Faith Identity

I Am A Son!

“All boy!” my father beamed as he heard the news! That fall day at the hospital on Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, I popped into the world a wrinkly squirt of a boy. Clueless to me at the time, but I was a son. My parent’s first child. A bundle of joy!  Barely eight months later, I was on a plane half-way around the world.  Crete, Greece, an island in the Mediterranean would be my home for the next almost three years. There I’d learn to walk and talk. My sunbleached hair made me the “pretty little American boy” to the Greek moms and girls who wanted to practice their island hospitality with kisses for the baby.

Time took us Stateside again. California, then a brief stint in Oklahoma City and finally to Kansas, all by the time I was four and a half. Fast-forward through grade school, junior high, high school, college. The world kept getting more complicated. My introverted personality closed in on me. Who am I? Who am I becoming? For whatever reason, my identity as a son didn’t take much root during those formative years. Sure, I knew who my parents were. I knew I was loved, but mostly the future looked daunting. I had a career figured out, (architecture), but those values a son learns during his emerging manhood were sparse, sometimes silent.

Fast-forward to this past winter. High up in the Colorado Rockies. All acclimated along with 450 other men, ready to hear about the story of a restored heart. With absolutely NO blame towards anyone, I grew up lacking a clear picture of what it means to be a son. To come into my own. To make a life, a circle of influence and power of my own. My identity. Sure, I had Jesus, but more Jesus as a behavior than a relationship.  Things changed though. First at age twelve, then sixteen. So grateful for how God was fathering me when I didn’t even realize it!

Sitting there in that big room with 450 other men, it became obvious that my sonship journey, fathered by God, was taking an excruciating and yet awesome turn!  In Romans 8 we read about our adoption as sons through Christ. 

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “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 fellow heirs with Christ,

I Am A Son!

Beyond biology, if you are led by the Spirit, in Christ, you ARE A SON!  There is an intimacy God wants to have with you as His son. You belong to Him. He has a name for you. A unique calling. A way He wants to live His life through you. 

While biking recently, I heard the Lord speak to my spirit.  “David, you are my son. I love you. I am healing those gaps and wounds you grew up with. You’re going to be OK.”  Behind my sunglasses, as I biked through our local park, tears began to flow. “I am a son!  I am a son!”  I shouted out as I passed by walkers and joggers. Maybe that’s no big news for you. Perhaps you experience the healthiness of being a son who is loved and knows he belongs.  Fatherlessness comes in many forms. It’s not merely a physical presence as much as it is an emotional one.

It’s hard to put into words, but when you see your identity as a son of God, you realize He has something for you in this world. You no longer live for your narcissistic self. You have influence. You bring the nature and presence of your Father into your relationships. There is something to be said when you see yourself as a son, Fathered by God.  When I close my eyes, I picture the Father sitting beside me, His arm of affirmation and assurance on my shoulder.  The smile on His face as He thinks of me, speaks with me, listening to my heart. I feel understood, known. Believed in. Championed. 

As a mentor, the conversation will sometimes flow towards sonship. “You’re like a son to me.” I’ll affirm.  “You’re like a second dad to me.”  That’s when you know, the tightness of that human relationship is beginning to reflect the wonders one can have experience fathered by God.

I am a son!  So are you!

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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