I want to introduce a beautiful friend of mine who has a powerful testimony! Lori Schumaker is a fellow sojourner, following hard after Christ. She is passionate about the hope that only Jesus can offer, knowing firsthand the impact this has upon all areas of life. Lori is honest, practical, and faithfully effective in her ministry to all that God sends her way. She has encouraged me greatly with lengthy emails that I know she doesn’t have time to write! Lol! She has offered her own experience and insight as I have entered this world of online ministry. Please visit her site and follow her on social media (all listed below) to know the depth of her heart and faith for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!
It’s not easy to walk away from an identity of the past.
I know that all too well.
It sticks, rearing its ugly head even when we valiantly try pushing it and its labels away. We try everything. Covering it up with pretty clothes, make-up, smiles, laughter … achievement.
So we find ourselves leaning into the accomplishments of not only ourselves but of our children. Maybe it’s the reason boasting on social media becomes so tempting. It’s an attempt to find worth. It even works for a while as it builds a magnificent facade.
Beneath it all, though, the former identity lurks.
It lies just beneath the surface.
And ultimately, behind closed doors and in the quietness of our hearts, the cover-ups fall away. The questions of our worth remain.No matter how hard we try to cover up the sticky labels of a former identity, it remains.How do we walk away and live free? #identity #ChosenandWorthy #hope #bookofMatthew @FollowingHard Click To Tweet
So how do we set down the identity of our past and walk away once and for all? How do we finally embrace our worth and wear it from the inside out so that we can live fully free in the purpose for which we have been created?
What can we learn from the Bible about Identity?
I believe there are some things we can learn about that from the story of Matthew. The very guy who wrote the first book of the New Testament. And yet the very guy once labeled as scum because of his life work as a Tax Collector.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” – Matthew 9:9-13 (NLT)
Matthew was sitting at his tax collector’s booth. A wealthy man made rich through unscrupulous means. Referred to by much of the general population as “scum”. The labels attached to him stuck firmly.
Swindler. Corrupt. Heartless.
Not someone we would personally choose for our inner circle. Yet someone Jesus did choose for His.
So what happened? How did Matthew walk away from his label of “unworthy” and embrace the Truth of Christ? How did he unglue the “scum” and live fully free in the knowledge that Jesus chose him? That Jesus erased the past and made him new?
How did he begin to live in the reflection of his Savior rather than in the reflection of the world?How do we go from living in the reflection of the world to living in the reflection of Christ? #hope #identity #ChosenandWorthy #bookofMatthew @FollowingHard Click To Tweet
- It started with facing the underlying restlessness caused by sin. By admitting he was broken and that sin was ruling his life. And it took admitting his wealth wasn’t the answer.
- Next, it took a firm commitment to set the sin down and walk away from it. Walk away from the lure. From the old friends calling him back and the ones who continued talking behind his back.
- Finally, it took placing his eyes on the Teacher and following Him with abandon.
I grew up with the mistakes of my past weighing heavily upon my spirit. Burdens never released. Grace never accepted. And love never embraced.
I didn’t even realize I’d made the approval of others my idol.
And because I didn’t realize it, I didn’t know how to set it down and walk away from it. Unbeknownst to me, the lure pulled me back over and over.
Until one day my eyes were opened as God revealed the truth. I recognized my life-long actions and realized I’d never live fully free to pursue my purpose until I could put all my hope in Christ and follow Him with abandon.
What about you? Does this story resonate with you? Can you see Jesus possibly saying something like,
“You are chosen and worthy of being in my inner circle. Walk away from the past and step forward with Me. You are not the equivalent of a past way of life, of the labels placed on you by others, or by the mistakes you once made. You are equivalent to diamonds. Cherished. Treasured. Chosen. Worthy. My child. See yourself in the reflection of My eyes. Not the eyes of the world.”
Friend, right now (or the first chance you get!) look at your reflection in the mirror. Really look. Look deep into your eyes and past the flaws of your outward appearance. Look all the way into your soul.
Are you living in the reflection of Christ? Do you see Him in you? Is it empty? Or is it bearing the reflection of something from the past
Boldly lay it down, my friend. Once and for all ask Jesus to forgive you, redeem you, and make you new. Then receive all that He offers and follow Him with abandon.
Then let’s pray this together:
A Prayer to Embrace an Identity Made New
Lord, I know that I am in need of a Savior. I have made a mess of things. I am a sinner, but I know, Lord, If only we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) Lord, forgive me for _______________________________. I repent of all my sins and am laying them down right now to follow after You with abandon. Father, I am praising You now for the work I know You are doing in me. I praise You and thank You for Your relentless love that unlocks the chains keeping me bound. And I pray for Your guarding hedge of protection around my mind, heart, and soul as I turn away from the lure of my past and of those who have and will come up against me. Thank You, Father, for making me brand new. For giving me new life and a fresh start. Today I begin my walk of freedom on this side of the cross! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!
As a wife, mom, teacher, friend, and writer, Lori is impassioned to encourage others to seek hope. Pointing others to Jesus brings her joy. Writing about both our hope and identity found in Christ is her focus.
It’s because of this that she is excited to welcome you as a friend as you struggle through brokenness, celebrate life’s joys, and grow to know Jesus more and more. Find her blog, Searching for Moments, at www.lorischumaker.com.