I remember as a little boy watching the sitcom Happy Days. My favourite character was The Fonz. Wasn’t he everyone’s favourite? The Fonz was the ultimate cool cat. A rebel who had a soft loving side that would pop out, when those who looked up to him needed him the most. The leather jacket with the collar up and the often used “ayy” was emulated by most of us boys. Of course, with time we moved past our adulation of the Fonz and most of the antics that we used melted away. One thing that somehow survived was keeping my collar up and my love for leather jackets.
Years later, probably in the 90s, a fella made mention of my leather jacket with the collar up and said something like “Hey Fonzi”. That sparked the memory of the fictional character that I once identified with, and I responded with an “ayyy” and a thumbs up. We as humans act out of who we identify ourselves with. When I remembered the long-since-forgotten Fonzie, I instinctively reacted like him.
Another great, if not perfect, illustration of the effect of our self-image on our life is a scene from the 1994 hit Disney movie, Lion King. In the scene, Rafiki asks Simba to look into a pool of water. At first, Simba only sees his reflection staring back at him. Rafiki encourages him to look harder the second time, and he sees his reflection morph into an image of Mufasa, his father. While still staring at the water, Simba hears his father's voice booming from the night clouds and looks up to see the clouds take the shape of a lion. Mufasa speaks from the clouds to his son:
Mufasa: Simba, you have forgotten me.
Simba: No! How could I?
Mufasa: You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself Simba. You are more than what you have become.
Most believers live like Simba before this encounter. We run around not knowing who we are because we do not know or have forgotten our heritage. I encourage you to watch this scene. (Click here or search "remember who you are lion king" on YouTube). As you watch it, picture God, your heavenly Father speaking to you as Mufasa is speaking to Simba. In the gospel, we have accounts of the Father speaking of Jesus from the clouds and affirming his identity. Today, the Father is saying the same thing to you, "You are my beloved son."
Who or what we identify with strongly dictates our actions. We instinctively react to situations based on our identity; who we see ourselves as. If we see ourselves as sinners barely saved by grace, then that is what we’ll act out. If we see ourselves as being sick and frail, then that is exactly what we will become.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV)
This is exactly what happened in the garden. The serpent caused Adam and Eve, through charm, to see themselves as less than what they were. They forgot their identity, that God had made them perfect. Since they were less than perfect in their eyes, the fruit became their means to perfection. Consequently, all of humanity forgot their true identity, we have forgotten how God created us to be. Our minds are corrupted by choosing an identity other than the identity that Jesus demonstrated; a daughter or son of the living God.
When we remember who we are in Christ that is when we will stop living from the old man and start living out our supernatural life in Christ. It doesn’t matter what area of life we’re struggling with, whether it be an addiction, sickness, sin, or poverty. The solution is the same. We need to start seeing ourselves in our true identity. In Christ, we are righteous, healthy and prosperous. All we have to do is look inside ourselves to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit within teaching and reminding us who we are.