Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthright, by David Needham

Birthright intrigued me before I even started reading the book. The title worried me a little – do I know who I am? What if I’m one of those Christians that doesn’t know who they are? What if this whole book is going to point out all of my “Christian” failings?  What if, deep down, I’m not good enough to be a Christian?

Oddly enough, those fears were real.  My brain knows that you can’t earn salvation or be good enough. My heart knows it most days too, but somewhere in this dark place in my mind, there’s a little nagging voice that will always say, “You’re not good enough.”

I’ve always struggled with this – this belief in Satan’s lies that I’m a failure.  In the last five years, God has done amazing work in my life, bringing healing to this area of self loathing: a bible study on Galations affirming that I can't earn salvation, my husband’s continuing grace in my life,  my family’s love and support – everything in my life has been speaking to me that I am loved and forgiven.  In fact, I’ve even seen progress in my life and walk with God - proof that I’m growing and maturing in my walk with the Lord.

But, somewhere, unresolved, was this little seed that was still planted in my mind, reminding me that I will never be good enough. “True,” I told it, “but I’m forgiven. I may not be good enough, but Christ has paid my price.”  This always felt right, but it never erased the quiet doubts that others would see me and view me as the failure that I knew myself to be. There was always the thought I was messed up inside – trying hard to don Christ’s love, even living in His Spirit – but still broken inside.

And then I read Birthright – not that I am completely over hearing the nagging thoughts - but now, I have seen my new identity. One I think I knew was there, but that Satan kept lying to me to cover up.

I knew that if I abided in Christ, he would help me resist temptation and, more than that, not desire sinful things, but to realize that while abiding in Christ helps, He has done more than that for me – He has literally given me a new nature.  To believe that, to my very core, takes the fear that who I really am will come out and be seen by all. It changes it to a belief that I am a new creation in Christ. One that, yes, will be tempted by sin, but one that is no longer a slave to sin. In light of my new nature, I am not only a sinful person who is forgiven and trying hard to love the Lord and live in His Spirit, I am a child of God who delights in His Spirit and who is free from my old sinful self.  

David does a better job explaining it than I can summarize, but I suppose the imagery of an adopted child is what I imagine - a girl from the streets who is adopted by a wealthy and loving family. She will always worry that the friends of that family will forever to see her as the street girl she was; no matter how many pretty clothes she wears or how perfectly she speaks, no matter how vehemently that family proclaims her as theirs, that nagging feeling will linger in the back of her mind. But the child born to that family, will never have those doubts and fears.  It would never cross her mind that she didn't fit with her family - she is their child and is confident in her identity.

And that is what Christ has done for me. I am no longer that street girl. I am the child born of God. That nagging feeling can leave, because I am more than adopted, I have been given a new nature, and have been made a child of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - 
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old things have passed away; behold, the new has come."