We’ve all been asked the question – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
As a toddler, an adolescent, a high school grad, a college grad and even a young professional, this question haunts us. It drives us to dream as children, choose majors as students, and even select certain careers as we get older.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Much of our culture says that your Instagram defines who you are – a wanderlust traveler or an average Joe. Or that even a certain spot on a team or in an organization defines who you are – wow, a CEO! Or “just” a waitress.
The problem is, I think we’ve confused being with doing. This is especially true in light of the stereotypical, American dream. Yes, taking action and being “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22) is absolutely important –
However, I believe the greatest tragedy on behalf of the enemy is not the sin we may commit, but the identity he begs us to forget.
From the very beginning, we find the enemy’s attempt to beg humankind to forget plastered to the pages of Genesis. It’s all too familiar.
“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4-5 emphasis added)
- “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
- “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the Garden?”” (Genesis 3:1 emphasis added)
- “‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4-5 emphasis added)
The debilitating brokenness that ensues from this decision to depart from the original way given by God traipses throughout the history that follows. As we turn each page to each story, we are confronted with the reality of a broken world riddled with murder, jealously, adultery, hatred, genocide, pain, suffering and death.
In that moment found in the garden, we see our identity, “made in God’s image”, is traded for slavery to a lie.
Today we see this bondage continues. Overwhelmingly literal in the prevalence of human trafficking and domestic violence and even more sly, as we become slaves to social media and social agendas.
We allow ourselves to be slaves to the approval of others and we hide behind facades of the significant “us” we want people to see and accept. We fear that if others truly knew who we were, they would reject us and that fear breeds control that leads to an even tighter grip on our fragile masks.
Jesus Christ lived perfectly, died tragically and rose triumphantly and in one final breath, broke the grip of the shackles of sin and introduced us to our true identity: sons.
What we were – wanderers, slanderers, murderers, coveters, has now been restored to warriors.
In exchange for our chains, Jesus gives us crowns. In exchange for our mess, Jesus gives us the kingdom.
- “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:6-7)
We have been restored to royalty through the sacrifice and power of Jesus Christ. And now we have a choice to live as a son or slave. As a slave, we are bonded to silence and shadows. As sons (and daughters) we are bestowed with power and prize.
- “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
- “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The biggest threat to the reign of darkness is for us to wake up and realize our true identities as those raised to new life in Christ. Restored to royalty is the truth of our identity.
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