Read: 1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 1:5; John 14:1-3; Ephesians 2:10
This week, while looking through the mail, I came across an envelope from a medical facility, but I didn't even consider opening it. Why? Because it was addressed to a lady named Sarah, and that's not my name. Therefore, since its contents was for someone else, my husband attached a sticky note to it indicating that it had been delivered to the wrong address and put it back for the mailman to deliver it to its intended recipient. I was thinking about that little incident and how easily we disregarded that piece of mail because it didn't concern us and how we receive other messages that we don't as readily disregard. May I explain?
The messages I am thinking of don't often come in envelopes but rather they are our own thoughts or the result of the words that have been spoken by others. Their origin might be past labels that were tacked on to us or they are those we might have even given ourselves. These descriptions might have been a part of our thinking for many years, and some of them remain with us even after we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Some have been with us so long that they seem to be a normal part of our thinking, but do they belong to us now that we have a new name and a new identity? Whose assessment of ourselves do we want to receive? God's or man's? I do not mean this question in a frivolous or sarcastic way. Most if not all of us who have run to Jesus for His salvation come with some thinking that does not match what the Bible says, but as we learn His truth, we will more readily throw off the old thoughts that no longer describe who the Lord says we are. Let's look at a few thoughts that we might have and how God's truths can supplant the lies that might already be lodged or try to worm their way into our thinking.
1. Thoughts of being worthless. I think we would all be surprised to know how many even among the highly successful people struggle with thoughts of worthlessness. Some people have been derided from childhood. Some people continue to hold out the measuring rod against the accomplishments of others and count themselves as less. The list of why this thinking can so easily get a stranglehold is endless, but the remedy for those of us who belong to Jesus can tear down those lies. We find one truth that tears down the lie of worthlessness in 1 Peter 1:18-19. Here we see God's heart toward us. We are worth so much to Him that Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, paid the price for our redemption. What he gave to ransom us from the slavery of sin was nothing as unimportant as money. No, instead, He gave His precious blood through His death on the cross. Yes, often people have done and said things that cause us to understand that they might not value us highly, but God's assessment is very different. What He did on Calvary shows our worth to Him. Does nourishing ourselves with the truth of God's love mean that it doesn't hurt when people reckon us to be worthless? No, we all want to be valued by others, but the truths of scripture sooth the ache that people sometimes bring. Believing what God says rather than what man does will help us stand strong, Psalm 3:3. God is our Glory and the One Who lifts our heads.
2. Thoughts of not belonging. Most everyone, at one time or another has been assaulted with these thoughts. The times of standing by the wall at the dance. The times of trying to fit in and feeling like it would never happen. Even in families, feelings of not being able to perform up to par to please someone might leave us longing to know we belong. Once again, the reasons for not feeling like we belong are as varied as the circumstances of life, but once again, God's truth is held out to us as a strong anchor on which to lean. In 1 John 3:1, John reminds us that we who are relying on the finished work of the cross now have a new title. We are children of God. We belong irrevocably to His family. Ephesians 1:5 reminds us that we have been adopted and sealed as His children by the precious Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4:30. We as God's children have an imperishable inheritance that will never be taken away. It is kept safe for us in heaven, 1 Peter 1:3-5. Although our fathers or mothers might forsake us, the Lord will take us up, Psalm 27:10. Although a nursing mom might even forget her baby, God will never forget His children, Isaiah 49:15-16. We have brothers and sisters who can grow with us and who can help us grow. We belong because we have the same Father Who has given us to each other. The Lord is preparing a place for each of us in His Father's house. A place where we will experience the fullness of belonging, John 14:1-3.
3. Thoughts that God can't or won't use us. This kind of thinking also has many origins. Many people have heard it said that their inadequacies or flaws render them unusable by the Lord. Some have been belittled to the point that they believe that God would never want to use them for kingdom work. Again, the reason for believing the lie isn't as important as the truth that tears it down. Man's opinion can go down for the count. Knocked down as a result of God's Word. In Ephesians 2:10, we read an astounding truth. We who belong to Jesus are His workmanship. Yes, the Creator Who spoke everything into existence says that He is at work in us. He has chosen us to do the works that He had in mind for us, and the Master has equipped us for those works. This truth believed won't cause us to be arrogant; instead, it will cause us to walk in humility. God has chosen to equip us for the things He has prepared for us to do. The attention to detail that we see in His wondrous creation and how it fits together to sustain life is also at work in His children's lives.
These are merely three of the many truths that God has given us, but they pack a punch against the lies that come against us. When we remember that we are valuable to God, that we belong to His family and that the Master has fashioned us for the works He has prepared for us, we can kick out any assessment of man that comes our way. We can more and more frequently disregard any "mail" that does not fit with what Jesus says about us. The sticky note can say that we are God's new creations, 2 Corinthians
5:17 and that as such, we reject every description that goes against our new identity, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.