Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When Dogs Are Coons - Martin Wiles

For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it. Ephesians 5:8 NLT

A deep growl reverberated from the terra cotta pipe extending under our driveway. 

I was a middle school student living in Jackson, Tennessee. As I and a couple of neighborhood boys played in my front yard near the road, we suddenly heard a deep growl from a roadside pipe. I quickly retrieved Mom, and we all began calling what we imagined was a dog stuck in the pipe. When the calling didn’t work, we tried a little food to entice this frightened little pup. What emerged wasn’t a pup though. We all stepped back when a raccoon walked out. 

According to Paul’s philosophy, no one should mistake a child of God. Before Christ, believers are sinners under God’s condemnation. After receiving Christ’s forgiveness, He fills us with the light of His love. As a result, our growls should make it clear to everyone that we belong to the Lord. But some things can lead others to mistake our identity.

Mistaken identity will occur when I’m backslidden—a term used to refer to someone who is a believer but who at the moment is living in a state of rebellion. I was there during my teenage years. I was a pastor’s son who didn’t want his friends to think he was a goody-two-shoes. 

So I lived as they did, and, sadly, most of them never knew I was a Christian. A holy lifestyle will give away who I am ever time, but a wicked one can disguise my identity.

My identity can be hidden when I don’t use God’s gifts. All believers have one—and many have more. Using my gifts helps others see who I belong to. 

When my focus is out of focus, others will also misidentify me. Just as I can’t see clearly when I remove my glasses, I also hide my identity when my priorities are out of focus. What’s important to me reflects who I am to others. 

Falling in love with Jesus and relishing that relationship helps others identify who I am. 

Don’t let fear, rebellious living, or misplaced priorities hide your identity. 

Prayer: Father, help us shine our identities brightly to others. 

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