<Author’s note: I reworded this to try to clarify my point>
Who am I?
Within my family, I have many titles: husband and father; son and brother before that. I love those roles. I am loved in them. In spite of that, sometimes I allow myself to believe lies fed straight to me by the evil one. I allow myself to believe perceptions that logically I know are not the truth. I have lost sleep over this at times, which is utter foolishness. From time to time, for example, I have given in to the lie that my family does not respect me. This is not the truth, but our enemy is a great deceiver. Love is messy, and family love is no exception. We can pick at each other, say things we don’t mean. We can believe things that are not true. These are all weapons of the evil one, whose goal it is to break what is beautiful and sacred.
On the other hand, at work, I have the titles of Vice President and Account Executive. There I am shown a tremendous amount of respect. But there, of course, I also do not experience the love that I feel within my family. So if I allowed myself to be defined by the high level of respect that I experience at work, that wouldn’t make sense because that’s not reality. That’s not the truth, either. I am very good at what I do, but I’m not perfect, I make mistakes. I am human. So if I were to start patting myself on the back because of my achievements at work or the respect I receive there, the evil one will surely find a way to use that against me–pride goes before the fall, and all that (a loose translation of Proverbs 16:8). I must always remember–and I remind myself daily–that God has given me all the abilities and opportunities that have carried me to these heights. I did not get here on my own–God made the way for me.
Anyway, as I was wrestling with all of this, I felt God put this song on my heart to answer my identity question: No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music. In particular, the lyrics that popped into my mind were these:
It was funny, too, because a really good friend of mine told me the next day that this song had been going through his mind as well. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not believe in coincidences with God. I think God was making sure I got the message. Or more likely, that we were both getting the message.
So that’s the title I need to focus on: Child of God. Of course, I am still a dad, husband, son, and brother, for all the glory and the grime of family life. And I’m still a VP and Account Executive. But above all that, I am a child of God. I’m no longer a slave to respect or performance. God loves me in spite of my worst days. Thanks to Jesus, He forgets all of my bad behavior as soon as I ask for forgiveness, and maybe even before that. More than anybody else in the world, God loves me for me. I can’t earn that, but neither can I screw it up.
Only God defines my identity. That is the good news, the best news. I am swimming in an ocean of grace–we all are, those of us who accept the title. I am a child of God.