Just as one season ends, the next one begins. So it is that way in my time with the Lord these last several years. I have found I cannot let my heart go long without a daily time in the Word. I am too prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
As I finished my walk through the book of John recently, I was already asking the Lord what was next. This morning He highlighted Colossians.
So off I went into a book that has become incredibly familiar over the last three years, as I have worked through memorizing it. (The process has been painstakingly slow, so please do not consider that more accomplished than the protection over my thoughts that it is. I am still working to get all of chapter three rolling off my tongue. )
The call back to this book felt good, though. A new season ahead with an old favorite. Maybe I can actually finish memorizing it this time.
But I knew God had a new word for me right in this familiar place when my jaw dropped at the opening.
The letter written to the church in Colossae opens with the author’s greeting. But right there it hit me. Paul.
The man who was so zealous for God, the Hebrew of Hebrews, born Saul but commissioned by Jesus to reach the Gentiles with His gospel as Paul. He opens his letter by this new name. He received the name Jesus gave him and referred to himself as such when the letter opened.
Now, there is some debate about whether Jesus named him such or not, among commentators. But for me on this morning as I held my worn Bible and listened for the Spirit, it hit me.
Paul saw himself as Jesus saw him.
Having spent the last several months in the book of John, the same concept kept occurring to me about John. He never refers to himself as “John” in the scroll he writes about the life of Jesus. Nope. He refers to himself as the “one Jesus loved.”
These men stepped into bold callings, set the world on fire with the gospel commissioned to them, and simply lived unhindered.
How could they do that? They knew who they were and whose they were and lived from there.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God (Colossians 1:1)
Paul did not put on false airs of humility. He boldly received and then proclaimed who he was and that it was by God’s will that he was such.
In examining this fact and then noticing the lesson that the Spirit might teach through this, it stood out to me that this was an example for me to follow. Like Paul, we need to let God define who we are and why, NOT the hurtful friend, lost family member, or even the world or the lies within our own heart. We are to be stand defined by God and called by God for His good purpose.
As I asked the Lord how I might respond to this and do as He was guiding, I began to write a list of what is true about me. Not based on what I feel, think, or have been told by others. But a list of what He says through His Word, the only real truth.
Immediately that beautiful first chapter of Ephesians came to mind:
- I am blessed (Ephesians 1:3).
- I am chosen (v.4).
- I am holy (v. 4).
- I am blameless before Him (v. 4).
- I am loved (v. 5).
- I am adopted (v. 5).
- I am redeemed (v. 7).
- I am forgiven (v.7).
- I am lavishly graced (v. 8).
And that is just the ones that stood out to me today! There is so much more!
How then is it we shrink back, and live by our shaky feelings and lying emotions? How would you and I think, speak and act differently if we based our thoughts, words and actions on how God defines us? What if, like Pastor Tony Evans says, we acted as if God was telling the truth?
For those of us in Christ, it is our birth right to walk boldly and unhindered, knowing who we are, whose we are and being quick to point others in His direction too. How will you act as if He is telling you the truth today?
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