Romans 8:29-30 (ESV) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
It is easy sometimes to get caught up in what we do and forget who we are. If you are a spouse, parent or employee – it can happen many times. The duties and responsibilities of life drain the time and energy once used to secure self. Maybe it is monotony or mediocrity that robs us of the pursuit of purpose in order to maintain the present. Have you ever asked yourself is this really all there is to life? There has to be more. The inkling inside of us is the Holy Spirit who prods us to the predestined potential of God hidden in our heart. You and I are created in the Image of God. (Genesis 1:27) Yet it seems from the beginning our identity as His Beloved is a problem for us. The fall of mankind came quickly after creation. It did not take us long to lose sight of who we are to settle for lesser things. Has the church lost its identity? Have believers forgotten who they really are? Do Christians truly identify with Christ? Am I one of these?
Throughout the Old Testament, the Children of God carved out images from wood and stone. Some even took gold melting it to molds made to resemble animals and people. They worshipped these images when all along the Living God vied for their attention. Idols are not foreign to us today. Though it may not be in the form of days of old – make no mistake they are still there. I use filters quite a bit on a popular social media app. I love it because it erases the lines and wrinkles of time. I have often commented to friends wouldn’t it be great to live with this filter all the time. Hmmm… Maybe to some extent it is already happening. The profiles reflecting on social media seldom reflect who a person “really” is but rather becomes a personification of who they would like to be. Only “perfect” pictures are posted. Some people have multiple accounts according to the different social circles in life. As I read these words today, I am a bit convicted. How often I forget not only whose I am but who I am according to His Creation! God predestined me to be His Child. To live in a thriving relationship as a Kingdom Kid. To partner with His Son, Jesus and overcome the world. From victory to victory. Yet I spend a great deal of time finding myself all over again.
New season. I have entered a new season of life. Crossing over into my fifties chronologically didn’t present any real challenges. My family and friends threw me a lovely party. However, in the last couple of years, the change has been physical and emotional. It has been relational with the arrival of our first grandchild. It has been spiritual as the Lord coaxes me to step out of my comfort zone into new endeavors. Sometimes I wish that He would just shove me over the edge. But that is not how God works – it is our willingness to acknowledge and accept who we are in Him and do what He has purposed us to do by faith that walks and moves in Him.
John 1:11-13 (ESV) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
I have a friend who was adopted as a toddler. She grew up in a loving family with siblings. Yet in her adulthood she struggled with her identity. She needed to know her birth father and family to find her place in this world. What she found was not pretty? An abuser who lived a life of addiction. Siblings tainted by the generational curse of the father tragically broken. A family who lived in denial enabling and then praising the one who was really the victimizer long after his death. The void left unfilled it would be a difficult pill to swallow. Yet isn’t that what we do in life – paint a pretty picture to cover the ugliness of imperfection.
There is something in us that wants to know where we came from in order to decide where we are going. I believe healing comes when a person knows and understands that our Father God created us to be His Child. When humanity chose something else, the Lord still chose us. He sent His Son to make a way for us to become His Children again. He seals our adoption with the Holy Spirit. There are many fatherless, motherless, and parentless kids in the world seeking for acceptance, affirmation, affection and love. The world will give them a swift substitution and the enemy will soothe their cries with a settlement bent on their destruction. We must know who we are in Jesus Christ to offer them the love and peace that belongs to them. My sister once said every child wants to know that their parent loves them unconditionally and will pursue them relentlessly. When natural parents fall short, God always fills the gap. He created us to be loved by Him.
Daniel 3:13-15 (ESV) Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
Are you struggling with identity today? Have you lost your identity? The enemy wants you to believe that there is no God. No Jesus. No anything after today. If that doesn’t work, he will try to mislead you into thinking you are insignificant to the Lord. Or worse yet, that God is punishing you by keeping you in the current position or placement in life. Well…there is more to life than this. We must be very diligent in removing the idols or those things created to improve our image and boost our self-esteem giving us a something we can live up to. Our position in life (naturally, socially, familial, professionally, or spiritually) can all lend to the idols that keep us from living as Children of God. To lose our identity is dangerous because when we forget who we are then we forget whose we are as well. You are a Child of God. He loves you. He is for you. He is with you. The tests, trials and temptations in life are not for your destruction. They are fires of refinement to burn off the superficial and release the supernatural. You may have to go through the fire to reveal the treasure of your heart. It will be worth it. Your hope will never lead to disappointment. You, friend, are a Child of God.
Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV) O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.