Sean Edwards

The American Resurrection

Who Are You After The War?

Man-Over-CloudsIn the summer of 2008, my best friend and I packed my car to the brim and moved to Redding, CA. We had just graduated from university and were on our way to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

We had heard tales of miracles and a tangible presence of God unlike any other place, and we wanted to be part of it.

Over the next 2 years, my life would be transformed in its entirety. My understanding of who I was, who God was, and who I was meant to be were rebuilt from the ground up.

The culture at Bethel infuses you with a sense of purpose, something so many people long to experience. Countless people go through life aimless, without a sense of purpose or destiny. It robs their soul and keeps them from living life to the fullest.

But at Bethel you are swept up in this sense of purpose (and Bethel is not unique in this regard, there are many places that do the same). We have a mission. God has put us here for a reason: to transform the world into what it was meant to be.

Sin, sickness, and death were never meant to be part of our lives. And Jesus commissioned us to help him set things right. This is our purpose: To bring Heaven to earth. How each person does this is different. But that is the big picture. Part of the journey is discovering your role in this great saga.

The several years that followed my time at Bethel were amazing to say the least. I was working with people doing what I wanted to do. I was a key player at my church. And I continued to dream about the desires God had placed in my heart.

At the same time I felt God begin to whisper the question, “Who are you after the war?”

I began to think about life–either in this world, or the next–after I achieved the pinnacle of my dreams. How would I feel when there was no longer a mission to accomplish? Who would I be when there wasn’t a world to transform? How would my sense of purpose be fulfilled when the War was won?

And I realized something about myself. During my time at Bethel, I tied my identity to my sense of purpose.

The Great War

In many respects we are in a war. We are here to transform the world. But we were created for the transformed world. We were meant to live our lives in a world that didn’t need to be fixed. It is who we are in that world that should define who we are in this world.

It is who we are in that world that should define who we are in this world.

No matter how long we live on this side of eternity, and no matter how much we accomplish, it will be infinitesimally small compared to the rest of our lives in a redeemed eternity.

So, our understanding of who we are can not be tied to what we are supposed to do in this life.

We have all seen the movies and TV shows were a soldier becomes defined by their war. Or maybe we even know someone like that. They find their sense of who they are in fighting the enemy, and when the war ends, they don’t know who they are or how to live life.

This is not healthy. Most soldiers fight for life after the war. They fight now so they don’t have to fight later. They fight so their families are safe. They fight so they can live their lives in peace.

A soldier who needs a war is a person who has lost touch with their true identity.

A soldier who needs a war is a person who has lost touch with their true identity.

And this is what I had done with my sense of purpose, and what I have seen many others do as well.

It is easy for us to attach our mission in this life to our identity as a person.

In my life, I want to transform the political world. But what happens when the government has been transformed by then Kingdom? Who am I then?

If you feel called to save the lost, who are you when everyone is saved? If you feel called to heal the sick, who are you when there aren’t any sick people?

This is what I have learned: We have a mission in this life, we have a role to play in the Great War. But that is not who we are. Our original design did not include war. It did not have a broken planet that needed redemption. God created us for a purpose other than winning this War.

We must embrace and pursue our purposes in this life, and we should take great joy from accomplishing them. But we must remember one thing: We cannot let this War define us. Our understanding of who we are, and what we live for must be based on something else.

Our sense of purpose must be based on who we are when the war is over.

If you’re wondering what that looks like, I have some thoughts on that. But will I share those with you in the next post.

For now, ask yourself this question: Who are you after the War? Who are you when you have accomplished your mission in this life? Who were you meant to be in eternity?

About Sean Edwards

Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.

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  • Sean, this is a very important question. Thanks for stirring us to think about it. My first impulse was to answer, “The Outlaw Josie Wales”. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the right answer…

  • Marshall Bone

    This is brilliant Sean. As always, you challenge me to ask myself the hard questions. I can’t wait to read the next post.

  • Great stuff! We HAVE to be thinking about this. You can’t reach your goal if you don’t know what it is.

  • Thanks for the thoughtful article. I agree. Life is more than the avoidance of death. Some quotes from Atlas:

    “You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.”

    “We do not hold the belief that this earth is a realm of misery where man is doomed to destruction. We do not think that tragedy is our natural fate and we do not live in chronic dread of disaster. We do not expect disaster until we have specific reason to expect it – and when we encounter it, we are free to fight it. It is not happiness, but suffering that we consider unnatural. It is not success, but calamity that we regard as the abnormal exception in human life.”

    The above ideas are poetic and powerful. Understood within the Christian context, their meaning is slightly altered and deepened.

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