Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:3-8
Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4
Have you ever been to a circus and noticed how circus folk keep whole herds of elephants from galloping off? Well, actually, they don’t usually have huge packs of these big animals under the big top. But the elephants they do have are kept in place with itty-bitty bicycle chains around their legs.
Talk about it and take a guess: How can such a scrawny chain control such a brawny animal?
Here’s how. The elephant is locked up by a memory. As a baby, the elephant tried to break loose but wasn’t strong enough. Burned into the elephant’s brain was the idea that the chain was stronger than he was, and he hasn’t forgotten that lesson. Even though the grown elephant could break the chain with a tiny yank, he rarely tries. Yet notice this: Once he does break away, he’s almost impossible to contain again.
You don’t have to wonder why most kids grow up with a warped sense of their worth to God and to others—and as a result, a twisted sense of their true identity. Parents, teachers, the media, advertisers, and even some religious teachers can pummel you with the idea that your identity is defined by how good you look, how well you perform, and how much you succeed.
Even if you know better, you might be chained by that dumb idea. Yet God wants to set you free. His truth is stronger than any chain.
You can’t break loose in a bigger way than by getting into your head what God says about who you are in him:
• First, God says, “You are my child.” John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” Try putting yourself in this verse: “I have believed God and accepted him. He has given me the right to be his child.”
• Second, God says, “You are chosen.” Ephesians 1:4 tells us “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (NIV). Personalize that verse too: “I was chosen by God, before he even created the world, to be holy and blameless.”
When you let these Scripture truths change the way you see yourself, you figure out that you’re way bigger than the chains that bind you.
TALK: What negative messages do you hear each day that keep you from seeing yourself as God sees you?
PRAY: Thanks, God, for making us your children. Help us to remember that fact when lots of other voices try to keep us chained in fear.
ACT: Write today’s great Scripture words on a card. Tape it to your bathroom mirror. Look at it when you feel put down.