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The Wimpy Kid

September 28, 2011

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

-Romans 8:37

I spent some time at a local park on Sunday.  I got away from it all… well, as far as you can in Corona.  I bought a sandwich and a bottle of Coke.  I set up a hammock.  I relaxed.  I may have been the only one.  Everyone else at the park was there watching their kids play baseball.  That’s when I spotted this little guy.  The Wimpy Kid.

I began to think about the wimpy kid.  Did he like being called the wimpy kid?  Was he really the wimpy kid?  Was actually a strong kid?  He looked kind of wimpy to me.  Who am I to point fingers?  Sometimes I feel like the wimpy kid.

I thought of a wimpy kid I once read about.  His name was Gideon.  His story begins in Judges 6 and continues for a few chapters.  Read it.  It’s great.  In the story, Gideon’s land had been raided by men from another country.  He was beating out some wheat inside a winepress to keep from being seen.  Maybe not the fighter type.  God’s approach to him interests me, because he does the unexpected.  He addresses the wimpy kid saying, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12).  Huh?

Mighty – adjective – possessing great and impressive power or strength

Man – noun – a person with the qualities often associated with males such as bravery, spirit, or toughness

Valor – noun – great courage in the face of danger, esp. in battle

God doesn’t call Gideon out for having none of these qualities.  Instead he speaks to something deeper than the surface.  God looks beyond what Gideon is at the time, and sows into what he’s going to make him to be.  He gives Gideon a new identity.  Never mind the obvious.  That’s not important.  What Gideon needed to know was that he could be the man he needed to be.

Bill Johnson’s illustration of an acorn explains this wonderfully well.  Right here, God sows an acorn into Gideon’s life.  It’s just a seed.  “Mighty man of valor.”  Gideon hasn’t done anything yet.  He’s just been caught hiding.  Gideon can’t see in himself what God sees. The next couple verses quote Gideon’s laments that God had forsaken Israel.  Again, God responds with “Go in this might of yours…”  Gideon sees himself, his courage, his ability, as an acorn.  God sees things from a different perspective though.  Inside that acorn is an oak tree.  God calls to the oak inside of Gideon.

But God the Father’s heart toward you is the same as it is toward Gideon:  You are not the wimpy kid.  You are a mighty man of valor.

Many people have only heard that we are to stop being the wimpy kid.  “Just stop being the wimpy kid, get tough.”  Well meaning advice, but not really helpful.  If you think you’re the wimpy kid, and people tell you to stop being the wimpy kid, then it’s easy to modify your behavior to stop acting like the wimpy kid.  If I just try hard enough not to be wimpy, eventually I’ll work my way out of this wimpiness.  That won’t do.  You need to know that the wimpy kid is not your identity, but you also need to know what your identity is.  As Gideon believes God about his identity, you see a change in him.  Gideon is not a static character.  He is a dynamic character in the story.

I would suggest that, much like Gideon, you’re not a static character in your story either.  Your failures.  The things you have done.  The things you should have done.  The things you could have done.  They don’t define you.  They don’t have to.  You see, God hasn’t made you a minor character in a story, you have the invitation to Sit with him in the Catbird Seat.  You have the invitation to be a part of his story.  And his story is a marvelous one.  His story is one that invites grown men out of their winepresses of hiding.  He invites us out of our shame.  He says, “hear your true identity, ‘O mighty man of valor.'”  It involves leaving the relative security of your winepress and into the sure hands of a loving Father.  A Father who doesn’t call out your faults but calls to the strengths he has given you and encourages you to walk in them.

When we gave our life to Christ, he gave his life to us.  We are more than conquerers through Jesus.  How is it that we get to be called mighty men of valor?  We get the identity of Jesus.  It’s not to glory in our “new found identity.”  It’s to glorify Jesus.  It’s because he has seated us with him in the heavenly places that we get to own that identity.  It doesn’t require our effort, but rather our trust.  We trust that Jesus is who he says he is.  We trust that he really is over every authority and power.  We trust that he has taken our “wimpy kid” identity from us and given us his identity. We trust that… you see, it’s not so much about us doing something to define ourselves, as it is about trusting Jesus and accepting what he has given us.  In the end all we have is his, it’s still about Jesus.

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