One of the things that strikes me in my new found fatherhood is what drives little Welford’s decisions and reactions. Everything is based on how he feels at any one time. To be fair it is how any child acts but just more noticeable for me now I’m subjected to it daily! The challenge as a parent is not to be drawn in to the same thing. It is especially important for little Welford that I do not act from feelings of anger and frustration especially when he is. He needs me to act out of who I am – his father.
There is a brilliant part in Ezekiel 20. God has been setting the truth before the people, giving them a potted history of his interactions with them since Egypt. In recounting His own actions towards Israel God says ‘I acted out of who I am not how I felt.’ (The Message)
I wonder how much different our lives would be if we acted our of who we are not how we felt? If every time we felt emotion rising we took a minute to ask ourselves if this momentary feeling truly reflects who we are or if it is a passing moment that shouldn’t bear the responsibility of important decision making.
For me, as a Christian, who I am is found in Jesus. This has massive implications for my actions. If I truly base my identity in Christ, then I am free to make my choices outside of the usual factors of security, peer pressure and the popularity game. Because Jesus accepts me as I am, I can find true freedom in him. I can be free of being ruled by desire, anger, want, and instead enjoy life.
John 15:1-8 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’