The four words/phrases we are discussing this week have everything to do with our identity: Choose Joy, Wonderfully Made, Loved, Delighted In.
Speaking words of grace and peace comes from truly knowing where your true identity lies. When we accept that we are daughters of the King, adopted and bought with a price, we will live a transformed, healed and whole life. With deep roots in this identity, we are free to be the hands, feet and mouth of Christ to others in our lives—a beautiful and undeserved responsibility.
“This frees me from seeking my identity horizontally because I am given an eternal identity in Christ. It also frees me from being worried about being known or exposed because I know that nothing could ever be exposed about me that hasn't already been covered by the precious blood of Jesus. I can go to bed in peace knowing that the one person who counts knows me thoroughly, but He will never turn His back on me in light of His complete knowledge of my sin, weaknesses and failures.” – Paul David Tripp
I know just how far the enemy will go to exploit your doubts, to undermine the truth of what God says and to whisper lies of where you might find the love, confidence and joy you’ve been searching for outside of God. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow—His love for you never changes and neither does His character, priorities or purposes. The enemy wants you to believe otherwise. Suit up, sisters! Put on the full armor of God so you can stand against the tactics of the enemy (Ephesians 6). Our feet follow our faith every. single. time. If our belief system is flawed, we’ll inherently live a counterfeit way of life. If we think inaccurately about God or about how God thinks of us, the choices we make will directly reflect. You will act out of your belief system and if it's flawed (as mine was), then eventually it’s going to show up in how you live and how you ultimately search for love and joy. I’ve seen the depths, disastrous and despairing places this takes you when you do not fully believe the truths named here, where your true identity lies and what the Lord says about YOU. We must believe our God at His EVERY word. As you read these truths from Scripture below, I pray these wash over you anew and revive something deep in your spirit to adjust how you think of our God and, more importantly, how He think and feels about you. (No matter who you are or what you’ve done. His grace, mercy and blood covers it all!)
He delights over me and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)
Before He formed me in the womb, He knew me (Isaiah 44:24, Psalm 71:6, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13)
Before I was born, He set me apart (Galatians 1:15)
He created me for a great and mighty purpose (Romans 9:17, Ephesians 2:10, Exodus 9:16, Job 42:2, Proverbs 20:5, Romans 8:28)
His plans for me are to prosper me, to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
I am a daughter of the King (Galatians 3:26, 1 John 3:1a)
His thoughts for me outnumber the sands (Psalm 139:17-18)
His banner over me is LOVE! (Song of Solomon 2:4)
I am a jewel in His crown (Zechariah 9:16, Isaiah 62:3)
My worth is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10)-I am clothed in strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25)
Through Him, I open my mouth with wisdom and on my lips is the law of kindness (Proverbs 13:26)
I am engraved on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16)
The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
The Holy Spirit lives within me and directs my steps (Psalm 37:23, Psalm 32:8)
He goes before me, making the crooked places straight, the rough places smooth and opens doors that no man can shut (Isaiah 45:2 and 16, Luke 3:5, Isaiah 22:22)
I walk worthy of God, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of Him (Colossians 1:10)
The mind that is in me is also the mind that is in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)
I will never be without the favor of God (Romans 11:29, Psalm 84:11)
I was created in His image (Genesis 1:27)
Through His love I am transformed (Romans 12:2)
He alone holds the power to redeem and restore me (Deuteronomy 30:3-13, Colossians 1:13-14
He bestows on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes and trades my pain for a spirit of rejoicing (Isaiah 61:3)
If I ask, He removes my sin from me as far as the east is from the west. Though my sins are like scarlet, He has made me white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12)
His love protects, His love hopes, His love heals, His love perseveres, His love endures forever and it never fails me (1 Corinthians 13:6-8, Psalm 117:2)
Mightier than the waves of the sea is His love for me (Psalm 93:4)
Jesus came, so that I might have life and have I abundantly (John 10:10)
I am like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and my leaves do not wither, in all I do, I prosper (Psalm 1:1-6)
He did not give me a spirit of fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, unrest or timidity, but one of power, love and sound-mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
The Lord delights in me (Isaiah 62:4)
He calls me by name, for He has redeemed me, I am His (Isaiah 43:1)
As it turned out, the Lord has been at work behind the scenes for me this whole time. He is never missing, He is never late (Ruth 2)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases for me (Lamentations 3:21-23)
Fear not, for He has overcome the world (John 13:63)
Though I sow in tears, He promises me that not one tear will be in vain and that I will reap with shouts of joy and harvests of righteousness (Psalm 126:5-6)
My weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)
He lavishes His goodness on me who comes to Him for protection (Psalm 31:19-21, 24)
He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
He has dealt wondrously with me (Joel 2:23-27)
I hope you proclaim and claim these promises, truths and providences over your life and walk wholeheartedly in them.
I’ve learned a lot about what love is and what love isn’t over the past few years. Love doesn’t turn its back on you because you are wrong. It doesn’t turn the tables and work to make you hurt in the same way you’ve hurt them. Love moves towards you because you are wrong and need to be rescued from you. (Galatians 6) Love is sacrificial, selfless and endures hardships so that you may be made right again and be reconciled and restored to God and to others. I’ve been so fortunate to have this kind of love shown to me through family and friends. We’ve all been given a love that is undeserved but given freely. One that is agenda free and courageous. It always protects, it always hopes, it always perseveres, it never fails. When you experience this love in abounding ways, it bring you to a place where you can understand and appreciate how you’ve been forgiven and pardoned and in return are able to show that same grace and forgiveness to others (1 Corinthians 13:4-13). This we know with all our heart, His wounds have paid our ransom.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story” (Psalm 107:1-2).
It’s hard to grasp His individual love for you when we constantly hear, “He died for us all.” He died for you. For Jennifer, Maddie, Rachel, ______. He died for individuals. He hung on a cross with your name on His heart and in His mind. That’s personal, deep, immense love for you! He took your place, paid your debt, stands by your side, never leaves you, created you, adopted you, and delights in you! He knows the depths of your heart and loves you – not just that, but He longs to know you more. He desires and has a deep longing to spend time with you!
God’s thoughts for you “outnumber the sands” (Psalm 139:17-18). Think about the things you think about the most (family, friends, work, what you’re going to eat next, etct) during the days. It’s hard to imagine that He thinks about each of us with as much reverence and intent as He does. “How vast the sum of them,” the Psalms say! He is the Friend of Sinners—we are accepted, loved, delighted in, adored, longed for even though we are unworthy.
Through pain and suffering He pursues us — to let us experience His unshakeable love for us! He allows people to fail us to show us that, in the end, there is only one who will never leave, never forsake, never turn His back on us. There is nothing you could ever ever do to lose His great and mighty love for you! He longs for you to see that He is the only one our hope and trust is safe and secure in. He is the only one who is “ancient of days,” “unchanging," the “same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” He’s offered us “sonship”, adoption, forgiveness, mercies that never cease and that are offered to us new every morning. I don't deserve forgiveness, much less a hope and a future! And yet, somehow He’s given me all three! He celebrated my return to Him! He celebrated me, the prodigal, coming home at last, because His love for me (and for you) is SO grand, so passionate, so persistent, so fierce.
He comes back for you over and over to obliterate all other idols you worship or people, places and things in which you've attached your hope – to show you when you deserve it the least, that HE IS THE ONLY ONE STILL THERE, waiting with arms wide open! Longing for your return to Him, deeply desiring your awakening to just how loved you are by Him and what He freely offers to you through Christ Jesus. Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy and from the ashes a new life is born!
With Jesus, you don’t have to pretend, hide or be someone other than you are in order to be loved. With Him, you are fully known, loved, accepted, secured AND delighted in! He sees the depths of my heart and He loves me the same! People only see about 10% of our hearts and they judge, criticize, measure, love conditionally, so why would my hope and identity be found in people and not in the God of the Universe? Take the keys back from those whom you’ve given your identity and your hope over to. He alone is the one where our true identity and hope should only lie ever.
From the beginning, Genesis 2:25 reminds us that we were created to feel no shame. The world constantly heaps “shame on you” via magazines, social media and television. How dare we not have perfectly coiffed hair, or perfect Pinterest homes! It tells us we are not enough, unworthy or failing. Shame causes you to develop patterns of corrosive conduct and choices, image management and approval addictions based on others’ views of you. Well, our identity should never come from a place outside of yourself or outside of the truth of what God says about you! How sweet and simple is it that He delights in exactly who He created you to be—without overcomplicating it, plain and simple, we are set apart and designed in the image of God (Jeremiah 1:5). He delights in you, messiness and cleanliness alike. The world is ever-changing. You are chasing your own tail if you want the world’s approval. One day you are at the pinnacle, the next cast aside and on to the next. But learning and studying scripture to see what God says about you-- the only one who is never changing – His opinion and love for you never cease and neither does His promises, His truths, His provisions!
“May the God of hope fill you with ALL JOY and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” Romans 15:13
“The JOY of the Lord is my strength!" Nehemiah 8:10
“In your presence there is fullness of JOY; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
"Be JOYFUL in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY!” Psalm 126:3
You are Wonderfully Made—
“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and WONDERFULLY MADE; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious are your thoughts about me, how vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Psalm 139:13-18
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you! Before you were born, I set you apart!” Jeremiah 1:5
You are Loved—
“God shows his LOVE for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“Mightier than the waves of the sea is His LOVE for you!” Psalm 93:4
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His LOVE for those who fear Him! As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. From everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s LOVE is with those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:11, 16-17
“In ALL things we are more than conquerors through Him who LOVED 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 8:37-39
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast LOVE and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
You are Delighted In—
“The Lord DELIGHTS over you!” Isaiah 62:4
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great DELIGHT IN YOU; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing!" Zephaniah 3:17
A very wise friend of ours says “don’t fill your gas tank with milk.” Gas tanks are only ever meant to have gas in them, not milk! A car wouldn’t run if something other than gas was put in the tank. Take this same truth and apply it to your life – only put the “truth”, the Word and promises of God, into your heart and your life will be able to run and function as it was designed to! Otherwise, it will run improperly, break down and not be fully utilized as it was made to be.
I pray you found hope and truth in here today to bless you, encourage you and motivate you this next week! I love getting to share my heart and my personal testimony and relationship with the Lord with you all! What a gift!