“In the book of judges, we read about a timid leader named Gideon. In our first impression, we see Gideon hiding in a winepress, afraid of the enemy, the Midianites. But an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon, the angel calls him a “mighty man of valor.” Gideon, empowered by God, grew into the true meaning of his name. God will do the same for you, but you must be willing to let go of the old name to grow into the fullness of your true identity.” – Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel (Zondervan, 2013 – Review later. Follow my progress on Goodreads)
Let go of the old name.
It reminds me of what I read called, An Open Letter to the Church from a Lesbian:
We do not ask for your acceptance of our sins any more than we accept yours. We simply ask for the same support, love, guidance, and most of all hope that is given to the rest of your congregation. We are your brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not what we shall be, but thank God, we are not what we were. Let us work together to see that we all arrive safely home.
We are not what we shall be, she wrote. Craig Groeschel in Altar Ego said, “You are not yet who you are supposed to be.” All believers sin in some way. Not to take sin lightly or to pass it off as common and acceptable, but we need to be willing to, “grow into the fullness of (our) true identity.” The writer of the letter encourages us to, “…work together to see that we all arrive safely home.”
The charge to change comes from the Holy Spirit in us, like Pinocchio’s conscious, telling us when we are doing wrong or right, giving direction in a complicated world. The harder we fight that voice the longer it takes for us to grow into our new name in Christ, but I’ve found we can incorrectly interpret our voice for the Holy Spirit’s; labeling ourselves; reacting to our circumstances, instead of responding; or wanting something so bad, it is our voice we follow instead, like choosing to eat the cheesecake when it’s the celery and humus we should devour. In a diet, accountability keeps us closet chocolate eaters in line, which is probably why many diet programs have councilors–someone to answer to.
I’ve often wondered at accountability’s absence in our culture, but then realized do we seek after only other people’s accountability? Do we yet realize when we ask for accountability that this prayer includes us, too?
I am not yet who I am meant to be and everyday my Father allows things to happen in my life, either due to a fault of mine or through the consequences of other people’s sins, to change me. In order to change, I must be willing to give up my old name and grow into my new identity in Christ. Some of those changes will always be painful, and has been over the years, but every year I change as people leave a bit of themselves behind in my life–something they did or said which amazed me, even if it was minor. Those are precious gifts from the Father that linger like expensive perfume in my soul; the scent of the Creator Himself.
How are you different since accepting Christ?