The days pass by so fast and my end of year exams are causing me to lag behind…But even though this was a couple weeks ago, I just want to share it because it was incredible! I went to a retreat organised by and for the young adults group from my church here in Madrid: A group of young people from Madrid, from Sevilla – and representatives from all over the world – spending a weekend together near Los Hueros (out in the middle of nowhere near Álcala de Henares near Madrid!) A weekend seeking God’s presence, coming before HIM, humbling our hearts and desiring to hear HIS voice, to worship HIM and to honour HIM. The topic: SOMOS LUZ. We are light. And this isn’t just about one weekend – this is our IDENTITY! We are light and we are children of God! And that is why we want to be a generation that seeks God above all other things – we want to deny ourselves and proclaim Jesus Christ! Because HE IS WORTHY of all honour, glory and praise! In his death on the cross, Jesus took on himself the punishment for all the countless times we dishonoured God, HE rescued us from the slavery of sin and rising again from the dead, HE destroyed the hold death had over us! HE gave us a new identity – adopted us as children and loves us more than any earthly parents could!
But how can we be God’s children?
It says in the Bible in 1 Peter 1, 3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” and in Romans 8, 14-17 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
It is through Jesus Christ! Through HIM we can be reconciled to God and when we come to him in repentance and submit our lives to Him, put our trust in HIM – we get adopted into God’s family! We receive God’s Holy Spirit that lives inside us, teaches us, guides us – brings us closer to God and transforms us to be more and more like Jesus! The transformation is like a “new birth” making us a new creation in Christ! We are still in this world just like before – a world full of so many problems, hardships, evil, temptations – but in the midst of all these things we strive to live lives that honour God, not out of our own strength but by the power of Jesus Christ. We are in the world but not of the world anymore – we have an inheritance that, unlike stuff in this world, can NEVER spoil nor fade, a living hope that is an eternity with God our Father in heaven – more incredible than any place we could imagine! But Jesus also enables us to be LIGHT in this world where we live!
How can we be light? It says in 1 John 1,5 that God is light and in him there is no darkness! And in Matthew 5,14-16 Jesus says “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” So if we are children of God and walk in obedience to HIM then WE ARE LIGHT – that is our identity and we could only try to hide our light, just like hiding a candle or a lamp, but that doesn’t really make much sense! A light is there to shine and give light to the surroundings! In the same way we should let our light “shine before others” that they may come to praise God!
Another important aspect of our identity is that God as our Father loves us UNCONDITIONALLY! Really. Truly. That means NOTHING can separate you from his love! You can rest in his love. And that incredible, amazing love sets you free to truly love others. You don’t need to seek approval from people or fight for their love and acceptance – and you don’t need to love only to be loved in return, BECAUSE YOU ARE LOVED. You can love unconditionally because God enables you to by loving you.
I love retreats like this…lots of good input and good time with God. And also cool to go out to the streets to talk to people about Jesus…and of course just time hanging out with friends, enjoying the meals and laughs together, getting to know each other better and encouraging one another. And one of my favourite parts was also the time I stole away from the group to enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding our guest house! Something I just had to take advantage of being out of the bustling city-life of Madrid! =)
So what’s YOUR IDENTITY?