REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE (part 2)

 

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!!

 

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE (part 1)

 

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:

  1. Those who know their identity can walk into their destiny.
  2. Parents who focus on identity are encouraging the behavior they seek more than those who only focus on behavior. We behave our beliefs.
  3. 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).