Encouragement ExchangeHow could you give encouragement to someone today?
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Hello, My Name Is
Featuring Matthew West
“Hello, my name is Jordan and I am a drug addict.” That was the first sentence of this young man’s story that he wrote to me. He went on to tell me how for years that was how he identified himself. A two sport all star athlete in high school, Jordan received a college scholarship to run track and play football at a university in Kentucky. But during his sophomore season, Jordan broke his ankle. That is when he received his first prescription to Oxycontin. He wrote about how addiction quickly took a hold of his life and sent him spinning out of control. After two failed drug tests, the university kicked him out and removed his sports scholarships. Jordan had lost everything he had worked for. He landed at a place called Teen Challenge in North Carolina. Teen Challenge is a Christian rehabilitation center in the business of restoring lives with the hope of Jesus Christ.
Jordan said it was during his time in Teen Challenge that he began to realize that God wasn’t done with him yet, and that all of those defeating titles like “addict,” didn’t have to be attached to his name the rest of his life. His story is far from over. He told me that in the years since his recovery, he went back and got his master’s degree from the very college that kicked him out. Now, he is a teacher and a coach and a newlywed. And he has recently felt God calling him into full time ministry.
He closed his story by saying, “These days I introduce myself a little differently than I used to. Hello, my name is Jordan and I am a child of the one true king!”
What a powerful example of God at work in someone’s story! I read Jordan’s story and couldn’t help but wonder how many people in the world are walking around defined by the defeat and the regret of past mistakes, believing the lie that they will never be able to kick an old habit or move on from yesterday’s mistakes. We all have a nametag, you know. “Hello, my name is…” and then you and me spend our whole lives trying to fill in the blank. Perhaps you can relate to Jordan’s story and you have allowed poor choices or past mistakes to fill in that blank with words like, “regret,” “damaged goods,” or, “loser.” Or maybe you’ve had your nametag filled in by the world. Perhaps there have been people who have spoken negative words over you in your life and the devil himself is trying to get you to believe that what the world says about you is who you really are, “mistake,” “unlovable,” “ugly.”
It fills my heart with joy to consider this powerful promise: our true identities are discovered when we realize who we are in Christ. Jordan’s story is proof that we are not defined by our past. God can restore, redeem, and renew our hearts and lives. He can set our feet on a new path that will lead our lives to a destination far greater than where we used to call home. 2 Corinthians 2:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come!” Jordan is standing in the light of a new beginning, forgetting what is behind and taking hold of his new name. The same can be true for you. The next time those lies creep into your heart and try to make you believe your somebody else, I encourage you to go straight to the One who made you. Your creator is quite fond of you. Cling tight to the promises of scripture. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 1:1)” Your nametag can be erased. No more lies. You are and will always be a child of the one true king!