I don’t know anything about cars but I know a nice one when I see it. This was a nice one. It was a red Ferrari. When I looked at it, I saw a little bit of myself. Now before you bail out on me for comparing myself to a Ferrari, just hang on.
I don’t see cars like this where I live. It seemed to appear from nowhere just outside of my driver’s side window while I was stopped at a red light. When I pointed the car out to my sons, the questions started flowing. And they were questions that I didn’t have the answers to. But that’s never stopped me before.
“Dad, is that a fast car?”
“Oh you bet. It’s got twin dual cam headers.”
The three of us sat and gazed at that red sports car. It was almost like we felt honored to have such a fine vehicle visit our common town and to be so kind to share the same road with our humble Chevrolet. When the light turned green, a little piece of us died. The Ferrari would soon be out of our sight and out of our lives forever. I thought about racing, just to prolong the experience. Cooler heads prevailed.
I was going straight and the car was turning left. Well, the car wasn’t exactly turning left. It was being taken to the left. That beautiful red Ferrari was tied down to the back of a flat bed truck. And this wasn’t one of those trucks that carries rich people’s expensive cars across the country. This was the type of truck that some dude named Big Ed uses when he comes to pick up your gently used Toyota Tercel after you drive it off into a ditch.
That’s when I saw a little bit of myself and my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ in that Ferrari.
By God’s grace and through faith and repentance, we have been given much. God has given us eternal life. But he has also given us the resources we need to glorify and enjoy him in this life.
In Christ, we have power over evil, both the kind in our hearts and the kind in the world (Ephesians 6:10-20).
In Christ, we have joy (John 17:13).
In Christ, we have access to our Creator (Hebrews 4:14-16).
In Christ, we have peace and love and self-control and so much more (Galatians 5:22-24).
But we don’t use those gifts. Instead, we settle for getting through life on the back of some spiritual tow truck.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that God is going to bless you with a beautiful new Ferrari. And I’m not saying that Christians never have hard times or that we never deal with issues like depression or anxiety. What I am saying is that our identity is not found in those things.
Too many Christians put a heavy emphasis on their sin while ignoring the righteousness that is theirs in Christ. An emphasis on personal sin is a good thing. It’s a necessary thing if you care to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. But it’s incomplete if it does not lead us to see our new identity in Christ.
Yes, Christian, you were a wretch. You were an enemy of God.
And yes, your struggle against sin is still very real.
But please do not forget that great exchange that took place by God’s grace. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, when God looks at you, he sees the perfect righteousness of his perfect Son (2 Corinthians 5:21).
You are no longer an orphan.
You are no longer an enemy of God.
You have been given eternal life.
You have been given hope and joy in this life.
And here’s the thing about God’s gifts. They are meant to be used. So ditch the flat bed truck and take your gift for a spin.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (ESV)
This post originally appeared at Sanders’ blog.