I Am a Child of God : Paul Lee
Galatians 3:26-29 (ESV)
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
My biggest struggle in my spiritual walk with God was my identity. I grew up with so many false labels that people had placed on me: loser, useless, nobody, and a waste of time. These were some of the labels that stuck with me all my life, which blinded me from seeking my identity in Christ. Whenever I heard these words, I would get hurt and bring out such a spiteful side of me.
I knew that these labels were hindering me from opening up to others, but I couldn’t seem to let them go. I would constantly pray to God asking for change and to open a path for me, but nothing seemed to be working. All my frustrations and worries led me to the most recent Stand Up Retreat in the Winter.
I had no idea what to expect from the retreat, but I felt God compelling me to go anyways. When I arrived at the retreat center, I realized that the theme of the retreat was “Finding Our Identity in Christ.” I was overwhelmed with excitement because I have been struggling to find my identity.
On the first night, there was a group exercise in which we were asked to write down our “labels” and nail them on a piece of wood, which symbolized the cross. At first, I was uncomfortable because I was afraid that people would see them and judge me. So I prayed to God that He may conquer my fear and give me the courage to do it. When I overcame my fear and nailed them, I felt as if all my false labels and the burdens that I have been feeling from them fell off my shoulders. I felt relieved.
But at the same time, I knew God wasn’t finished working in me yet. I was curious as to what else God had in store for me for the rest of the retreat. On the last night of the retreat, I was reminded of how powerful God’s love was and how He is with the brokenhearted. Sharing my struggles with my small group and praying together as a community showed me that I wasn’t alone. It was so encouraging to receive God’s healing with my brothers and sisters as we came together in Christ accepting that we are not what people label us as.
We are called together as children of God to love, praise, and serve. My true identity was found in Him. After all my struggles, He has led me back to the truth. We are in Christ and Christ is in us. I wasn’t ashamed of who I was anymore. For the first time in my life, I felt significant to God and worthy to be called His own.
The retreat changed my life. During retreat, God showed me how He can even use my struggles and weaknesses to transform me to be more like Christ. I also realized how I failed Him so many times and yet He continues to love me unconditionally. This truth led me to want to pursue Him and commit my life to Him. No matter how much it hurts, I want to give up my pride and lay it all down to him. I decided to put my trust in God and I asked Him to continue to guide me along the way and that’s exactly what He did. God has led me to commit myself to Him and grow in Him through church membership, Monday Bible reading, daily devotionals, and Saturday morning prayers. I can confidently say that I am healed and ready to fight the good fight in Christ.
For Your Reflection
Do not be discouraged. Join me in getting rid of all the false identities and labels that the enemy has placed in our lives. Let us believe and proclaim our true identity - that we are children of God who belong to Christ. I love God, I love my brothers and sisters, and I love all of you who are reading this. I can only say this only because I know Jesus loved me first, and let me remind you: “Jesus loves you too!”