Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Accepting a New Identity, a New Life

As someone that has been born again into the family of God and made new, I realize that I don't always think and act like I have been.  In fact, sometimes, if I'm honest, I miss some of those old sins, old bondage.  Sometimes I don't know what to do with freedom that I have in Christ that I want to go back to the security of the "predictable" state of living under the bondage of sin.  I guess it's sort of like someone that has been held in captivity for so long doesn't really know what to do with freedom - yeah, I can relate a bit.  I have lived in a prison of fear, of Pharisaical law, of trying to control for so long.  Christ has opened the door to that prison and set me free.  Sometimes, as the door is still open to that prison, I walk right back in.

So I guess I get it.  I get why when a child that has lived in a "prison" of being institutionalized, that freedom is scary.  All that was built up around that child, no matter how messed up, is all that child knows.  They find comfort in it, a false sense of security.  When given freedom and a new life, the door to revert back to old ways - ways of coping and survival in the institution - is still open.

What triggers going back to the old ways?  I wish I knew.  I wish I knew why I went back to my old sinful ways too.  Sometimes I can figure that out in myself, but sometimes I can't figure out why I'd embrace my "old" ways when I have freedom and new life sitting right in front of me.  So it is for those children that have been in captivity for so long.  They have freedom - a family, a new life, true security, true love - all around them.  But sometimes that old life calls back, the old ways are so tempting to fall back into.  The coping skills - really all they could do to get through their old life - are just looking for that opportunity to pop out again.  And so begins embracing old ways and rejecting new life.

I'm amazed at how God talks about adoption in the Bible.  I'm amazed at the freedom and new life - a FAMILY - He offered me.  I wasn't just institutionalized.  I was DEAD.  And He gave me life.  Children that are institutionalized or that have come from terrible situations can feel dead too.  Their coping skills can be to check out, in a sense trying to deaden their emotions so they can't be hurt anymore.  When given new life (in the earthly sense), when given a family, all that pain doesn't just go away. Healing has to take place.  Old ways need to be unlearned.  Trust and security needs to trump over all they've ever known before.  This really isn't different that our adoption into God's family.  All our pain doesn't just go away instantly.  Healing does begin.  Old ways are unlearned.  Our trust and security in our Father grows over time as we know Him more.

Our identities are new, but we forget.  We hear the strong voices in our head - maybe even those around us - that lie and tell us our new lives aren't real, our identities cannot change.

But in Christ all things are possible.  And we can cling to the old, but that doesn't make the new any less real.  We are new.  Those that are adopted have a new identity, a new family, a new life.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  Ephesians 1:3-6

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