possibility - resistance

most of us most of the time try to derive our sense of who we are from our immediate context - work, school, friends, family, whatever. we accept the rule of the context over us and try to fit into it, saying and doing the right things. but the chances are that that will take us far away from who god intends us to be, because our human context has very different - fallen - values to which it tries to mould human character, and only a limited sense of the possibilities.

approval from a source outside the system enables resistance to the system - because you don't depend on it for approval. security in a place that is outside the system enables resistance to the system - because you don't depend on it for security.

to be the person God has made you is the beginning of resistance, because if you are the person God intends you almost certainly won't fit the world's categories or accept its values. You will be a sign of God's Kingdom - your difference announcing the presence of an alternative.

To become your true self in god is both liberation and burden - liberation from the prisons of false expectations; but the burden of not fitting in, not quite belonging anywhere in the world as it is. as i have understod more and more truly who god intends me to be, the parts of the bible that speak of exile and wandering have begun to mean something to me in a way they never did before. the more we become who we are meant to be, the more we become aliens and strangers in the current state of affairs.

secure identity expresses itself in mission. we see this most clearly in jesus' life on earth. all his actions bear the mark of someone who knew who he was and where he was going and didn't depend on the approval or advice of anyone else, except god his father. we see this self-assurance teaching the elders in the temple at the age of 12; rejecting the temptations of the devil to choose wrong paths; teaching the crowds on his own authority, not quoting precedent; walking towards his death, unswayed by the fears of his disciples, knowing that his hour had come; making friends with people nobody else would be seen dead with, and in the end being seen dead with them.

the bible makes this point most explicitly in john's gospel chapter 13, when jesus washes the disciples' feet. john writes 'jesus knew that the father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from god and was returning to god; so he got up from the meal... and began to wash his disciples feet'. note that it is because jesus knew who he was and where he was going that he was able to serve; having nothing to prove, no need to cling to social status, he was free to act for the sake of others, to look outward not inward at himself.

knowing your true self in god enables you to make accurate choices
- knowing what to accept and reject
- knowing what is and isn't you
- knowing what is and isn't your path

you can see this secure sense of identity rooted in God whenever his people have resisted for the sake of the kingdom's values. people who have faced imprisonment or death for resisting political evil or injustice; people who have faced ridicule and exclusion for daring to say that the world's emperors have no clothes. like daniel or st paul, these are people who are free even when in prison, living prophetic lives which announce other possibilities, endings and new beginnings.