The Ugly Dachshund

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” Ephesians 2:10

Growing up, my wife always had an affinity for dachshunds. We adopted a “dachsie” for our one-year anniversary and wiener dogs have been a part of our hearts ever since. One of my favorite classics is the old Disney film, The Ugly Dachshund, about a Great Dane who thinks he’s a dachshund. Because Brutus has grown up in a litter of dachshunds, he struggles to act like the big dog he was designed to be. His owner must take him through a training regimen to help him realize his regal pedigree as a Great Dane—a quite comical unfolding.

A misguided sense of identity leads to all sorts of dysfunction in our lives. It will cause us to make idols of the things we mistakenly find our identity in—favorite sports teams, entertainment icons, social branding, popularity, academic achievement, or career success. We can even mistakenly place our identity in being a religious person or a “good” Christian.

Jesus came not just to forgive us of our sins, but also to restore our lost identity.

He rescues us from the idolatry of making our identity about performances or appearances. He reminds us that our identity does not emanate from the place where we were born. It’s not about what has happened to us along the way. It’s not found in our history of successes or failures.

Our identity, originating out of God’s outrageous love for us, is about being created in His image and shaped for His pleasure. We are His work of art, eliciting boundless joy and unremitting cheer. That’s the ancient root behind the phrase describing how God rejoices in His creation (Psalm 104:31).

In Genesis 1, we not only see God’s order of creation, we also see His response to what He made. Five times God stands back, as it were, and gives an account of His creation. Each time it says, “And God saw that it was good” (vv. 4, 12, 18, 21, 25). Later, after all was finished and man and woman were created in his own image, it says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

You were designed for a unique purpose—a very good purpose. The Bible says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13, 16 NIV).

But because sin had marred that original design, we were dead in our transgressions until redemption made us alive with Christ and raised us up to be seated with him in heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:1-6). Jesus has restored our lost identity! “For we are God’s masterpiece… created anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (v.10).

This is your true identity beloved: You are uniquely handcrafted by God, created for goodness, redeemed from the past, made alive with Christ, regenerated by new birth, sealed by the Holy Spirit, called to a royal kingdom purpose, seated in heavenly places, and destined for eternal glory!

Don’t be a victim of identity theft. Remind yourself, and perhaps your adversary, who you are in Christ Jesus today.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, all of your works are good. All of your creation is good. May we find our identity in the glorious redemption of Jesus and not in some fleeting worldly substitute. Help us to be reminded of where we have been seated with Christ and to live from that reality. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:

  1. When have you found your identity in something other than Christ?
  2. In Ephesians 2, what three characteristics mark the identity of a person without Christ? (2:2-3)
  3. What describes God’s action in restoring what was lost? (2:4-9)
  4. Why do you think Paul spent so much time reminding believers who they were in Christ?
  5. Have you been a victim of spiritual identity theft? Ask the Holy Spirit to identify any areas in your life where this may be true, and to reclaim the “real” you.

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