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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who Am I?

A few months ago I was flying from New York to California and was stuck in an airport for what felt like days. By the time I found myself standing within the confines of yet another line during my lay over in Chicago, my patience was wearing thin. We're talking Hollywood thin!

Directly behind me in line was a young mother with her two-year-old son. He was quite a sight. An adorable, busy little boy who wanted to know about anything and everything that moved. He and his Mom had a game they played to pass the time: "What Sound Does It Make?"

You are familiar with the game.
"What sound does the train make, Jeffrey?"
"Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, choo-choo!!"

They played this game for an hour and a half straight. You'd think they would've covered every single known sound in the universe at that point, but little Jeffrey only knew three sounds: The truck, the car, the train. Thus we endured through countless, "Honk-Honk"s, "Beep-Beep"s and "Choo-Choo"s.

You can imagine what this did to my already thin patience. Had the flight attendant not called my place to board, I would've no doubt "honk-honked" my way into solitary confinement after my lack of patience got the best of me. I was terribly tempted to say, "What do the travelers say, Jeffrey?" To which I dreamt he would reply in a whispered, rushed tone, "Hush up! Hush up!" And then follow suit.

Clearly if my identity in Christ was determined by my present performance, I'd be in some serious trouble. If my actions determined my heavenly nametag, we can rest in confidence, mine would read: Snappy Sister Who Robs Little Children of Fundamental Games that Exercise Cognitive Growth and Development.

Sounds like you need a Master's degree to major in that one. I guess you could say I had mastered impatience. Or rather, I allowed it to master me.

“For sin shall not be master over you,
for you are not under law but under grace.”
Romans 6:14

Impatience and I go way back. I know impatience so well it knows my Starbucks drink order by heart.

I have a tendency to think, “Well, I’m just an impatient person.” Scripture seems to think otherwise. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, for goodness sake! Clearly I cannot just toss it up to “that’s just who I am”.

I do this more often than I’d like to admit. I determine who I am based on what my actions tell me instead of on what Christ tells me.

And Christ tells me two major things as I read Romans 6:

Sin no longer has say over you.
You are not synonymous with your sin.

I wonder what would happen if we started living lives that believed these truths?

What would happen if I stopped hiding behind my Impatient Nametag and started living out what the Word of God tells me?

The reality is that because of Christ Jesus and His Spirit taking up residence within us, this Hope of Glory, we are no longer under the rule of sinful whims.

I’m not saying we don’t truly struggle with them because we do!

I’m saying we have the authority in Christ to say to our impatience, “Not today.” We have the access in Christ to say to our Father God, “Help me overcome this thing.” We have the intimacy in Christ to say to the Holy Spirit, “Convict me when I step out line. Get my attention and lead me in the way everlasting.”

We also have a new identity. We are not what we did all those years ago, a few months ago or even yesterday. We are more than our screw-ups. What was is no longer what is!

We are able to grow and move toward deeper restoration. The Blood of the Lamb has covered us in redemption. What a terrible heartbreak it would be to believe everything else but that.

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God,
the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

Romans 6:22
To read more from Kristen check out her blog Exemplify.

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Blogger April Watters said...

This same theme has been on my heart of late! My 'soft spot' took a direct hit a few weeks ago and I had to decide who to give an ear to. The Lord won out and I am pushing forward for that prize! I hope you continue to share your insights and apply them each day. Thanks for blessing me today!


September 23, 2008 at 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Cindy Beall said...


Terrific writing. Thanks for this reminder. I needed it.

September 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM  
Anonymous amydeanne said...

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it knows my tim hortons order too!

September 23, 2008 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Teri Washington said...

God has a way of speaking to us at airports. I think its because He can finally get our attention. Take a look at my encounter "Clothed in nice-ness" in my blog when you get a chance.

September 23, 2008 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Deb Burton said...

How many times have I failed to share my testimony because I'm a shy person? How many people failed to hear about my faith in Jesus Christ because "God made me a quiet person"? Boy, will I ever get it into my head, "It's not about me, it's not about me...."

September 23, 2008 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly what God has been impressing on my heart, too! It's so easy to make excuses for our behaviour, isn't it? I've had to practice confessing my sins without trying to explain them away - let me tell you, it makes a HUGE difference!

Awesome as usual, friend!

September 23, 2008 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I LOVED this post. It is right on. If we told ourselves what Papa God told us, we would live so differently. How often I have felt like my sin defined me...but it does not. What defines me is the value that God has placed on me, who I am, not what I do or don't do. I LOVE that.

When I sin I am learning to say, "that's not who I am, that is the old dead me trying to resurrect."

Thanks for your words. Loved them.

September 23, 2008 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Patty Wysong said...

Ouch, says the impatient mom who prefers to hide behind her impatienct name tag! (I would've need a rubber padded room after that!!)

Great lesson and reminder here, Kristen! I am NOT identified by my sin--Wow! Thank God!! It's time for me to work on the fruit salad...the Fruit of the Spirit salad.


September 24, 2008 at 3:37 PM  

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