From the moment we are born, our lives are shaped by the people around us and the experiences we go through. Many of us had the privilege of growing up in a family where we had loving parents and maybe even siblings to alternately love and not-so-love throughout our stages of growing up. Perhaps we went to a private school or were homeschooled. Perhaps we were involved in sports, or music, or art. Perhaps we grew up going to church, sitting in our family’s pew week after week, going to youth classes and programs. On the other hand, there are those who did not grow up with families that love them. People that cared enough to make sure that there were opportunities for them to learn, to grow, to have fun. Opportunities to love and know God, as He truly is. No matter what our story looks like, our identity has been shaped to make us into the person we are today. And unless we have come to know Christ, we will not feel fully complete or satisfied in who we are.
God deeply desires to write our life story, and when we allow Him to pick up the pen, He will create a life that is beyond anything you could have ever imagined. Just think of some of the most common stories in the Bible that many of us have heard countless times. When we allow God to be in charge of our lives, we will have the same courage that Daniel had when He chose to be thrown into a den of starving lions rather than worship another god (Daniel 6). We will have access to the source of ultimate knowledge that made Solomon the wisest man in the world (2 Chronicles 1:12). We will be best friends with the One who gave Samson the strength to physically topple two giant pillars and reduce an entire temple to ruins (Judges 16:29-30). These are real stories that happened to real people! We have the amazing opportunity to have a personal relationship with that same God, so that He can perform equally wonderous miracles in our lives.
Being a Christian is more than just opening a Bible or devotional book, more than going to church once a week. Being a Christian means that your entire life is transformed. You have a new identity, a new life, and a new focus. You are able to form who you are from the belief that you are absolutely priceless in the sight of an all-knowing Creator. You have endless opportunities available to you to make someone else’s life better by seeking to spread the light and love you yourself have received. But that choice is ultimately up to you. God will never, ever force or manipulate you in making a decision to truly follow Him. He desires to have you come willingly and freely, with your heart in your hands, ready to give completely to Him. And when you make that decision, be prepared for the journey of a life time! It will not always be easy, but it will be made worth it, because you will have the God of heaven and earth on your side.
So when the world seeks to tell you who you should be, seeks to form your identity and make you feel satisfied, don’t give in! There is so much more available to you if you simply look for it and are open to the working of the Holy Spirit. And as you allow the Holy Spirit to transform your life, always remember that being different from the world does not mean that people look at you negatively. The people who are world changers and leaders are the ones who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, the ones who make decisions with courage and integrity. When you are faced with opposition, that merely shows you that you are doing the right thing, because the devil sees you as a threat that needs to be taken down! Keep up the good fight, and trust in Him who is able to “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20).
Hope (Baitinger)Taft is a newly-wedded nurse who recently was transplanted from the East coast to the Midwest. She is passionate about sharing how your life can be transformed by God’s never-ending love and grave. Hope enjoys spending time with loved ones and friends, playing/singing music, traveling, mission work, and animals.