In leading up to this conference in Trinidad and Tobago, I am having a conference of my own in my own heart and mind. As I type this, I’m sitting in a rather spacious area in Panda Express (I know, I know–but every time I fly, I get a craving for orange chicken and fried rice). But it’s not just here with my belly animatedly settling my lunch.
It happened on the plane here to Houston.
It happened sitting at Denver International Airport.
It happened yesterday in making my final preparations.
In fact, it began happening as soon as I accepted the invitation to come speak.
In fact, it all comes down to one basic question–a question that, in a sense, both God and the devil and my own heart ask from significantly different angles:
“Who are you to be doing this conference?”
In my own heart, I ask, “Who are you?” I question my own preparedness, my own qualifications, my own abilities, and how the folks will receive this rather controversial talk on the ever-popular prosperity ‘gospel.’ See? Even me putting quotes around ‘gospel’ is provocative–how will this go over? Oh, the issues that rattle around in the heart of man.
The devil asks, “Who are you?” You are a sinner. So many failings. So many things you could have done better for the Kingdom. See? Another missed opportunity to share the gospel. See? Doing 55 in a 45 mph zone. See? Another pastoral duty you should have attended to. No wonder the devil is called the accuser of the saints (Revelation 12:9-10). If I listen to him, I’d never stand behind a pulpit again–and maybe that’s His aim. Fear, discouragement, never being good enough to call myself “Christian.”
Then Christ comes along and asks, “Who are you?” You are my child. I bought you and redeemed you with My own blood. I fulfilled the law on your behalf because your righteousness was as filthy rags (Matthew 5:17; Isaiah 64:6). I am just, but also the justifier (Romans 3:24) that took your sin not because of you, but in spite of you and because of my everlasting love for you. You were sinking, but I set you upon the solid rock (Psalm 40:2; Matthew 7:24-27). You are mine, and I am yours.
It’s now fighting back tears in this Panda Express, I realize I am who I am because Christ is who He is.
May God give the people in Trinidad half as good a conference by His Spirit as He’s given me.
Thank you, Lord Jesus.