Equipped for the Task

When God called Jeremiah to the prophetic ministry, the poor priest from Anathoth wasn’t sure God had the right man. “Alas, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” I’m just a boy, he said, and I’m terrified of speaking in public. According to his own assessment, Jeremiah was not the prophetic type. That was a job for brave men who had the rhetorical prowess to shout down the naysayers and counter the critics. When Jeremiah looked in the mirror, he saw a little boy with a slow tongue. He didn’t have what it takes to be a prophet.

God, however, saw things quite differently. “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land–against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.” God looked into the heart of Jeremiah, where lay his deepest void and most humiliating lack, and said to him, “You are not a boy. You are a fortified city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall; and you will stand against this entire nation!” Jeremiah looked at himself and saw youthful weakness, but God looked at him and said, “Strength and power!”, and, behold, it was!

God called Jeremiah to a task that required a new name, a new identity–strength where there was weakness, fullness where there was void. God then equipped Jeremiah for the task by speaking into his void and weakness. God saw that which was not and called it into being. “Today I have made you a fortified city…”

You need a new name from God. Your void is crippling you, and you cannot fulfill his calling on your life until you hear that new name. The old names, the names you have given yourself or others have given you out of evil intent, are holding you back from God’s plan for your life. The old names have to die, and the new name must come to life. God wants to speak his fulness into your void, his strength into your weakness, his abundance into your lack. God sees you as you are not, calls out “Strength and power! Discipline and character! Love and forgiveness!” and, behold, it is!

Your new name–your new identity–are manifested through the presence of God in your life. This presence is available only because Jesus has made it so through the power of the Holy Spirit. You cannot receive this new name if your are proud, selfish, or resistant. It will not come until you bend your heart to God. Only be near him, and he will equip you for the difficult task to which he has called you.

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