Again, I don’t know who friended who, I just know that I started seeing Mrs. Kate’s posts and they were such a blessing to me. She shares so much truth and I love her testimony. She graciously agreed to share her “story for His glory” here. We need to hear it. We need to be reminded of it. I want to represent Jesus like Mrs. Kate does. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
My title may seem a bit odd. Anyone reading it will probably say, “Well, you got that one right!” So, why did I choose it? Because for me it’s a great reminder of how close I am to defeat. I’m NOT Jesus and if I don’t remind myself of that I will become consumed in my own self righteousness and pride or I will use my inability to find reason to quit. This is my testimony of how I have learned, and am still learning, to anchor in The Lord and stand on His promises in full confidence while still reminding myself that I’m just a fallible human being because I’M NOT JESUS.
When The Lord saved me I came from a Christian background: raised in a preacher’s home, surrounded by a youth group and church people my whole life, I graduated from Christian school and Bible College, and I married a preacher. From the outside I had it all nailed down. I looked the part, talked the part, and unless you lived with me I looked like I walked the part as well. It was the easiest thing I’d ever done. I was trained from birth how to portray Christianity. No one knew I had been wondering about my own salvation since I was 12 and no one knew I had battled suicidal thoughts since around that same time. I was a phenomenal actress. When you’ve been born for a role it’s not hard to know when to slip into it. I’m afraid most young people raised in church have a full confidence in this side of their flesh. We’ve been trained how to give others what they expect, but sadly most of us never did it with God in mind at all, we simply wanted to please our parents, church people, and others who deemed us worthy because of who’s children we were. The expectations become weights grevious to bear over time though. They were a load I was carrying all alone and like any good little Pharisee those weights are much easier to lay on others than on yourself. And so, I did just that, I began to have much higher expectations of others than of me. If you think you have it all nailed down you become the standard by which you judge everyone else.
“I would never do that!” “I would never treat anyone that way.” “Doesn’t The Bible say we are to love one another?” “That was a good message but I just don’t see it that way.” “I don’t think the preacher was in the right spirit when he said that. I wouldn’t have said it like that because The Bible says….” In truth I did not study my Bible to grow, I studied my Bible to reveal the faults of others. “Judge not”, and “God looks on the heart” quickly became the mantra of my own existence because it gave me a free pass to place chains on others for my benefit.
In all of that time I did desire one thing that I believe allowed The Lord to reach into my cold heart; I desired the truth. I longed to KNOW if God was real (while also secretly hoping He was exactly who I deemed Him to be). I did not tell anyone of my doubts because I had sat at enough tables and judged enough people. I knew how I would be judged in return. I feared judgement from people. I longed to be seen as perfect and if I didn’t have perfection on the first try of something I simply quit before I was noticed. I seldomly put myself out there. To this day I’m not the type of person who flings myself out there for the world to criticize. I’ve determined that those who long to criticize most often never look at their own selves as closely as they do others and a critique is never an encourager. You can’t look for flaws and give praise out of the same mouth. With that knowledge I kept my wandering thoughts and doubts to myself. I’m glad I did. It created a place of dialogue between me and God alone.
On July 29, 1999, The Lord graciously revealed The Truth to me. I came to Him and begged in sincerity for the first time for Him to show me. I had come so many times before but as quickly as I would ask Him to show me I would begin to try to convince Him. I didn’t give Him a space to show me anything because I had a big fear of being wrong. My pride was so HUGE. I didn’t want to admit my own failure. I also didn’t want to admit that my salvation was not anchored in ANYTHING I had done. I was claiming Bible verses and standing on God’s Word just like I was told to do but in truth The Lord had never come to me. I had always ran ahead of Him. I had always tried to work my way into His good graces. I had prayed a prayer. I had changed my life. I, I, I!! That’s what I had…me! I had never had Him. He had never had me. He changed me that day. He showed me my sin and how He had never convicted me. He showed me how I had put other gods before Him and how I had graven images in my mind of Who He was – idols so real to me I would died for them, but at the end of the day they were nothing more than a picture of myself and my own ideas of spirituality. The Lord broke me that day. He opened my eyes to Who He was and destroyed the picture of who I thought He was. I saw Him and I saw me, and for the very first time I knew I deserved NOTHING but Hell. I deserved eternal separation and instead He was offering me Him. He shewed me that He had taken my place and to not accept that was the most wicked sin I could ever possess. I accepted Him that day, repented, laid my life at His feet, and my life has never been mine since.
22 years have passed since my BEST birthday. I wish I could tell you that in that time I’ve never failed The Lord but, ladies, I’M NOT JESUS. Anytime this old flesh gets in the way she forgets who she is not. If I don’t die daily in my flesh I walk confidently in all the wrong directions. I have been striving in this Christian life to anchor in this verse:
Matthew 22:37 KJV
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
It’s a great verse! Love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind!!! That keeps me focused, right? Sure, until I found this verse:
Mark 12:30 KJV
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
All of my strength??? Wait!!! I so often feel so weak. I told you earlier on if I don’t succeed on the first try I stop trying. I don’t like failure. At three years old I did my first cartwheel. It was a perfect cartwheel and I was hooked. I became proficient at a lot of gymnastics. I was never trained but I would stay in the yard for literally hours perfecting myself. I knew I could because I did, so falling on my head, neck, and back 50 times while learning how to do a correct backbend was worth the sacrifice. I had no coach so no one was critiquing my ability. The only person I failed or made proud was me. But, in this Christian life there seems to be so many people who want you to fail. That’s so sad and it can easily deplete your strength – if YOU let it. When I read Mark 12:30 another verse came to mind:
Nehemiah 8:10b KJV
…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
I have to rest in what He alone gives me to give back to Him. You see I’M NOT JESUS. In my flesh I CAN’T give Him anything. I have to anchor in Him to even be able to worship Him.
It’s so easy to get our eyes on the crowd. It’s easy to hear the discouraging words, see the faces that once loved us that now look on us in disdain, and stop telling people we love them because we don’t want to hear those words in return from people who’ve proven they don’t. It’s easy for this flesh to get the upper hand because we’ve lived in it longer. Remember in the beginning when I said it was so easy to be a Christian when I wasn’t one? It was because it was ALL a work of my own flesh. Since The Lord saved me I now have a battle that fights on the inside. I long to please my Saviour, but this flesh still desires to please itself. Just as any soldier has to choose to walk into a battlefield with a willing desire to lay down their life, I have to daily lay down what my flesh wants and choose to walk in The Spirit. I’M NOT JESUS but I can choose to strive to be like Him. That means being willing to endure what He endured. To be unknown – we only know about His birth, circumcision, and adventure at 12 years old. We know nothing more of His upbringing in detail. It’s okay to not be known. He was despised and rejected of man. I told you I don’t like criticism or rejection. My flesh simply says, “I’m out!” I’ll stand and fight, rip your face off, and walk away that’s what my flesh wants to do, but The Lord says, “Stand!” He says, “Be still”. He says, “Study to be quiet.” Those are all things that only He can produce in my life because when people despise you they tell all manner of lies against you and in my flesh I want defend the truth, but in Him I can anchor in the fact that He KNOWS the truth and He will fight my battles for me. I’M NOT JESUS but I can strive to represent Him well.
I could testify for days on His goodness and faithfulness and still only touch the tip of the iceberg. He’s so wonderful. I’M NOT JESUS but I am His!!! As He molds me into His image I discover more and more that I’m not Him. As He breaks me from my flesh and all it’s seemingly endless wants and desires I discover that if I don’t anchor in His joy and peace I have no strength to love Him with. How I long to love Him the right way!!
The song Press On has been such a huge blessing to me as a reminder to just keep going. These last days are depleting and mentally destructive but we can still find joy. Solomon said:
Ecclesiastes 8:15 KJV
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
We have been given this life to give back to The Lord. He has given each of us a job to do, and that job is NOT to mumble or complain about one another. The job is simple – love The Lord! If you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength you simply won’t have time to worry about anything else. And, when you love Him right you’ll love others right – not with a worldly love that so permeates our churches today, but with a Christ-like love unafraid to lay yourself down for others because when you see Him you truly will say, I’M NOT JESUS!
Press On weary soldier, The Lord is coming soon and though we are not Jesus we are commanded to keep standing and to be Christ like in this life. It will take a lot of time and effort and laying down of our flesh. We must first admit and keep admitting again and again… I’M NOT JESUS.
Kate Ledbetter is a child of The King, wife to the amazing-Pastor Jeff Ledbetter, and mother to Victoria, Madeline, Samuel, Jonathan, Meredith, and Juliana. She is privileged to give her life away for The One Who gave His life for her. At 42 years old The Lord has blessed her with 23 years of marriage and managing her home, 20 years in ministry under her husband/pastor, 21 years of mothering her six children, and 17 years of homeschooling. God has been good, kind, and gracious – far better than she has ever deserved.