December 6, 2013
READ: Ephesians 1:15-23
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope [God] has given to . . . his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (v.18).
Recently I was talking with a friend who has been scarred by sin—things done to him by others. The effects linger, even though the actions occurred long ago. He was struggling, trying to see beyond the lies that caused him to feel unworthy of God’s grace. He felt powerless and weak, which left him vulnerable to the temptation to assuage his pain through wrong means. His identity in Jesus had been warped and weakened by his negative life experiences. So the two of us took a long look into God’s Word to view my friend’s true identity in Jesus.
The apostle Paul knew all about warped identity. He had once viewed all believers in Jesus as despicable and worthy of death. And his own identity was based on his background, education and accomplishments—not God’s grace (Philippians 3:4-6). So, later, when he prayed for the church at Ephesus, it’s understandable that he wanted them to see themselves as God viewed them (Ephesians 1:15-17). He wrote that they had been . . .
• given a confident hope—they were God’s “holy people who [were] his rich and glorious inheritance” (v.18).
• filled with the incredible greatness of God’s power—the Holy Spirit and His unlimited power was flowing in and through them (v.19).
• brought into the body of Christ—they were now part of a living community that was “made full and complete” by Jesus (v.23).
Life and its challenges have a way of giving us a distorted view of ourselves—often leaving us feeling weak, small, vulnerable. But as we dive deeply into God’s grace (v.7), we receive “every spiritual blessing” from Jesus (v.3). He gives us hope, power and community—gifts that can help us stand strong, resist sin and live out healthy identities in Him. —Tom Felten
Read John 15:9-17 and note how Jesus views those who believe in Him.
How does having a right view of your identity in Jesus help you resist the temptation to sin? What part of your identity in Jesus do you need to meditate on today?