April 27, 2021
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I think it had to be one of the most like insecure afternoons of my life. Our committee had been meeting for two days at this hotel. Two days straight! We had a slave-driving chairman, and finally he said, "All right, guys, how about a couple of hours in the pool?" "All right! The pool! The sauna! We deserve a break today."
There was this one problem. My best friend and me? We had come totally unprepared; we had no swimwear whatsoever. And we really didn't want to pass up the pool and the sun and all that good stuff. So I went down to the gift shop and I said, "Do you have any swim trunks here?" And the lady said, "Well, I have some paper trunks." She said, "Yeah, they're reinforced and they're paper trunks. It's only $2." Yeah. Well, it was my only choice, so I went for it. I mean, I guess I could spend $2 on it.
I want to tell you, it was an insecure afternoon sitting there in those paper trunks in the sauna. Now, I'm happy to report there was... well, no modesty crisis... no wardrobe malfunction, but I did not keep them to wear for other occasions. No, I used them, and believe me, I threw them away. Because I know there's a difference between what you wear for a little while and what you're going to be wearing for a long time. Paper trunks may be worth $2, probably not much more.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Paper Trunks and Permanent Wardrobe."
Now, there are a lot of things you can base your identity on, but most of those roles, I would call them "paper trunks" you wear a little while and then you throw them away. There is one identity that is your permanent wardrobe; only one identity that you will always be, that is if you've ever made a commitment of your life to Jesus Christ. Paul talks about it in Ephesians 1, where we find our word for today from the Word of God. I'll begin at verse 11.
Notice the two words that are repeated four times in this passage. "In Christ we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be for the praise of His glory and you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth - the gospel of your salvation. Having believed you were marked in Christ with the seal - the promised Holy Spirit."
Okay, unless you dozed off, you probably know where your identity is supposed to be from those repeated two words, "In Christ." Yeah, that's your location. Where are you? You're in Christ. There are a lot of identities where you might say, "I'm in something or other." You're in high school, or "I'm in college." You could say, "Man, is there life after high school?" You're in college at one period in your life. I know guys who are in professional football and they'll say, "Is there life after football?" Is there life after whatever company or organization you work for, after retirement, after you lose your mate or your parents?
See, life is a series of new starts. What happens after the children are gone? Those new starts last from starting kindergarten, to college, to marriage, the empty nest, job changes, retirement, the funeral. And we wear those identities for a period of time. But if you're ever going to find personal security, you need a transcendent identity - someone you can be forever. And Paul gave it to us, "In Christ." You will always belong to Jesus Christ after high school, when college is a memory, when you're single, when you're married, when you're widowed, when you're raising kids, after the kids leave.
But here's the problem: We tend to pay a very high price for our temporary identities; our paper trunks. You'll never see most of your high school friends again, but we compromise. We hide our eternal relationship with Christ because we're scared of them. We play by whatever rules we have to play to be accepted in school, in the dorm, in our job, and we sacrifice our loyalty to Christ in the process.
Look, you'll belong to Christ forever. Why not really be what you'll always be? Don't waste a lot of your life on paper trunks. Put your best into the permanent wardrobe that you will never risk losing - who you will be for all eternity - "In Christ."