When my youngest son, Justin, was about 5, we bought him an Indiana Jones action figure set. He loved it and played with it all the time. But, one day I noticed he hadn’t played with it in a while. In fact, he had tried to hide it.
When I asked him about it, he hemmed and hawed and made some lame excuse for not playing with it anymore.
I knew something had happened to it.
I knelt down and looked in his sweet, chubby little face and said,
Justin, I love you, no matter what. And if something has happened to your toy, if you’ll bring it to me, I’ll help you fix it.”
He looked up at me with such relief and he ran and retrieved his little action figure out from under his bed.
He brought me Indiana Jones —like this:
Somehow Indy’s head had come off.
Justin knew what was wrong. He just couldn’t fix the problem himself.
But as soon as he was honest with me about his problem and brought it to me, I fixed it for him. And he was able to take his restored action figure and get back to using it for its intended purpose.
From Broken to Whole
That is exactly how it worked for me when I first came to Christ. I knew something was broken in me. I just wasn’t able to fix it no matter how hard I tried.
But God could and he wanted to. He wants to for everyone.
I didn’t have to do anything except bring God my brokenness and trust that what he had already done on the cross was sufficient to redeem me and make me whole.
In that moment of initially getting real with God and accepting his grace, he gave me a new identity. I was now his child.
My new identity brought with it a new kind of security. Because I am his child he will never leave me or forsake me. Wow!
In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, John describes this transformation in verse 12:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God “— John 1:12 (NIV)
New Identity, New Security
Our identity as believers is that of God’s child, and our security is found in that relationship.
But it took time for that new identity and security to sink in, and for me to consistently live out of that new reality.
I had to grow in my understanding of him and his love for me. And as I grew in my relationship with God, I began to understand the implications of that relationship for all of the other relationships in my life.
Getting real with God, becoming his child, is just the beginning of the journey.
We have entered the gate and are secure in his sheepfold. (See John 10:1-18) But once we are in the gate, we are to follow our Good Shepherd, growing and maturing as we go.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus described these two aspects of a relationship with him:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Did you catch that, he calls us to not only come to him but to learn from him.
As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, walking authentically with him and learning from him, we experience more and more the life he came to give us.
This new life as his disciple is a process, not something that we will master instantaneously.
If we are not nurturing our relationship with Jesus, we can quickly forget where our identity and security truly come from.
When we pull away from Jesus, we limit our ability to tap into our source for abundant living.
Our pulling away or ignoring him doesn’t change the reality that we are God’s child, but it limits our experience of the abundant life he gives us.
Listen, we live in a corrupt, broken world, and it can take a toll on us.
- It beats us over the head with messages that we are not good enough,
- batters us with a never ending stream of trials and temptations, and
- fills our calendars with so much busyness that it shoves us off track from spending time on the truly important things.
It isn’t enough to just go through the religious motions.
We must consistently bring that real self—the one that has been beaten, battered, and shoved off track—back into the presence of God and let him remind us of who we really are—his beloved child.
If we don’t go to God, we will end up going to the world and other people for our identity and security.
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Your turn... What does it feel like when you bring your messy, broken self to God and let him put you back together and make you whole? What helps you do that? What makes it difficult? You can leave a comment by clicking here.