What I Do Is Not Who I Am

 

Genesis 1:26 (NIV), “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.””

We all have something that we do. I sew, crochet, and love to read. My husband is handy with any tool, can fix everything from cars to blenders. I write, he runs a splitter at a plastics factory. I have a friend who is a nurse and one who makes jewelry. These are all things we do. We also tend to have some bad habits like leaving the toilet seat up, putting off chores, watching too much TV, or spending too much time on the computer. All of these things I have mentioned, both good and bad, both helpful and harmful, are only things that we do. They are not who we are!

In the world we live in people frequently ask this question, “What do you do?” I am aware that they are referring to our line of work; however we have adopted the answer to this question as our identity. People say, “I am a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, a childcare provider, etc.” Then those same people have an identity crisis when it comes to knowing who they are. There has been some work in trying to get past this issue. You can watch people, especially cute little children, on YouTube saying things like, “I am strong,” “I am gifted,” “I am healthy,” and so on. All good things. What we think about ourselves is important. Yet, am I just that list of character traits? God has a call on each life. He has a purpose and a plan for them that will benefit their own lives and those around them. Some are called to be doctors, to take care of children, or to run a business. Those are specific calls. Before we can even begin to walk on that chosen path, we have to surrender ourselves to Him. Then, after we find ourselves (by acknowledging our need for Him as our Heavenly Father) then we begin this journey.

Each one of us also has a general call on our lives. It includes many aspects of being a child of God, but today I am focusing on this one.

“Our general, primary call is to be Christ like.”

Romans 8:29 (HCSB), “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

First, before anything else, we need to be like Him.

That’s who we are not something we do.

Then we go into the world, on our jobs, doing those things that we do, and we represent Him. We show the world what He looks like, how He loves them, and what it means to belong to the Family of God. We love, first each other, and then those who haven’t joined our family yet.

I John 4:17 (ISV), “This is how love has been perfected among us: we will have confidence on the day of judgment because, during our time in this world, we are just like him.”

His love is perfected, made perfect, in us during our time in this world. We can be confident! Of what? That we have been conformed to His image and that we are just like Him.

When we walk on this earth just like Jesus did, things happen. Lives are changed. Nations are humbled. Peter tells us what happens when we set our hope on the grace that came through the revelation of who Jesus is.

I Peter 1:13-22 (ESV), “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”

Will we do everything right? Heck no. Does it matter? Not a bit.

Learn from your mistakes, stay humble (teachable), repent when needed, and move on. It will take the family of God to change the world. Jesus already gave us everything we needed to do this. Let’s get moving.

Who Do You Think You Are?

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At some point we all ask ourselves the question, “Who am I?” Answers vary. Some say, “I am a McCoy,” “I am a writer,” “I am a Packer Fan,” or “I am a mother.” Others may say things like, “I am a college graduate,” “I am an alcoholic,” or “I am nobody special.” Our ideas about who we are run the gambit. The opinions we have about ourselves are mostly rooted in what others may have said about us, or told us about ourselves. Growing up, we may have rebelled about the labels that others have placed on us and determined to prove them wrong. Weather we think of ourselves as important or unimportant, beautiful or ugly, useful or useless, what we think matters.

Why?

Well, you see before we can truly love others, the way God wants us to, we first have to love ourselves. Not in a narcissistic way, where we think too highly of ourselves and only of ourselves, but in a healthy way. Any type of identity crisis will hinder God in our lives. Weather it is pride and selfishness, or low self esteem and self loathing.

So, how do we get a real picture of who we are? How do we have balance in our opinion of ourselves?
Through God’s word and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Do a Bible search! Modern technology is great. Here are just a few scriptures that I found helpful:
Psalm 139:13-18 (NIV), “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.”

Galatians 6:3 (ASV), “For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5 (ESV), “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”

Matthew 5 13-14 (NIV), “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Here are a few more “I am’s”: I am a child of God (John 1:12). I Am a friend of Jesus (John 15:15). I am a new creature in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). I am His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). I am a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 5:8). I am love by God (John 3:16). I am chosen by God (Colossians 3:2). That is only a minute portion of what God thinks about you, who He says you are.

So, when Satan tries to tell you you are a loser, and he will, you tell him that God always causes you to triumph (II Corinthians 2:14). When you are feeling depressed, tell yourself, “Why are you downcast, put your hope in God!” Psalms 43:5).When you feel like even your own family doesn’t care say, “even if my mother and father forsake me, God cares for me! (Psalm 27:10).

You see, He has an answer for every negative thought, because you are important to Him. So much that He hasn’t left us comfortless. His Holy Spirit is here to reveal to us everything God thinks about us. He convinces us of who we are in Christ and convicts us of sin. He keeps us on the right path, if we listen and obey Him.

I never wonder who I am anymore. I know who I am!

I am His!

The Dead Do Not Inherit

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An inheritance is for the living. When you go to hear the reading of the last will and testament of a person who has passed on, the room is not full of corpses. Instead it is full of the living relatives, and beneficiaries of the deceased.
God says that we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ, (Romans 8:17). He also says that we are seated in Heaven with Christ, (Ephesians 2:6). God gave Adam everything. Adam gave it over to Satan. Jesus took it back on the cross and went to hell to even get the keys to Satan’s eternal home. At Jesus’ death on the cross-we inherited everything from Him. At His death, a New Testament came into being. We inherited the Kingdom of Heaven, as well as all things on this earth. We don’t have to wait until we die to have Heaven. Heaven isn’t just a place. It’s a Kingdom. Jesus is the King, and we are His royal family. Heaven is ours, now! Salvation and everything that comes with it, is our now, isn’t waiting for us to die. Only the living receive an inheritance.
Jesus didn’t die to bring us to Heaven. If that was His only purpose, we’d be there now. Jesus came to bring Heaven to us, here on earth. His Kingdom needs to be enlarged. That can only happen if we stand in our rightful places as sons and daughters of the Most High God. We have to accept the inheritance, use it, and do what God asks us to do-love Him with all our hearts, and to seek and save the lost. It’s not just for our benefit. We are to heal the sick, raise the dead and set the captives free. That’s our job. We can sit around a pray about it, (and prayer is wonderful!), but God wants us to act on our faith. We are Royalty with authority.
No longer say, “I am a sinner saved by grace.” You were a sinner, and you were saved by grace. But if you have accepted Jesus and his finished work on the cross, you aren’t a sinner any longer. Sin is the nature of another kingdom, the kingdom of darkness. It’s no longer our nature. We have the nature of the King and the Kingdom that we submit ourselves under. God has made us brand new creatures, our old nature is dead, all things are new.
So what’s allowed in heaven? Is guilt, condemnation? Of course not. Then you can’t be guilty or condemned. You are seated in Heaven with Christ. He took our guilt. It’s gone! Now only one is judged, and that is Satan. He is judged guilty. His attacks against born again children of God is unlawful. Jesus followed all the legalities in getting our inheritance for us. Satan can find nothing in us to accuse us of to The Father. The Father only see’s us as righteous. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, yes, so that we can turn back to God, but He also convinces us of righteousness. He constantly reminds us of who God is and who we are in Christ. Jesus redeemed us from the curse and reconciled us back to right standing with The Father.
Does that mean we never sin? No-but if our hearts are given over to a New King, He is quick to forgive and chooses to forget. He doesn’t hold it against us. If we aren’t guilty is that the “ok” to sin. Paul says, “God forbid,” to that. All things are lawful, but all things are not beneficial. The closer we get to Him, the less we will sin. You’ll see that things that once tempted us will no longer pull us away from God. Don’t let Satan, the world, or even your own flesh tell you who you are or what to feel. Only God sees us for who we truly are. He says you are accepted in the beloved. He calls you blessed. He has called us sons and daughters. You aren’t who you once were. God didn’t scrub us clean-He made us brand new. He didn’t remodel or remake, He built you brand new from the foundation to the attic and filled you with good things!