There is a great story in the Bible about a man named Gideon. Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites. This had been going on for seven years and Israel was suffering under their brutal invasion. Everything Israel grew — crops and livestock — the Midianites consumed. It was so bad that they were hiding in shelters in the mountains to get away from their oppressors. They called out to God and in response He sent an angel. Now this part is really fascinating. The angel did not go to the leader of Israel but to a young man named Gideon who was hiding in a wine press trying to press wheat there.

Let’s pick up the story in Judges 6: 12-15: “When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.’ ‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.’ The LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’ ‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’”

WARRIOR OR WIMP?

I love this story because it shows that God defines us differently. When the Lord appeared to Gideon He said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior”. Remember that Gideon was not acting like a mighty warrior in any fashion or form. In fact, he was hiding and acting very much like he was intimidated by the enemy. His outward behavior would define him as a coward and a wimp. But God looked at his heart and called him by his real name “mighty warrior.”

Immediately, Gideon resists God’s definition and pointed to outward events to contradict what God had just said to him. He said to God, “If you’re with us why is all this bad stuff happening?” In Gideon’s mind he disagreed with both parts of what God said: that God was with them and that he was a mighty warrior. But if you look closely, God did not say He was with Israel - He said He was with Gideon.

In Heaven, Gideon was known by his real name “mighty warrior.” Before Gideon had performed any acts of valor, he was a mighty warrior in his heart. His acts of valor would prove to others what he already was in his heart. Gideon continues to argue with God saying that he was not qualified to be God’s mighty warrior claiming, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Gideon’s mechanism for defining himself was based on external, outward and worldly thinking. Based on that criteria he did not qualify to do anything great for God. After all, he came from a weak clan and within that clan he was the least.

PEOPLE SEE YOU ONE WAY BUT GOD SEES YOU DIFFERENTLY

But God saw him differently. He said, “If you will believe my definition of you, and believe that I am with you, I will use my strength to help you deliver the nation from the enemy.”

People see you one way, but God sees you as you are known in Heaven. Who does Heaven say you are? Who is the real you? What has God built into your inner being? Do you know? And if you did know would you believe it? These are the core issues that drive our identity in Christ