But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
Isaiah 43:1 NASB
“You are Mine!” Whenever I hear the Lord say this, I find it equal parts the answer to every prayer I’ve ever had or ever will have, and utterly terrifying. To be claimed by God as His very own, and to surrender to His complete ownership, is to have the entirety of life as you think you know it upended. Permanently.
It’s one thing to read or say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” and quite another to actually live it. Only the mind of the Spirit can even comprehend what that means, let alone put it in action! Before I was born again, the very idea of the indwelling life of Christ was a source of massive bewilderment and frustration. I could see the reality of it lived out in the people around me, but I couldn’t wrap my brain around it, nor could I access that Life. It was maddening!
Now that I’m born again, there is an inborn receiving of the reality that it’s not me that lives but Christ. I could not sit down and explain it to the satisfaction of either laymen or theologians, but the Holy Spirit has planted this truth in my heart and mind nonetheless. In fact, when I experience bewilderment or frustration about it now, it’s a good indication that I’ve shrugged off the new and donned the old.
You are not your own, you were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own].
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMP
I’ve discovered that it’s no small thing to be “made His own.” Ultimately, it’s the end of anything and everything initiated by me. When I try to think of all that means in practical application, I tend to hyperventilate. There’s no reasoning out or carefully managing the total annihilation of my entire way of life – THAT would be crazy because it is impossible. Being made God’s own is the daily Cross that says, “Die to what you hold dear.” Now, I’m no stranger to the Cross, but every time He comes for another of my golden calves, I balk and wrestle. I usually can’t even picture what my life will be like without whatever it is He wants from me, and every lie about God’s character that I’ve ever heard makes itself known.
But when my surrender is made and I’ve died my painful death, another part of me has been “made His own.” Belonging to God doesn’t mean living an ever-emptier life, devoid of play and full of uncomfortable chairs and aggressive silence (though I confess that I believed that once). Who would sign on for that other than manic-depressives or sadists? No, God doesn’t upend my life and leave me in fear and chaos. He upends my life to give me His. He severs my ties to death and hate and fear to fill me with Life and Love and peace. He bought me, but He doesn’t leave me sitting on a shelf in a box—He makes me His own in all reality.
But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name—Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]
John 1:12-13 AMP