Before We Were Formed
Jeremiah 1:4-5 ESV
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“’Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’”
In Psalms 139 we read David’s words where he said that God knit him together in his mother’s womb and that in God’s book were written all the days that were formed for him, when as yet there was none of them, for they had not yet come into being.
And then we read in the New Testament that those whom God the Father foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. And we read that we are called to a holy calling because of God’s purpose and grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.
And we read that God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. So, God having a plan and purpose for our lives, before we are born, is extremely biblical.
We are not all called to the same ministries, nor are we all given the same spiritual gifts, but our Lord uniquely designed each one of us for his specific purposes for our lives. But there are things we are all called to do, such as repent of sins, obey our Lord, and give honor and respect to God.
And we are all called to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and to share the excellencies of our God who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. In other words, we are all to be sharing the gospel with others, too.
[Rom 8:29; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Eph 1:3-4; Matt 5:13-16; 1 Pet 2:29; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 12; 1 Co 12]
Do Not Say “I Can’t!”
Jeremiah 1:6-8 ESV
“Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the Lord said to me,
“’Do not say, “I am only a youth”;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.’”
If the Lord calls us, he will equip us, he will empower us, and he will give us all that we need to do what he has called us to do. We don’t have to have the abilities or skills in advance of his calling, for this is of the Spirit of God, not of our flesh, so the Holy Spirit empowers us to obey the calling.
In fact, the Scriptures teach that God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and what is weak in the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things and the despised things so that no one would boast before him. Thus, God gets the glory, not us (1 Co 1:27-29).
In the power of God’s Spirit, we are able to do many things we could not do in the power of our flesh. We can speak with boldness and courage even in the face of much opposition, rejection, false accusations, and persecution. We can go without sleep, at times, too, in order to do what the Lord wants.
He will lead us in what to say, and he will inspire us with what to write and how to write it and when. He will give us abilities we never had before to write music, or to talk about subjects we avoided before because we felt they were over our heads, and we could not understand them.
So, “I can’t!” is never to be our response to God’s calling on our lives. Believe me, he can and will work wonders in our lives which will absolutely amaze us when our lives are yielded to him, and when we come under the Holy Spirit’s control, and we do what he has called us to do in his power.
And we are not to fear opposition or false accusations or people trying to trip us up with our words or rejection. If we are walking in the Spirit, doing what he says, he will carry us through. Nothing can touch us but what he allows it, and he will give us all we need to endure it, and it will be for our good.
They Will Fight Against You
Jeremiah 1:9-10, 18-19 ESV
“Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“’Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’”
“And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
Again, the Lord is able to do with us whatever we cannot do in our own flesh. He can give us courage to do and to say what is way beyond what we could ever do in the natural. He can give us knowledge of things we did not know and understanding of things we never could get before.
In fact, the kind of persecution we may face may be that we will be falsely accused of possessing certain negative personality traits or of being self-righteous or judgmental or of being negative, etc. because people are judging us by human standards, and they don’t understand how God works.
Even many Christians do not comprehend what it means to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, so they may see what we are doing or saying as egotistical or judgmental because they don’t comprehend how God works through us, and so they may think we are operating in our own power.
Thus, they may fight against us because they consider that it is not our place to speak with such boldness and courage, for they are largely being taught that being a Christian means we only say to people nice things that make them feel good about themselves.
And this is why the gospel has been diluted and adulterated, in order to appease the flesh of humans so that we do not say to them what will offend them or make them feel guilty about their sin. For, they consider that not polite and unkind. They want to hear only pleasant words. They do not want to be confronted in their sins and called to repentance and obedience.
But we are not to fear opposition or what other humans may do to us or say about us. They may persecute us, and they may even kill us, but they can’t kill our souls, for our Lord is with us, and he will accomplish his purposes through our lives for his glory and praise. We just need to keep obeying him.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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