“Who am I?”
It’s a question we all ask ourselves. More than once. Some of us spend years seeking its answer.
We look to our relationships, to our education, to our occupation, to our accomplishments – or to the lack of these. We listen to others, to our feelings, to our faulty interpretation of God’s Word – or others’ faulty interpretations. And no matter what, we always find ourselves coming up short, with an identity that never seems enough.
We then spend countless sleepless nights wondering: how can I find more time to do enough? Accomplish enough. Be enough? Can I get to that place of enough – of perfection – before the final shoe drops and I’m standing before the Alimighty who demands an account of everything I’ve ever said or done?
Our identity is at the core of our perspective of ourselves, our lives, the people and world around us, and, interestingly enough, of God Himself. It ultimately determines our behavior, and most certainly affects our feelings and sense of worth. At the end of the day, it also determines whether we live the abundant life Jesus came to give us!
The Identity that Trumps All Others
Beyond the identities of being a friend, sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle; and beyond the identities of being male or female, young or old, single or married, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful, lies a much more important and significant identity that trumps all other identities:
We are beloved children of God. He is our Father. Our Abba. Our Papa. Our Daddy.
Yours and mine.
This, above anything else, is our identity.
And, when we come to faith in Jesus, believing that He is God’s Son, that He died as payment for our sins and sinfulness, and that He gained victory over the finality of death by rising from the dead – we also become co-heirs with Jesus!
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:15-17 HCSB)
Being heirs of God means that what Jesus receives from the Father we also receive: His approval, His acceptance, His love, His delight, and most of all – the Holy Spirit who begins to transform us from the inside out. This transformation, though seemingly slow to us, in God’s eyes is instantaneous. Because when He looks at us, He sees the perfection of our Brother Jesus which was transferred to us by His work on the cross and our acceptance of His sacrifice for us. While we may be flawed and disobedient at times, God accepts Jesus’ perfection and obedience as our own.
When we come to this understanding and realization, this truth transforms us. We are God’s – much loved and delighted in. He finds no fault in us. We bring Him delight by being who He created us to be, and by accepting His love without question as a little child does who is nestled in the arms of his or her Daddy.
Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! (1 John 3:1 HCSB)
Finally we have found an identity and a place of belonging that is never lacking, no matter what we are or aren’t, or do or don’t do.
A Helper for Our Helplessness
We are helpless in the sinfulness of our human flesh. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves perfect, try as we might. We live to honor our Abba, but when we fall down, as children do, the Holy Spirit – who is part of our inheritance and lives within us – helps us get back up. He is always with us. Always helping us with whatever is before us to live out. There is no condemnation. Only grace – a magnificent gift given to us by our Abba Father who loves us without qualification, other than we are simply His child.
Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6 HCSB)
When the Final Shoe Does Drop
On that day that we stand before the Alimighty, Who we now know is our loving Abba Father – all He will see is His child whom He loves and delights in, with all the perfection that Jesus transferred to us, and He will say to us with arms opened wide, “Welcome Home, my beloved child.”
“And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:14-18 HCSB)