Who am I?
Robin Aylor 12/30/2017
I remember an episode on Star Trek the Next Generation where Data the Android had questions of who he was and what his purpose was in life. In this particular episode, Data had the first opportunity to speak with his creator Noonian Soong; (who’s image he was made in) to find out if he was accomplishing his intended purpose and whether his maker approved of him. Like Data, you too, might be like me and desire to fulfill your Creators purpose for you in life… You may hope to one day hear him say “well done”.
A better first question is “Who is Jesus?”.
Most people believe the way we seek out our Creators acceptance is by being good enough with all the focus on self, but God requires our sincere and unabridged obedience. Oops! I have messed up in that my whole life. I have sought my own glory and went my own way. We all are broken sinners and therefore cannot earn Gods favor in this matter. However; in his mercy our Creator is the one who reveals himself to us. God sent his only Son Jesus to make a way for us to know God. He seeks us out individually and actually imparts to us a desire to seek and come to him. He paid the wages of our sins on the Cross and also imputes his righteousness into those who delight in him so we can be in his presence.
Matthew 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Again… Who Am I?
In this physical world we human beings typically associate who we are with what we do.
Our assumed identity comes from a commitment to our vocation and is also usually tethered to other emotional interests which we sometimes refer to as our passions. We see this tie to identity for example in our hobbies… One might say: I’m a banker and love to play golf… or I am a diversified diesel mechanic, I collect buttons, hunt meteors and go to sci-fi conventions in my free time. Sometimes we even find our jobs and our emotional interests are the same. That is the perfect senerio it seems… when our commitments to purpose and our joys are unified. It has been said that a man who loves his job never works a day in his life….
When we begin following Christ our purpose and life goal changes 100%. We change direction 180 degrees and our mission is completely redefined. Our vocation, our cultural and personality likes are all united together with our new charge and station. We may still work at the same job and we still might like going to Sci-fi conventions… however; instead of our preferences supporting the old goals, they begin reinforcing our new mission. Our job is now a springboard for a greater calling. Instead of being obsessed with self, we notice our mind beginning to delight and dwell on our new Lord more and more. Now, even when we watch a sci-fi show on tv we begin to see parallels of the Gospel in the story line which gives our heart joy. We keep these illustrations in our back pocket and pull them out at the right time in conversations when we brag on Jesus. Our time spent at the Sci-fi convention is now more enjoyable because now we want to love others and show the love of Christ in sincere, personal and meaningful relationships. Our interests and our responsibilities in life become our new mission tool kit.
This change is a reflection of who we are now and what God is doing in our life.
The Bible is full of words of encouragement from God to let us know more about our new identity in Christ. The Lord does not leave us in the dark about who we are or what our new commission is.
Here’s one of many for us to meditate on:
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Notice in this verse alone he tells us 4 facets of our identity in Christ.
This would be a good study in itself… But for now notice the last part of that verse which tells us why our mission is associated with all these titles: that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Its for our calling to proclaim the glory of God… We now go forth proclaiming the grace that God has given to us that others may see his marvelous light.
How did John the Baptist answer the Who am I question?
John 1:19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straighth the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Did you notice that John never said anything like “Well my name is John, I am pleased to meet you”. His identity was in Christ. He answered the question of who are you with his calling in Christ. Who was he? He was the one who was proclaiming the coming of the Messiah… Its like that was now his name. His calling had become who he was. John seemed to be an eccentric person in that age. Mark 1:6 says Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. It seems that his personality and his likes supported his ministry for Gods glory. It God used his unconventionality and idiosyncrasies to call attention to his ministry which turned the spotlight 100% back to God.
John the Baptist also echoed his creed in these words concerning his old self and his identity in Christ. John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Again… when asked, John summed up his identity with his new calling and purpose: 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straighth the way of the Lord,’
Who are you? What is your new identity statement?
The Apostle Paul gives us his answer to “Who am I” I think in this next verse:
Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Can you hear what Paul is saying? My old life values have been zeroed out. They are null and void. The things I worked for… the things I sought after… My best intentions were based in seeking my own glory and selfish desires.
As a Jew, before his conversion, Paul used his given Hebrew name and was known as Saul of Tarsus. After he believed in Jesus and God called him to share the Gospel with the Gentiles he began going by the Roman equivalent which they would likely be less defensive and more familiar with. I believe this was an example of how Paul was even willing to change his very name for his new mission and identity in Christ, all for the Glory of God. Paul said this in:
1st Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Pauls value system had changed. He was saying: So now I live my life acknowledging 100% value is ascribed to the Lord Jesus, Creator of the world and redeemer of my soul. He gave me mercy and grace and a right relationship with God. I now count him as gain with all value and significance. Now this is who I am. I will now henceforth from this day go forward the rest of my life testifying to the gospel of the grace of God.