Recently I went away with 100 some young adults and the weekend was filled with fellowship with others and God. The theme was come alive. And the weekend’s passage was on the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14.
“God grabbed me. God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun.He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Master God, only you know that.”
He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!’ “God, the Master, told the dry bones, “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life. I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!”
I prophesied just as I’d been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone. I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But they had no breath in them.
He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘God, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!’”
So I prophesied, just as he commanded me. The breath entered them and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army.
Then God said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they’re saying: ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there’s nothing left of us.’ “Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.’”
We were encouraged to look at the dry bones(areas) in our lives and ask for life to be brought to that area. And I thought of a few areas that I knew already that needed life but they were areas I have thought about before. And part of me thought I have this in the sense that this is nothing new. Until Saturday night Bryce Taylor preached, God grabbed my heart. He showed me through Bryce that I had a victim mentality with my past. Not in a way most people think but in a way of my relationship with God.
You see I struggle so much with people who have a victim mentality and who live in that. I live by this quote because there is so much truth in it and I have seen countless time where it has played out. “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it,” Charles Swindoll said this. And I do understand there is a time where someone needs process what has happened in their life. But I also believe that you can’t stay in that moment because we wouldn’t move forward in life and we will miss some of the great things God has in store for us. While I do not say this aloud it does sometimes go through my head, when I think the person should have worked through the hurt and pain in their life, my thought is that you just need to work through it and move on in life. What right do I have to say that? I have not walked their journey in life so I do not have the right to see when the person should not be living in the moment of their hurt and pain anymore.
Let’s go back to me now. That Saturday night God showed me that I will use my past as a crutch when I relate to Him. And the very thing that frustrates me when I see it in other people. He showed me that I am doing the same thing with Him. I see Him through this filter of my past hurts and pained how others have treated me. And I only allow God so close because if He gets any closer He might hurt me like other people in my life. And as a grow older and more mature in my walk with Him, I might let him a step closer but that is still a wall that I did not let Him past. Reality is that He will not hurt me and He will not leave me. “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 Wow what a great promise! I decided that night that I am going to believe Him at His promises even when it is hard. And live in His truth not in the lies I have been told about me or about Him. Even when I may not fully believe it, I am going to tell myself these promises till I believe them with all my heart. And I am going to allow God to come closer than ever and no longer hold Him at an arm’s distance.
What area in your life needs life? Is there an area with your relationship with God where you are using your past as an excuse to not allow God to get past your wall?
Who are you? What is your identity in? Most of us answer by describing our roles in life. We have many roles we play in life. For myself some of the roles are aunt, friend, daughter, photographer, sister, etc. While the roles in my life are part of who I am and they are important to me, it is not where my identity lies. If I find my identity in these roles I will not be satisfied. Because I am finding my satisfaction in something that will always leave a void that only God can fill. “The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus.” Timothy Keller
We sometimes answer this question not only with the roles that are in our lives. But sometimes with our past or what has been spoken over us or labels given to us by others in our lives. One example of this would be victim. We sometimes are victims because of what has happened to us in our lives. If we are not careful, it can become our identity. When we think about who we are, we think about what has happened and this becomes who we are. Many times when we are a victim, something is lost and we need to grieve that loss and the hurt. And sometimes we can use their life circumstances to help others through similar situations. But it should not be where our identity lies.
In my own life when I think about the question of who am I, too often the roles in my life come to mind. Rather than where my true identity lies and that is in God and Jesus.
I am a daughter of the King. He is my Father and Creator. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” John 1:12
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:1-2
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26
I am His princess and I was accepted into a royal family when I chose Jesus as Lord over my life. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
I am a sinner saved by grace. Jesus paid the penalty for my sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
I live in freedom and I am forgiven as a child of God. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—” Romans 6:6
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10
I am loved by a Father unconditionally no matter what I have been through and no matter what I do in my life. His love for me is not contingent on my actions. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
So I ask you again who or what is your identity in? Is it in in our past or the roles that we fulfill in life or is it in our Creator who is the only one that can fill those voids we have?