Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Would others at your school have a hard time trying to classify you? Maybe you are too active to be a true geek, but too smart to be a true jock. Maybe you’re too relational to be a loner, but too wounded to let people see the real you. Maybe you’re too shy to date. Maybe you’re too frugal to care about fashion. Putting a label on someone can be tricky.
Do you ever have a hard time classifying yourself?
When we don’t know what really defines us, it can lead us to all kinds of inner turmoil. We focus on ourselves, on our own spiraling thoughts, on our own fears, and on our own interpretations of how others perceive us. We can feel far from being loved, far from being known, and even far from God.
When we are stuck in a place without an identity, our lives are usually defined by problems, not praise.
Our awesome God does not want us stuck in that place. He is not far off, but present. He pursues us with His love. He pursues us to let us know our identity, and our identity is found in Him.
In this psalm, we read about the identity that is most treasured to the people of God: “It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (verse 3).
One of God’s greatest gifts that He gave to the Israelites was that of belonging to God, of being His people.
One of God’s greatest gifts that He gives you and me is that of belonging to Him, of being His. In Baptism, we are given His “family name”—His identity. In Baptism, we are united with Jesus. We die to our old identity (whatever we were classified as), and we are made new, given a new identity, in Jesus (Romans 6:3-11).
- You are loved.
- You have a place where you belong.
- You were created by a God whose steadfast love for you endures forever, whose faithfulness never ceases.
Living in THAT identity, our spiraling inner thoughts, fears, and negative self-focus vanish. They are replaced by freedom. They are replaced by joy. They are replaced by praise.
The true God of the universe has called me His own!
He loves me!
He is good!
Thank Him! Praise Him!
Being classified as a beloved child of an Almighty God is an identification I’ll claim any day.
The next time you find yourself focusing on a negative classification of yourself, take a moment to ask God to remind you how He sees you.
Jesus, thank You that You saw me, pursued me, and gave me Your name so that I could be in Your family. I praise You for showing me Your amazing love in this way! Help me praise You for freedom and joy today. Amen.