I was trying for a week to bring you this message without sounding too scholarly or being too self centered, but it wasn’t until I listened to a bangin message by Bishop T D Jakes on Youtube that I figured out how to put it together. His message had some profound nuggets allaweigh through, and you most def should listen to the whole thang (which I have linked down at the bottom). But the one-liner that hit me in the whole gut was close to the beginning: EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS HAPPENS ON THE INSIDE.
I wonder how many of you have been fighting off categorizations of who you are. People know us as they meet us, placing us into compartments that neatly define how they meet us. In this box is a mishmash of stuff: how they experience you, what they project onto you, what you project outwardly, all the baggage you carry and show them, and all the experiences that they share with you. Off top, ain’t nothing wrong with this—we all do it. Our minds are designs to list, compare, contrast, and conclude to keep us safe from those who would harm us.
The problem comes when you grow.
One of the biblical characters I most identify with is Mary the Magdelene. We’on know ish about her except two things for certain:
- She followed Jesus and helped bankroll His traveling ministry.
- At some point in her life, she was beset by not one, not two, not three but seven freaking demons.
Now, I would put good money on the fact that if you read the scriptures that mention her by name, you straight missed the fact that she and her homies bankrolled Jesus’s operation, going ahead of Him and making sure he was cooler than a fan everywhere He went. All you saw—all that jumped out at you was that this chick had been so possessed that she made The Exorcist look like a warm up before the game.
Because we almost always categorize folks by the little info we have—especially when it makes is look better than them.
But lemme express something to you: regardless of what you have done, what you have been through, what your circumstances look like on the outside, or how people continue to categorize you, all that matters is who you are becoming on the inside.
God is a God of becoming. And that starts in your heart. The closer you get, the longer you rock with da Lord, the farther your journey progresses, the more God works you into being that which He created you to be. And nothing you experience goes by the wayside. Every stumble and fall is a tool used to chisel away those things not like Him as He shows you your true value.
To people who have known you for heckas, the changes may not ever be evident. When Jesus went to preach in His home town—His “trial sermon” as the MISSIONARY BAPTIST call it—the peoples almost started flaming Him, “Who dis? Ain’t that Joseph the carpenter’s son? Does anything good come out of Nazareth, my nigga?” So, it is not your fault or your problem because like I said, we are designed to categorize and our own faults shape how we see the world and those around us. Your one job is to let Jesus mold you, to build you up on the inside so that you can walk in your purpose. And your purpose ain’t for everybody.
Mary Magdalene was may have started out as a demon possessed freak, but Jesus knew who she would be. She blessed Him with her finances; she was there all the way to the cross. She was the first one to know Jesus had risen. And: she was the first one to lay eyes on Jesus after the resurrection. She’s the one who convinced the others (male disciples who had fled) that Jesus had got up and was walking around chilling. She was the first apostle, my dudes.
I don’t know what has beset you, how people name you, but Jesus sees who you are. How instrumental you are. How full of purpose your life is. He sees passed your demons. And even if folks still say that you’re “that girl, that guy who…”, Jesus is looking at you. You to be the one among your folks to spread the gospel. You to touch lives. You to walk in victory. You to be a blessing.