Who are you? When you think about yourself, who do you see? Moreover, whom do you identify with?
“From whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:15)
Every person alive has a self-image—a conscious idea of who we are and what we are like, and furthermore, we draw our identity from someone of something. Our strongest identification is typically with our parents or our family. We may be one of the Jones’ kids or the Smith girls. What happens, however, if our parents were unsuccessful or made some unwise choices?
When we come to faith in Christ, God gives us a new identity. Regardless of who we were before or what our family did, He has now adopted us into His family. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 says, “…from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” What our parents did is irrelevant in God’s eyes, because we are now identified with Christ and are a part of His family. But why is this significant?
Self-image is of crucial importance in life. Proverbs 23:7a says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” The children of people who have made poor choices in life frequently find it difficult to have a positive self-image, even going so far as repeating their parents’ mistakes, because they feel fated to do so. This is because our parents’ successes or failures either empower us to believe we, too, can succeed, or limit us. But God holds everyone responsible for his own choices. Ezekiel 18:20b says, “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
God’s heart is, furthermore, for all who love Him to succeed. There are Bible passages that say, “…I, the LORD your God, am a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6) Yet while the sins of those who hate God pass down to their children, when any of them repents and turns to God, God begins His healing work in that individual.
It has amazed me through the years how God removes or alleviates many of the effects of sin for those who love Him. One of the curses of sin is miserable, hard work for survival. After The Fall, God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground…”(Genesis 3:17b-19) Yet God frequently allows those who love Him and serve Him to find satisfying, fulfilling work.
God likewise frees those enslaved by generational curses when they turn to Him. Jesus said in John 8:32, 36, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” He truly did come to set us free to be everything that He desires of us, and because we are now His children—adopted into His family—through His Spirit, we are freed to accomplish everything that He wants us to!
Thank You that in You I am a new creation, that old things have passed away and all things have become new; thank You that You empower me, through Your Holy Spirit, to live in newness of life! Amen.