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Posts Tagged ‘identity’

Gladiator is an epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe who portrays the fictional character, loyal Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when the emperor Marcus Aurelius’s ambitious son, Commodus, murders his father and seizes the throne. Maximus flees and hides his identity by becoming a slave and a gladiator.

Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murder of his family and his emperor. Eventually, Maximus journeys back to Rome to confront his archrival.

Having arrived at the Colosseum, their team is put in a match that is meant to be a reenactment of the Battle of Carthage. Maximus and his teammates are on foot, armed with spears and shields, against a cohesive and well-equipped force of mounted fighters and archers on chariots. By means of Maximus’s leadership, however, the team is able to upset their opponents. Commodus comes down personally to congratulate Maximus on his victory. Maximus prepares to kill Commodus, but at the last moment decides against it.

At this point, Maximus removes his helmet and reveals himself to Commodus. Maximus promises to exact vengeance against Commodus, who is still in shock to learn that Maximus is still alive. While Commodus yearns to kill Maximus on the spot, he cannot; doing so would cause the watching crowd to develop distaste for his leadership, since the crowd loves Maximus.

This is a powerful moment in the movie and like all movies there is a story here that is far too familiar and meaningful. Once Maximus reveals his identity, and who and what defines him, the fear on Commodus’s face is palpable. This is exactly what happens when we know our identity, and when we let God define us – then the accuser has no more arrows, and has to flee. Here’s the moment:

 

We have a gladiator, someone who fights for us, our own Champion of Heaven. It is only when we let God define us and name us that we really find out who we are, why we are here and can begin to dare greatly in the arena. God calls us to this place, the question is though – will we follow?

May you this week come to know more clearly the Champion of Heaven. Ask God your real name, ask Him what he thinks of you and then listen for His voice, not yours, not others – just His. May this moment define you.

Champion of Heaven

I have heard you calling my nameimage
Through the rolling thunder and the rain
For you I live, to the end of my days
Champion of Heaven
You call my name

I have felt you beating my heart
You breathe my life into your art
For you I praise, day after day
Champion of Heaven
You move in me

I have seen you in my dreams
Flowing colours in braided streams
For you I pray, night after day
Champion of Heaven
You build my dreams

I have held your hand in mine
We will never run out of time
For you are here, year after year
Champion of Heaven
You walk with me

I have tasted, I have seen
Of your glory where you’ve been
For you are for me, not against me
Champion of Heaven
You make the way

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Identity Theft

We are not what we were meant to be, and we know it. If, when passing a stranger on the street, we happen to meet eyes, we quickly avert our glance. Cramped into the awkward community of an elevator, we search for something, anything to look at instead of each other. We fear to be seen.

In the book Sacred Romance, author John Eldredge talks about how we are mostly blind to who we really are. Mostly we live and see only a dim reflection of what we could be, as well as who we are. Sometimes we do catch a glimpse and it speaks to our soul. Then just as quickly it is gone but not forever.

Think for a moment about the millions of tourists who visit the ancient pyramids. Though ravaged by time, the elements, and vandals through the ages, mere shadows of their former glory, these ruins still awe and inspire. Though fallen, their glory cannot be fully extinguished. There is something at once sad and grand about them. And such we are.

Abused, neglected, vandalised, fallen—we are still fearful and wonderful.

We are, as one theologian put it, “glorious ruins.” But unlike those grand monuments, we who are Christ’s have been redeemed and are being renewed as Paul said, “day by day,” restored in the love of God.

Could it be that we, all of us, really possess hidden greatness? Is there something in us worth fighting over? The fact that we don’t see our own glory is part of the tragedy of the fallen world we live in. A sort of spiritual amnesia has taken all of us.

Our souls were made to live in the Larger Story, but as G.K. Chesterton discovered, we have forgotten our part:

“We have all read in scientific books, and indeed, in all romances, the story of the man who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate everything; only he cannot remember who he is. Well, every man is that man in the story. Every man has forgotten who he is. . . . We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. “

May you discover your identity- who you really are. May you believe the great story, that we all matter, we all are important and critical to achieve the plan – God’s plan to redeem and restore this world. May you know the difference between who you think you are and who you really are. Drop the pose and the mask if you need to. May you remember that God knows who you really are – your true identity as he made you in His image. What does this change for you?

True Identity

Don’t you know who I am?image
Self made success
Celebrity and influence
I shouldn’t need to tell you

Don’t you know who I am?
The car, the clothes
The air about me
Speaking for themselves

Are you so deaf, so ignorant?
Hours of toil and huge expense
Manufactured skin-deep skin
The mask (the wound, the true identity)

No one is listening
Now I’ll start again
Redefined by the latest fashion
Except, the mask, the wound, the real question…

I had no idea
Who I was
Until you told me
The Fearsome Truth

Who am I?
When you look at me
I see my true identity
The broken parts becoming whole

I am who you say
Not what I thought
When you called my name
It changed, everything

~ Cam Porter

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