“Stay safe”, we yelled to our youngest son as he headed out one evening.
But as he disappeared into the night, something about our farewell didn’t sit right. So we asked ourselves, “Was that really the right thing to say? Where did we pick that line up from?”
Filtering our parental anxieties through some well known scripture, Jesus’ farewell and words of guidance to his disciples came to mind,
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love”. – John 15:9-10 (NIV)
On the basis of that, we felt that what we really meant to say was, “Stay obedient”.
But digging deeper again, I noticed that Jesus said this in the context of an analogy, which ties the disciple’s fundamental identity to their relationship with him.
“I am the vine; you are the branches”. – John 15:5 (NIV)
In other words, obedience was expected to stem from their new identity in Jesus. Abide in him, fruit will come!
I remembered a colleague who once told me, that each day her mum would farewell her with, “Bye Annette… and remember who you are!”
What a beautiful exhortation. Her mother’s farewell was a constant reminder to be true to her real identity.1
Pondering all of this, I then wondered how my heavenly father would wish to send me into each day?2
I think it would be something like this.
“Stewart, remember who you are.
Walk on earth, as you are known in heaven.”
1We often say in the West, “Be true to yourself!” But which self do we mean? How others see you, how you see yourself or how God sees you? How God sees you, is everything you need to see. That’s the real you.
2Remember, that as we abide in Christ the commands of God become the promises of God. His ‘must’ becomes you ‘will’. His purposes for us, become a prophetic utterance spoken over us.