The more I read in Ephesians, I am reminded again and again of the message in the book about finding my identity in Christ. I believe that is the overarching theme of this letter from Paul, and it just keeps hitting home as I continue to study. If you haven’t had a chance to read it with this specific focus, I can’t encourage you enough to look into it!
So this morning I am reading and I see this message in a little impact verse in Chapter 2 of Ephesians…
As I sat with my cup of fresh-brewed coffee, reading my Bible and anticipating my day, I struggled with the message in this box. Is this the point? Am I looking at it the wrong way?
Then it hit me.
I can’t realize my potential if I don’t know what I am.
I was reminded of a story I once read about a man who was traveling through India. He was in a small, remote village on the edge of the jungle, and his guide introduced him to a man who trained elephants for labor in the area. The Indian was known to be the best around, and the guide thought this gentleman would like to hear about his work.
The gentleman noticed a young elephant that had a padded shackle around its ankle. The shackle was at one end of a thick, heavy chain attached to a large iron stake driven deep into the ground. The young elephant was pulling and pulling to try and get away, but it could not.
On the other side of the clearing he saw a huge adult elephant that had a similar padded shackle around its ankle. However, this shackle was tied to a length of rope attached to a small wooden stake that had simply been pressed a few inches into the ground.
The gentleman asked his guide why there was such a disparity between the two sets of bindings. The guide, not knowing himself, inquired of the Indian trainer as to why these two animals were tied in a way that seemed to make no sense.
The trainer answered, “When they are young, the animal must be tied to an object it cannot move no matter how hard it tries. After it tires itself from the efforts and accepts its captivity, it can be held with the simplest of bindings. As long as it feels the shackle, it knows it cannot move.”.
“As long as it feels the shackle, it knows it cannot move.”
Imagine the potential power in an adult elephant! Not only would it be able to snap the rope that held it or the wooden stake from the ground, it probably would even be able to break the chain that held it as a child. But it didn’t know the potential that it had. It didn’t realize what it really was.
As a Christian, I have been blessed by God to have the security of a home in Heaven one day. I have the peace of forgiven sins; I have the assurance of my needs being met, and the confidence that I will never be alone. That’s not all I have though.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
-Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
I have a potential in me that can now be realized. I have an identity in Christ that gives me access to the power of God at work in my life. Through that power I can do things that I cannot do on my own. I can snap the sinful bindings that have held me and then do the good things that God created me to do. The things that He has planned for me to do through His power since before the world was made!
It can’t happen if I don’t realize who I am though. I have to realize first that I am nothing in myself. I have to realize that the things in life that have bound me will continue to bind me if I don’t ask Him for the help that will not come from me. I need to feel so much of God that I don’t feel the shackles. Then I can be free.
I am a child of the living God. I am a masterpiece created by Him, redeemed through the power of Christ to do the good works that God has planned for me to do in Christ. That is my identity. As I devote myself to relentless growth in Christ, I am seeing the potential I have because of that identity. It’s not me, but it lives in me.
Do you know who you are?
Do you know your potential?
Reach for it! Snap the chains and be free!
In HIS Grip,