Ephesians 1 gives us three strong statements of identity. We are not only chosen by God and given preprogrammed plans–
WE ARE FORGIVEN THROUGH THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of God’s grace that he lavished upon us” (7,8). No sin need bring shame or separation from the love and purposes of God, because Jesus took care of sin at the cross. And what we believe, we receive.
If we let Satan convince us we are unacceptable because of the way we have blown it, our identity is skewed and our destiny compromised. Far better to receive truth and let it bring us liberty. Finish this sentence: The one who will keep me most from my identity is _________.
Mufasa fathered Simba well, playing with him, correcting him, giving him a sense of worth. He also reminded him of his destiny–he would be the Lion King. However, through Uncle Skar’s treachery, Mufasa was killed in a stampede, and Scar made Simba believe he was responsible. The shame of guilt made him run from his destiny into the jungle. He abandoned responsibility and chose to chill out with a Hakuna matata lifestyle of eating grub. Lions don’t eat grub, but Simba did.
Until Rafika encountered a confused lion and brought him to hear his father’s voice. Mufasa spoke the same message I had heard a hundred times: “Remember who you are.” He had to face his failure–and his uncle, a scary but necessary thing to return to his true calling. He disavowed the lies of Skar and became the Lion King for which he was destined.
An injured eaglet in the woods was taken by a farmer to his home and placed in a chicken coup. He learned to flap his wings and squawk. A zoologist who visited the farm was offended at seeing the young eagle act like a chicken and attempted to throw it in the air to help it take off. It flapped and squawked.
Two weeks later the zoologist returned and took the eagle to a high mountain cliff. He threw the eagle out in the air, and it squawked and flapped, descending rapidly toward the rocks below. Then something changed. He spread out his wings in desperation, and he discovered that he could soar like the eagle he was created to be.
Some remain in the chicken coup, convinced by the hardships of life that they belong there. They need to renounce the lies, face their fears, spread their wings, and soar.
I taught on identity at a summer camp with a group of twenty young adults, using Simba as the backdrop as an example of how believing a lie negatively impacts our destiny. I asked them to share any lies they have believed. A young lady began boldly: “I don’t think I’m pretty enough to get married.” Ouch! She was a beautiful girl who convinced herself she wasn’t, and it brought sadness and fear.
I pointed to a young man and said, “You’re next.” He said, “I don’t think I have what it takes.” Life had knocked the wind out of him and made him feel like a wimp. I then had everyone break up in groups, share lies believed, and pray for the truth that sets free. My hope was that they could get out of the chicken coup and soar again. You too!!