Joan Fletcher | Heal the Nation - Part II
Who are you and, what makes you who you are? Identity, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is "Who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that makes them different from others." From this we derive a national identity which, according to the Oxford Living Dictionary, is "...[the] sense of nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture and languages." In the past, identity was very specific and had a limited definition. However, modern society says we can 'identify' as anything and anyone. But, who are we truly?
On Tuesday, we said that the identity we accept will determine what we do and how we live. Not only that, our identity is predetermined by God. The truth is that God does not relate to the nations or people based on man-made descriptors or categories. Because He created the '... world and all who live in it,' (Psalm 24:1b) then He relates to us based on His knowledge of His creation. He relates to us as a father, our Heavenly Father, who knows and loves His children. Our identity begins with Him and, as we said on Tuesday, until we get to know our Heavenly Father and truly know His heart, we will never be able to be true image bearers.
This message of the Father's Heart speaks primarily of his love; it is one of the most important messages to be shared in today's world. It is central to our identity; it is central to our relationship with God and with others. It has the power to destroy lies, deliver, unlock healing and restoration like the world has never seen. It is such a simple message - yet so many fail to get it and to walk in this day-to-day experience of Father's unconditional love and acceptance. No wonder there is so much pain, hatred for self and hatred for others. We do not know the love of the Father and we do not know we are made to receive and reflect this same love ... this same heart.
His love for us predates our conception:
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you ..."
Ephesian 1: 4 (NLT) "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in
Christ ..." You are not an inconsequential mistake that just happened. He knew you! He chose you. He made you in His image!
Who then could be more qualified as the one to look to for direction and purpose?
Relationship with father
The truth is, many times persons find it difficult to look to Him because the image they have of God reflects the image or relationship they have had with their earthly father. In short, they see God as they see their own father. So, if we grew up with bad experiences with our earthly father, we will sometimes project that on God, and we will think that God also treats us the same way.
If, as children, 'father' and 'authority' mean judgement, punishment, distance and abandonment, then as adults we accept God as such. Surveys indicate that up to 95 per cent of persons cannot remember their father telling them "I love you". So in order to relate sufficiently with God the Father and credibly reflect His image, many persons need to get beyond the issues with their earthly fathers and authority figures.
Some of us need to forgive. This is not an option; it is a critical step to becoming who you are and reflecting the image of God, your true identity.
We need to stop the negative cycles. The nation needs to heal, so that we are what we see.
Romans: 8:19, "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed".
The world is waiting for a Jamaica that understands its identity. Sons and daughters arise, Jamaica waits!
- Pastor Joan Fletcher is lead pastor, Transformed Life Church. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.