Finding out who I am!

Labels are a part of our world.  They are, in their simplest form, a simple categorization…a tool to simplify the tremendous complexities of life.  They are, in their more sinister form a lens that distorts perspective.  Studies have confirmed that a ‘labeled’ individual is perceived more according to the label that the presenting facts.

Beyond the impact labels have on our perception of others, labels accepted as truth determine our own actions, restrict options and darken hope.  Labels are a poor substitute for seeking deep understanding.

Each person is a complex creation of God Himself.  Understanding identity is critical to the Christian life.  It is critical to life in general.  We cannot know ourselves until we find out who God designed us to be!

Following is a project to help disciples delve into the beauty of a life filled with Jesus! Begin with considering the ’empty wagon’ parable.  Pursing understanding of identity empty wagonoffers penetrating truth for ourselves and others.  Everyone searches to know who they are…and who others are. The quest for identity leads us onto some rough paths.  Praise be to God, there is no quietness until we find ourselves in Him.  We try activities and self-improvement project, but find that a vacuum remains between who we are and who we desire to be.  We keep trying until we realize that Jesus is the fullness we are looking for.

This truth becomes even more profound when we apply it to others.  This is a noisy world.  Everyone has an opinion and proclaims it with gusto.  Those who are the loudest are typically the ones seeking to find answers the hardest.  Choosing to be the ones who view such ‘loud wagons’ with grace and mercy may be the path that the Holy Spirits needs to give them what they are seeking!

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.  Colossians 2:9,10

The truth remains that we are empty until we live in Christ and are filled by Christ!  Everything else is just a label that sticks to the outside…but our hearts remain empty.  We do all sorts of things to feel full…but every action outside of Jesus just leaves us more empty.  The Word of God helps us understand how Jesus fills us.  When we begin to grasp all we really are and have, our world expands immensely!

Let’s look at how to FILL UP!  The list below offers verses that give us a glimpse of who joyful imagewe are when we live in Christ—and welcome Him to live in us.  It is not an exhaustive list!  There are many more verses that could be used.

Begin by drawing a simple body silhouette for yourself.   Then, look at the list below and begin to fill your silhouette with truths from God.  He is the only one able to ‘label’ us!  Please know this is not an exhaustive list of what God says about those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior.  It will help you begin to see yourself as God sees you!

2 Corinthians 5:17 – New creation; new

Ephesians 2:10 God’s work

1 Peter 2:9 chosen, royal, holy, God’s possession

Romans 8:1 NOT condemned, approved

John 1:12 child of God

2 Corinthians 5:21 righteousness of God

John 15:5 productive, fruitful, branch

1 Corinthians 6:19 temple

Ephesians 2:6 seated in heaven

John 15:15 friend of Jesus

Galatians 2:20 crucified, CHRIST in me!

2 Timothy 1:7 power, love, self-control

Romans 8:17 heirs of God, sibling of Jesus

Philippians 4:13 able, competent

1 John 4:4 overcomer, winner, victor

Philippians 3:20 citizen of heaven

Romans 12:2 transformed, renewed

1 Corinthians 12:27 part of the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 6:17 joined to Spirit of Jesus

1 John 5:18 protected

Romans 5:1 peace with God, connected to God, justified, cleared, not guilty

Philippians 4:19 equipped, fully supplied, NOT needy

Colossians 3:12 chosen, holy, beloved

Ephesians 1:3 blessed

John 15:16 appointed, fruitful

Ephesians 1:7 redeemed, forgiven

Psalm 139:14 wonderful, God-made, God-designed

Romans 8:37 conqueror

Matthew 5:14 light

Ephesians 1:4 holy, blameless

1 Corinthians 2:16 mind of Christ

Romans 8:28 called

2 Corinthians 5:20 ambassador, messenger

Matthew 5:13 salt, flavor, preservative

Romans 6:23 – Ephesians 2:5  alive!

1 Peter 1:23 eternal, lasting

Colossians 1:14 redeemed, saved, bought, forgiven

1 Thessalonians 1:4 loved, chosen

1 Peter 2:11 sojourner, exile, pilgrim, traveler

James 1:22 do-er, servant

1 John 1:9 cleansed, holy

1 Peter 2:5 living stone, spiritual home, holy priesthood

Acts 1:8 power-filled, powerful, witness

Romans 6:18 slave of righteousness

1 Corinthians 3:9 co-worker of God, field of God, work in progress,  masterpiece

Galatians 3:28 united, connected, part of the whole body

Colossians 1:22 holy, blameless, above reproach

2 Corinthians 2:15 sweet aroma, fragrance

When your silhouette is complete, post up a picture!  If you want to create a ‘cloak’ for your silhouette of labels you ‘wear’ – fun, silly, smart, mom, daughter, son, writer, secretary…have fun.  Decorate your silhouette in any way you wish.  We wear different ‘hats’ in life but we must remember they are changeable.  Our core identity does not change.  Any label that does not fit what God says about us must go!  Live in who God says you are!

Be the Message

Singing the song God placed within you is another way of saying, “Be the Message” God has given you.  As believers, our lives are to ring true…the words we say are to be expressed in the way we live.  The indwelling Spirit provides the power for this to take place.  As Oswald Chambers expresses it:

“Pentecost did not teach the disciples anything; it made them the incarnation of what they preached…”

Colossians 3:9 states it as “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self…”   We are new creations when we receive Christ as our life.  To live otherwise–to live like the world or live out of our personal preferences is a lie.

But we were shaped and designed before we came to know Christ.  Living the abundant life Jesus died to provide us requires that we learn our design and seek to understand how to apply the Truth of God to our unique life.  The Holy Spirit fills and heals our hurts as we dig into the Word and find the balm we need as an individual.

Understanding and wisdom are buried in the Word of God.  Spending time in it–and making effort to apply it to the past and the present is key to living the Christian life.  Transformation in Christ is a beautiful thing!

room makeovers

We all enjoy great make-overs!  When we come to Christ, the make-over begins.  Before Christ, we live life on our terms doing the best we can with what we have.  Coming to the Father through the Son is the only way to become all we are designed to be.  God knows our design and our purpose.  We must get to know Him in order to fully realize ourselves.

photo of child reading holy bible

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

God loves diversity…it is His plan that not a one of us are the same.  Although everyone of us is made in the image of God, we have been uniquely crafted for purposes only God knows.  Every life in His sovereign care….even the things we do not like about our lives have been allowed for a purpose that can be great if it is infused with the Spirit of God. The answers each of us long to have are treasures buried in the Word of God.  Seek God in His book and He will bless you and use you to help others who are seeking as well.

Treasure the work God is doing in you.  Believe He is doing the same in others.  We are all imperfect representations of the Gospel Message.  God knows we are all made out ofhands clay dirt–we make things pretty muddy sometimes.  But He is capable of working with dirt…He loves to do it.  Simply live with integrity.  Be the Message God has placed within you and refuse to be sidetracked.   You need not be perfect…don’t ask others to be either.  His power is made complete in our weakness.

Don’t fret.  Where you have hurts, seek God.  Where you have joys, seek God.  The goal of every prayer should be to know God more…the goal of every moment of life is the same.  Let your life be a prayer that keeps you in constant communion with God.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for his disciples–then and now.  His passionate plea was for unity.  His plea echoes in the hearts of Christians even today but fear, self and ignorance conspire against us.  We don’t know how to find unity; it is an elusive concept that often seems impossible.  There are a couple foreign words that help us put in words the essence of His prayer–and the longing of our hearts.

Coram Deo is a Latin phrase that means living in the presence of God, under the authority of God, for the glory of God.  Living in unity with God flows out of choosing

first of all to live in His presence, under His authority and for His glory.  The other is a Greek word, perichoresis.  This beautiful word conveys unity in diversity–it speaks of the distinct personalities of the Trinity indwelling one another…none losing its distinction but all wholly united.

Coram Deo & Perichoresis are Jesus’ desire for us.   We don’t lose our identity as we grow spiritually–we find it in greater depth and breadth.  The transformation process that began at salvation continually grows as we live and breathe in Christ–with others doing the same.