I had forgotten my name.
You may or my not be able to identify with this, but for me personally as a Christian, I struggle with sin. I have the knowledge that God became a man (Jesus) to live and die and be raised so that we can be reconciled to each other. What could be better than being reconciled with God? It turns out, actually believing that.
For the last several years, and if you trace through the history of this blog you will see streaks of it, I have struggled with depression. No, I’m not going to call depression a sin. Stay with me. I have been strongly reluctant to seek medical help for it because I do not believe for one second that I personally have a chemical imbalance or anything physiological like that. As I analyze the events that started me to spiral downward into despair, anxiety, fretting, and fear, I can typically pinpoint where it started. Whether or not I want to own up to the ugly truth at the time is one thing, but as I dig deep down into myself, I often find that the desire for approval of others or myself is near the heart of the matter. Then I begin working to gain that elusive perceived approval, see it further slipping from my fingers, and begin the downward descent into darkness. I’m working to be made righteous in the eyes of myself and the eyes of people around me. This is where I have forgotten the gospel, which I need to be daily reminded of.
“But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.”
Romans 4:5 HCSB
This is the good news that I have head knowledge of, but even more often as I forget it in my head, I fail to believe in my heart. I have been declared righteous by God the Father because I believe that God the Son (Jesus) is my righteousness and therefore stands as my mediator, BUT I seem to always get stuck in a repeating cycle of turn away from God, turn to God, draw near other things, draw near to God, work for fleeting rest, rest in God, try to fill broken cisterns, be filled by fountain of God, ad nausea.
Which brings me to my revelation.
I have been finding my identity in depression. “Depressed” has become who I am. Mark Driscoll once said, “When you know who you are, you know what to do.” What you do and how you respond to life and God and others flows out of who you think you are. It flows out of your identity. How am I going to respond when others fail to approve me in the way I would desire, even crave, them to? Act out of my identity – be crushed. I forget that I already have God’s approval, not because I’ve worked hard enough or been good enough to earn it, but because He has chosen to love me. In Christ, he has taken away my old crumbling identities and given me his.
I had forgotten my name: His. I am in Christ. I am His.
“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Romans 8:1-2 HCSB
The rest found in God is unbelievably quieting to my restless heart. The love of God sets us free.
What about you? What do you run to for your rest? If we run to anything besides God, we make that thing out to be God (an idol), and then it crumbles beneath the weight of it trying to be God, and we never find rest. We are never satisfied. We are stuck in the cycle of trying to find rest in a god that is not real in place of the only God who is. The only God who brings true rest. Depression is an indicative response that I am running to other gods, like approval, for my rest. I often find that my identity is found in wherever I run to for rest, or my response when I don’t find rest in whatever I have run to.
If we are going to seek the Kingdom of God, we must find our rest in its King. We will only be able to find rest in him if we believe our record no longer bears the name of our failings or successes, but bears Jesus name. If you are a Christian, you have been made new. If you are not a Christian, seek the King and the rest he brings, and you will find it.
Christian, you are free.
Non-Christian, you can be free.
Do not forget your name.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB