Do you ever get tired of yourself? I do. I am constantly and consistently frustrated at who I am. I have so many flaws and failings it’s hard to count, and it seems like I’m always stumbling over something that should never have been an obstacle to begin with. And maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but that’s the truth of it.
I’m not the first person to follow Christ who has recognized the need to change but realized the incapability to do so. But what’s amazing about choosing to follow God is that change starts happening instantly inside you the moment you take that first step.
Today’s verses are Genesis 17:5 and Genesis 17:15.
What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.
This is the first instance where God changes someone’s name when they decided to follow Him. And what I find pretty awesome is that it isn’t just Abraham’s name God changed–it was Sarai’s too.
Names are such symbolic things that we shouldn’t gloss over this passage too quickly. Names identify us. Names indicate hopes and dreams for who we will become. Many times names in the Bible actually do end up representing who a person truly is inside. So it’s significant that God changed Abram and Sarai’s names.
When Abram and Sarai decided to follow God, to trust Him and do what He said, God changed their identities. But He did more than just change what He called them; He changed how they viewed themselves.
Someone who follows Christs has a completely different perspective of themselves than someone who doesn’t. Or at least, they should. If you follow Christ, you should understand that you’re a sinner, that you’ve failed, that you aren’t good enough to get to heaven on your own–but by that same token you should understand that God thought you were worth it anyway. God thought you were worth sacrificing His Son for.
Think about that! The God of the universe loves us enough to step into our lives and change us from the inside out. Now that has to change your perspective about who you are and what you’re worth.
People in our culture today are trying to derive their identity from their sexuality or their heritage. People identify themselves by genders, by political opinions, by regional location, by religious stereotypes. But the truth is that our identities need to come from something deeper than any of those shallow labels. Even gender and sexuality is shallow in comparison to what our true identity was always intended to be.
We are each unique. We are each created special and individual–one-of-a-kind souls. There has never been another me, just like there has never been another you. And God has something awesome planned for each one of us. But we get so bogged down by the goings-on of the world that we forget that. We get so inundated by our listless, self-centered culture that we forget to look to God to tell us who we are. And when you look for your identity in superficial, temporary labels like your job description or even your denomination, you’ll lose your purpose.
But if you want to know who you are for sure, you need to draw close to God. It’s funny but surrendering your heart to Christ is the first step in figuring out who you were meant to be–because God is the one who designed you. Who better to ask than your own creator?
The transformation isn’t immediately apparent, but with every step closer to Christ He continues to change us. We grow a little each day. So if you don’t know who you are or if you’re tired and frustrated with yourself, follow Christ. The core of who you are will stay the same. After all, God created you to be who you are for a reason, but your perspective will change. The desires of your heart will change. And that’s not something you can do on your own; that’s something only God can do.
It doesn’t happen overnight (usually), but it will happen. I mean, honestly, do you think Abram and Sarai started calling each other Abraham and Sarah the very next day? Maybe they did. Some changes are pretty quick. But part of me doubts it. They’d been married for like 80 years at that point, and people are creatures of habit. But at some point, they started looking at themselves the way God did. And at some point in the journey, so will you.