When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows was “To Tell the Truth”. If you are too young to know what I am talking about, below is an episode from 1967 in case you are curious.
This was a game show where a panel of 4 celebrities would ask questions of 3 contestants to determine which of the three was telling the truth about who they really were. At the end of the time, the panel would vote on who was telling the truth and who were the imposters. If you click on the video, this will all make more sense and you will also notice the host of the show saying “God Bless You” to the contestants. How times have changed!
Confronting the Imposters
The reason I started with this TV show is it reminds me of a spiritual truth. We are confronted all the time by imposters trying to tell us who we are. In the TV show, the panelists were confronting the imposters, asking questions, to determine the truth and real identity of the contestant. We need to take a similar approach when we are being attacked by the enemy who tries to convince us we are someone different than who we really are. Just like the contestants, the enemy is devious and wants to tell us all kinds of lies to convince us to fall for an imposter.
When we are confronted by the enemy, it is important to cling to the truth and have the wisdom to discern a truth from a lie. Sometimes we can hear a lie long enough that it seems like the truth. The enemy is relentless in lying to us about our true identity.
Acknowledging your Belovedness
We need to be diligent in resting in the truth of our identity in Jesus. A helpful exercise in understanding our identity is to rest in our belovedness, as dearly loved children (Eph 5:1). For many of us, this can be a very hard thing to do. It seems to strike us funny like we are being self-centered for dwelling on being loved. Shouldn’t we be other focused instead? Of course, our lives are meant to be others focused but only when this is an outward expression of the inward reality of knowing the love of God. Trevor Hudson, in his book “Discovering Our Spiritual Identity”, puts it this way:
Wow! What a statement and that is the place from which God wants us to offer ourselves. Knowing our belovedness allows us to experience healing and freedom so we can genuinely love others unconditionally. This is why the enemy attacks our identity so hard. If he can just get us to accept a falsehood, he can sidetrack us from experiencing and living out the life for which God has called us.
Creating a Beloved Charter
When we were on our Renovaré retreat in September, we were given an assignment to create a Beloved Charter. This exercise was to help us rest and receive our identity of being beloved by God. The idea of putting this into words as a charter is significant. The definition of a charter is:
“a written grant by a country’s legislative or sovereign power, by which a body such as a company, college, or city is founded and its rights and privileges defined.”
A charter defines the identity of an entity, what it is founded upon and all of its rights and privileges. So to put this as a beloved charter, we are defining how we are founded and what are our rights and privileges. We are founded, created, as children of a loving Heavenly Father. That is who we are. The exercise of creating a Beloved Charter can help us formalize our understanding of the truth of our founding.
Creating the charter is to be based totally on Scripture and what the Bible says about who we are. My church has a webpage of “Truth Treasures” which contain over 30 scripture passages about our identity. In creating my charter, I spent time reviewing these treasures, letting them speak to me about my identity and then created the charter in a way that I felt God was speaking to me. The goal isn’t to arrange every possible verse into a long charter. You could do this, but the idea is to create something that you can easily memorize and go back to as a way to remind yourself of your belovedness in God. Below is the charter I wrote during the retreat. I think it might be a little long and I am planning to revisit it at some point, but it really is a blessing to me to review it and remind myself of who I am.
My Beloved Charter
Doug, Nothing can separate you from my love. I loved you so much I sent my Son to die for you. If I did not spare my Son but willingly gave Him up for you, be assured that I will generously give you all things. Because you are in Christ, you have no longer condemned. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are created in my image. You are valuable to me; I have numbered every hair on your head. Don’t be afraid, I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, I am your God. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness. Don’t be anxious about your life. Look how I feed the birds of the air, you are much more valuable than they. I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. I have called you out of darkness and into my wonderful light to praise me. You have been called to be free so you can serve others in love. Let your soul wait in silence for me, put your hope in Me. You are the apple of my eye. I will hide you under the shadow of my wings. Though others may forget you, I will never forget you. I have etched your name in the palms of my hands. I delight in you. I will rejoice over you with gladness. I will quiet you with my love.
I would highly encourage you to try this exercise. You can use the truth treasures I mentioned or you may already have a list of scripture that are meaningful to you. However it works, block out some time in your calendar and begin crafting your own Beloved Charter. I pray this will be an amazing experience for you as you rest in your Fathers arms and your identity as His dearly loved child.