Reading over Romans 8:12-17, my focus was drawn to the concept of adoption, of God claiming us as his children- his heirs- and the huge miracle that this can be in our lives if we allow it.
How do I define myself? Better yet, what do I allow to define me? So often I find myself defining who I am based on inadequacies and past failures. That’s not to say that I go around proclaiming these definitions to the world; if anything, I might overcompensate and present those around me with a shiny, more “awesome” version of myself. But inside, where these thoughts are safe from others, I allow my fears, insecurities and failures to too often define who I am and to control how I think of myself. Too often I fail to remember that I am no longer enslaved to these mistakes, sins and fears…this isn’t who I am, and most importantly, this is not how God sees and perceives me. For I am his child, adopted by him, loved by him, and defined in him.
What earthly parent, when their child spills something or breaks a glass, forever remembers (let alone defines) their beloved child by that singular event? You would never hear, “Oh, yes, this is Mary, the one who breaks dishes” from a loving mother or father. Likewise with the Lord…in his eyes, I am not defined by my sins, but rather by the simple fact that I am his, his adopted, his beloved. Why then should I define myself, limit myself, to these stale, crippling definitions I’ve prescribed to myself?
In Luke 13, we are provided with a very clear example of what it looks like when someone allows the work done by God in their life to define them. Having been crippled for 18 years, a woman is healed and set free by Jesus. Luke tells us “she at once stood up straight and glorified God.” Did it say she contemplated if she were truly healed, or just partially healed? Nope. Did it suggest that she continued to resume the gait of one crippled by disease simply because that was what she was accustomed to? No, of course not! She didn’t spend any time contemplating if she were healed or if she wasn’t, or if she should perhaps still move about her world as if she were still crippled just because she used to be (it would absurd if she had, right?). Rather, she immediately stood up, and glorified the Lord, rejoicing in her new-found state of being. She embraced her new identity that she had been graced with, let go of her past, and walked into her future praising God for setting her free.
May we be more like the woman in Luke chapter 13. May we let go of our failures…sins…insecurities…fears. Not limit ourselves to the crippling definitions that they have over our lives, but rather embrace our new found identity in the Lord. May we allow him to define us, allow him to claim us as his children, as his beloved. May we go forth glorifying and sharing the great work that has been done in our lives, focusing our eyes upward and outward instead of inward and down.