How we behave in life stems primarily from our view of ourselves. This spiritual “selfie” goes through gyrations as we are bounced and bruised through life. Throughout this process, we develop our personal identity. It tends to be the sum total of all judgments made about ourselves, whether they originate in our own minds, or in the minds of others. We choose to believe some and disbelieve others.
Others provide us a reflection of ourselves – some accurate and some not. We tend to adopt what others think as an accurate rendering of who we are. But these pictures are rarely accurate. Only the true God and Father has an accurate view of who we are. So if we want a fully accurate picture, we need to go to the source.
One of my new favorite Al-Anon ideas is this: “What others think of you is none of your business.” Nice. Wouldn’t it be better to believe what our heavenly Father thinks and believes about us?
So what does scripture tell about who we are in Jesus?
The apostle John said this about whom to listen to:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." (1 John 4:1-6)
Check out verse 4: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
As a little kid, I used to run around the church like it was mine. After all, my dad was the pastor. I was a true brat, treating all other people as mere visitors to my dad’s house. I owned the place. I later discovered that it was not just my dad’s house, it was my Father’s house. Either way, I felt invincible.
What if we felt such power streaming from our heavenly Father? Wow.
How then, should I posture?
Step one is understanding who we are as the children of God. Step two is how we should act as His children. Here’s a hint:
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do notmerely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:1-11)
What we should understand here is that Jesus, being Himself God, chose the low road. He humbled himself, from God to man, then from man to bond-servant.
No one was more in touch with His true identity than Jesus. He knew He was God, but chose to forgo the honor. He also knew that telling people who He was would lead to his murder. So he told few. When the masses found out what He was saying, they demanded his crucifixion. Yes, Jesus’ people, the Jews, along with the Romans, murdered the Messiah. So Jesus was lowered again, from bond-servant to criminal, then delivered to death.
What does this all mean? Simply put, we need to understand our majestic role as children of God. Then we need to lay it down at Jesus’ feet. What would happen if we all tried to believe our true identity, but disavowed flaunting it toward others, feeling that we’re somehow better.
And what if we could both embrace our godly heritage, but at the same time, humble ourselves? It’s a balance act worth trying.
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