Everyone knows the familiar scene in Disney’s The Lion King: at the lowest point in his life, Simba has a vision of his father, Mufasa, speaking these powerful words, “You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. Remember who you are. You are my son. Remember who you are…” (as the majestic cloud gradually fades into the starry night).
This scene has been referenced thousands of times in stories and sermons and ceremonies. It may have taken place between imaginary characters in a Disney movie, but the words echo with far-reaching relevance.
How can we remember who we are, if we don’t even know who we are to begin with? Contemporary culture is running rampant with people on a quest to “find themselves” and identify with someone…anyone.
These are huge parts of life! Huge pieces of how the human heart – designed by God – functions. The desire to experience belonging, connection, and identity is not inherently “bad.” It’s WHERE we go looking for these things that can have lasting and even devastating consequences.
In our effort to belong, we consume information about people, clothing, social settings, pop culture…whatever we need to know in order to conform. Where we seek connection, we acquire knowledge about what it takes to win over a person or situation. And as we search for a sense of identity, we absorb ideals, morals, values.
The pursuit of knowledge and the quest for belonging, connection, and identity go hand-in-hand.
Where do you seek belonging?
Where do you look for connection?
Where do you go digging around in hot pursuit of your identity?
If it’s ANYWHERE outside of the Word of God, I urge you to slam on the breaks and lean into this truth: You will never find lasting belonging, authentic connection, or your God-breathed identity outside of God’s living and active Word.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called to us his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
God blesses us with several truths here – He gave us all things that pertain to life and godliness, He called us to His own glory, He called us to His own excellence, and He gave us precious and very great promises.
He gave. He called. Notice Scripture doesn’t say He gave out of a response to anything we did. Notice Scripture doesn’t say, “First, the holy and oh-so-deserving Christian obeyed all the laws and proved himself worthy of God’s gifts, and as a result, the Lord gave His precious and very great promises.”
Did you catch the great news in this verse? Everything we need for life…He gave us. Everything we need for belonging, connection, and identity…He gave us. We didn’t have to earn any of it. So, if God gave it, but I don’t feel like I actually have it, how do I find it? The answer is found in the same Scripture: “Through the knowledge of Him.”
Not through gaining followers on social media in order to belong.
Not through compromising our character in order to connect.
Not through ignoring our Creator and defining identity on our own.
We have everything we need for belonging, connection, and identity through the knowledge of Christ.
In our pursuit of Him, we discover who we are. Scripture tells us we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27). This should spur us on to a life of godliness. More good news! God has already given us everything we need for that, too. And you guessed it, we grow in godliness as we grow in our knowledge of God.
Knowing God is essential for godliness. You can’t have godliness in its entirety, without pursuing God.
Why does God give and call us to these things? If you look closely at our text in 2 Peter, we have our explanation. So that “you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” God gives us His promises and calls us to His excellence, so that we have everything we need to escape corruption and join Him in a life rich with His divine nature – a life of godliness. A life of belonging to Him, connecting with Him, and walking in our identity as children of God.
You can’t remember who you are if you didn’t know who you were in the first place. So, who are you? Dig into God’s Word and find Him there. You will find yourself, too.