I have a sign in my kitchen that’s been hanging there for years. It’s brown wood with white lettering that says: Remember who you are. I’m not sure why I even bought it and I know it wasn’t expensive, but it must’ve meant something to me one day in some store, and so there it hangs.
I’m sure I originally purchased it because it spoke to me about my Christian faith in some way. About how we sometimes forget we are new creations and continue to live in our old ways. Maybe. Or maybe it wasn’t that deep at all, maybe I just needed something that was 30 inches long by 5 inches high to fill a space.
The thing is, I read this sign every day – it is the first thing in my line of vision when I enter the kitchen to make breakfast, and the final thing I see as I turn off the lights after cleaning up our evening meal. I see the sign, I can read the words, but I don’t really think about it. I’m not sure why, but a few weeks ago as I sat eating lunch, I glanced over and thought to myself, ‘what does that mean anyway?’ It reminded me of that line from The Lion King spoken by James Earl Jones’ amazing baritone, “Simba, remember who you are.” In the movie, when Simba forgot his identity, he acted the fool; which seemed fun at first, but then got monotonous, and then became downright impossible to maintain. Because he was made for something greater. He was the child of a king and he had forgotten that.
We need to remember where we came from, and know who we are, in order to make sense of where we’re going.
Maybe my sign is just a ‘space-filler.’ It’s simple, understated. Sometimes we may feel we are like that sign, not sure what our purpose is or how we got where we are now, just taking up space. You may feel forgotten or overlooked, but oddly, as a Christian, those thoughts could not be further from the truth. The opposite is actually true. Unlike my sign, which is just words painted on wood, our lives are the very words of God, implanted in our hearts, and lived out in our daily life. We are children of the King and our lives will speak volumes to others in ways we don’t even know as we quietly go about the business of living. Paul wrote long ago to believers in Corinth: “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3.
Our lives are not perfect messages of course; we get in the way occasionally with misguided decisions or words, but overall our lives should be clear, consistent, and easy to read. There will be moments when someone, somewhere, while looking at your decisions and behavior, will wonder, “What’s that all about?” Perhaps we will have an opportunity to give them the reason for the hope that we have, but if not, I pray our message will still be simple and clear through the example of our lives.
So, on that particular day, I was unsettled as I sat down to lunch with so many thoughts whizzing through my brain. Life felt like a pressure-cooker filled with too many details to keep track of and too many decisions needing to be made. When I glanced over at something that had been there all along, so simple it’s easy to miss (and forget), but that was so clear it didn’t get muddled in with everything else. I recalled James advice to us, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:25
Lord, make my life, my thoughts, and my emotions, just like my sign.
Help me to bring them all to you for counsel and guidance, placing them under Your control and quiet my heart within me.
Help me to remember who I am by remembering Who you are.
You have shown me mercy, grace, and kindness in the face of my forgetfulness more times than I can count.
Help me to remember I am not here just to fill space.
Give me strength to persevere in walking in the freedom you’ve given me.
Help me not just to read your words, but to put them into practice because I realize my actions and my words will either be used by You to bring hope and healing or, when I forget who I am in You, they can bring discouragement and pain both to myself and others.
Thank you for your everlasting mercy and grace!