Our theme for this month: “The Gift of Being Yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “Follow me,” he told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Jesus will give you a new identity.”
If you had met some of the apostles before they became followers of Jesus you probably would have been unimpressed. They were rugged and somewhat uncouth fishermen from a remote village in northern Galilee. James and John evidently had explosive tempers because Jesus jokingly nicknamed them “The sons of thunder”. Peter was rough, tough, and impetuous. Andrew may have lived quietly in the shadow of his tough big brother Peter.
But then they met Jesus and it changed everything. Jesus called Andrew and Peter to put down their fishing nets and follow Him. Then He called James and John to follow Him too. They did, and nothing was ever the same for them again. Jesus gave them a new identity. He changed them from who they were into who God wanted them to be. He will do the same for you.
In the last two devotionals we’ve been considering the important truth that who you are on the inside is much more important than who you are on the outside. Physical characteristics aren’t anywhere near as important as is spiritual maturity. It’s who you are on the inside that matters most, and it’s in your heart that God does His best work in your life.
By the time God had spent thirty years or so molding and shaping Peter into the man He wanted him to be, Peter probably still looked pretty much the same. Older and greyer certainly, probably with a bigger belly, but you would still have recognized him as the guy you used to fish with. But on the inside, now that was a different story. The change in his heart was nothing less than a miracle. This was the guy who became a founding father of the Christian faith and a leader in the early church. He was the one who wrote two books of the New Testament and probably dictated the gospel of Mark. This was the man who spent many decades of his life earnestly helping to build the kingdom of God on earth. The change in him from that rough, tough, impetuous fisherman was astounding. Jesus gave him a new identity and then spent years and years molding and shaping Peter into that new man. That’s what Jesus does for us.
All month I’ve been urging you to relax and enjoy being yourself, accepting the gift of just being you. But I’m talking about the you that Jesus wants you to be. If you’re not already in the process of becoming that person then my goodness, don’t be content to stay as you are! Jesus has a new identity for you, and that’s the person you are supposed to be.