Living With Confidence
(By John Baillie)
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.(2 Chronicles 7:13-16)
Greetings!! I don’t really suppose it should be a surprise to see this verse as the focus for this week’s Musing; it is a verse which has been laid on a number of people’s hearts in our church over the years, a verse which we believe has been given to Clare Baptist Church as a verse of significance from God, to lead us, direct us and challenge us. As one of those people who believes it is a verse for us then I can say that yes, it has challenged us, and it is a verse from which we have seen blessing too.
The part I would like to focus on specifically today is “if my people, who are called by my name”. As an individual it provides us with an identity; I can wear the name of God, Christ, Christian. A little bit like my name; I can wear the name Baillie like a badge and all that goes with that badge goes with me in all I do and say. In our family we have a mantra, “I’m with the Baillies,” which has with it an identity, a responsibility; it speaks of desire, belief, energy, and commitment. It’s not just our immediate family that identify with “I’m with the Baillies,” but friends of ours too who we spend time with and do things with.
Do we become a different person by being able to wear the name of God, Christ, the name Christian? Not in itself, but what we get is that not only are we been chosen by God and are loved by God, but in response we have taken on the identity of God by responding to God. This part of the passage I believe should give us confidence; a confidence of knowing that we ‘belong’ and therefore in the name of Jesus we can go out and approach the world with the power and energy. This does not make us better; this does not protect us from all the things we encounter but it does give us hope when we face situations.
Last night, at the Deacons’ Meeting, Cheryl shared a passage from Jeremiah, the ending of which was “I will be found by you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:14). When we seek God, we will find him because he wants us to reach out to him and be found, but as the passage above in 2 Chronicles guides and directs us then we need to be prepared to come to God in the right way and do the right things.
At a church weekend in Sizewell (a few of years ago) the speaker for the weekend announced, “You might not hear God this weekend.” That wasn’t because God wasn’t speaking, but it could be that God had already spoken and that we needed to respond to what he had already said. At that same Church weekend, we were also challenged that “if we want to walk on water then we need to be prepared to get out of the boat!”
Be encouraged as you wear the name through the week ahead and look for opportunities to be God’s chosen one in your world, a light that shines!