While I was teaching preschool yesterday Geoff came in as a surprise visitor to tell the kids how special they are and how much God loves them. As the kids gathered around him to listen he asked them if they were special. I was amazed at how they replied in full confidence, "Yes!" One of the boys went on to say, "I know I'm special, and I know God thinks so too!"
I couldn't help but reflect on how that question would be answered if Geoff had asked a room full of adults. "Do you know how special you are?" We wouldn't argue, probably, but may admit we don't feel special or don't want to appear arrogant by even thinking we might be. As we age there are many things that tell us we are not special, that we aren't good enough, and we forget to find our identity in the Lord and listen to the world more often instead.
As we grow older our feelings are hurt by those we trust and the world sells us false identities that we struggle to maintain. For some it is even worse. As the Superbowl nears the evil epidemic of sex slave trafficking becomes even more apparent. Kids, 12-14 years old or younger are being brought into the United States to meet the evil demand that large sporting events like this create. This is a world wide evil and one that breaks my heart more than any other. That industry will shatter the "You Are Special" reality faster than any. When children and adults are subjected to rape dozens of times a day, how can the true message of the gospel break through, that they are special, that they are loved? It can, and it does.
When I first started pondering this "special" concept, I thought it was just a sad reality that we were unable to feel special as we aged. The more I've considered it the more I see why satan is so intent on attacking this identity. If we forget who we are in Christ, that He loves us and we are special because He made us, our entire purpose in life has changed. We meet the expectations of our identity, whether in the Lord, or in the world. We are created in the very IMAGE of GOD, why would we try to look like the world? We are not to find our identity in this world. It is not about us, but about what God is doing through us. By forgetting that God can work through us, and feeling like we have to perform to meet God's demands, satan finds a stronghold. How can I be special? I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! When I ask that I still believe it is about what I do, about being saved by works. It's not about the value the world places on me or how I meet or don't meet its expectations. It's about remembering who we are in Christ and allowing His love to pour through me. It's about remembering to live in accordance with the Spirit.
"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace...For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God...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, in indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."