“Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel” (Isaiah 44:5).
Video games today are an immersive experience—a far cry from the blocky 16-bit graphics of the past. Now you enter into another world. You inhabit a character navigating an environment lush with details and responding to your prompts.
So it’s only appropriate you are allowed to customize your avatar. Outfit your character with skills and a backstory. Equip it with weapons and provisions. For a few moments or hours, you become one with your avatar. Your carefully crafted persona becomes you inside the world into which you are escaping.
Choosing our own reality
Sometimes life feels like a game. Like a performance. You choose who you are. Then you decide how to express whom you have chosen to be.
We live in a time in human history when our society says there is nothing beyond ourselves; we aren’t put here by a creator; we aren’t answerable to any ultimate authority. If there is nothing behind this world, then it all starts and ends with us. Our reality is whatever we choose.
In this cultural climate, faith can be perceived as just another personal preference. Going to church is viewed on the level of cheering for a favorite sports team. A set of morals is similar to a taste in music.
Without deliberately trying to, we Christians can easily fall into similar ways of thinking about our own lives. We can easily identify examples in our society of people trying to be different from what God created them to be. Spotting the same disordered thinking at the root of so much of our basic outlook on life is much more challenging. But if we can locate our false beliefs, we can correct them with godly thinking and God-pleasing habits.
Following God’s purpose
God has a different way of looking at our lives. He desires that we know ourselves through him and his relationship with us. God says to his chosen people, “Now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the LORD says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you” (Isaiah 44:1,2). If our lives were created by God and given purpose by him, then we are more than an accumulation of our choices.
Countless competitors scream for our attention. Nonstop notifications and buzzes and beeps draw us into a distracted sense of self. Christian habits, however, can reinforce a refreshing outlook for life. Deliberately expressing gratitude to God helps reorient ourselves to see we aren’t the center of the universe. Intentional efforts to spend time in prayer and meditation on God’s Word help us see ourselves as people who are known by God. We know ourselves as we grow to see our lives revolve around the purpose God has given to us.
When we pause to see God at work in our lives, we grow in awareness of God’s presence. “Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel” (Isaiah 44:5). Recognizing God’s blessings tunes us into the fact that God created us. He has given us an identity and calling beyond our choosing. We are his. Better than an avatar, we embody God’s calling.
Author: Jeffrey Enderle
Volume 110, Number 8
Issue: August 2023
- Known as God’s distinctive community
- Embodying God’s calling
- Help from the Mountain Maker
- The need for a bold confession
- More than enough
- Don’t judge a book by its cover
- One for all
- I love you
- Resolving to share joy
- Miracle in the mess
- Thank God for conflict
- Plant the Seed
- The cameras are rolling
- Too many words
- Now what?
- Do you mind if I come in?
- Facts over feelings
- The most loving friendship
- The old has gone, the new is here!
- Believe the Christmas miracles
- He’s coming—really!
- Power over death
- Deliver us from evil
- Overwhelmed but not overcome
- Money talks!
- Freedom’s value is in its use
- Joyful repentance
- The world’s leading philanthropist is our friend
- Like Joseph
- But you promised!
- The church sees color
- We believe, therefore we listen
- Clarity in life from closeness to death
- Be like Jesus in forgiveness and love
- Be gentle like Jesus
- Jesus is for the birds
- Death dies on this mountain
- Repent of deception
- Resolutions of faith
- God loves the doubters
- Grieving in hope
- Personal reformation
- Be imitators of Jesus in doing good
- God’s actors
- Our shelter in God’s shadow
- God’s promised rest
- Our very great reward
- Keeping the festival
- Close enough to love
- Called to love, called to speak
- Epiphanies change everything