Satan wants us to believe that we are who we are based only on the internal and external events of our life. That our life has been shaped and molded solely by our environment, culture, and all the trauma we’ve endured. For when we believe this, we’ll blame our parents, or our cultural upbringing for where we’ve ended up…rather than realizing that it is God who can shape our future…not the bad things that have happen to us in the past. Satan wants us to believe that our past dictates our future, and that generational chains cannot ever be broken off us. He wants to keep us in fear and doubt, accepting that we can never change. But if we’ll receive God’s grace and proclaim, “Yes, I once was…But God is willing and able to work in my life now!”… the Master Potter will form something beautiful out of that lump of clay we call our life.
The work Jesus Christ did here on earth was not some clandestine secretive mission. Rather, everything He said and did was pretty much done in the public eye. Was He ridiculed and rejected for it…Yes. Was He snubbed and scorned by the people…Yes. Was He misunderstood and mocked often…Yes. But Jesus persevered with boldness and authority…never backing down from fear of man. These Scriptures encourage us to claim that same fearlessness and courage so as to not hide our light under a bushel.
Earlier in Genesis, God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child. ” I will make you into a great nation.” (Genesis 12:2) But like most of us…they allowed fear and doubt to overshadow their hope and expectations. For in this verse, God led Abraham out into the cloudless night sky to observe the stars, (they estimate there are 1 Billion Trillion stars in our universe), and then reassured him that his offspring would be as numerous. God does this for us also. He can cause a Bible verse to suddenly become alive and take on new meaning…banishing doubt and bolstering our faith in Him. He can strip away fear and strengthen our trust by bringing into remembrance all the things He’s done for us in the past. And just like Abraham, we too can look up into that starry sky and see God’s wonder, power, and majesty…and be assured of His love and faithfulness for us.
Isaiah gives a vivid picture of this knowledge of the Lord in Chapter 11, verse 9 when he says, “For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” All mankind has the opportunity to experience the Lord in a personal way…to have intimate fellowship with the Creator of the universe. For you can be “told” about God all your life, but it’s not until you fully grasp what Jesus did for you on that Cross…dying so you may live…that you can really “know” Him. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8
Our walk with the Lord is a process…a long, sometimes difficult passage, from what we once were, to what we are becoming. But what happens many times, we end up feeling stuck in the middle of our old and new self. So that’s when it’s time to take inventory. Turn around and take a critical view of your old self…not a pretty picture, right? Now, ponder where your life is today with the Lord’s help. It’s nothing short of a miracle in how you have grown in the knowledge of God…and with that knowledge, how you have been changed. None of us will every be able to say, “I’ve arrived!” when it comes to the full knowledge of God…but as long as we continually strive for more of Him in our lives…we’ll be making headway.
God called us for His own reasons by the wooing of the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel. The plan and purpose for your life was ingeniously created before the beginning of time. You might think God’s plan and purpose for you is only some lofty ideal…more concept than practicality. But God uses everything for our good. He uses the consequences that happen when we sin to disciple and shape us into a better person. He uses the drudgery of dull mundane tasks, the interactions with strangers, and the simple acts of kindness we do to conform us closer to His image. There is not one thing you’ll do today that hasn’t already passed through God’s hands first and will be used for your good.
The Lord is rather emphatic here…stop doing things that are contrary to His will. Rather, practice what is morally good. So just how do we learn to do right? The Bible tells us that the starting point of knowledge is the fear of the Lord…so accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is that first step. We then start the journey of learning who Jesus is…discovering the plan and purpose He has for us…and adding to our knowledge with daily Bible study and application. Learning to do right is a life-long study of becoming more like Jesus every day.
God is the source of all truth… and the starting point of gaining this knowledge is the fear of the Lord. And as we learn to trust God, the closer we are drawn to Him and His love. Finally, as He shepherds us, we are lead to safe ground…a stable and unchanging foundation where we can build our life and hope upon.