Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Who Am I?"

“Who Am I?”

Sociologists say that the answer one gives to this question reveals their identity and will determine how the person views, thinks, and handles every situation for the rest of their life.  

This question of trying to define our own identity is one that humankind has struggled with ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:25 reads, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife and they were not ashamed”. God created the perfect relational and physical environment in the Garden, where man, woman, and God could have the most full and deep relational connection. There was no need of hiding anything from one another. However, we know that this perfect environment did not last long because we see broken relationships and hurt people every single day! For many of you, you know how the rest of the story goes. Satan disguised himself as a serpent and caused Eve to question the words of God her Creator. Blame shifting passed from Adam to Eve to the Serpent and then to the One who created them all. This perfect relational environment was broken, and Adam and Eve felt ashamed, not only in front of each other but in front of God as well.

Satan’s other names are the “Deceiver” and the “Accuser”. He caused Eve to question God’s words, His love for her, His goodness towards her and ultimately her identity in the One who created her. Eve then saw that the fruit was “good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desired to make one wise”. Satan’s ultimate goal was not to get Eve to sin by disobeying God’s commands but to cause her to turn and hide from God. Satan is still using these same three tactics today because he knows that they work so well! Satan knows God’s love for us is too strong, that He will never forsake us, (John 3:16) so all he needs us to do is to hide from this love that is freely offered. And we do this SO WELL.

Our society, (including you and me) hide by making masks for ourselves and putting on false identities. This is done in three ways; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We change the way we look, act and think towards others to make them view us differently. We often hide from ourselves by doing these same things. Psalm 139:7-8, 11-12 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I hide from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there, if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there…If I say, surely the darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day.” God made no mistakes with us when He created each one of us uniquely and wonderfully. His thoughts towards us are far too numerous and precious. (Psalm 139:13-18) And get this, Psalm 139:1-4 tells us that He knows all our thoughts before we even think them! So basically, there is no need to try and “hide” from God, it’s useless. And secondly, He created you and me to have a personal relationship with, before sin entered into the world.

All these things are true even for His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. In Mark 1 during Jesus Christ’s baptism, God’s voice down from heaven and said, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I Love and am well pleased”. This is such a significant statement in the Identity of the Son of God. First, God declares who Jesus is as His Son. He also says He loves Jesus and that He is well pleased in who He IS and not what He DOES because Jesus was only a carpenter to this point and had not yet started His work here on earth.

Immediately after this, Jesus was led out into the desert to be tempted by Satan in the exact same three ways Satan tempted Eve in the garden; by food (lust of his flesh), by the praise of men (lust of the eyes), and by power(pride of life). Nevertheless, Jesus, because His identity was in God His Father, He was able to resist the lies of Satan and lean upon truths.

These same truths can be true for us! If we truly believe that, we as broken and empty people, separated from God from our sin, need a Savior, a way for our relationship to be restored to God our Father and Creator, this all can be true for us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (our new identity), old things have passed away (our false identity) and behold all things have become new!

So, to answer the original question “Who am I?”, I can confidently say that I am a child of God. I am loved by God so much that He cannot possibly love me anymore or any less than He already does. And that His pleasure found in me is not by what I DO (or what society tells me I should do), but who I AM, created by Him and for Him. And it is sooo true! Because I am confident in my identity, it makes me so much more confident in every area of my life! I am not going to lie to you and put on a mask, and tell you that I am a perfect person in every way, or that life is a piece of cake, but it is a lot easier. Because there are times I do start to doubt God’s goodness and love for me when my flesh desires, or my eyes covet or when my pride gets in the way, but I can be sure of one thing. And this one thing is “The Lord my God is in my midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over me with gladness, He will quiet me with His love, He will rejoice over me with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

Thank You Tom for reminding me of these precious truths. I pray the same for each one of you.

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