Water drips from the leaves of a tree, landing on the pages of my journal.
The grass gently sways to the rhythm of the wind. Birds sing in the background. If God can provide their needs today, He can certainly provide mine.
After all, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27).
Whew! What a relief. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).
Every resource. Every talent. It’s there. You lack no connection or opportunity. God is withholding nothing from your life—at least, nothing you need to serve Him during this season.
It’s no wonder David says, “…I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT). If God has provided everything I need to follow Jesus, there shouldn’t be anything else I want, right? Well, let’s take a look at another translation: “…I shall not want” (KJV). I don’t know about you, but I want many things. A Jeep Renegade. Martin guitar. M&M Blizzard.
So there’s a big difference between what I need and what I want—sure, when it comes to materialistic desires. But more importantly, when it comes to my identity.
I want to be skinnier. Smarter. Better. Like him. Like her. Can you relate?
Yet Psalm 23:1 tells me “…I shall not want” (KJV), for “…I have all that I need” (NLT).
Although God doesn’t always give us what we want, He always provides us what we need to build His kingdom in our own unique ways.
We must learn to be content with whatever God has placed in our hands, as well as the platforms He has called us to embrace. I’m not gifted at mechanics. My hands don’t work well with a hammer. Please don’t ask me to paint on a canvass, fix dinner, or usher. I’m not made to accomplish those things, so I lack the resources I need to complete them.
But sometimes, I can force it.
Last week, I told you why I’m writing about “re—” words. I need to come back to Jesus and be closer to Him again. Why? One reason is because I forced things for way too long.
My friend and I worked together on a chemistry lab several weeks ago. Because I’m not wired for scientific endeavors, it was an extra difficult task. But sometimes—more often than not—you must do things you don’t want to do! So, yeah, I expected to put forth more effort than normal. That’s only fair. But trying your best and forcing an identity are two totally different things.
As time passes, my friend begins to notice my forced efforts. I act out of character. I worry about trying hard enough. But my friend—although worried—isn’t acting as crazy as I am. Why? Although he tries really hard, he doesn’t force it. After all, he’s made for this. It comes more natural.
I bet that’s why Jesus says, “…Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).
God didn’t make you to force an identity.
This week’s word is re-identify. In order to come closer to Jesus again, we must know both who we are and who we’re not.
Not only has Jesus—our Shepherd—given us everything we need to be ourselves, He has reconciled humanity back to God. Check it out: “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).
Therefore, my identity is found in Jesus. The better I know my Savior, the better I know myself. I matter. I have everything that I need. How? Just Jesus. The same is true for you, so don’t force it.
Isaiah Pauley will be a senior at Wahama High School this fall. His blogs and videos can be found at www.crosswordsblog.weebly.com
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