Life, Faith & Running
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
This is part one of three in a series of posts exploring the relationship among words, theology and the tangible actions that come out of living in line with the identity and purpose given to us by God at creation and restored in us by Christ's ministry on earth.
To believe that words have the power to both heal and hurt is likely not a new concept. The events of history, personal life experiences, and the Bible all point to the very reality that the words we speak, the words spoken over us and the words we choose to believe significantly impact our lives.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why words hold such power?
Have you ever sat and mentally wrestled with the truth that what you say, what you listen to and the words you’ve chosen to believe to be true have shaped your theology and your actions?
I believe the power words have to shape and direct derives from the very real truth that God created with words. He named with words. He defined with words. He has given us His Word (the Bible) and told us that we need it even more than we need bread (Matthew 4:4).
And ultimately, he sent his words in the flesh, Jesus (John 1:14), so that we could be restored and set free to live into all the words he says are true of who we are now.
Words have power because the God of the universe built this into the DNA of our minds, souls, muscles, and hearts. He designed words. He designed us. And this miraculous orchestration is beautiful, complex, and powerful.
Genesis 1 and 2 documents the truth that God’s words create:
Over all entities of His creation, God spoke into each one its name and its purpose. Before an expanse, creature or human being was formed, first God’s words spoke to what it would be and the purpose it would have. Out of the truth of His words each came to life to live as intended by the creator.
Chew on that thought for a bit.
Let it marinate.
If God spoke into existence all that we see. And if his naming and purpose for each was set in place by His words at the beginning of time, then identity was set into each of us at the beginning of time with His words.
The dictionary defines identity as this:
Take a deep breath.
Now, let your soul and mind wrestle with this question: What do you believe are the facts that make you who or what you are?
Culture would like us to believe we are who we make ourselves to be: we are the sum of what we do, what we earn, what we own and who we know. It is our job to figure out who we are based on what see. If we want to find confidence and have an impact, we need to build our strengths and cater to our personality. To know who we are we need to assess this, probe that and get away and find ourselves from time to time.
Satin would like us to believe that our identity is up for grabs: that we are the sum of our unredeemed thoughts, darkest moments, and human needs. From his point of view, our identity is always changing and we can’t trust who we are or what we see. Doubt rules and fear drives. You are what you feel and perceive. Which may be always changing and shifting with the circumstances around you.
But God says the facts of who you are, and who I am, are not dependent on any of these things. Only His words get to define me. Only his words get to define you. To begin with, the words spoken over man and woman at creation set identity in place for each. And the words of the Bible (God’s words) over and over again point us back to the definition of “who" we are and the “what” of our purposes.
I have discovered that the more time I spend digging into understanding those words, the one's God spoke, the more I see just how beautiful and bold of a design He has woven into my being. Which hasn’t just changed my view of myself, but expanded my understanding and awe of who God is. His magnificence and glory keep overwhelming me.
Sisters, our identity isn’t out there waiting for us to create or mold. Our purposes isn’t a mystery we wait on the right words to come up with to define. Neither our identity nor our purpose is dependent on what we do or what we see. Rather, it is set in us. It may need some unwrapping. But it isn’t going anywhere.
Because what God speaks never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). What he placed into motion at creation is still true, it just sometimes gets a little tainted by the sin that entered the world. But we have the power to fight back the lies and the false perceptions (Isaiah 54:17). Plus, we have the Spirit who gives us the ability to believe that the words of Scripture are true of us (John 7:38).
Just as it was at the beginning of time, the birds still chirp, the fish still swim, the seasons still change and the earth still produces vegetation and life. If he set all of those things into place and they are still doing what they were designed to do, isn’t the same true for you and me? Aren’t we also capable of living out the words spoken over our created design in the Garden of Eden?
Yes. Yes. Yes. His words have power. His words create. His word define. We know this to be true. But do we know the meanings of the words he chose for the first man and woman, and subsequently all who would follow.
In Genesis these are the words spoken over the man and the woman before each was brought to life:
God’s words spoke both their identity and purpose into existence and then each came to life. Out of this identity and purpose they walked and worked in the garden together, with God in their presence. They had accomplished nothing, built nothing, and yet they had an identity and a purpose.
Because identity isn’t built on what we do but on the words of the creator over us. His words define and create who we are and what we are purposed for during our little walk on this earth.
Sound too simple?
Maybe it is. But I think before the Fall identity and purpose just weren’t that complicated. It was beautiful and clear, and in the words of God, very good. This is why, I believe, in order to understand identity and purpose, the first place we need to go is back to the Garden of Eden. Back to the words that defined, created, and named.
What we will discover on this journey back to the beginning is that when you and I can believe that our identity and purpose are already defined, created and named, we can allow our theology to drive the tangible actions of our lives, rather than allowing the tangible actions of our lives create our identity and purpose.
This isn’t just a paradigm shift. This is an approach to life shift. One that, for me, has made Scriptures that used to be unclear and confusing, come to clarity. Resulting in comfort, peace, and strength for my heart, soul, mind, and body.
And this is what I hope the words in this series can gift you too--an ability to see and believe you have a stable and unwavering identity and purpose. One based 100% on the words your creator chose to speak over you and into you.
In the next post: What do the words, ‘ezer kenegedu mean? How do these words name and define my identity and purpose?
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: