“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God, and was going back to God, rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about.” – John 13:3-4, NASB
I became interested in boys at nine years of age. Oh, my goodness! That’s incredibly young! The memory of this reality makes me shudder–especially now as a mom. Through the years, though, I’ve realized it wasn’t so much an interest in boys, but a search for love … for identity. I yearned for someone to value me above all others, someone who thought I was prettier and more special than all other girls. I began having a “boyfriend”–whatever that means for a ten year old–in the sixth grade. The following summer, I asked Christ to be my Savior and thereby gained a new outlook on life. Truly I desired to live for Him and please Him. Yet I maintained a partial emptiness in the relationship department since I didn’t fully grasp my new-found identity in Christ.
“Hindsight is 20/20.” Surely this statement has proven true repeatedly in my life. In His wisdom, God has taught me over time that He alone can fill my heart’s void. My longing for love can only be fully satisfied in Him. Unfortunately I didn’t “get” this concept until I’d been married over ten years. Despite being the wife of a husband I deeply love and treasure, even he cannot meet my every need. Poor guy–I regret the years I expected this of him and the expense he has sustained.
Jesus never struggled with His identity. As John 13:3 clearly communicates, He fully understood where He came from and where He was going. Knowing the truth of His Sonship granted Him confidence as He walked among humanity. The love relationship between Him and His Father enabled Him to serve as God intended. Because He completely comprehended who He is–that He came from His Father and would return to His Father–the Lord Jesus Christ gracefully touched and transformed lives. He focused on daily fulfilling His Father’s will and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose: dying so we might truly live. Jesus’ earthly life profoundly exemplified the power that results from assuredly knowing one’s identity.
What about me and you? Are our days filled with searching for identity based on what others think? Or has the Lord blessedly, experientially taught us that we belong to Him? His love for us knows no bounds! Relationship with our heavenly Father through Christ provides confidence to fulfill His will. Rather than struggling over our perceived value and “looking for love in all the wrong places”, God’s determination of who we are in Christ frees us to serve Him. Just as Jesus served, so should we. Indeed, sincere service inevitably flows when we undeniably understand:
from where we’ve come: separation from God due to sin
to where we’re going: eternity with God by faith in Christ
Praise be to Him who has permanently defined our identity. Through Christ, we are beloved of God–His children and servants of the Most High.
Because Jesus knew His identity–coming and going–He lovingly served. We can too. May we rejoice in this truth as we celebrate our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, this coming Easter Sunday. Because He lives, we can too.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …” – 1 John 3:1, NIV