Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2019
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. Daniel 1:3-4
Daniel tells the story of a displaced people. The goal of the Babylonians was to choose the best and brightest young men out of the people of Israel and acculturate them into their way of life. In a sense, they wanted them to act as though their former life didn’t exist, to learn the way of the courts, receive new Babylonian names and forget that they were ever members of God’s chosen people.
In our own day, there are similar forces at play, taking us by force and telling us to forget our true identities. We’re told, “you’re primary identity is that of a consumer, so keep consuming! Watch more TV, eat more food, buy more stuff. That’s who you are and what our people do!” We do the same with careers, sports, and education, to name but a few, letting them into the core of our being and expecting them to give us ultimate meaning, direction, and purpose.
As Christians, we are meant to daily remember that there is a more basic, more foundational identity that God longs to restore in us, no matter how prone we are to forget it. In the beginning, God created us to know him and be loved by him, to live in perfect communion with God who is himself a community of love. Your identity as a Christian is the foundational identity upon which everything else is built. It is the identity to which we must return time and time again, especially when we forget and start to believe other identities have primary claim over our hearts and lives.
We live in a world that is increasingly indifferent, even hostile, to the way of Jesus and values of his Kingdom, and to live in this world we are pressured and expected to adopt the same set of beliefs. Yet like Daniel and his friends, we must learn to be faithful to our core identity as children of God, even while living in a strange and foreign land. This isn’t a time for fear or a call to circle the wagons to hide and ride out the storm. Even in the midst of a storm, we are invited to be faithful and embody a way of life that is good, true, and beautiful, filled with hope and the joy of knowing God.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
Father, remind us that our true home is with you and our truest identity is as your son or daughter. Give us courage to live out that identity with grace and truth even when we find ourselves in a strange and foreign land. Amen.
What identities have you wrongly believed and accepted as core and foundational to who you are?
Your identity as a Christian is the foundational identity upon which everything else is built. #WisdomHunters #Identity #Jesus
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