I wasn’t feeling my best and I was tired. I had said that we would have some space to reflect on where we are as a church and I was beginning to regret this shortly before we met. I’m just back off holiday and was struggling to focus in the way I wanted to.
This was our Church leadership team meeting last night. We approached reflecting on the church by using the pattern in the letters to the churches from revelation (ch2-3).
God says ‘I know your …’. In other words you are doing really well in these things.
The pattern usually then has a challenge, a you could or should be doing this/these things.
There is a challenge to listen to God.
To some churches there is a promise.
This pattern really helped me to focus. We took some time to pause and think individually before talking together and we had a really helpful time discussing what we had written down.
I was flicking through the promises to the churches and came across this one to the church at Pergamum:
And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. (Rev 2.17)
Reading this was a real WOW moment. Throughout the Bible God changed people’s names to show them the significance of who he had made them to be. My understanding of this promise is that God will give us this name and only we will understand it because only we have lived our lives.
When I got back from the meeting I remembered a pile of stones in our house that my wife painted as part of a prayer day. They aren’t white because they don’t relate to this verse but she had painted ‘give hope’ and ‘release dreams’ as things that she believed God was saying to her. These and the other stones are in our kitchen as a reminder of who she is.
Who are you? Do you know? God has a white stone with a name that describes who he made you to be. My prayer is that we would see more clearly who we are and that we would continue to become that person.
Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould (Romans 12.2).
Some of us may have lost sight of who we are because of the pressures of life and the expectations of others. Instead of being ourselves we can end up fitting into a mould that is created by society or our peer group.
In the film Cool Runnings there is a great moment when Sanka says, ‘I didn’t come up here to forget who I am’. The team is discussing how they are working together and Sanka helpfully reminds them that they need to be true to who they are.
As we live our lives today, may we see more clearly who God made us to be. I pray that we won’t forget who we are as we live our lives.
When God gives us our new name, will we be encouraged that we lived as that person or will we realize that we were squeezed into a different mould?
(If you would like to know how to make the heart pattern and learn something about how God restores us when we are broken then click here).