Who are you? What is your identity in? Most of us answer by describing our roles in life. We have many roles we play in life. For myself some of the roles are aunt, friend, daughter, photographer, sister, etc. While the roles in my life are part of who I am and they are important to me, it is not where my identity lies. If I find my identity in these roles I will not be satisfied. Because I am finding my satisfaction in something that will always leave a void that only God can fill. “The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus.” Timothy Keller
We sometimes answer this question not only with the roles that are in our lives. But sometimes with our past or what has been spoken over us or labels given to us by others in our lives. One example of this would be victim. We sometimes are victims because of what has happened to us in our lives. If we are not careful, it can become our identity. When we think about who we are, we think about what has happened and this becomes who we are. Many times when we are a victim, something is lost and we need to grieve that loss and the hurt. And sometimes we can use their life circumstances to help others through similar situations. But it should not be where our identity lies.
In my own life when I think about the question of who am I, too often the roles in my life come to mind. Rather than where my true identity lies and that is in God and Jesus.
I am a daughter of the King. He is my Father and Creator. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” John 1:12
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:1-2
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26
I am His princess and I was accepted into a royal family when I chose Jesus as Lord over my life. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
I am a sinner saved by grace. Jesus paid the penalty for my sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
I live in freedom and I am forgiven as a child of God. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—” Romans 6:6
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10
I am loved by a Father unconditionally no matter what I have been through and no matter what I do in my life. His love for me is not contingent on my actions. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
So I ask you again who or what is your identity in? Is it in in our past or the roles that we fulfill in life or is it in our Creator who is the only one that can fill those voids we have?
It seems I have been hearing this word again and again in the last couple weeks. It is to the point now that I am wondering what God is trying to tell me. Many times when God is trying to tell or teach us something that word or phrase or concept keeps being brought into your life in many different ways.
About two weeks ago my Pastor, showed a video and there was a sentence that stuck out to me. “God made me for a purpose and when I delight in Him it’s brought to the surface!” Made for Something Great by James Grocho. In the Old Testament delight was used these two ways: Two of the most common Hebrew terms for delight are hepes [,pej], “to bend towards, to be inclined towards [an object or person], ” and rasa [h’x’r], “to delight or take pleasure in.” In the New Testament delight was used in this way: The Greek word most commonly used for “delight” is eudokeo [eujdokevw], usually used when God’s purpose, resolve, and choice are in view. When we bend towards or are inclined towards God, it is in those moments that He reveals to us what purpose He created us for.
This past weekend, I went on a retreat with about 36 other young adults who love Jesus and have a love for snow and community. The theme for this weekend was drawing near to our Creator. Someone shared Joseph‘s story for devotions one night. Joseph was sold by his own brothers into slavery. He was betrayed by his master’s wife and was put into prison. While he was in prison, he interpreted dreams for his fellow prison mates. Because of this Joseph was taken out of prison by Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph then was given a position in authority by the King to make sure that Egypt had enough of food for the 7 years of famine. Because of the famine, his brothers came for food in Egypt and Joseph had the opportunity to forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery. And this person at the retreat pointed out that Joseph had to go through what he went through to be brought into the purpose that God created him for.
As I thought about how this last phrase and what Joseph had to go through be in God’s purpose. It made me realize if it wasn’t for what I had not gone through as a child, I would not be where I am today. There was a chain of events that followed me through my childhood and into adulthood that brought me where I am today. Today I believe I am in my purpose that God created me for. In college I realized my purpose in my life is to provide hope to people who are sometimes in their darkest times. And this hope starts with the unconditional love of our Father and Jesus.
Sometimes we have to go through tough times in life to bring us to our purpose and the reason we were created for. So instead of being focused on asking God why bad things or tough things happen in our life, draw near to our Creator and look for the beauty that can come from ashes. And in the days you can not see this beauty or your purpose because life is overwhelming. Look to your Father and ask Him to provide a glimmer of hope that you can hold onto.
Recently I read Matthew 19:26, in this verse it states that with God all things are possible. After reading this, I began thinking about situations in my friends and families’ lives. These situations had a common dominator, people are making decisions in their lives that are destructive. These decisions are hurting others in their lives. And my thought after reading this verse was, “God, you have the power to make people change. Why don’t you? It would create less hurt.”
God’s answer to me was the answer of a gentleman. He said “because I do not force myself on others.” I am glad I serve a God who is a gentleman. Because let’s face it I do not do well if someone forces a decision on me, nor do most people. And if God would force us to make decisions or if he made all our decisions then we would just be mere puppets.
God has given us choice. He allows to choose if we are going to accept the gift of grace that He offers us. As much as I wish these individuals who are making these destructive decisions, would see God’s grace and what freedom they could have if they would allow God change their heart. I can not make this choice for them or I can not make them make a different choice. The only I can do is love these people and show them what unconditional love looks like. God’s love is what changes hearts. And we should build relationships with others in the context of showing His love. A saying that we use at work fits well with this. “No significant change happens outside a significant relationship.” So who do you need to spend time with to show the love of a heavenly Father who loves them more they could imagine?