God Speaks to Us
God speaks to us in unique and varied ways. The Bible provides many examples of this.
- Elijah (1 Kings 19)
- Samuel (1 Samuel 16:6-7)
- Paul (Acts 23:11; 2 Corinthians 12)
- Peter (Acts 10)
- Paul & Barnabas (Acts 13:1-3)
Beyond Scripture, the lives of many Christians today hold testimony of how God still speaks to each one of us. Mine included.
One way God speaks to me regularly is through the variety of items I read, from books and periodicals to blog posts and news stories. He makes connections between the ideas in those and the truths in His Word as well as with the activity of my life.
What follows is an example of how this happens. This is meant not as a prescription for how God speaks to a person but as a way to expand your ideas of how God may be working in your life.
My mom and I have looked for interesting words ever since she talked me into playing Scrabble with her when I was six years old by allowing me to use a dictionary to find words. This started a lifelong connection we have to “cool words,” a connection my mom and I still share and that I also now pursue on my own.
Toward the end of December 2017, my Dictionary.com app presented the word instauration. The word caught my attention and was deemed “cool” for two reasons.
- It fits nicely with goal setting.
- It has an intriguing root.
My family sets goals together around the end/beginning of each year. We don’t create family goals, though my husband’s and my goals often overlap, but we do talk about what we want to achieve or change in the coming year.
I also have Life Themes that have integrated into my life over the years. Those help in assessing the previous year and in narrowing my focus for the coming one.
In addition, I also sometimes choose a single word to focus on for the coming year. This is known as the One Word 365 approach. It provides yet another way for me to consider how I want to grow in the year to come.
The word “instauration” pulled all of these goal-setting approaches together for me.
“Renewal; restoration; renovation; repair. An act of instituting something; establishment.”
I love that the word combines four words into one, words that integrate well with most goal-setting efforts. I also like that it has the same word source as the word “store” and “restaurant,” both of which help us renew, restore, renovate and repair, because now I have continual reminders of the word in my everyday life.
While those are interesting connections, they are not what really brought this word into an intense light for me. What did is a one that led to focus again on my Identity in Christ.
The Greek root for the word instauration is “stauros.” Stauros was used when referring to an upright stake for a foundation. Now we’ve arrived at the really cool part. But first, a Bible verse, to which I’ll explain the connection momentarily.
“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:39-40)
The cool part? The word used in this Scripture for cross is the stauros that eventually led to the word instauration. In other words, this concept of renewal, restoration, renovation, and repair — instauration — has its roots in the cross of Jesus.
When I learned the root of instauration along side its current-day meaning, I realized the connection the Holy Spirit was making for me between my goals and my identity having its foundation in Christ.
Accepted, Secure, and Significant
If I’m not careful, I start to let what others think about me (or what I think they think) define who I am. I also let comparisons direct my attitude, actions, and words. This leads to my goals becoming self-centered attempts at making myself into something of value.
Connecting instauration with my goals helped me more fully realize that my value — my identity — comes from Christ alone. What others think or how I think I compare do not define me. A Secure Identity is my reality because it is based on Christ alone.
Because my Identity is in Christ, even if I achieve none of my goals — or all of them — I am accepted, secure, and significant. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, because my identity is in Him, I am accepted, secure and significant. Even while I am continually renewed, restored, renovated, and repaired this side of Heaven, I am already accepted, secure and significant.
As I assess my goals throughout this year and as I think about how instauration plays into them, I am continually reminded about my identity in Christ. I am also reminded that I have a secure identity that no Identity Crisis can undo or take away.
That is my hope for you as well. Let your identity in Christ define and shape every part of your life. If you do, no matter what happens, you can always know you too are accepted, secure, and significant.