Summary: Exploring Phil. 2 to understand how our identities are to reflect that of Jesus, adjusted to celebrating Mother’s Day.
REFLECTIONS OF IDENTITY
Second in series: “Identity Theft?”
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, Sunday May 11, 2008 AM Mother’s Day
I have spent most of my life listening to people tell me how much I remind them of my mother. As a boy and later a young man, being identified as a “little Carol” wasn’t quite my aspiration. OK, I often downright despised it! The adults who expressed it meant it as a compliment, but I usually received it as an insult – assuming in my insecurity and immaturity that they were saying I was more girl than boy. Of course, the fact that I often had long hair and later a mullet didn’t exactly help. Nor did knowing that up to my birth I was supposed to be “Kirsten.”
But with age, has come at least some measure of greater wisdom and maturity – especially after having children of my own. I began to realize that, while I have always had a lot of physical resemblance to my mother in certain ways, what they were really most referring to when they commented about my being so much like her was my nature, character, attitude and approach to life. While I still prefer not to be considered as a great physical resemblance of a woman, I am honored to have my mom’s ’stamp’ on my identity, privileged to carry forth the best parts of her nature, character, attitude and approach to life!
Just over 2 years ago, my mom ’graduated’ to glory where she has been given a new, glorified body and fully redeemed identity that is even that much more worthy of aspiring to – because it is that much closer to the image of Christ! I also have a daughter, who with each passing day proves to be more identical to my mother in every aspect than I ever was. And yet, to all who know her, there is no question that Tehillah is her mother’s child as well! In fact, one of her favorite phrases of late has been: “Whatever my mommy doesn’t like, I don’t like and what she likes, I like.”
THE BIG QUESTION: Whose identity do you most reflect? When others see and hear you, who do they glorify?
Last week, we began this series on Identity Theft by reminding ourselves what the Scriptures say about how our identity is to be determined. We learned that the natural identity of every human being today is far different, less attractive, and less worthy than God first created us to be. We saw together how this was the result of sin and it’s tremendous, mutating effects upon us all ever since. Yet, praise God, we were also able to rejoice in the fact that – by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross – we have been given the opportunity to reclaim that original identity God intended for us all to possess – His image!
We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This morning, we will look more deeply at what it means to have an identity and life that is a glorious reflection of Jesus Christ! Even as a daughter almost inevitably ’becomes’ her mother, if we live in Christ, by the power of His Spirit, each of us – male and female – may continually grow and mature into a greater and truer reflection of God!
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:1-13
In Jesus Christ, we have a living example in the flesh, of the perfect identity God desires of us and offers to create in us! We mirror Christ and live out the identity God intended for us from the beginning when, through His grace and power, our lives are identified by:
That is, the willingness to voluntary give up one’s own rights, individual interests, and focus on self while instead focusing upon others and working for their good. vv.3-4
The greatest problem we have in reflecting this part of Christ’s identity is that, on our own, none of us – not me, not you – is truly capable of genuine humility.
Only one who is born again (this time in spirit) and thus lives by the power of the Holy Spirit may exhibit genuine humility! Ro. 8:5-9, 26-30
A.) Jesus ’left’ heaven’s glory v. 6-7
He had everything, but He chose to leave it for a time to His own detriment but others’ benefit.
In the same way, if we are to be identified in Christ, then we must at times voluntarily give up our comforts, glory, appearance, even reputation for others’ benefit. (almost sounds like a job description for mothers)