Our family just watched The Magnificent Seven, the western movie with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen and other well-known cast members. The young man, Chico, was an important character in the film. Chico wanted to be something much more than just a farmer in Mexico, so he took up the gun and rode with the “good guys.” Chico fit right in among the Mexican villagers, except for the fact that he didn’t want to be like them.
Interestingly, the character of Chico was played by Horst Buchholz. Note the name. If you watch the movie, you might expect Chico’s real name to be Menendez or Gonzales, but the actor was German. Born and died in Berlin, Buchholz was able to make us believe that he was a young Hispanic man. Obviously, he was a pretty good actor.
Over the past few weeks, we have been unpacking many parts of the wonderful gift Jesus gave to us when we were saved. All those amazing things—hope, righteousness, wisdom, holiness, peace, and more—are ours in the gift of salvation. But many people unpack the gift box as though it were an actor’s traveling chest. From it they take different things to cover up who they really are. They put on holiness, but know they are not holy. They put on forgiveness, but doubt that they have really been forgiven. They put on strength, but feel weak inside. They try to wear the costumes, to act the part, but they think of themselves as just the same as before.
What these people fail to understand is that the gift box is not so much giving you things as it is revealing what has already become yours. In fact, it is revealing you. You don’t have the gift of righteousness in a box so you can take it out and connect with it from time to time. It was given to you as a gift so that you are now righteous. That’s who you are.
All of these things describe you. You are filled with hope. You are strong. You are good, and wise, and forgiven, and holy, and free. Something fundamental has changed. The old you is gone. The new you has come.
When you allowed Jesus to enter your life and be your Lord, you became a new person. The old you died. He did more than just clean house in you. He washed away everything that defined you and gave you a new identity. You became what He designed you to be. In fact, for the first time in your life, you fulfilled your potential. You entered in Christ and He entered into you—and that’s the way it was supposed to be from the beginning. Now the eternal life of Jesus Christ lives in you. He is your life.
Listen: you are not a pretender. You are not an actor playing the role of a Christian. You are a Christian who remembers what used to be. Perhaps you have forgotten the truth, or no one ever told you, but you are far more than what you were. Pretenders are weak and afraid and insincere. They have no assurance and no strength. That’s not you. Jesus has made you who you are.
It is time to live as who you really are. Everything you need is in your relationship with Jesus. Trust Him and believe Him. You belong to Him and He is with you forever. That’s good news!