Has anyone ever done an a DNA test? I recently read about a Pastor in Rockville, Maryland--Jay Speights—who took one of these tests to learn of his heritage. After learning about his DNA, he followed up on branches of his family tree to find relatives. He discovered that he actually had royal blood in his veins all along, and was the "Royal Descendant" of King Deka in the Country of Benin, of West Africa (13.7 million people). The pastor traveled to Benin to see his new found family, and was met at the airport with dancing and music. He was later enthroned, given crowns and a white robe to signify the work he had been doing as a "Holy man." He was then given a new name by his family—Videkon Deka—which means, "the child who came back." Pastor Speights said, "I thought I was going to go, hang out with the family, do some sightseeing, but this is something else."
When we come to know Jesus Christ as our God, our Lord, our King, we are given the results of our own DNA testing. We are shown our true, original ancestry, and it shows that we are now something so much greater—even than royalty in Benin, Africa. Of all of the things God wants you to realize and accept the most after you have received His unbelievable gift of Salvation is this one fact: you are His precious child now, bought with His blood; royalty—one with the King who created everything; dearly Loved more than you can understand. He has a desire to become so intimately close to you that you seem to become one in every walk of life. That is God’s greatest goal—for you to see your new worth in His eyes; for you to enjoy the love you were made to have since birth; for you to feel total acceptance and belonging in His presence: Luke 15:10; Zephaniah 3:17; Luke 15:20-24. Not one of these verses talks about God being happy because you are "acting nicer" now.
Having you home—your presence with Him is more important than your actions or your future accomplishments. This is why He gave His life; this is His excitement—that you found your place with Him—the new you. So many of us come to Him in our sins and guilt, and we believe He saved us in His mercy, but we certainly think in our hearts we are not one that He would want to be close and intimate with. Even more of us come to Him for Salvation, receive His blessing and go back home with the same feelings of guilt or shame—or worse yet—go home with the same emotional and spiritual damage of worthlessness, pain from abuse, bitterness, hopelessness, and even anger and resentment that we have had for years. And many more years after that day, some are still carrying it, not realizing what was given to us when we accepted Him as our Lord, like a caged animal that has grown so used to captivity they do not even try to leave when the cage door is opened. We do not realize the freedom we have been given, or who we have become in His eyes. Stop and consider just Who Jesus not only chose as His trusted disciples, but who He drew closest to in His life, trusted most with His deepest intimate moments and greatest personal struggles, chose to be seen with, to call His friends. The majority of them were rough, lowly, unknown fisherman. One, a wealthy self-preserving lowlife who would sell out his own people for money and prestige. One, a political or military anarchist and revolutionary; a rebel ready for violent uprising against the system. One, a woman who's life had spiraled into literal demon possession with seven evil spirits living in her when she met Him. Do these people sound like maybe they should have felt less worthy than most to be the disciples of a righteous, Holy God? Yet Jesus saw who they were in their hearts, what they were meant to be in His eyes before they were corrupted and abused by sin, and He drew closer to them than anyone on earth simply because they said, "yes" and accepted their place and their worth in His eyes. I ask you to listen closely to these events and see a powerful truth God wants you to learn about the new you in Christ. When Jesus was traveling from Judea to return to Galilee (home), He had to pass by the region of Samaria (John 4:1-42). Most Jews traveled around Samaria along the Jordan River because they refused to even walk through the land of Samaria. The Samaritans had mixed racially with the Assyrians (Gentiles) when they were conquered in 721BC. So the Jews saw them as half-breeds racially and false worshipers with their tainted religious practices. They were the lowest of scum, not even deserving to be spoken to or helped when in need. Jesus chose to walk directly through Samaria instead. This alone would have already ruffled the feathers of His disciples. But then Jesus waits for a Samaritan woman to come to the well in the hottest part of the day, when no one ventured out for water because this woman was ‘trash’ even among the Samaritans. Jesus spoke to her prophetically and told her why she was there when no one else would be: John 4:16-18. In that culture, a woman could not divorce her husband. This woman had been rejected and thrown out by five different men in her lifetime. And the man she was staying with now—probably in desperation—would not even take her to be his wife. What kind of stories of pain, anger, remorse, embarrassment and despair do you think her life held? By this time in her life, she probably had a lot of resentment for the men who hurt her and the society that judged and hated her, making her life hard, shameful and isolated. Jesus asked to have a cup of water with her; to share from her own personal, dirty, forbidden cup. A broken, dirty, Samaritan woman that no one ever wanted anything to do with. This act alone was social suicide for Jesus but probably the most overwhelming and shocking acceptance this woman had felt in all her years. Jesus wanted to intimately share with her. She was important enough to Him to step past all the stigma and judgment; He wanted to touch and connect with her. When she accepted who He was, and her worth in His eyes—it would have been so easy to go home in joy, avoid and forget about all of those who shamed and hurt her. But: John 4:28-30. She left her water jar; nothing mattered in the moment and ran into the heart of town to all of the people who shamed her—that she hated and she was desperately avoiding—to share with them the incredible Love and Truth she found in Jesus. And so many of the people she resented and avoided came to know Him, that Jesus ended up staying two days with them teaching and saving others in their land. This forgotten scum of society was the first person Jesus revealed Himself to in Ministry, and the first to go and tell others in excitement and love. How about the probable prostitute who came into a meal at a Pharisee's house where Jesus had been invited to an honorary dinner full of society's most "holy" men and prominent guests? All of whom looked down on her in disgust and avoidance. She came in order to give Jesus the honor, worship, and devotion He deserved when they would not. She could easily have been intimidated and embarrassed by who she was in their presence, or waited for another time, but she went to Him with confidence that He would accept her as she was—even in front of them— in complete abandon, worried about nothing but closeness to Him. She used her most expensive possession (ointment) and let no one stop her from intimately, openly worshiping Him at an almost scandalous level. This was Jesus' response to her love and trust in Him: Luke 7:44-48. She forgot her old identity—forgot her shame and position in society—because she knew he saw her differently. She knew He was worth any judgment this world placed on her, and Jesus told everyone there of her worth in His eyes. Many people who had been hurt, rejected or hated in Jewish society forgot their identity among the people when near Jesus (there was something about Him), and so they came in confidence of His acceptance and love: 1) The woman rejected by society with her issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48) 2) The lepers outcast from public (Luke 5:13 / Jesus touched them) 3) The children and women 4) The tax collectors (even chief / Luke 19) 5) A Roman Centurion (Luke 7:1-10 / Slave healing). All of them knew He would see them differently; all came to him in faith. And lastly: John 5:2-3, 5-9: this poor, forgotten, ignored, alone, nobody of society was noticed and loved by Jesus. And after all these years of suffering alone—of being helped by no one else—Jesus secretly, quietly comes to Him in love and asks the man a very strange question (nothing wasted): "Do you want to be healed?" Why would Jesus ask such a seemingly crazy question? Because Jesus sees our hearts, understands us so much clearer and deeper than anyone. The answer from the man was, "Yes, but no one wants to help me.
No one cares about me." The man, in real bitterness and frustration, blamed everyone around him for his pain and suffering. Did you get that? The man answered, "It's because of these uncaring people and these terrible circumstances that I am the way I am!" And the man had settled into his sickness, become contented in his place in society, contented in his victimization of what others had let happen to him. He took no accountability of his own faith or actions, and became hopeless in his own mind. In his heart, through very real and awful circumstances, he had found his new identity in his suffering, his ailment, his differences; comfort in his blame and contempt for circumstances and other people, and hid behind it—fueling his own unjust feelings of resentment, self-pity, and despair—rather than love and hope.
In every page of Scripture—in every act of Jesus on earth—we learn this: the world does judge us—sometimes rightly so, sometimes not. The world does bring horrible abuse, unfair circumstances, unjust actions, and uncaring people who let us down in the midst of it, leaving us to hurt, doubt ourselves and give up or stop caring. But, your Jesus does not see your worth with one single thing the world sees in you or about you. You are His child, of His blood, won by His very own life, whom He loves so much, whom He just wants to comfort and be near so badly that Scriptures say He will literally hold you in His arms in comfort, sing to you personally, to comfort and still your soul, dance with you in celebration that He has you home, and share His very heart, soul and emotions with you as one. The very maker of this Universe sees you beyond your feelings of worthlessness, sees beyond your fake position given by a clueless, blinded society, made up of those who don't know anything about the real you, and are judging from sinful, broken hearts themselves; sees beyond your past mistakes and couldn’t care less. He sees beyond your current struggles with sin and repeated failures; sees far beyond the crisis you are fighting right now. He sees beyond the bitterness and messed up thought process you may have embraced as part of who you are—from terrible abuse, from alcohol or drugs, from sexual indulgence or identity questions, from selfishness and indifference and pride. He sees you for who you really are in His eyes alone. He sees you for who He says that you are and His greatest joy is when you can see your worth in His eyes alone; when you can bask in His desire and acceptance of you—and just be one with Him in total contentment, needing nothing else in life to be happy. When you finally see that these things do not need to shape who you are anymore because His love and His truth and way are bigger than your abuse, pain, or mistakes; and wherever you have come from—He can reshape and rebuild your heart now—you don't have to be a product of your experiences anymore. You can't love Him as He wants to be loved; you can't appreciate His true kindness and mercy until you accept how He sees you. The most important question—the only question that remains is—“do you want to be healed?" So many people have unknowingly found identity and place in their justification as a victim, or in their role as a reject, outsider, rebel or misunderstood person, willing to live and die in spite and contempt of the world—with an excuse as to why they can be different, rather than pursuing the healing and worth which is offered. That healing and worth
brings the responsibility to love back rather than hate and blame—to re-engage in a world that has done them wrong; to love those who are undeserving in your eyes and experiences—and that seems unbearable. The truth is it is unbearable and impossible unless you do accept His love and forgiveness in your own life, and realize those who have hurt, judged, and let you down suffer from the same sin and failure you do. You must be willing to see them with the same worth—give them the same forgiveness and love you've found. Or you are just like them, giving pain for pain. Instead, we should be like the Samaritan woman at the well who dropped everything and ran to those who judged her; or like the prostitute at the dinner with self-righteous bigots who couldn't stop her self-confidence in who she was with Jesus and she worshiped in passion; or the man crippled for 38 years who finally stopped blaming everything and everyone else and simply looked to Jesus for his healing.
Your real identity—your true freedom is this: no one else can judge you for the mistakes of your past or present. No one else can be your excuse not to be healed from whatever has unjustly happened in your past or present and no one else is any less deserving of your love and forgiveness than you were of His! Let them go and choose peace over anxiety. Of all the events, wrongs, accomplishments and troubles in your life, only one things matters—He made you, He sees you as priceless—that is truly who you are. He alone is where complete joy is found—right now. Not one day in heaven, but, right now. What has changed since accepting Christ? Everything—so act like it, live like it, embrace it.
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