At different points in our lives we are confronted with different forms of the same question –
“Who are you?”
Often the question comes as a challenge to our competence. We are tempted to define ourselves by what we are able to do and/or how well we can do it.
Sometimes we are enticed to delineate our lives in terms how well regarded, received or "important" we are. The eyes and approval of others become our measuring stick.
Alternatively, we may be incited to understand ourselves and portray ourselves in terms of power – how much (or who) we can gain and control for our own purposes.
These three false measurements of identity are common to all of us. Different ones will be weighted in different ways, nuanced with different language and tailored to fit/attack our specific personalities and susceptibilities. However, these kinds of temptations are bait for the traps of pride or self-condemnation for all of us.
Which temptation bites more deeply...
I can remember it very clearly, as if it were yesterday. I was seated in a room with nearly 500 elderly people, listening to a presentation of the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The man speaking was also drawing an elaborate picture with chalk pastels. I had heard many of the “facts” before, I had even heard some of the stories, but I had never really understood the significance of Jesus ascending into heaven.
Recently, on May 26th, was the celebration of what western church historians call Ascension Day; the celebration of Jesus being carried or taken up into heaven. (The story is recorded in the books of Mark, Luke and Acts.) I am reminded how on that evening many years ago I came to realize that when Jesus ascended into heaven, it opened the way for me to have a relationship with Him, the living God-man – and nothing has been the same ever since.
Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after He was crucified and...