Life Is Not About Our Rights
"You've got rights!" "You've got to push yourself out there—show people who you are!" "Build your self-esteem!"
These are statements I heard growing up, not only from feminist voices, but also from some well-meaning saints in the church. Their words fed my desire for acceptance, security, and self-worth. They also soothed my heart, badly injured from physical and verbal abuse. They even gave me ammunition to blast others for their insensitive words and bad behavior.
But the "fix" of these misguided statements never lasted. The enemy, Satan, continued to use comparisons, thoughtless words, and memories of cruel comments and actions to keep me constantly searching for love and purpose.
What Made All the Difference
When I became a Christian, I understood the forgiveness and acceptance of God for the first time, but unfortunately, it was years later before I embraced who I am because of Jesus' work on my behalf. And that made all the difference.
As I read Ephesians 1:3–14, the Spirit of God unfolded the beautiful truths of my spiritual blessings in Christ. I studied the key phrases: "blessed us in Christ . . . chose us . . . predestined us for adoption . . . redemption . . . forgiveness . . . grace, which he lavished upon us . . . His purpose . . ."
God gave me insight into my new identity, absolute security, and God-given dignity.
In my new identity, I am a new creature—born of God, forgiven, washed clean from sin, and made righteous before God. I am reconciled to Him and made holy through Christ. I am accepted and chosen, a member of a body of believers—part of God's forever family. I am free from the idolatrous bondage of people-pleasing. My worth is in Him alone. I am complete in Christ and a child of light with a new way of thinking.
In my absolute security, I am sealed for God's purposes, connected to Him, and safe from the evil one. I am free from condemnation and secure in Christ, with no need to fear. God is working on my behalf, and He will finish what He has started in transforming my life. In my God-given dignity, I am a unique creation with a special purpose, a child of promise. I am Jesus' disciple on a mission for the Kingdom. I'm a joint heir with Christ, and I have a new heavenly home. God calls me His royal child and a priest set apart for His use. I am an ambassador, a minister of reconciliation with spiritual authority and empowered by the Spirit. I am appointed to do the works of Christ and bear fruit. I can even change my environment by making people hungry for God. And God says I have an inheritance in His kingdom.
These are all wonderful truths, and I am thankful for each one; but in spite of my study, I still missed the main point of this passage. I just saw it.
Blessed for His Praise
Twice in this passage the author of Ephesians speaks of "praise." Our spiritual blessings are given to us "to the praise of his glorious grace" and "to the praise of his glory." The Father of Glory longs to be glorified through our lives. Our being in Christ is all about Him, not us.
Life is not about our rights, self-glory, or even building self-worth. All we have and will become is because of Jesus. He is the One the Father sent to be our Savior. He alone is our hope, our life.
The wonder of our salvation is not wrapped up in our many blessings. Our blessings are simply an overflow, an outpouring of God into our lives because of His Son. We are blessed so that we will recognize God's character of love and grace and constantly, in our attitudes and choices, point back to Him with unending praise.
How is your life bringing praise to the Father of Glory? Will you turn your eyes from the blessings to the Blesser today?
By Dawn Wilson
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