Friday, April 3, 2009

Identity Crisis

Too often, we spend so much time focused on doing the right thing or not doing the wrong thing. I'm not saying it isn't valuable to consider this. I think that we constantly need to evaluate our actions and consider our motives. It seems, though, that it's easy to get bogged down in a list of do's and don'ts and forget one of the most basic things.

According to Ephesians 2, I was dead. My sin and disobedience was a death sentence. I was an object of God's wrath. There is no hope for me until verse 4. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions" This is the big deal. God made us over again. I was dead because of who I was, but now I am alive. I have been reborn. I am new again. I'm not an updated version of the old me. God in his mercy brought me to life. Now I can say that I'm not who I used to be.

This is the important distinction. I think I spend far to much time stressed about my sinful nature. That sounds like I'm going against what I've been taught, but I think it's true because my nature is that I am a child of God. I don't need to wait for certain things to happen. I am who I am. No event will make my status as a child in God's family more or less true. Instead of wondering about what my nature is, I should be living out who I am. I'm not saying that Christians never make mistakes. I think as long as I'm alive there will be some things that nag me and cause me to struggle. But even in those moments, the core of who I am is unchanged. God didn't update me - he made me new. He didn't improve my sinful nature to make it better. He got rid of who I was and made me who I am. The debate now is how to make my new nature come out. Not discovering who I am and can be, but acting like who I already am.

I didn't have to wait for something to happen with my son to become a father. The moment he was born, my identity changed. I was a father. I didn't have to wait for him to say "daddy" or play baseball or ask a girl out on a date. If he never speaks a word, I'm a father. No action or inaction can change this part of who I am. I am a father. And being a father changed my actions. Once I grabbed hold of my new nature, I became different. I didn't have to be instructed in how to want to protect and care for my son. The same holds true for me on the inside. Once I grab hold of my new nature, I am free. Jesus paid the price for my freedom and it can never be taken from me. No amount of opposition from any source will change this. I am free because of what I am becoming and what I have become. I'm not in God's family because of the do's and don'ts. All of the rule keeping in the world won't save me. I'm going to keep them though. Not for the sake of the rules, but because of who I am.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Hey man, right on!...that is the legalism vs relationship debate. Sometimes our religious "upbringing" actually keeps us from truly knowing God. The funny thing is that the more we struggle with guilt and shame the more we fall deeper into the sin that we struggle against. Truly understanding God's grace and love is the key to our freedom.