We live in a world overcome with images. But mostly, we carry these images inside of us, always comparing, because searching for an identity is the core of what it means to be human.
Brennan Manning said, “The gospel is absurd unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit…who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.”
Isn’t this beautiful?
He is saying that who we believe ourselves to be, within the context of the Gospel, is the heart of what it really means to be a Christian.
Manning is simply echoing the theme of Identity in Christ that is scattered throughout scripture. We are called Children of God, Living Letters, New Creations, Beloved.
These words are active. These descriptions are full of movement and life; they “set everything aglow”. There is no shadow on us as we move and live and breathe within this identity. There is only love so wide it covers all the broken things inside of us, all the sin. This identity is living because it is birthed from a living being. It is an actual entity in and of itself, because it is not an identity created from a timeless being, rather, it is an identity offered out of the depths of Christ’s love. It comes from him. It is not a thing created outside of himself. It IS Him.
He is offering us himself, in the deepest and most profound and most beautiful way.
He is opening himself. God is quite literally pouring himself out. He is quite literally placing himself inside of us.
And this transfer of identities is what changes us.
He is slowly taking away us, and replacing us with himself. He is moving in…tearing away the rot and the stink. He is replacing the weak spots and establishing new pillars that will not crumble when the wild winds blow.
He is building his Kingdom inside of broken vessels.