I have been bought with a price, I have been redeemed from the laws of sin and death, I have been restored to right relationship with the Father; and yet I sometimes live like I am an orphan, feeling forgotten, neglected and destitute. Whose fault is that? Is it my Father's fault? Is it the fault of Jesus or the Holy Spirit? No it is my own failing, my own lapse in memory. I need to remember Whose I am and what I am called to.
I am called to, as Brennan Manning says in his book 'A Glimpse of Jesus', "A life of integrity and self-acceptance." We each have a dream, something we believe we are here on earth to do. But as Christians, we are called to another dream, the dream of Jesus Christ and His kingdom here on earth. As Brennan says, "A life of integrity is born of fidelity to the dream." And to have self-acceptance is not some new age, mindfulness exercise. It is rather this, "...the attitude of self-acceptance is not essentially self-centered. It is radically relational. It is not self-regarding but Christ-oriented." He goes on to say that "The spurious self-contentment that evolves from scrupulous self-examination, rigorous mortification, and the anxious endeavor to achieve purity of heart is bogus spirituality, the counterfeit of Christian integrity." I cannot work myself up to feel good enough about myself to get over my self-doubt. I cannot read enough self-help books to get me over that hump. What I can do is to remember Whose I am and who He has said I am.
1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." That does not sound like an orphan, forgotten, neglected and destitute. That sounds like someone cherished, someone special, someone I'd like to know. To be honest most days that does not sound like me. Jared C. Wilson in his book 'Gospel Deeps' says this, "Many Christians' problems with fear, doubt and complacency stem from forgetting who they are, which is to say, who they are in Christ." We are free from the law, we are righteous because of Him. "Christ hides me within Himself. (And) if all this is true, then I am as secure as Christ is."
We are secure in Him because He has hand-picked us, a chosen race. I have never been picked first for anything. In school I was always picked last for any team sport; who wants the overweight clumsy girl. Who wants that weird nobody? Who are you?? But He picked me first! He picked me even in my awkwardness, the ungainly and ungraceful person that I was. Now I still run into walls and knock things over, but I do that as His child, not as a nobody that no one wants.
We are secure in Him because He made us royalty. We're not talking Cinderella stories here. We are talking the real thing. We were taken from obscurity and made into aristocrats! And not just your garden variety nobility, but royal priests. We are to bring the message of salvation, His hope and love to all people. We are to live a life that is an example of His grace and mercy to others, to all others. Oh, that is a hard one sometimes, isn't it? I fail miserably at this. I feel as if I pray daily for forgiveness for harsh thoughts, for unkind words, for uncharitable deeds. Who are you?? But yes, He is faithful to forgive all of that and to help me to become a better emissary of the Kingdom of God.
We are secure in Him because we are a holy nation. Wow, I don't often feel holy. Maybe in the midst of worship; eyes closed, hands raised I feel kinda sorta holy-ish. Who are you?? But as Mr. Wilson quotes, "When God tells us, "You shall be holy, for I am holy," it is a command, but it's also a promise." We cannot make ourselves holy, that is something that He does in us every day. We have been cleansed from our sins, not for our own consumption as it were, but so that we can show others the redeeming work of God through His Son Jesus.
We are secure in Him because we are a people for His own possession. Again a quote from Mr. Wilson, "Put simply, God owns us. Of course, God really owns everybody, but he treats those trusting in his Son as his own children. He treats them differently, specially. He marks them out, covers them, secures their future, and gives them a hope. He sends his Spirit to indwell, convict, teach and comfort them. And here's the deal, nobody steals God's stuff. If He owns you, He owns you. Those whom Christ has purchased for the Father will not get lost or be forfeited. (John 6:39, 10:28)." Meaning that as it says in Romans 8, nothing can separate us from God and His love; nuh uh, no way, no how. Not anyone, not even ourselves and our feelings of orphan-ness. Even we can't ask in an accusatory manner, who are you??
That doesn't convince you of who you are? Really? Well, ok. Then let's look at a couple of scriptures that expound on that matter:
John 1:12, I am God’s child.
John 15:15, I am Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1, I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17, I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:20, I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27, I am a member of Christ’s Body.
Ephesians 1:1, I am a saint.
Ephesians 1:5, I have been adopted as God’s child.
Ephesians 2:18, I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:14, I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:10, I am complete in Christ.
Romans 8:1-2, I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28, I am assured all things work together for good.
Romans 8:31-34, I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Romans 8:35-39. I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22, I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Philippians 1:6, I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected.
Philippians 3:20, I am a citizen of heaven.
Colossians 3:3, I am hidden with Christ in God.
2 Timothy 1:7, I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
Hebrews 4:16, I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 John 5:18, I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
Matthew 5:13-14, I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:1,5, I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
John 15:16, I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
Acts 1:8, I am a personal witness of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:16, I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21, I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
2 Corinthians 6:1, I am God’s coworker (see 1 Corinthians 3:9).
Ephesians 2:6, I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10, I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12, I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Who are you? If you realize who you are in Christ, if you truly know in your 'knower', you can answer that question with integrity and self-acceptance. You are hand-picked, holy nobility; His and His alone. Even on the days when you may feel like an orphan, forgotten, neglected and destitute. Tell your feelings to get real and line up with the truth of who and Whose you are.
Quotes from Brennan Manning, 'A Glimpse of Jesus, a stranger to self-hatred'
Quotes from Jared C. Wilson, 'Gospel Deeps'
Bible verses taken from Neil Anderson, 'Victory over Darkness'