I’ve previously described a story that we all are living, whether we know it or not. We are all in a fairy tale; from the perspective of our earthly lives, men strive to be the heroes, women long to be the irreplaceable love, and Satan is the villain. In a romantic relationship, men may act as the heroes in the story, but life for him isn’t worth living without the woman. He needs his love. Something in her very being motivates her lover to come for her; it isn’t just beauty; it is more. She is worth it. No matter what happens, he will always overcome–for her. That’s what truly makes him a man.
Stop me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see a whole lot of this in today’s culture. What I see is men who are scared to be who they are. I see men who aren’t confident in their abilities and identities. I see men who are too aggressive, trying to assert themselves as the “manliest.” I see men who are passive, suppressing who they are to fit in. I see women who are trying too hard to be something they are not. I see women who don’t try hard enough to be who they truly are because they don’t feel they are worth anything. I see women who search endlessly for a sense of worth. I see women who allow themselves to be used up by everything just to feel anything. I see men and women who have bought into the false identity that Satan gave them. Why is that?
I believe that everyone has critical moments in their lives when they answer one of two questions. This question has played a significant part in making us who we are throughout history. It is part of humanity itself; it is directly connected to our hearts. Our identity. Therefore, whatever the answer happens to be is going to directly influence our behavior–the books we write, the movies we produce, what we look for in relationships, what we look for in a job, what we look for in our ideals, and the list goes on. Everything that goes into our hearts will influence the identity that we embrace. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” It seems our villain knew exactly where to strike.
Since we are all trying to answer questions about who we are, the villain has taken the opportunity to throw experiences, possessions, thoughts, temptations, and feelings into our paths. We use these to define who we are, and the villain walks away with a victory. Experiences can be bad. Relationships can end. Possessions can be stolen or broken. People can leave us or die. Emotions can be strong. Words can hurt. “Nothing good lasts forever,” we say. As the Apostle John once said, “And this world is fading away, along with everything people crave.” (see 1 John 2:17). Everything we use to define ourselves fades and dies; our identities die with it.
You define who you are by the stuff that you have, but a house fire or a thief takes it all. Who are you now? You pride yourself on being the perfect boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse; you get dumped, or that person dies. Who are you now? You know who you are by the things you’re good at, but a car accident leaves you paralyzed. Who are you now? At least you still have your family. But fights can happen–no family is perfect. Family members die.Your identity is gone. All the villain had to do was give us the means and we simply destroy ourselves.
I said before that Jesus freed us from this prison. One of the things I mean by that is he gave us a new identity that cannot be taken from us. He died in our place so that if we trust in him and love him, we will be called safe and protected. We will be called special and important. We will be called saints and conquerors. We will be called children of God. We will be called co-heirs to the throne; royalty. This is freely given to us simply because God wanted to adopt us–He wanted us to be with Him. That is why Jesus came; that is the message he brought. Anyone who believes this message and turns to God will be able to claim this identity in their hearts. And as I quoted before, “…everything you do flows from [your heart].” We end up with a new identity. We truly become new people–the people we were made to be.