revjoaquinwillisweb.gifSometimes, we hear God telling us to do “this” and, instead, do “that.”  Beth Moore, in Believing God, reveals that her belief system was forged through a “this and that conversation with Him.”

She states, “Whenever I read scriptures characterizing me as a child of God, I constantly sensed God saying to my heart, ‘Beth you are this.’  For a long time, I responded, ‘No, Lord I am that.’”

In a statement of faith, Moore proclaims, “I AM WHO GOD SAYS I AM.”   Similarly, we are called to heed what God chooses for us. 

This is lovingly summed up in I John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.”   When we are debating our direction and purpose, in these moments we are having a “This and That Talk with God.” 
When God tells us we are “this,” and we insist that we want to be “that,” we are engaging in a struggle deriving from our insecurities and uncertainties. Perhaps childhood memories of victimization or of personal defeat are feeding our anxieties.  

Paul, in Ephesians 1: 3-8, states, “When we give our life to Christ, God chooses us because, in doing so, we belong to Him through
Christ.” This emphasizes that our salvation depends upon God. We are not saved by our own actions or because we deserve it but, rather, because God is gracious, and freely gives us salvation.

We do not and cannot influence God’s decision to save us; He saves us according to His plan. Therefore, we must not take credit for our salvation, or allow room for pride in it. Through Christ’s eyes, God looks at us, as if we had never sinned. While others cannot forgive us our sins, we can thank God that He can.    

In Hebrews 11, in the “Hall of Fame of the Faith,” we see recounted those who had “This and That Talks with God.” Each, as hero or heroine, overcame insecurity and uncertainty, and believed they were “this,” instead of “that.”  Instead of believing in his own feelings, Moses sought God’s wisdom.  In Exodus 3:11, Moses questioned the Lord, “Who Am I?”  Moses demonstrated confidence in God’s response to his identity struggle in Exodus 3:12, and was comforted when the Lord told him, “I will be with you.” 

Abraham’s “this and that talk” involved his despair about being too old to have a son.  Rahab’s “this & that talk” with God allowed her to believe she could overcome her past as a prostitute and could serve by hiding God’s spies in the Promised Land.

When we believe, “I am who God says I am,” we are blessed with a strengthened sense of security. “This” is when we are freed from the burdens of sin. “This” is when our acts allow righteousness to be credited to our account with God, and “this” is when obedience to God’s word brings all things into balance.

According to Ephesians 1:3-8, in God’s love, we are blessed, chosen, adopted, favored, redeemed, and forgiven when we believe we are “Who God says we Are.”

To some, we may seem ambitious and foolish, but to God, we will become that which God told Joshua to be—strong and courageous.  There are those who might see this belief as arrogant but, before God, we are merely demonstrating that we are believers, filled with faith and self-worth.

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at