my soul shouts, “Hallelujah!”

3. Don’t Quit – Hagar went back and God blessed her son Ishmael. After his exile, a grown Ishmael later returned and help his brother Issac bury their father Abraham. (Gen. 25:9). Ishmael had 12 sons who became the heads of 12 tribes that spread from Egypt to modern-day Iraq. Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. God was faithful to his promise to Hagar. And He will be faithful to His promise to you.
Admit your sins, submit to God, and don’t quit!

Sermon originally preached at Coke Memorial United Methodist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, Those Preachin' Women, July 18-20, 2008. Rev. Kathy Goodwin, Senior Pastor

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus Saves!

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