Unmasked: Finding your identity

Saturday, January 19, 2013

In all of creation, identity is a challenge only for humans. A tulip knows exactly what it is. It is never tempted by false ways of being. Nor does it face complicated decisions in the process of becoming. So it is with dogs, rocks, trees, stars, amoebas, electrons, and all other things. All give glory to God by being exactly what they are. For in being what God means them to be, they are obeying Him. Humans however, encounter a more challenging existence. We think. We consider options. We decide. We act. We doubt. Simple being is tremendously difficult to achieve and fully authentic being is extremely rare. Body and Soul contain thousands of possibilities out of which we can build many identities.”
~David Benner – The Gift of Being Yourself

It's time to find our true Identities and see exactly who it is God made us to be.

Who am I? It's a question we've all asked ourselves at some point in our lives...maybe even several times. But what really defines us? Is it the job that we have? Or the car that we drive? Or is it even where we go to church that defines who we are? We live in a world caught up in titles, labels and definitions. But we shouldn't allow the world around us to define who we are, instead what should matter is who Christ says we are.

To Him I am:

1. Accepted:
Eph.. 1:4-8 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. )

Genesis 1:27 (ESV) says that we were created in the image of God:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

2. Significant:
Eph. 2:10 "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]);" (Amplified)

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (NLT)

3. Secure:
2 Corinthians 1:21-22But it is God Who confirms and makes us steadfast and establishes us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and has consecrated and anointed us [enduing us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit]; [He has also appropriated and acknowledged us as His by] putting His seal upon us and giving us His [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as the security deposit and guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise]).

4. I am Gods child!
1 Thess. 5:5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness,

1 Peter 2:5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God).

Romantically Redeemed

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The act or process of redeeming, the state of being redeemed.

So I've been re-reading this book called “Redeeming Love,” it's a romance novel by Francine Rivers. This one especially caught my attention...mostly because it's based on the book of Hosea. It's a book about this girl, Angel, whom at a very young age is sold into prostitution. She grows up knowing no other way of life, till one day, after being nearly beaten to death a man (who heard God tell him he was to marry her, and whom she has only talked to a few times) comes to her rescue and buys her way out of the brothel and takes her to live with him as his wife on his farm.

Quite often throughout this book I find myself frustrated with Angel and her “wishy washy” self. I get so excited because I think “YES! Finally she's got it! Michael doesn't care about her past....he loves her for who she is now, and who she can be!” and then she'll go back into a state of unworthiness and telling Michael that he shouldn't love her, that based on her past, based on the girl she had been, that she isn't worthy of love, and that she should never have been born. And it drives me crazy, it makes me want to get in the book and grab her myself and shake her till she realizes that none of that matters anymore. She has been not just forgiven...but she has been redeemed...her past no longer matters! After having gone after her when she left him twice, the third time Michael tells God that he is not going to force her to come back to him, she will have to choose to do so on her own. Michael waits patiently for Angel to return home, even though he is told by people that he should just give up on her, that she has most likely gone back to her old ways, and that she never really did love him. But after three long years of waiting Angel finally returns home to him...a changed woman. I love the ending to the book, I guess partially because the scene is similar to that in the ending of Pride and Prejudice. During the 2+ day journey back home to Michael, Angel wrestles with the many feeling inside her. She is overwhelming at the fact that Michael has waited all this time for her to return to him...and is excited about seeing him, but she also fears that he will be angry with her, and that this time he won’t forgive her. As she crosses the field to where he is working she slowly begins to strip herself of what defines her, first her shawl, and then her shirtwaist, till finally she removes her corset and pantalets and ending it with removing the pins in her hair...stripping away every layer of pride, she appears before Michael humble, ashamed, and naked. Realizing the pain she has caused him, she falls to the ground before him weeping, asking for his forgiveness yet again. To her surprise Michael reaches down and draws her up to him, he looks with tear filled eyes into hers and calls her by her special name, the name he calls her only during their most intimate times, “Tirzah" which means "She is my delight."

The love expressed in this book is almost overwhelming to me as it not only reminds me of the love I hope to one day find in a husband, but it reminds me of the love that Jesus Christ has for all of us. A redemptive love, a love that says “I don't care who you were before you knew me” it’s a love that says “It doesn’t matter what you've done I just love you for who you are now and who you will become.” It just amazes me how, even though God knew every mistake we would make (and will make), every time we would turn our back on Him, He chose to redeem us from the curse we were living in, He chose to bring us into his home and to be one with us despite the fact that we were not pure. But through Him we have been cleansed and made new. He has taken us from our fallen state, washed us, and clothed us in His finest linens. And you know the best part? He did this knowing we would turn our backs on Him again, knowing we would leave Him, believing it was what was best. And He still stands there, waiting for the day we return to Him again, and in our state of brokenness before Him, He forgives us, and calls us His Beloved.