By: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey
May 9, 2019
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
One of my favorite movies is The Bourne Identity. The main character, Jason Bourne, suffers from a severe amnesia that leaves him haunted, frustrated, and confused.
A lot of us live like Jason Bourne. Our stories are not as dramatic but the issues are the same: Who am I, and does anyone care? We run from relationship to relationship, social event to social event, job to job, or even church to church, trying to “find ourselves.” And if we seek our sense of identity in our career, who will we be when we retire?
But there’s good news for “identity seekers.” We can have a significant and secure identity in a relationship with Jesus.
Although God made us in His image (Gen. 1:27), sin ravaged our souls and denied us the joy of a relationship with our Creator. Our identity as His prized and precious creation was damaged—until Jesus Christ came on the scene to rescue us and reclaim His created ones for His own (see Rom. 5:12-19). When we trust Christ for salvation, we gain the privileged status of being “in Him.” He takes all that is old and makes it new.
Once you realize that you are a new creation, your identity crisis will be over.
When we’re reborn—made new in Christ—
It should be plain for all to see
That God has changed us from within
And placed us in His family. —Sper
To resolve our identity crisis we must be identified with Christ.
Alone with the Father
The news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:15-16 NASB
Jesus ministry seemed to be taking off. His fame had grown. People were talking about Him and flocking to see Him in person. Yet, in the midst of this busy time, Jesus paused to do something that may have seemed illogical: He slipped away to pray. This was so important that He stopped whatever else He was doing.
Where did Jesus go to be alone with the Father? He went to the wilderness, where they could fellowship, interact, and listen to each other with no distractions.
This pattern was repeated throughout His life. Jesus consistently sought time alone with the Father after times of intense ministry (Luke 4:40-42), when He had major decisions to make (Luke 6:12-13), and when He was at the height of success (John 6:15).
Jesus was teaching us a habit we all need to develop. Yes, our schedules can be busy and demanding. We have much to do and can find many excuses. But we miss something vital when we don’t stop what we’re doing and seek God, alone and apart. If this was important to the Son of God, it is critical for us.
Today, the Father is ready to fellowship with you. He wants to renew you. Teach you. Refresh you. Guide you. Empower you. In fact, He is available right now! Don’t let anything distract you. Sit in His presence and talk to Him. Listen to Him. Spend time alone with Him.
The world turned upside down
By: Charles Spurgeon
“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” Acts 17:6
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful are not much respected in this world—at least if they are imprudently merciful; the man who forgives too much, or who is too generous, is not considered to be wise. But Christ declares that he who has been merciful—merciful to supply the wants of the poor, merciful to forgive his enemies and to pass by offences, shall obtain mercy. Here, again, is the world turned upside down. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The world says, “Blessed is the man who indulges in a carefree life.” If you ask the common run of mankind who is the happy man, they will tell you, “The happy man is he who has abundance of money, and spends it freely, and is freed from restraint—who leads a merry dance of life, who drinks deep of the cup of intoxication—who revels riotously, who, like the wild horse of the prairie, is not restrained by reason, but who dashes across the broad plains of sin, unharnessed, unguided, unrestrained.” This is the man whom the world calls happy: the proud man, the mighty man, the Nimrod, the man who can do just as he wishes, and who spurns to keep the narrow way of holiness. Now, the Scripture says, not so, for “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”
“Blest is the man who shuns the place Where sinners love to meet;
Who fears to tread their wicked ways, And hates the scoffer’s seat….”