He was born an Israelite. He became royalty. He was a murderer. He ran away, an outcast. He currently found himself a shepherd in a foreign land. In the routine of his occupation, he heard his name being called. “Moses! Moses!’ Barefoot he finds himself on holy land in front of God. In the moment of contact, God declares His own identity. “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” When confronted with the identity of God and the purposes God had for him, the man’s first question is, “Who am I?”
In a purposed life, the question of identity fills our days. Who are we? What is our purpose within that identity? Struggling to answer the question: Who am I? We are likely to fill in the blank with any one of many given identifying words. To the question we may answer a spouse, a sister, a son, a blogger, a Wildcats fan, a Libertarian, a nerd, a mother, a friend. We mistakenly categorize ourselves by a small portion of our identity. In some cases, that fraction of categorized identity becomes so defined we begin to see it as our full identity. In the portion, we attempt to create a full identity. And in the portion, we feel less than whole.
Moses, confronted by God who sees the whole man, questioned his ability due to his focus on this partial identity. Answering the question of Moses, ” Who am I?’ God says, “I am with you.” Moses then queries, “Well, who are YOU?”
God answered, ” I AM who I AM….”
To truly understand our own identity, we must first accept who we are is founded in our communion with the Triune God. To understand who we are, we must first understand who God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit tell us They are. It is in our relationship with God that we are identified. The remaining parts of us are merely what we do within that relationship.
Within the epistles we can see how the Apostle Paul dealt with his identity:
“If anyone else thinks he has a reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless. ” Phillipians 3:3-6
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection for the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through who we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including who you are called to belong to Jesus Christ….” Romans 1:1-7
In Paul’s description of his identity, he describes himself with two very different tones. In Philippians, Paul identifies his formal self by his birthright, his political affiliation, his occupation and his attitudinal attributes. Paul goes on to say,
“But whatever gain I had, I count as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish.”
The premise of our next few weeks of Wednesday Worship will be this: Our true, singular identity can be found only in this—I am a child of God. It is in this identity we truly exist. It is the reason for our creation. It is the defined purpose for our life and the determining factor for our eternal existence. This, as our sole identity, means all the other describing words we may want to list as identifying are not who we are, but instead what we do. You are a child of God who mothers. You are a child of God who extends friendship. You are a child of God who teaches. Each of these things we do will be informed in very profound ways by the realization of this sole identity: Child of God.
When God was asked to identify himself, He did. He said who He was and shared his name: “I AM.” I love the idea that when we are asked to identify ourselves, in our language we must answer using the statement, ” I am___________________________.” The very sentence of identifying ourselves begins with the name of God. We identify ourselves through Him and our relationship to Him. Who we are begins with Him and the resulting actions we take to fill in that blank are weighed by that relationship.
May the value of being solely identified as a child of God fill us with tremendous worth and purpose. It is in this identity we are fully whole. The Creator of the Cosmos sees the whole you, and in His creation, He declares, “It is Good!”
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1