Have you heard of Benjaman Kyle? It’s a true story and a very sad one at that. Benjaman Kyle is the name given to a man who was found beaten, naked and unconscious outside of a Burger King near Atlanta, Georgia back in 2004. The beating was so severe that to this day, he suffers from dissociative amnesia – a condition where he can’t remember anything about himself or his life prior to 2004.
Let me say that one again: HE CAN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING ABOUT HIMSELF OR HIS LIFE PRIOR TO 2004!!!
He doesn’t know how old he is. He doesn’t know who his parents are. He doesn’t know if he has any brothers or sisters or uncles or cousins or even any friends! He doesn’t even remember his name! “Benjaman Kyle” isn’t his real name; it’s just what the hospital began calling him because they needed to refer to him as something!
Sad isn’t it?
And for the past 10 years, he’s done everything he can to discover who he really is. He’s done fingerprints, blood tests, DNA tests…and discovered nothing. He’s appeared on the local news, NPR (National Public Radio) and even the Dr. Phil show – hoping that someone out there would recognize him and know his story. Still nothing. They’ve even made a documentary called Finding Benjaman in the hopes of helping this man discover his true identity.
All of that and still no answers. The poor guy has no idea who he is, where he’s from, or what his own life story is. For all we know, the guy could be a millionaire and own a mansion on the French Riviera… or he might be named as a beneficiary in the will of a rich uncle somewhere… or he might have a PhD in rocket science or brain surgery or some other skill that could earn him lots of money and get him a decent job…
But instead, he has nothing. Because he doesn’t know his identity, he lives today as a beggar. No property in his name. No degrees on his resume. No inheritance or future to look forward to. Nothing.
All because he lost his identity and doesn’t know who he is.
Unfortunately being ignorant of your identity isn’t something that’s unique to Benjaman Kyle. I’ll bet that lots of people live that same way today – ignorant of their true identity and who they really are.
What am I talking about? Listen to what St. Paul teaches us about our identity in Romans 8:15-17.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,”
Did you hear that? Heirs of God and JOINT HEIRS WITH CHRIST!
That’s not too shabby. Of all the people out there that I’d like to be an “heir” of, I’d say God is pretty much at the top of the list. I’d say Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and God round out my top three choices!
(just joking, obviously I’m not putting God and Bill Gates or Warren Buffett on the same level; I’m just illustrating my point so please save the hate mail/comments for another blog post :) )
We are HEIRS of God? We are JOINT HEIRS with Christ? Are you kidding me? Is that how you’re living your life? Would people around you – in your office or at your school or even sitting next to you on the subway – would those people say “I work with a very rich person in my office?” Would they say “I sat next to someone today who clearly has a lot to live for”?
How much would your life change today if I told you that you just inherited $10 million? How would your attitude be different if I told you that you just promoted to be the CEO of the richest company in the world? How would your mindset change if you just found that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are each somehow magically related to you and each of them just left you half of their inheritance in their wills?
What if I tell you something even greater…something even more life changing and mind blowing?
…that you’ve been adopted into God’s family and that you are now His child?
…and that since you are a child of God, that also makes you an HEIR of God? And a JOINT HEIR with Christ?
All that because of who you are a CHILD of God, an HEIR of God, and a JOINT HEIR with Christ.
How’s that for a rich identity? Not bad huh?
What does that mean practically? That’s way more than I can put into one blog post. In fact, it’s such a big/important/life-altering reality, that we at STSA have decided to make this our goal for 2015: BECOMING WHO WE ALREADY ARE.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)
I can’t tell you what it means to be God’s heir right now, but I can tell you that the minute we were baptized into Christ, our identity changed. We became a new person in Christ and we no longer were subject to the same lives because of our new identity.
What does that mean? I invite you to join me and the rest of our church family as we try to figure it out together.