If you and I were to have a chat and I asked you to tell me who you are, what would you say? Asking ‘Who am I’, is a thought-provoking question that has been asked by many throughout the ages.
However, it’s not a simple answer, because ‘who I am’ can be determined by a combination of factors, such as, memories, experiences, feelings, thoughts, relationships, and values. It’s the stuff that makes you, you and me, me. Although others might define the meaning of ‘self’ otherwise, that all does seem to make sense in the natural realm.
However, it doesn’t end there, because those earthly considerations neglect to take into account that ‘who I am’, is someone made in the image of God. Genesis 1.27 says, ‘God created us in his own image’ (see also Genesis 9.6). Therefore, our identity, is much more than physical attributes, earthly memories, values and feelings. Our true identity is found in Christ, and is characterised by our experience of God. However, that image is tarnished when we live without God.
But when we turn to God and receive Jesus as our Saviour, our image is restored through our salvation. According to Colossians 3.10, ‘We … put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator’. It’s because of who God is that we are adopted into His family, sins are forgiven, we become a child of the Living God, made in His image, and inherit His character as part of our salvation, all through Jesus.
As Christians, we are assured by what we read from 2 Corinthians; ‘Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day’ (4.16). That’s the Christ-likeness image being formed in us as our identity in Christ develops, through our relational interactions with God and His Word.
And since we ‘have the mind of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 2.16), ‘who we are’ is not only made up of those earthly values we hold, worldly experiences we have and memories we develop through life.
But, all of who we are and all of these things are shaped by the Word of God and our life in Christ.
You may remember the story of Hagar, the servant girl, who worked for Abram’s wife, Saria (Genesis 16). After Abram had been promised offspring by God, Saria didn’t believe, so she took matters into her own hands and sent Hagar to her husband. At this point, we need to understand that just because something is in the Bible, it’s not because God approves of that thing or event.
God records many of these events for our learning, to show us how to be different and to help us avoid making the same mistakes.
So, even though Saria ended up treating Hagar harshly and she runs away, God shows His love, acceptance and compassion for her. In the wilderness an angel of God reassures Hagar, gives her great promises from God, and told her what to do next. In response, Hagar called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees’; and she questioned, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’ (v13).
With compassion, He is the God who sees you and knows exactly who you are, what you’ve done and what has been done to you. Hagar believed it; and He changed her future. Do you believe it; that He might change your future also?
Honestly consider what you know to be true about God, and ask, ‘is it enough, is there more to know’? But do not lose heart. Think about how God makes ‘all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8.28).
Through the complexity of Jesus death and resurrection there was a turning point in history, and we gained entrance into God’s family to live in His presence for all eternity. The moment Jesus died, He opened a door for you and me to experience God and have our identity in Him. To as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1.12).
This is our prayer … Dear God, You are the God who sees me, with compassion, love and care. Help me to find my true identity in Christ, that I might see myself as You see me, made in Your image, a child of the Living God, valued and precious. In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Here’s a challenge for you, every day when you pray, spend a few moments prayerfully saying, ’Father, I belong to You’.