Ted Tripp says that we are “instinctively and compulsively worshippers.” In reference to parenting, he says we (parents) have a responsibility to “hold out for [our] children…the glory and excellence and beauty of the God for whom they are made.”
“It’s to be coming to our children all the time saying, ‘Oh children! There is a God in heaven – he is glorious and marvelous beyond description! Life is found in knowing Him! Oh children, you must know the Lord!’”
Oh children, you must know the Lord!
You must know the Lord because apart from Him, you can never be truly alive! Apart from Him, you will be lost.
I know this is where I started, but I am continually struck by the truth that the only way to know yourself is to know your God.
As I explore this identity crisis, I find that I must not go deeper into myself, but deeper outside of myself, because it is in losing my life that I will find it in Christ (Luke 9:24).
I mentioned earlier how reflecting on creation before the fall has given me a new perspective on my fallenness. Michael Horton writes, “Adam and Eve sought a self-identity that did not require God as a reference point; in the bargain, they lost their identity” (chp. 3). Instead of beholding the God who made them, they listened to the serpent hiss, “Did God really say?” Hannah Anderson writes that Adam and Even did not just reject God, they rejected “everything that was true about themselves as well” (chp. 3).
It’s why an understanding of all sin as some form of idolatry makes sense. Because we are made to be worshippers, if we do not behold the God who made us, we will bow down in worship to whatever we think will give us life. There is nothing more contrary to the imago dei. Sin promises but does not deliver.
Horton quotes the following lines written on a cafe painting:
I have taken the pill.
I have hoisted my skirts to my thighs,
Dropped them to my ankles,
Rebelled at the University,
Skied at Aspen,
Lived with two men,
Earned my keep,
Kept my identity,
These lines resonated with me deeply. How frequently I search for my identity in my personal feminine freedom, in my risks and adventures, in my relationships, in my success and achievements.
And how frequently do I find myself completely and utterly lost.
And yet it is true as Anderson writes that “I am completely, utterly incapable of being the very thing I was made to be!” (Romans 7:19)
Apart from Christ, a veil remains over my heart. I cannot behold my God. I cannot even begin to grasp who he has created me to be. Left to myself, I will choose created things over the Creator every. single. time. (Romans 1)
But I am not left to myself.
“The God who made us, the God who fashioned us out of dust to display His glory, will not leave His image bearer helpless and broken. When the time was right, He came as a child to rescue His children. Because we had left Him, He came to us. Because we would not humble ourselves, He humbled Himself. Because we would not obey, He obeyed perfectly. And because we live lives of death, He lived and died to free us from them.
Once again, He can proclaim that there is no life apart from Him. There is no existence, no purpose, no reality apart from Him. Because in this moment–when the Image bears the sins of the image bearer–He once again declares that ‘from Him and through Him and to Him’ are all things.” (Made for More, chp. 3)
I once was lost
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:16-18 ESV)
To learn more about the book that inspired my series, visit Hannah Anderson’s blog.