Losing Our Identity

Losing Our Identity

Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The movie “50 First Dates” is the story of Lucy Whitmore a young woman with short-term memory loss. It is so severe that each morning she wakes up without any recollection of the day before. When Henry meets Lucy in a local cafe, he falls for her instantly. But the next when he returns, she has memory of meeting him the day before. As the story progresses, he learns that after a car accident she now cannot remember anything dating back to that day. Henry embarks on the journey of love each day starting like it is the first. The movie is based on a true story. The young lady, Jenny Gisby, suffers from a neurological condition that has the same effect. Her boyfriend has creatively wooed her for years. In the end, Henry marries Lucy and each morning before she gets out of bed she watches a video that reminds her of who she is, who he is and their life together. Though in her mind she has lost her identity, he reminds her of who she is. Do you know who you are today? Do you know that Jesus has every intention of wooing you and expressing His Love all over again? He wants to extend His Kingdom and all of its power into your life. The Lord is intent on an encounter today that will somehow spark your interest and keep your attention in the midst of instant chaos and overwhelming business with all the circumstances and craziness of life.

Aristotle wrote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” There is a common misconception that if you do something for 21 days that it will become a habit. I dieted and exercised faithfully for more than a year. I haven’t been back to the gym in months. Did the habit change? No, my motivation did. There are many goals and aspirations that we have for life but somehow fall short. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. It is a dominant disposition or tendency prevailing characteristic or quality. Our habits mold and shape us over time. They become who we are and how we do things. It is easy to make life a habit build an agenda make a schedule and fall into a rut of doing rather being. When our goals in life overshadow living life, there is a disconnect. For those who are task minded, we sometimes lose sight of people in order to get the job done and mark a neat line across the list. For the free spirit, those folks will lose track of time and respect for others simply floating from this to that. We are what we repeatedly do. Who do you want to be today? I want to be a Child of the One True and Living God. I want my relationship with Jesus Christ to be stronger than the day before. What am I doing today to make that a habit in my life? Is it enough to know who I am in Christ? Or have I lost my identity chasing the world and saturated in this life?

Colossians 2:1-5 (NIV)

I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

The church of Laodicea was on it. They were serving the Lord and had a great reputation that made it to Paul before he could even visit them. He sent a letter to them applauding their discipline and firm faith in Christ. My goal, Paul said, is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding. Perhaps, in the midst of all of his praise for their due diligence in knowing Jesus is the hidden message that their hearts needed some massaging. They had all the components to be a great body of believers, but they just needed more love, more passion and more devotion to Jesus.

There are many churches filled with many believers who have no idea who they are in Jesus Christ. If we really took the time to understand all the privileges of loving Him completely, we would make it our life goal and full aspiration. More comfortable with doing and a list of rules maybe called doctrine, everyone comes to Christ with good intentions. It is what we do with those intentions when reality sets in that we walk by faith and not by sight that matter most. Do you still love the Lord when life doesn’t meet YOUR expectation? When bad things happened to good people do you still trust the Lord? Jesus expressed His Divine Approval of those who have not seen yet still believe. Jesus doesn’t want be our habit today. He wants to fill our heart with His Love so that we know who we are in Him.

Colossians 2:9-15(NIV)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self-ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Do Christians live in the fullness of Jesus Christ? No. The vast majority of believers have not tapped in to the triumph available to them by faith through the Cross. Many Christians, don’t want to talk about the Blood shed for them much less visit the Cross where it flowed bright red. Yet minds are full of mess and corruption called entertainment. Church has become a social connection. We fear the Muslim religion because as a unit we do not believe in the God who we serve as much as they do their god. If Christians believed and related to Jesus as these other radical religions commit to their gods, what a powerful influence the church would be. But we have lost our identity. We are watered down and lukewarm to appeal to the masses. Gray is the new favorite neutral. This is not a condemning word but hopeful encouragement that someone even if just one will take hold of the Promise given to us by Jesus. He overcame the world and everything in it for me and you. He was ridiculed, condemned, tortured and died a horrible death not for a religion or false god, but me and you. He came out of the grave and before ascending to Heaven said, “Here you go! Sic em!” handing us the Keys to His Kingdom with the simple instructions believe and receive, ask in my Name and it will be done. What happened? We have forgotten who we are.

Revelation 3:14-20 (NIV)

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

As I was reading the passage in Colossians today, it occurred to me that the name of this church was familiar. Yep, I knew it. There in Revelation, we find the Lord addressing them this time in person. I know your deeds. The Lord saw what they were doing. It was passionless therefore pointless. You are neither hot nor cold but lukewarm. Oh here it comes, the part I hate when self-discovered. I am about to spit, vomit or puke you out of my mouth. Yikes! How can it be that despite all their diligence, good habits, faithful service, and prospering church that Jesus somehow remained outside knocking on the door? What were they after? Good habits mean nothing without love for Jesus first. He is everything we need, all of what we want, who can complete our life leaving us lacking no good thing. Somehow have we forgotten who we are? How do I remember? How do I find Him again opening the door to my whole life and inviting Him in? In the movie 50 First Dates, the young man wanted his forgetful girlfriend to remember his love and their commitment to one another so he reminded her each morning. She watched the video and knew that he loved her, they were committed to one another, and that they were in a marriage relationship sharing life together. What will it take for us to remember who we are and build our entire existence upon Him? If you want to know, Jesus will remind you. He will share life with you. He will speak His Love to you. He will come in and fellowship sharing life with you if you will open the door of your heart before “doing” anything else.

Revelation 2:1-5 (NIV)

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

One other church had a similar conversation with the Lord in Revelation. Speaking to the church of Ephesus, the Lord again acknowledges their hard work and good deeds enduring hardship for His Name Sake but then he tells them the problem. “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!” What if all we are doing for Jesus is not enough? What if we have fallen out of love not even realizing it? Statistics show that it is commonplace in natural marriages. Love and commitment are replaced by what you can do for me. But Jesus whispers today, “Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten how much I love you? Have you forgotten to love me?” Ouch. My heart aches at the thought that Jesus might now be satisfied by my love and devotion to Him. I want the Lord TO KNOW that I love Him.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Each day before she could continue in to live in her family, Lucy had to be reminded of her love for them. We cannot move to the second commandment successfully until we master the first. We must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Jesus didn’t do away with the commandments but established us so we could strive to do them each day without the penalty of death hanging over our head. We now can serve the Lord out of love rather than because of the Law. We must remember who we are and what we have been asked to do. Not what the church and other people expect from us, but what God’s Word tells us to do. Love the Lord. Then, love others. I am loved. I love Jesus. I need to make sure today that He is reminded of my love just as the Lord constantly reminds me of His Love.

Jude 17-21 (NIV)

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

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