“We are becoming who we will be—forever.”
-Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy
Devotional: On January 28th, 2017, something terrifying happened to me. It was something so deeply affecting, so truly shocking, that its consequences will stick with me until the day I die. On that day, I was married. Don’t get me wrong: it was a great and joyous day. We exchanged sweet and heartfelt vows, ate a great meal, had amazing donuts (!) for dessert, and danced the night away with some of our closest friends. Yet this day also initiated a somewhat intimidating reality that I had been fundamentally changed; it meant that I gained a new identity, that I was something new from this day forward. On that day, I became–fully and indisputably–a husband. I wasn’t a husband in training, or a 90 day husband free trial. I was a husband. Over the course of these last few years, I have also started to realize I am perpetually becoming more of the husband that I became on that day. Each day I am more fully realizing the identity which has been mine since 2017. For instance, I’ve learned that being a husband, for my wife, means cooking lots of our meals; it means ensuring our doors are locked at night; it means prioritizing both tacos and Thai food on our date nights; it means using more words to express what I am feeling; it means listening lovingly, submitting to and serving her. None of these things “make” me a husband; instead, they are the things I do because I am a husband. My identity came before my action, not the other way around.
Paul, in Ephesians 5:8-15, explores this same idea. He outlines each of us as having been darkness, our lives ultimately ruled by the shadowy figures of lust, greed, pride, wrath, and the like, all lurking in and around us. Christ’s arrival, though, makes us light; it fundamentally changes our identity. This happens purely because of Christ, and it is not based upon our exceeding goodness or righteousness; it arrives to us through the Light that entered the darkness. Since this is true–since our fundamental identity has shifted–we are encouraged to live as the people we have been named to be. We are, in the Gospel’s eyes, becoming who we already are, bit by bit. Each day of the Christian walk, then, does not consist of a moral striving by which we prove (or disprove) ourselves before God. Instead, each day is an opening of our eyes to the full and free life Christ has for us, one full of goodness and righteousness and truth/
Prayer: Lord, give me faith to trust in your naming of me as your daughter or son. Give me a heart that freely responds to this identity and lives as you have made me. Amen.