That is what my dad told me or my sisters when we left the house for the evening. He never said, “Be back at eleven” or “be careful with the car.” This statement was so ingrained in us, that after he and Mom went on, we had a family reunion. All wore tee shirts proclaiming, “Remember Who You Are,” with a picture of the Lion King.
We discussed what he might have meant and decided he was saying, “Remember you are an Anderson; live up to that name. And remember you are a child of God.”
Dad understood three truths:
- Those who know their identity can walk into their destiny.
- Parents who focus on identity are encouraging the behavior they seek more than those who only focus on behavior. We behave our beliefs.
- Two pictures impact destiny–our picture of ourselves and our picture of God.
Identity is shaped by the truths we believe and the love we receive. Ephesians has three chapters that focus on identity and three on destiny–how we are called to live because of who we are in Christ. Paul starts his letter with three statements of identity: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places. For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:3,4).
WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD.
That is a statement of identity rather than of behavior. Choice implies worth. That the Creator chose us gives us great value, and not to simply take up space on the planet but to walk in a high and holy calling.
Gary, a friend in Junior High, was a science whiz, but he wasn’t a whiz with the bat, and he was always chosen last at recess, and it did not make him feel valued. Some dads focus on golf scores rather than homework scores, and their children don’t feel special. The more love poured in, the more they will know who they are and be able to walk successfully into their future. Identity drives behavior. Who we believe we are impacts where we go.
Secondly, if we view God as an angry Man with a stick, we may have trouble knowing who we are. Lies we believe will keep us from our identity. Satan, the father of lies, deceives us to keep us from walking into our destiny. Truth sets free; lies imprison.
Paul goes on to say:
GOD HAS MADE GREAT PLANS FOR US.
“He predestined us in love to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (5). Love made Him draw up an individually styled destiny for each child adopted into His family, a plan that fits who we are. To know that God has a divinely crafted future should give us peace as we walk step by step. If we choose to believe that we are here by chance or that we ride the bench rather than the first team, we will not walk into our destiny. And sadly, Oliver Wendell wrote, “Most people die with the music still inside of them.” (Part 2 in three days).