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Did you know that many people we look up to in the Bible are known by who they used to be and not who Jesus transformed them to become?
It wasn’t until I was sitting at a Micah Tyler and Austin French concert that I learned the revelation of this truth.
From the Woman at the Well to the Blind Man, Prostitute, Bleeding Woman, or Man possessed by Legion, isn’t it crazy that those Jesus performed miracles on are still known by who they were and not what Jesus did for them?
We refer to a woman made pure as an adulterous, a man who can now see as one who is still blind, a woman healed as one still suffering, a captive set free as one still held captive. Perhaps we do the same with ourselves and others.
Who I Used to Be
Because I do not know about you, but the enemy is really good at reminding me who I used to be before Jesus rescued, saved, and delivered me. The enemy is a mastermind at bringing up my past mistakes, failures, and inadequacies to prevent me from embracing God’s plans, deliverance, and blessings in the future.
As a child, I grew up facing verbal abuse, and life-threatening situations. It was not uncommon for me to sleep restless nights and worry about the next days’ anxieties. And though I grew up in a Christian home, I was still held captive by the fallenness within my familial clan.
I was not a stranger to those gripped by drug addiction, abuse, and alcoholism when they shared the same last name. I was not a foreigner to slamming doors, shouting voices, and tears as abundant as rain behind closed entrances and shattered hearts. I was not even an alien when addiction in the form of exercise and an eating disorder came knocking on my door.
Though God would free me from my addictions, I continue to see my family wrestle with theirs. I still hear the shouts and slamming of doors. I still witness the crumbling marriage, dying siblings, and ravenous disease of sin plaguing any hope of recovery. I still struggle to listen to hope when my anxiety heightens and the voices of my past come knocking at a never-ceasing door.
The Difference Between God and the Enemy
Because that is the difference between God calling you by name, and the enemy. That is the difference between listening to hope and listening to defeat.
For the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Christ has come that we may have life and life to the fullest. Jesus does not give us a Spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and self-discipline. He does not wish to see us for who we once were, but who He has created us to be.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, New International Version).
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, New International Version).
But most days, if I am being honest with you, it is easier for me to believe what Satan entangles in my mind. Like cobwebs wrapped around my soul, I struggle to ignore the voices. Perhaps you hear them, too?
The ones that call you Woman at the Well when you’ve already left that place.
The ones that call you Adulteress, when Jesus already made you pure.
The ones that call you blind even though God has given you sight.
The ones that call you broken, too far gone, and hopeless, even though Jesus has made you whole.
The ones that paralyze you in fear though God did not give you that kind of Spirit.
The ones that remind you of where you were rather than where you are now.
The ones that drown you in anxieties about today and fears for tomorrow, when God tells us He will provide.
The ones that call you anorexic, orthorexic, and unhealthy when God already broke my foot to set me free from those vices.
The ones that call you to question your salvation when God’s Word says that those who call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
Those are just some of the voices. Some of the reminders of who we used to be. Some of the struggles we fight in turmoil with when the edges get rough, and the days get longer than we might expect.
Who God Calls Us To Be
Because it is not God who calls us blind when we can see and deaf when we can hear. We call ourselves that when we believe the lies that Satan throws at us. We bring shame to His Name and ours when we call others by who they were and not who they are.
But you know what Christ says?
He says, “I call you by name.”
When Jesus healed these people in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, He was not the one to call them who they used to be, we are.
Jesus says to the Bleeding Woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34, New International Version).
Jesus says to the Deaf ears, be opened. “And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened” (Mark 7:34, English Standard Version).
Jesus says to the Woman caught in adultery, go and sin no more. “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:10-11, New King James Version).
Who We Were Created To Be
Today, let it be a reminder to us that Jesus does not call us by who we once were, but who He created us to be. Let us not call others by these names, nor ourselves. For He who has been saved by Christ and through faith in Him is a new and steadfast creation. The old is gone, and the new has come. And that is something to rejoice about!
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New American Standard Bible).
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, English Standard Version).
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:16, English Standard Version).
We are made new.
We are redeemed.
We are engraved on the palms of His hands.
He calls us by the name He has given us (His child).
We are His.
He is ours.
And that identity can never be taken away from us.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, New International Version).