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About this series
Discover Your True Self
How to Silence the Lies of Your Past and Actually Experience Who God Says You Are
Who are you? Who says so? You? Your family? Your friends? From the first two chapters of the book of Ephesians, Chip helps you discover who God says you are as a believer in Christ. Understanding your position, the freedom, and the power you possess as a child of the Most-High God, enables you to move beyond the struggles and the uncertainty we all experience to living an amazing life of peace and assurance. It equips you to serve others with humility and patience and it empowers you to forgive and share with lavish generosity. People will wonder what your story is and with the help of this series, you'll be able to answer with confidence.More from this series
I would really like to start a little bit differently, if you would pull out your notes and go to the back page. I want to start at the very end. And there are two misbeliefs there and I want to share these because these perhaps are the deepest misbeliefs that both myself and my wife has had in a season in our life.
Misbelief number one is that I am not wanted or needed by anyone. My life has no purpose or meaning, I am a victim of an unfair, uncaring world that brings me pain. Four and a half years before I met my wife, she believed that with all of her heart. Many of you know her story. She came from a very difficult home life, abandoned by an unbeliever who went someplace else with another woman that he had been seeing for a year or so, two little babies, no money, broke, and her heart broken. And she believed that.
And dangerous emotions and thoughts went through her mind that apart from those two little babies, she probably would have not stayed around, she felt so hopeless. Some of you know what that feels like. They are scary thoughts.
The second misbelief is significance and meaning come from success in life. I will be happy someday when my relationships, career, and finances reflect my success and accomplishments.
Many people get very hopeless when, after working for years and years and years and years that doesn’t happen. In my case, my upbringing actually helped in a few ways. My Marine father and workaholic tendencies, by twelve, I had very clear written goals. I was going to get a basketball scholarship, I was going to have great grades, and I would date a very pretty girl. And I graduated and I did all three.
And I sat at a party afterwards and a good friend turned to me and said, “You must be very happy.” And I had an experience that I had never had in my life, because I had already set the new set of goals. And there was like a, whoo, a wave of emptiness in my soul that I thought, No, I’m not really happy at all. I thought these things would bring it, but it didn’t.
I had, by that time, drifted away from church, questioned God, and prayed a prayer on the way home, God, if You exist, You better reveal Yourself, because life makes no sense. Why live? Life is meaningless. I the people I love will die before I die and if accomplishing things is not what life is about, then life is a crapshoot, and I think I said something a little bit stronger, which probably was not very reverent.
If you’ll open your notes to the front page now, I want to talk about those dangerous emotions and how do you deal with those dangerous emotions? It’s hard to give one emotion, and I chose a word that is vague, but I think you’ll get it. The actual dictionary definition comes close. It’s angst. Angst is a feeling of deep anxiety, but it’s not worry. It’s dread.
But it’s unfocused. It’s hard to identify. It’s this sense of frustration and apprehension with the general state of the world and your own future.
It’s just, look at all this political stuff. Look at all this racism. Look at all this suffering. Look at all this evil. Look at all the terrible things happening. And what about me? And you just often get very discouraged and then depressed.
But angst has some emotional cousins. Thoughts start going through your mind: meaninglessness. Feeling like my life doesn’t have any value or significance. That’s where Theresa was. No value. There’s no use in me being here. Thoughts like: purposelessness. Without and aim or goal or plan. Life is pointless. It’s senseless. That was me. Why do this?
And then there are times where you just get hopeless so there is despair, despondency, and here’s the core belief. Somehow, you start thinking: It’ll never get better. A happier day, change, is never going to happen. And when you lose hope, that’s when horrendous things happen. And they are happening like never before. I have an article in my notes here from the CDC.
Suicide across the board has skyrocketed in the last decade and they did a study to say, “Is it education? Is it family? Is it support? Why are people killing themselves?” And a secular study said it’s the lack of religion and the lack of meaning that there is a God and there is something more than yourself.
Angst is real. And, by the way, lest you think this is about suicide, every person has moments in dips. I like to read the psalms because David is a man after God’s own heart and he is dancing in one psalm here and praising God and God is awesome and then he is down here in the valley going, “Why have You forsaken me?” And, “Just take me out.” And, “I am so mad and I am so discouraged.” And he’s clinically depressed.
So, all I want to say is: this isn’t about someone else out there. If you have never had one of these windows, you will. So, what is God’s antidote? Before you turn the page, let me ask you the question that I always ask in these series is: what, apart from Christ, do you use to medicate or sedate your sense of angst? What do you do when you feel like life is senseless? What do you do when you get discouraged and depressed? What do you when you just feel hopeless?
Do you eat? Do you work more? Do you drink? Prescription drugs? Sex? What addictive behavior? Everyone deals with it.
It was neat, I had a guy, first time here in between services. And he had a book and he is joining a group. And I said, “Wow, this is your first time here and you’re joining a group?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because I have never been to your church before but my wife and I came and as I listened, I realized,” and then he looked at me and he goes, “I’m an alcoholic, but everything you talked about, I get. And if there is help about that, then I want it. So, I am going to get involved.” And I said, “Good move.” What is yours?
Because here’s the deal. We all have stuff, but if you’ll identify yours, if you’d be willing to be honest, just privately with God, then the antidote is really going to make sense.
Turn the page. What is God’s antidote to angst, meaningless purposelessness? What do you do with those feelings when you feel absolutely insignificant and there is no hope? Number one, remember the hope of your calling. Circle the word hope. Remember the hope of your calling.
In chapter 1, verse 18, Paul prayed this. He says, “I pray that God would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation into who He really is, a true knowledge and an experiential intimate knowledge of Him.” And then in the very next verse he says, “I also pray,” and this was a different word for know, this fact, “I pray that your eyes would be enlightened of your heart that you would know as a fact the hope of His calling.”
And what he was really praying was what we have just been learning. What’s the hope of your calling? You are chosen! You are accepted by God, no matter what anyone says. You’re adopted, you have a Father, you are redeemed, you are infinitely valuable, you have been purchased by the blood of Christ, you are sealed, you are amazingly secure by the Holy Spirit, and you are empowered. The same power that raised Christ from the dead actually dwells in you.
That’s what it means to be called. That’s who you are. When God sees you, He calls you son, He calls you daughter and all that is on your notes in that page that I just said – it’s true of you. He wants you to see yourself as a dearly loved, chosen, valuable, secure son of God, daughter of the Most High God. And when you ponder that, when you remember that, it makes a big difference.
This idea of being called is a little foreign, I think, to twenty-first century Christians. And so, I gave you a definition here out of the theological dictionary. Call is one of the biblical words associated with our salvation. In other words, God has called you to Himself and you responded in faith.
In both Hebrew and Greek, call can be used in a sense of naming. And in biblical thought, to give a name to someone bestows an identity. Would you put a box around identity?
Your identity is not your work, your identity is not your looks, your identity is not your family, your identity is not your money, it’s not your zip code, it’s not what other people think. God has called you. You have an identity. Son. Daughter. Beloved. Secure.
And notice it goes on. When God is the one who bestows names, the action is almost equivalent to creation. And I gave you a passage there from Isaiah 40. It says, “Where He calls the stars out one by one.” In other words, God spoke and billions of stars and galaxies came out. Guess what, God spoke, He spoke to you and you turned in response and you said, Yes, I do fall short. I am not perfect. I need help. I need forgiven. And in the empty hands of faith you said, Lord Jesus, come into my life. And He did!
And just like He spoke creation, He spoke re-creation so that you are a new person. The old things have passed away. Now, how do you experience that? That’s what the Christian life is all about.
So, one, you remember the hope of His calling. Second is to really ponder, to reflect on the magnitude of your calling. Would you put a box around magnitude? This is just for me, I don’t think we get it. I don’t think we grasp what is really true of us, but as you do, all those issues that we face that we are challenged with, all those ways that respond that we know aren’t healthy but we keep doing, they dissipate.
In our time together, here’s what I want to do. I am going to start, a little brief review. And then from chapter 2 to the end of chapter 3, I am going to show you five specific ways that God has called you.
I want you to see the magnitude of what is true of you, that you are called and I want you to get it to soak into your head and drip right down into your heart, that you will go, Oh my.
Number one, you were called into a new relationship. He chose you before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. You were called, not to religion. You didn’t get called to morality. You didn’t get called to duty. You didn’t get called to, “I am supposed to do this and supposed to do that.” You were called to a relationship. You were called into a relationship with Jesus. A person! A real person who walked on the earth. A real person who really cares about you and knows you and loves you.
On the very last night, Jesus was at a vineyard and He was preparing His disciples and He says, “No longer do I call you slaves, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because all the things the Father has revealed to Me, I have made known unto you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain so that you could ask whatever you want and the Father will give it to you.”
You know what He is saying is, are you ready? Write this down. God is my friend. He called you into friendship. Not weight, duty, guilt, stuff.
Second, God calls us to a new purpose.
You are His workmanship, right? You are His tapestry. You are His masterpiece. You are His unique, all the people in all the world, there is no one like you. There is no DNA like yours. But it’s not just the physical DNA. You are His masterpiece. He has created you exactly the way He wants you and He has created you to fulfill something that no one can else can do it quite like you because no one else is you.
But notice it’s not just who you are. He created you to – what does it say? Do good works, which He has prepared for you. This isn’t a last minute thing. He prepared for you from the foundations of the world, that you should literally walk in them or live in them.
Now, here’s what I want you to do. In your notes, I want you to write the word general, and then under that, I want you to write the word specific. Because you are called to a general purpose. A new purpose of good works, right? You are called to love God and to love people. Jesus, in that same moment with His disciples said, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
Well, what’s the fruit? The fruit is your character. As you allow Christ to live His life in you and through you, you become kinder, more loving, more patient, less envious, less arrogant, more generous. You begin to think and to act and to speak more and more and more like Jesus.
His goal is to make you like Him. That’s the fruit. To love God and to love people. And that’s for everyone so that your light so shines before men, that they – what? They glorify their God in heaven. They see your good works. They see how you live.
And that’s general. That is for all of us. But He also has a specific good work for you to walk in. Imagine, if you will, this colossal, huge puzzle of the body of Christ all over the world and there is this piece of the puzzle that is you. And it’s your gifts and your passions and your background and your history and your hurts and your struggles, and even your failures. And all those things are put in to make you a unique you, and you fit and you do something in a way that helps people in a way that no one else can quite like you.
I call it your holy ambition. It’s very specific. You pursue it and God makes it clearer and clearer and clearer. Connie Segreto has been in the tech world for a lot of years. In 2008, she started a camp called SAM Camp. S-A-M. Science, Art, and Math. She goes into the neediest neighborhoods, in places where people in this area have never heard about God, and she recruits these volunteers and friends.
And for a week, they teach art and science and math. And their parents are like, “Yeah!” But they also teach God’s Word. And they make it really, really fun. And they do it for a full week and they do it at a cost where they never turn anyone away. In her first year, there’s a hundred kids in the back of a parking lot. Well, now, hundreds of kids. And then her holy ambition to help these kids, and she just gets so excited. It’s completely volunteer run.
And she said, “When I discovered: that’s what God wants me to do! My heart leaps when I see kids, we taught them, they had never heard of Jesus. They had never heard of the Holy Spirit. They have never, ever opened the Bible. And then I watched God work in their lives and then they wanted to tell their parents.” And my holy ambition is about teaching God’s Word in a way where life change really happens. And so, at Living on the Edge, we had created these family devotionals that they’re a three or four-minute – it’s an actual little movie. And it’s for kids, five through about fifteen. And you show this movie and it will highlight either God’s holiness or justice or an attribute.
So, she shows a video and all they say is, “Can we watch another one? Can we watch another one? Can we watch that one again?” And what happened was God moved in ways like never before. I don’t know, I don’t know what you think will make you happy. I will tell you this: when you discover your unique purpose and you begin to give your life away and He uses you and the Spirit of God takes the grace of God through the PVC pipe of your, just, ordinary life and does something that changes people, I will tell you, there is no drug like it!
I had a young gal in between services come up. She goes, “I’m from San Diego. I said, “Oh, good to have you.” She said, “No, I came up here just, I wanted, I’ve got some business. But I just came, I came to go to church.” I said, “Why?” And this is not true, but I understood what she meant. “You saved my life. You saved my marriage. And you saved my family. And I had to look at you in the face.” I said, “How did that happen?” “I’ve got that app. I have been listening for five years.”
And you know what? I don’t know what else is going to happen today. Here’s what I can tell you: I am a fulfilled man. I can’t, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? She’s this twenty-eight year old and struggling with relationships. I got to be a part. I don’t even know how it works. But I got to be a part of…
You know what? There’s not enough letters or zeroes or portfolios or likes or schools that my kids could get in or nice cars or a second home or a remodeled this that could ever compare with that. Can I tell you something? God called you to a relationship and then He called you to a new purpose. Discover it. Pursue it.