Friday, February 7, 2014

Identity Crisis


 

What is my real identity?

How many times do we struggle with this question and often let it overtake our emotions to the point that we can no longer function normally.

I confess I struggle with this question allot. I mean if I am looking around me I don’t have anything to brag about really. I’m not successful in business, I don’t have a padded bank account, and my job is done in obscurity. My home would not be classified as fancy, although the remodel after the hurricane turned out beautifully. In short there is nothing in my life that you would notice that sticks out as successful and purposeful.

Unless!

Unless, you look really close and see what God alone can see. The part of my life that is hugely successful and complete. If you were to look close enough you would see it in the tenderness of my husband’s love for me, the beauty of my children’s love for me. You would see it in the joy of happy moments spent building family memories, playing games, watching movies, putting together puzzles, fighting over the last piece, inhaling tubs of popcorn, devouring brownies smothered in ice cream.

We often tend to overlook the very basic of purposes God gives us on the earth.

That is to love God and love our families.

We get so caught up in trying to be noticeable, popular and heard we overlook the people we need who give us our basic identity. We run right over the precious people who ground us in reality, who are with us long after the applause has ended, long after the accolades have faded to soft whispered echoes in our memory alone.

I don’t think that striving to be your best is wrong, nor do I feel being recognized for your work is wrong either.  I feel that when we lose sight of the significantly important things we lose sight of our purpose.

Eve lost sight of this in the garden if you look in Genesis 3, the serpent comes to ask her, hath God said?  In our mind we go well I wouldn’t have responded at all. I want to challenge that however and throw out a thought about it.

1)       I think it is remarkable that Eve didn’t give a second thought to a serpent talking to her. I don’t know about you but he wouldn’t have gotten it out of his mouth quick enough. He would have been talking to the dust I’m throwing up getting away from there.

2)      Why was she even close to the tree of knowledge of good and evil to begin with? I mean don’t you think if God said of this tree you can’t eat we would stay as far away as possible?

3)      Why did she lie about what God said?

I think those are all good questions that can be related to all of us quite easily. So I will start with number one and I will use myself for an example of I may.

I am going to start from the day of my conversion because it is signifying a new creation, a new birth such as eve experienced coming from Adam’s side.

On the day I received my new birth I was riding high in the clouds, there was no devil big enough or tall enough or powerful enough that would knock me off that cloud I was riding. I took notes of what I should do and haphazardly jotted down the things I shouldn’t. Thinking to myself I won’t have any problem with those. I mean if a devil tries to get within a mile of me I’m going to knock his teeth out.

Does this sound familiar?

We have all been there at numerous times in our lives. The most common being our new birth, then later after victories won following fierce warfare. So this is a common thing to do right?

One day I am riding through my very breezy cloud and I see movement out of the corner of my eye. I don’t pay it any mind after all I’m cruising across life at blazing speeds, listening to my heavenly iPod, jamming with the heavenly host and life is good… I have nothing to be worried about, right, when all of a sudden I experience a slight bump and my altitude decreases ever so slightly. Again, I ignore it because what’s a little bump? I’ve got this, I sing out; me and Jesus got it going on!

Long before I realize it that one slight bump turned into many slight potholes causing me to slow down and slowly decrease in altitudes. Unaware to my still jamming mind I have landed smack dab in the middle of the enemy’s camp. Right into the very arms of the one I swore I would knock out his teeth. Yet here he is and the little freaky imp is sneering at me with disdain and the first words out of his mouth are; who are you?

I start to sweat a little bit as I realize I have lost my cloud covering and I am at the exact location where I said I would never be.

This leads straight to the next question out of the enemy’s mouth.

Where did you come from?

What my ears hear is; why were you even born? You can’t even maneuver the cloud right. All your worship and sing, sing singing is a joke. Look at you, if God really cared about you what are you doing here? You are the freak, you are the fraud. You believe God really said that? To you? Please, God doesn’t care about you. He knows if you spend time with me you will have the knowledge He is trying to hold back from you. He doesn’t want you to be recognized for all your labor. He’s just a big ego maniac hogging all the glory. Come on let me get you a piece of fruit from that beautiful tree. Don’t you want to know everything God knows? Don’t you want to be as successful as He is? Sure tell Him how great He is, but you and I know who actually did all the work, right?

Oh Lord how often I have set under the branches of this beautiful, magnificent tree and partaken of its luscious fruit. Which only led me to ponder the who’s, what’s and why’s of life instead of experiencing the Who He is, Who He was and Who is to come. At times I have set beneath that tree for days, sometimes for months and sadly enough for years. Gleaning all the knowledge I don’t need while missing out on the fellowship with God I do need.

I am going through something similar even now. Which most times would lead to the last step, lying to Holy God.

We’ve heard the expression that if you tell a lie long enough it will eventually become your truth. The astounding thing is that Eve lied to satan. She lied to the father of all lies. Do you see how quickly satan stole her identity? Do you see how quickly she went from innocent to guilty? If you study it carefully it was before she took the first bite.

If I am not careful I will do the same thing over and over again.

I am doing good, life is good, God is always good and I think I’ve got it made and the next thing I know someone is tapping my identity away a chip or bump at a time. Before long I’ve gone where I never intended to go and I’ve gotten lost. I’ve allowed the enemy to steal my identity.

The good news is you can and will recover. This is the beauty of being a child of God. He will come get you Matthew 18:12 or He will patiently wait for your return, running to meet you when he sees you coming. Luke 15:20

The truth is, on our own we can never overcome this subtle enemy. We must rely on Christ and importantly His Word. Ephesians 6:11 Tells us to put on our armor so we can withstand the enemy.  We need to stay in an attitude of awareness, aware where the enemy is, what he is saying and using the Word of God to outsmart him and out maneuver him.

Will we always be successful? No way. That is why He said that we can confess our sin and He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:9 This is the best ace in the hole we could ever have against such a tricky enemy.

All of this will make you wonder if serving God is even worth it. If we have to constantly be on guard, guarding our heart keeping our identity safe, what is the point and who can actually accomplish that?

The times that I have been down the most are the times I realize that I don’t have the capacity nor the tenacity to fight the good fight of faith. I have eaten of the tree and I only see the worthlessness of who I am. I see no hope; I see no purpose, so I decide to sit down and to quit. Just as I begin to lay my head back to slumber I hear someone calling my name, Shawn, where are you? In the fogginess of my sleep induced brain I vaguely recognize the voice, but my mind is too busy racing with what ifs and what should have been. Over and over on a merry go round the thoughts scream through my brain, who are you? Why are you here?  What is your purpose? The devil is whispering you don’t mean anything. God doesn’t want you, you’ve messed it up to much to fix it. Slowly the venom of his words lulls me to sleep and right at the moment it starts overtaking me, I hear my Savior calling out my name.

At first I am confused, is He calling me? Is that my name He said? The enemy is on one side going shhhh, go back to sleep it’s nothing. Yet, Jesus persistently calls my name and before I know it I am being lifted up in those everlasting arms.

Like a lightning bolt from heaven tossed across the portal of eternity I remember my purpose, I remember who I am.

I am a child of the Most High God. I John 4:4

I am Complete in Jesus. Colossians 4: 12

My old life is dead and now I’m hidden with Christ in God! Colossians 3:3

I DON’T NEED MY OWN IDENTITY I need His.

What the devil clearly fails time and again to understand is that the longer he messes with who I am the more I will find who I am not and where I will find my real identity.

I am not my own I am bought with a price I Corinthians 6:20

So you see I can’t lose what I don’t have and satan can’t steal what isn’t mine.

There is one man who passed the test, aced it really and that is Jesus Christ. Go read it again for yourself. Luke 4:1-11

You see satan came to Him tempting Him with the same words or something like this; Hey, doesn’t it say that if you were to fall the angels will catch you, go ahead jump off and let’s see? Jesus blasted him back the truth… It is written ‘thou shalt not tempt the Lord Thy God! Don’t you know that was a slap to him, Jesus reminded him of his place. He reminded Him who kicked who out of heaven. That’s a blog for another day.

So what did satan really want that day? He wanted what he has always wanted, Christ identity. Jesus spoke the word, satan had no choice but to leave. He’s like if I can’t steal his identity, I’ll kill him. Likewise because we are created new when we accept Christ, we take on the identity of Christ. Naturally the enemy couldn’t tempt Christ so he is tempting us back door style trying to get to Him through us.

So today tell him It is written… Don’t let him steal your thoughts, change your thoughts or move you off of your secured position in Christ.

Closing verse and I think it is a really powerful one for us to meditate on. Especially when these questions pop up, and they will as long as we live and breathe.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 

With Christ I am hidden!

Shawn