What do people say about you? The way you dress? The way you act? The people you associate with? What you enjoy doing?
These are all questions that many ask themselves each and every day. What type of impression do we make? Do people like or approve of us? It is completely natural to ask ourselves these things.
In fact you don’t even have to tell or train kids to care what their peers think. At some point in late elementary school the innocence of care-free living and relationships disappears and groups begin to form based off interests, attire, gender, race, etc… Where groups happen you will always find people conforming to “”fit in” to those groups. We are internally wired to care about what other people think or say about us. There are exceptions to this… but even those people who claim otherwise typically care to some extent.
In 2013 many of us got to experience a pretty incredible moment as Nik Wallenda, “The King of the High Wire,” walked a tightrope across the Little Colorado River Gorge (a section of the Grand Canyon) live on national television without a safety net. Nik is a seventh generation daredevil belonging to the legendary Great Wallendas (a tight roping family) and began walking the tightrope at age 4. Nik had spent his life training and preparing for this one moment.
What many viewers that night were unaware of was the fact that Nik’s great-grandfather died before viewers’ eyes on live television trying to walk a tightrope strung between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, harness-free, in 1978.
Anyone who watched felt the suspense the whole time as Nik battled high winds (18-30mph) while balancing a 45 pound bar on a mere 2-inch wire. The quarter-mile walk at 1,500 feet in the air took more than 20 minutes, and Wallenda actually had to kneel twice to wait out the stronger winds. But… he made it! Nik Wallenda was the first human to ever cross the Little Colorado River Gorge on a wire.
A tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon without any safety net or harness is pretty crazy right? Success means living another day as a daredevil, and failure means certain death… live on television for your friends and family to see.
But… in a less literal sense I would compare walking a tightrope to living according to what other people think. Trying to please people is like stepping out on a tightrope. Once we decide to bend to people’s desires or perceptions we are stepping out, and getting on, to a hairy situation that most of us will never be able to maintain. Think about it… everyone wants something different… no one thing can please every crowd. So with each step we are swaying left and right in order to meet the needs and gain the “applause” of the right group of people. But… we must be extraordinarily careful not to sway too far in either direction because that mistake can leave us hanging on for our lives. It is sad to say that much of the world’s happiness is dependent on impressions… what people say or think about us.
Many of us need to unhook the “applause-meter” and focus on who God has created us to be.
Our happiness in life should depend on how God sees us. Sadly, many of us have a wrong idea of God’s opinion of us. We base it on what we’ve been taught, our bad experiences in life, what the world tells us, and many other assorted assumptions. Some of us may have bought into the lies of the enemy and think that God is disappointed in us, or that we’ll never measure up to who He has called us to be. Some of us may even believe in an angry God who exists in a constant state of anger because we as humans, try as we might, can’t stop sinning.
But if we want to know the truth, we need to go to the source: God himself. Let’s dive in to the Word and figure out who we are according to what God has called us. Let’s think together.
- We are His beloved children.
Luckily enough, upon our salvation, we are no longer strangers to God. The decision to accept Christ is a decision to join a family. We are adopted and no longer exist as orphans or children of the world, even though we may sometimes feel alone. We know for a fact that the heavenly Father loves us and sees us as one of His children.
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 says,
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.
Not everyone has the experience of having a good earthly Father, but we all have the same opportunity to be adopted by a great Heavenly Father who will never leave us or forsake us, but will instead love us unceasingly without restraint.
1 John 3:1- 3 says,
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Our identity is even found in the way we are taught to pray! In Matthew 6 we find the “model prayer” or Lord’s prayer and even in the way we address God it not only reinforces His identity… but it confirms ours!
Matthew 6:9 says,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
If He is indeed our Father then that has to mean that we are His children! We serve a good Father who blesses His own. Matthew 7:11 says,
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
God doesn’t just give us good gifts to buy our affection… instead He shares our inheritance with us. Upon conversion we become heirs with Christ Jesus Himself… to share in His inheritance.
Romans 8:16-17 says,
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
- We are forgiven.
On October 30, 2011 Marion Hedges was at her local Target buying Halloween candy for underprivileged kids when she was hit in the head by a shopping cart pushed over a fourth floor railing by two 12-year-old boys. Marion was technically dead at the scene and had to be revived by a doctor who happened to be nearby. The then 47-year-old had to be in a medically induced coma for a period of time, suffered serious brain trauma and injury, and lost the use of one eye after the cart fell on her. She needed months of rehabilitation.
In her time of recovery when Marion heard of the two young boys who committed the violent prank she responded by choosing grace and forgiveness. She was quoted saying, “I feel very sorry for them. My son is 13 also, and he is a very good boy.” Hedges chose the road of forgiveness instead of harboring bitterness, anger, and un-forgiveness in her heart. Since her accident, Hedges has expressed her concerns for both of the boys responsible.
Many Christians are being crushed under a heavy load of guilt, afraid they have disappointed God, and are past the point of grace and forgiveness. But… there is good news! If we know Jesus as our Savior, God sees us as forgiven.
God does not hold our past sins against us.
Acts 10:43 says,
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
John 8:36 says,
The Son has set me free. I am free indeed!
The Bible is clear on this point. God sees us as righteous because of the death of His Son on our behalf. As Forgiven Sons and Daughters of a good God we don’t have to worry about being holy enough, because Jesus was perfectly holy and died on the cross on our behalf. God sees us as forgiven. We just have to walk in that forgiveness.
Galatians 2:20 says,
I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
- We are a people of hope.
Ephesians 3:20 says,
He is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within me.
Hebrews 10:23 says,
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
He who promised is faithful… what a powerful statement that so many of us fail to recognize and hold onto daily. Tragedy hits for everyone at some point… and it is easy to lose sight of our identity before our Maker when we feel as if life has handed us more than we can handle.
But… God sees us and has made us to be people of hope. No matter how bleak the situation, Jesus is with us through it all.
Romans 8:31 says,
God is for me! Who can be against me?
Jeremiah 29:11 says,
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future
We’ve all had these situations… in fact the song below is one that I wrote while in one of those “hopeless” seasons that now ministers to the Body in which I serve.
Ultimately our hope is not based on what we can muster up. It’s based on the One we have hope in. When our hope is failing we must remember that our Father is strong. When we keep our attention focused on him, hope will come.
Lamentations 3:25 says,
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
When we begin to see ourselves as God sees us, it will change our perspective. What other truths can you find in the Word that speaks to your image before God?