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About this series
Discover Your True Self
How to Silence the Lies of Your Past and Actually Experience Who God Says You Are
Who are you? Who says so? You? Your family? Your friends? From the first two chapters of the book of Ephesians, Chip helps you discover who God says you are as a believer in Christ. Understanding your position, the freedom, and the power you possess as a child of the Most-High God, enables you to move beyond the struggles and the uncertainty we all experience to living an amazing life of peace and assurance. It equips you to serve others with humility and patience and it empowers you to forgive and share with lavish generosity. People will wonder what your story is and with the help of this series, you'll be able to answer with confidence.More from this series
Third, you are redeemed. Big word. It means you have been purchased out of the slave market of sin by Jesus. And underline this: you are an infinitely precious and treasured possession.
Is that the opposite of: you only matter if you can look good? Or: you only matter if you can do this or do that? It’s the opposite of your performance. There is one person’s opinion. Your heavenly Father. You are infinitely valuable and you are precious.
Do you believe that? Do you really believe that? Do you believe it to the point where you can say, “I would love people’s approval and I know this was my folks’ dream for my life. And I know everyone feels like unless they do this and do that and until they live in this neighborhood and get this zip code and unless their kids go to this school and that school. And unless this and that, unless my two-year-old is a star on the soccer team. I understand everyone thinks that way. I don’t need their approval. It would be nice. But I am the precious treasure of my heavenly Father, so my priorities and my family and my future isn’t dependent on what my parents think or thought or what anyone else does or what anyone ever says is cool or in or right or wonderful. I’m human. It would be nice.”
But the Bible says, “In Him, Christ, you have been redeemed.” How? Through His blood. What is redemption? The forgiveness of our trespasses. Literally, the word is when you know what is right and you cross a line. “According to the richness of His grace, which He lavished upon us.”
This is a very interesting passage, especially for the apostle Paul. If you lived in the first century and you heard this letter read, you would immediately hear the word redemption and your mind would go, Oh! That’s the exact same word, that when you would go into the streets, into a marketplace. It was called the Agora. And the Agora is a marketplace or where they would sell, and you could go there and there would be a little platform and there would be men and women and they would be slaves and you could buy them. That’s where you went to buy a slave.
And you could buy a man, or you could buy a woman, you want to buy a servant, you want to buy a whole family – and they would cost so much money and the money you would pay to redeem the slave is this word.
You ransom them, and he says, are you ready? You and I and every single person in the human race has been in the slave market of sin. You know what’s right to do and you don’t do it. You know some things you ought to do, want to do, find yourself not doing it.
You can make up rules and you can’t even keep your own rules, let alone God’s. We have fallen short of being perfect. We are slaves to sin and Christ came and when He died upon the cross, He atoned, literally, He ransomed. He paid for – the purchase price of your salvation and freedom was the death of the perfect Son of God.
Now, I’ve got a little illustration, because you’re not quite – the emotional impact of this – okay, you guys are not getting it. Okay? I know it’s theology, but if you understood theology is what really creates right thinking and right thinking is what changes emotions and right emotions is what motivates right behavior and right behavior is what produces great consequences and great consequences are the things that totally transforms your life – so let’s get back to the theology. Okay, you ready?
There is an imaginary box. I’m going to put it right up here as though I was an illusionist. It’s floating. Have you got it? On the top, are you ready? It says “box number one.” Keep your eyes there. Over here…box number two. They are exactly the same size.
On the front of this box, the cost of this box says, “one thousand dollars.” You got it visualized in your mind? It’s floating right over there. It’s white, by the way, for some of you that are color blind.
Over here, box number two is white and it costs one million dollars. Now, for those over fifty that still remember Let’s Make a Deal, if I was asking you, “Do you want box number one?” you don’t know what’s in it, but it costs a thousand dollars hovering over, or would you like box number two, hovering, and it’s worth a million dollars. If you want box number one, raise your hand. Okay. How many want box number two? Raise your hand!
Oh my gosh! You’re geniuses! You’re amazing! The whole room wants box number two! Why? Why? If it costs more, it’s worth more. We always judge the value of things by how much it cost. If your fiancé gives you a ring that costs thirty dollars instead of three thousand, it says something about your fiancé.
Now, let’s move our theology to our emotions. What are you worth to God? You and I cost God the precious blood of His Son. You are of infinite worth. I don’t care what anyone has ever said about you. I don’t care what problems, what emotions, what struggles, what pain, what lies. You, today, are worth the blood of Christ, a perfect life leaving heaven, killed for only loving people and have never sinned because that’s how much you matter.
You start believing that you are chosen and adopted and redeemed, you will begin to get the message the real you is free and valuable. That’s who you are.
Now, you can say, “Well, you don’t really understand, Chip, because I had a very difficult childhood and then my – and then I went through this and then there was a drunk driver.” You know what? I’m not telling you that life isn’t hard and there is sin and people haven’t done you wrong. I’m just saying you can either believe all of that defines you or you can believe what God has said about you.
Now, it won’t – there’s a not a button you can click. I wish there was. I would have clicked it long ago. It’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s replenishing. It’s identifying the lies, calling them lies, identifying the truth, and replacing the lies with the truth. And as you do that, as you do that, it will go from your head to your heart. From your heart to your mind, your emotions.
You’ll change what matters. You won’t need people’s approval. But it gets even better. It’s not just that you’re redeemed. He says you were redeemed for a purpose. There’s a lot of people that wonder, Why am I here? What’s life all about?
For some of you that have been really, really successful it’s like, There has got to be more to this than so many patents and so much money and having a second house. And for others, it’s like, Hey, I have tried this and I have tried that and there has got to be more than what I am getting because I feel like a failure. Why am I really here? He explains.
Notice what he says, “In all wisdom and insight, He made known to us the mystery of His will.” By the way, that’s the truth. All the words underneath that are clauses that define what He just said and I’ll walk through those. Here’s what you know, okay? Remember we diagramed sentences in ninth grade?
“He” – subject – “redeemed” – verb – “you.” Now, here’s what he says. “He” – God – “made known the mystery of His will,” and the word mystery, circle it, it just means secret. It’s not mysterious. What it means is that up until this point, there was a part of His will that no one knew about and He has now made this secret known to you. “He made known the mystery of His will to you.”
Now, let’s define what His will is and what He says. How? “According to the kind intention which He purposed in Christ.” So, whatever this will is that has to do with you, it was God’s kind intention in bringing Jesus to earth and saving us.
Okay. Well, then, what is after that? “With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of time.” I know what you’re thinking. What in the world does that mean? Put a box around the word administration. It’s an interesting Greek word that literally means a household economy. Oiko – house; nomos – law. In other words, when you children were three years old, they had a bedtime. And so you had laws of the house. They go to bed at six thirty or seven.
When they are teenagers, who knows when they go to bed. Okay? But it’s not the same. And what he is saying is, in the progress of revelation, as God is revealing Himself, the purpose is God revealed this mystery or this secret. It’s all about why Jesus came and what He wants to do and in His household economy, notice, it’s in the fullness of time.
Not chronos time, but kairos, this unique opportunity of all of life. And what is it? It’s the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven and things in earth so He redeemed you, made you adopted as a part of His family, Jesus came to create this brand-new thing that no one knew about, and it’s called the Church.
As you keep reading this book, Gentile and Jew become the new agent of blessing in this thing called the Church. Old Covenant was Israel was the agent of blessing. New Covenant, the Church. So, He redeemed you for a purpose that everything Jesus came to do in His physical body, you are now His spiritual body.
He fed the poor. He told people who the Father was. He showed them who the Father was. He loved extravagantly. He was generous with His time and His money. He demonstrated what is the salt of the earth and the light of God. And so, you have been called, your purpose is to take the mission for which you have been redeemed and this isn’t just about you and your life and your happiness or your satisfaction so that you would actually become an agent of light and salt and love and so, until the moment you cross the threshold and see Jesus, you are indispensable.
I don’t care what your job is, I don’t care what your background is, I don’t care what your color is, I don’t care what your IQ is. Jesus says, I am putting this puzzle together and I am redeeming whosoever will. And I am putting this puzzle together in such a way that will become a collage of the grace of God, that people would see who Jesus is, how much He loves others, and that the people at your neighborhood and at your work, the people where you work out, the people where you drink coffee, the people where you wash your clothes, the relatives – they all, through and in you, would understand they can be redeemed if they would but believe and trust.
And so, what it says is you are – the real you is needed and you are worthy. You’re needed!
It’s an interesting thing, if you ever want people to stick around in a group, don’t do everything for them. People come over to the house, you start a small group – week number two, because you know what? We all struggle with: Am I accepted? You know what’s easy to be accepted? “Hey, could you bring a salad?” “Could you do this?” “Could you do that?” A lot of them, they’ll be, “Yeah, I don’t know if I’m really going to go and I didn’t feel all that comfortable. Now I’ve got to go.” Why? Because I've got to take the salad.
Why? Because you know what? We feel a part of things that we are needed in. We all long to be needed. Our self-esteem and our worth comes from not just who we are but what we do, but we do in the right way. You are worthy! And you are worthiness is not about your performance, it’s not about what people think. Turn to the back page and let’s get to: how do we get this from our head to our heart? The principle is: you replace your warped mirrors and misbeliefs by the truth of God’s Word.
So, you write what I put in this box on a little card. And then you make a little stop sign. And you read it in the morning and you read it at night. You don’t even have to memorize it. But the misbelief is: I must avoid failure at all cost. I must work harder and longer to be successful and prove that I am not a failure. That’s compulsive people like me.
For others: I must avoid failure at all cost. It’s better not to try than to try and fail. If people really knew and got to know me, they would reject me. Stop! You write that and then you say, “stop” out loud. Because here’s what you want to do, psychologically.
You want to recognize the lie and you want to pair it in your brain with “stop.” Then you flip the card over and you say out loud, the truth: I am now a righteous person in God’s sight, since I have trusted Christ’s redemption and sacrifice for me. I am covered by the robe of His purity and goodness. Also, since I have a new nature, I am a good person in my general practice of life as I continue to grow in Christ. It’s a long paragraph but you just read it over and you just think about it. Wow. I’m a righteous person in God’s sight. I don’t have to earn His favor. I don’t have to impress anyone else.
2 Corinthians chapter 5 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us” – are you ready for this? “so that we, in Him, might become the righteousness of God.”
The moment you trust Christ, there is a declaration, a legal declaration, that you are righteous in His eyes. And then you start, that’s positional righteousness, and then His Spirit living in you as you get into God’s Word, in the community of God’s people, then there is a practical righteousness where you live this out and He changes you from the inside out.
Now, there’s always a temptation when you teach on something like this to think, Well, I used to have these issues twenty years ago, and then I read this passage and I don’t have any issues. But those of you that know me would know that’s not true.
But this is one that I wrote last year. This is a lie that I believed as late as last year and I share this just so you realize this journey never ends. You keep working on it.
You actually believe different lies at different seasons of your life and at different points of maturity. And I went through a process reevaluating my life last year right after a major surgery, and I realized: here’s a lie that I believed. I am a prisoner of the opinions of the important, influential people in my life. I agonize when my best judgment and direction from the Lord is different from theirs. Disagreeing with them will harm our relationship irreparably, so I attempt to please everyone, creating an unhealthy lifestyle.
I bet there are a lot of people that could identify with that one. And see, in different seasons in your life, the important people, they just change and there’s an important person in China, and there’s an important person in the Middle East, and there’s an important person here, and there’s a very important person on the front row called my wife, and there are important people called my kids.
And all that so I’m a prisoner. No, no, no. People love me and are for me – here’s the truth – and want me to live a life of joy, rhythm, rest, and fruitfulness in all areas of my life. I don’t need to prove my worth through hard work or extraordinary productivity. I’m accepted, loved, and greatly valued just for who I am.
And I have been reading this over for the better part of the year. And I’m guessing there is probably some freedom I’m experiencing that has come at identifying that lie, recognizing the truth, renewing my mind.
A couple that Theresa put on her cards, these are misbeliefs that are often people who withdraw: I should be upset if I make a mistake. Anybody feel that way? You get upset. Just make a mistake. Stop! The truth is: As a human being, I am not all-knowing. Mistakes are not necessarily sinful. If people make fun of me, that’s their problem. I need only Christ’s approval and I have it, apart from my works.
Another one of hers that I watched her share these with our daughter for years.
Misbelief: If I cannot do something well, there is little point in doing it at all. Anybody feel that way?
See, it keeps you from taking risk. Stop! I am willing to risk trying to do things without the assurance that it will be a good job. I can give my best effort and gain good experience that will help me grow.