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Words of Life

Who You Know Is Better Than What You Do

By Jefferson Bethke October 25, 2015 Words of Life

In elementary school I was quite the problem child. I was bored. And when a little boy is bored, he usually gets into trouble. 

Routinely I did such things as turn off the lights in the bathroom when boys were in it, shoot spit wads at other kids, and other dumb stuff ten-year-olds do. 

A lot of my mischief happened during recess. I’d throw something at a kid, kick a ball at them, or say something to egg them on. Now, I am not the tallest or biggest guy, and elementary school was no exception. So when I would do stuff like this, I knew I had to be able to outrun the kids because I sure couldn’t outfight them if they came after me. 

Eventually I learned I didn’t have to run forever. I just had to run fast enough to my friend Big Mike. His name is pretty self-explanatory, and I’m sure my imagination is fooling me, but I remember a five o’clock shadow, flannels, and axes at age nine. 

I was one of his closest friends, and the beauty of that is, if I did something stupid and a kid started to chase me on the playground, I just had to run to the safety of Big Mike’s shadow. If I got there, the other kid would stop dead in his tracks and just give me a look. I was safe, and they wouldn’t touch me since I was next to Mike. 

When those kids wanted to beat me up, they didn’t stop because of anything I did. They stopped because of who I was with. They stopped because they weren’t scared of me, but scared of him.

That’s a little bit of what it means for Jesus’ identity to be our identity. The phrase “in him” pops up in the New Testament more than one hundred times (which, by the way, if something is pushing triple digits, it’s probably an important theme). What’s true of Jesus is true of us, and we trust him, he is our advocate. Any time Satan whispers lies to you, you can just point to the person next to you. Jesus is blameless, which means we are too. He’s righteous, which means we are too. He’s got the perfect access to the Father, which means we do too. 

Too many times we try to defend ourselves when false voices start coming into our heads. But in defending ourselves we feel the ground slip beneath us. Instead we should run to the one who is our identity, Jesus himself. Demons aren’t scared of us, but they are scared of him, and he is our advocate. 

We are also children of the King, and that makes us dangerous. An attack on us is an attack on the royal family. You don’t mess with the prince, because you are scared of the king. 

Have you ever seen those movies that involve a king? There’s usually at least one scene where they want to show the opulence of the throne room so the double doors whoosh open and with a super-wide-angle lens we start moving down the red carpet toward the throne. Most often, though, right next to the king we see his guards. Usually in some type of armor, with a dead serious look on their faces. 

They look stiff, frozen, and cold. They are employees of the king, and they have a job to do. If they mess up, more likely than not they get fired. How weird would it look if the guards just started dancing around the throne room? Running in circles, playing with their weapons, and jumping up and down with glee? 

But that scene wouldn’t seem out of place if they were children. There’s this freedom afforded to children that they can have a playfulness about them. It would only go to show the tenderness of the king’s heart if you entered the throne room to see kids running around the throne, jumping up and down, and having fun with daddy. 

The kids have different privileges than the guards. But sadly, a lot of us pretend we are the guards. With God we are stiff, cold, serious, and afraid of getting fired. We are walking on eggshells. But a kid doesn’t get fired. A kid can have the joy and freedom that only a kid can have. 

Which picture more describes your relationship with God? 

Are you terrified you’re going to mess up all the time, or are you playfully running around God’s throne knowing your dad is the King of the universe? God didn’t come to make guards; he came to find his children. Jesus didn’t hear “this is my employee” at his baptism; he heard “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 

When you look at your life, what do you see? Are you burned out? Are you tired? Exhausted? 

There are voices creating that exhaustion. Voices creating that hurt. But there is another voice, a greater voice, a primal voice that is declaring over you right now that you are loved. You are known. You can run to the Father and he will catch you.


Jefferson Bethke joins James and Betty this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from It’s Not What You Think by Jefferson Bethke Copyright © 2015 by Jefferson Bethke. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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