Life can be traumatic — or if not traumatic, disillusioning or disappointing — can't it? I don't think anyone is exempt, although sometimes it may seem that way when you look at the visible surface of others' lives.

In times past, I've had to deal with envy as I've looked at the lives of others and wished that mine could be like theirs. Then the Lord has graciously given me a glimpse backstage, and I've found out that we all have our problems — in one form or another.

I'm realizing that at times I can be idealistic. Idealists have their dream worlds — they want everything perfect. Do you ever deal with envy, especially during the month of February? Maybe you're single and you desire to be married. Maybe your marriage is not at all what you wish it could be, and Valentine's Day is a day you simply wish would pass by as quickly as possible.

How do you live with the disillusionments, the disappointments, and the disasters that loom around us? Are you frustrated over your own frailties? Do you desire to live a strong and effective life which will impact the kingdom of God, or do you think you've blown it too much and God will never use you? Why is it that some remain strong through their weaknesses and difficulties and other don't?

My dear friend, you can survive and remain strong in our Lord and in the strength of His might no matter your past or your disappointments.

I believe the answer is found first in understanding who you are in Christ Jesus. Second, you need to be absolutely confident of God's unconditional, unchanging love toward you.

As I've observed others over the years, I've seen that when a person really believes that God is who He says He is and sees himself as God sees him, he can handle anything that life brings his way, eager to serve the Lord.

However, when you don't understand or embrace in faith what God says about you, you'll find you lack confidence in God — in His unconditional love, in His Help, in His promises, and in His desire to use you. Your attention turns to what's wrong in you — in your past or in your present situation. And that's where your focus stays — and it's the wrong place to put your focus.

If I could draw a valentine for you, dear one, it would be Jesus Christ in the shape of a heart with a picture of you inside the heart. My prayer is that you would learn to embrace His love.

"In Christ" is a key phrase in the New Testament epistles. However, it may be that as you read the New Testament, the enemy blinds you to this truth and whispers in your ear, "You're a sinner. You'll never amount to much. You're certainly of no value to God! You're not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough for God to use you. Look at all that's happened to you — look at where you've been. Look at how you've been. Look at how you've failed. Remember, you never succeeded in the past — look at your past. You don't have what it takes. Someone else would be better — more suitable, more qualified."

The devil is having a "heyday" among Christians today. He's keeping them blind to who they are in Christ. Satan is feeding them a lie, and they're swallowing the bait — hook, line, and sinker. And what they have swallowed is ripping out their insides. Has it happened to you, in any way?

This frustration and pain can end if you'll believe God and cling to what He says. Remember that God cannot lie, and He says that if you are His child…

You are no longer a sinner, but a saint (one set apart for God). You have received forgiveness for all your sins, past present and future, and, therefore, there is not any condemnation from God — nor can there ever be! (Hebrews 10:10,14-18; Romans 8:1).

You are no longer bound to your past or to what you were. You are a brand new creature in Christ Jesus. The old you died and you have been made brand new. Therefore, you are able to walk in newness of life (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4-7).

You are no longer part of the kingdom of darkness, but you have been seated in heavenly places above all the power of the evil one and his demonic forces (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 1:19-23,2:4-6).

You are no longer rejected but are accepted in the Beloved — just as you are — because God chose you for Himself before the foundation of the world. You have been adopted as God's dear child and are sealed by His Spirit, Who guarantees you will live with God forever (Ephesians 1:3-14).

You no longer have to fear the consequences of your past, for your sovereign God promises that He will cause everything in your life to work together for your good and Christlikeness (Romans 8:28-30).

You no longer have to fear death for you cannot die before your time. Jesus holds the keys to hell and death. If and when you die, you will be immediately absent from the body and present with the Lord (Revelation 1:18; 2 Corinthians 5:8-9).

You no longer need to fear approaching God. You can come boldly to His throne and find His mercy — unearned favor and help — in the time of your need (Hebrews 4:16).

You no longer are to fear of not having exactly what you need. God promises to supply all of your needs through Christ Jesus your Lord (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19).

All of this and more is true because God loved you — just the way you were — and gave His Son for you. In love, He put you in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in you.

Kay Arthur
Host, Precepts For Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International