walk in the word
Category: Your Walk With God
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Isaiah 43:1b
Who am I, really? Everyone is looking for the answer to that question but sadly the search has taken most of us to some ridiculous places—like our resumes, our relationships, and our financial portfolios. These sources only reveal a shadow of who we are.
On the broadcast, we’ve been discovering how to be gripped by the greatness of God through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah. We’ve visited the stunning heights of God’s sovereignty down to His awesome creation on earth. Now, we’ll look at how His greatness affects the most secret place in our world—our true identity. Only in our Creator can we discover all we are and were made to become.
Today, we’ll look at one of six statements about God (explore the other five in the broadcast message) and get a grip on how that translates to our identity. Here’s the truth: If you are God’s child, then He has redeemed you and called you by name.
Truth about God: He Is Personal.
“But now!” Isaiah said, “thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel.”
I love the word formed. God may have spoken the universe into existence, but He formed you. Genesis 2:7 uses formed to describe the creative process of making man from the dust. Jeremiah 18 uses formed to picture how a potter shapes the clay. I remember in elementary school when our teacher got out the pottery wheel and formed vases and pots before our eyes. The whole process is so cool. That is, except when the thing being formed is you—then it’s a bit scary, isn’t it?
Anticipating that response, verse 1 adds: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.” Before you can even express your heart, He speaks right to it. I know you’re afraid . . . don’t be.
In two short phrases God affirms His total, absolute commitment to you. The first is “for I have redeemed you.” I’ve bought you back. In order for God to have a relationship with you meant that He had to personally pay for it. Wherever redemption is mentioned in Scripture, there is always a ransom demand, the extreme price that must be paid for the one who was kidnapped. For you, God paid the ransom with the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s second word of personal commitment is “I have called you by name” (v. 1). For the past few years I have struggled with the reality of not knowing all the names of people in our church. I used to know everyone. But somewhere between hundreds and thousands, I lost track. I remember the time I was praying about that. The Lord was like, “James—I know their name. It’s not about you communicating your love and care to anyone. It’s about you taking people to Me!” Wow, that was both hard to hear and incredibly freeing.
“And you are mine.” My wife Kathy and I are blessed with two boys and a little girl. I love my boys, no doubt about it, but there is something unique I have found between a father and a daughter. Often I pull Abby on my lap, hold her tightly and say, “you’re Daddy’s girl, right?” But in the end that’s not entirely accurate. No one but God can say to you “You are mine” with 100% integrity and honesty. Not your father. Not your mother. Not your friends. Not your spouse. Not your children. But God can say to every one of children, “I have called you by name and you are Mine!”
In the massive sea of humanity, now billions of people, only a few can say God has called them by name. Only a fraction of the world’s population has received these incredibly defining words direct from the Creator, “you are Mine.” “Many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matthew 22:14). If you are among the few that have been chosen . . . wow!
I am chosen.
With all due respect to blood relatives, there is something powerful about being chosen. If you were adopted into a family, you were chosen. Your parents looked around and said, “We want her.” Or “We choose him to be our son.”
If you are married, then you also know the wonder of being chosen. Out of all the girls in your hometown, high school or college, from all the boys in your city or state, your spouse chose you to share their name, their life, and every experience good or bad that will come your way.
However, even these powerful bonds can’t compare to the truth that God in His infinite grace chose to set His love upon you!
“Because He has set His love upon me, I will set Him on high. Because He has known my name.” (Psalm 91:14)
“According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Ephesians 1:4)
Somehow, before the world was made, God looked into the future and chose to set His love upon you. (If you struggle with this, get the third message in this series on God’s sovereignty. It will help you understand why we don’t get much input on what God does—and that’s a good thing).
This gives you confidence.
When you begin to let the truth that God personally chose you settle down into your heart, the result is confidence. Isaiah 43:1 says, “He who formed you, O Israel, do not fear.” The opposite of fear is confidence. When you’re gripped by His personal interest in you, you can know with certainty that you are not who your résumé, your performance, your friends or enemies say you are. Instead, accept that you are who God says you are. For no good reason of your own, God put you on His most wanted list. Let that reality grip you and shape your identity this week.
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