I think I’m telling you exactly how old I am, but well, most of you know anyway, so here goes. When I was in high school, one of the popular phrases in youth group was, “When the bell rings, remember who you are and whose you are.” Well, I no longer hear a bell every 88 minutes (block scheduling and all), but I still have a need to remember who I am.
There are multitudinous opportunities to define ourselves by what side we take in the current argument on Social Media or Television News or even in the Church. But if we do that, we are changing our “identity” every few conversations and re-defining ourselves with every new Meme. This will not do. The human mind was not created for such instability. It will lead to depression, confusion and anger. Does that sound at all familiar?
So how do we remember who we are? The answer has always been and will always be in the second part of my high school mantra: I have to remember WHOSE I am.
I am a creation of God. By the Grace of God I am a child of God, an heir to the kingdom of God. My identity, and therefore my action, is based in His Kingdom. When I remember this, I’m a lot less likely to get pulled around by all of the currents of identity available in my world. I’m less likely to think badly of myself or others. I’m less likely to take myself too seriously and less likely to underestimate my worth.
A couple of weeks ago, SouthPoint Church in Bixby, Ok had a speaker who expounded beautifully on this idea. Her name is Valencia Anderson and if you are curious, here is the sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaCI-pMNMQw&feature=emb_logo
She explains in a very clear way that we are not to find our identity in anything but God and that when we do, problems begin.
Don’t mistake your identity.
When we forget who and whose we are, we are open to letting others define us, or mis-define us. When this happens we find angst and derision and anger and misunderstandings that can lead to lifelong division.
Storytellers over the centuries have found material in mistaken identities. Shakespeare wrote of several characters who pretended to be what they were not to attain a goal and then found that there was more trouble in the mistaken identity than there would have been if they had just told the truth. Hallmark movies (a Holiday addiction, I must admit) are rife with mistaken identity. Generally, this means that the girl who accidentally showed up for a job/appointment/castle gets to spend a while dancing around in someone’s shoes until the boss/man/prince that she really really likes finds out and won’t speak to her for at least a good montage and then all is right when we all admit the truth.
OH, if life were like stories….but it kind of is.
See, if the character had just come out and said who they were to begin with, there would have been no story, no drama. No drama is a bad thing for Hallmark and Shakespeare but an oh so good thing in real life.
Avoid the drama. Have your confession scene early. Stand in front of the mirror and remember who you are. Remember that you are not defined by which side of the argument you fall on. If you’re doing it right, the side of the argument you eventually fall on, if there is any reason to be in the argument to begin with, will be defined by who you are. After you have left the mirror and must face those on the outside who would mis-define you based on what they think or want you to be, remind them who you are.
REMINDER: You are a child of God, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ and offered freedom from sin and death through the Grace of God. All you need to do is accept Him as your Savior and you will be re-defined, properly this time.
Romans 10:9-10 ESV
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
This means you’ve got back-up.
Have you ever seen a cop drama or western movie where the hero has no one backing him up? When the hero is unsupported, it is hard to believe that he will win. When a storyline includes no back-up it is either incredibly depressing or unbelievable.
My favorite kinds of movies all include that moment near the end when you feel like there is no hope left and the bad guy is talking about how alone the hero is or how there is no point in fighting because no one cares, and boom, best friend or that person you thought was mad and left sweeps in and gives the hero just enough cover or distraction to win the day and get the bad guy. There’s always that “I had your back the whole time, buddy” look somewhere near the end of the action, too. Ah, my favorite!
My favorite moments in my life are when I have to ask for help. Sure, not my favorite at the time. There is generally a lot of hair pulling or cussing or some other completely unflattering behavior before I ask for help. But the reason these moments are my favorite is the jolt I get when I remember that no matter what, I have someone there to help, I have back-up. When the enemy, the devil, comes to take what peace I have, all I have to do is call my “good buddy” God and I have all of the strength and guidance and support that I need to keep my peace. Ok, so “good buddy” may be the understatement of the year as far as God’s place in my life, but you see my point.
All help comes from my Father in heaven. If that means I need a good book or a good song or a good friend or someone to help me hold on when the world is out of whack, it all comes from the Father. That’s a good thing, because He never changes, He provides what we need in a world that constantly changes.
God is always the same. We are defined by Him. This is a steady definition. Remember back an hour ago (see I can admit I’m long winded) when you read paragraph 2 of this blog? I said the human mind was not made for instability. That is because we were made to find our definition, who we are, in God, the most stable being.
Find who you are in God. Do not be mis-defined by the shifting shadows of this world. Find your strong back-up, your strong foundation, here:
James 1:17 NIV
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
I pray that we all find our peaceful and grateful selves in Christ this week.