Who am I? Isn’t that the question of a lifetime?
What defines us? Are we our name? our race? our culture? gender? occupation? are we our hobbies? our age? are we what we are feeling? Write “I am…” and fill in the blank.
We allow the works of our hands and our lives to define us. We allow the world and the society we live in; its expectations of us, to control how we see ourselves. And yet, all of these constructions of who we are, are futile. If we allow the world to define us, who we are will constantly shift with the changes of authority, fashion, technological progression, and social standards. If we allow ourselves to define us, who we are will change with our moods, our experiences, our hobbies, our stages of life.
Neither looking outward or looking inward can truly define us in a concrete sense. So where do we look to find out who we are?
We look at Jesus.
Paul writes in Galatians 3:26-28:
“So in Christ you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ” (NIV)
In this passage Paul takes things that people identify themselves by and tells them it doesn’t exist. Your culture, your social status, your gender. None of these things make you, you. We are all one in Christ.
There is an importance here that should not be overlooked. When we start to identify ourselves by the things of the world, where we are born and what culture we belong to, we start to separate ourselves from the people who are not the ‘same’ as us. But when we find ourselves in Christ, the other things become a part of who we are, not who we are. “I am in Christ, and I was born in South Africa.” My identity is not in the place where I was born, but in the fact that I am saved.
In understanding ourselves, we need to know who God is. Without that understanding we have only fleeting earthly things to attach our identities to.
The entire bible is filled with scripture about who God is. I am only going to share one verse with you but I would encourage you to go through scripture with the mindset of getting to know God.
Isaiah 43:3-4 is a statement made by God through the prophet Isaiah. God said:
“For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”
This verse tells us three things:
1 – Who God is.
2 – Who we are in God’s sight.
3 – What God will do in love for us.
You see, the Bible is not ethereal when it address who we are. Our identities are fixed. Because when God looks at us, He doesn’t identify you by country, age, gender, or culture; He identifies you in relation to Himself.
So who are we to God?
Romans 5: 6-10 sums up who we are really well.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (NIV)
Our identities go through a shift once we accept Christ as our saviour and believe that he died for and covered our sins. This is who we are and how our identities shift once we are saved.
We are sinners
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23 (NIV). The sinner identity belongs to all of us. Not one of us can stand here and say ‘I have never sinned’. Romans says ‘all’ that includes you.
The only way to get rid of this identity is to be saved from your sins. But we are not capable of doing that as sinners ourselves.
We are inadequate
We do not possess what is needed to save ourselves from sin. We are powerless in this regard. But there is a hope. And it is Jesus.
We are saved through Christ
“…While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NIV)
While we were. This statement is in the past tense. Yet we know that even if we are saved, we still sin against God. So why is the statement in the past tense? Because Christ died for us; He saved us and reconciled us to himself.
When He died, our ungodliness was covered with Christ’s righteousness. And so “I no longer live but Christ lives within me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV).
We are God’s
“Since we have now been justified by his blood”- Romans 5:9 (NIV)
“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 and into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”- Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
We were sinners, doomed to die and powerless in changing that. And yet, though we were ungodly, Jesus died for our sins; reconciling us to himself and saving us from God’s wrath. He called us by name and saved us by grace.
So who am I?
I am Yours.
“By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me is not without effect.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
Live it out
Spend some time thinking about how you identify yourself and why?
Now ask yourself: ‘Do I identify myself by the things of the world, or by who I am in Christ?’