Who Am I, Really?

Somehow, the question of identity has become entwined with gender or sexuality. The problem is, these parts of our identity are considered by the culture to be “fluid” and changeable.

In contrast, God offers you a Rock-Solid identity.  You don’t need to wonder who you are when the One who made you has answered that question.  The answer provides hope, rest, and a solid foundation on which to build your life.

On this journey, knowing yourself starts with coming to know Someone else.

God knew about you before he made the world – his plans for you were fully formed before time even began!  “[God] chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1:4).

God knew about you before you were even conceived.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).  He knew you even then – nothing about you is a mistake. You were made according to a design, a plan that God set in motion before you were conceived. 

And then, having YOU in mind and a specific plan for your life, he carried it out by causing your conception and forming you in a very specific way.  “For you [God] formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

God knows you even now.  For better or for worse, there is nothing about you that he doesn’t know.  “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4).

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

-St. Augustine

God’s love for us is “everlasting.”  That means it has no beginning and no end.  He will always love you the same amount, no matter what, no strings attached.  He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Even though God is holy, and we are sinful, he loves us.  God loves us before we love him back.  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He keeps reaching out to you, giving you another chance to love him back.  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

He loved you so much he died for you.  There’s really no greater love than that.  “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

Jesus liked to tell stories, and lots of his stories centered on sheep and a shepherd.   I like these stories because they make it easy to picture who I am to Jesus.  They are parables, which mean that they represent a deeper truth.

In this parable from Luke 15, Jesus is the good shepherd, and you and I are the sheep.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

We are sought after.

“And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Before you can really be found, you need to recognize that you are lost, like that sheep.  You are lost because of sin, which means “missing the mark” – in other words, doing things that are wrong by God’s standard.  You are lost because you (like me and everyone else) are guilty of missing the mark.  This is important to recognize because sin keeps us from having a relationship with God.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “For the wages of sin is death (separation from God, forever), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

God’s love for you is so great, that he would rather die than be apart from you forever.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should no perish but have eternal life”  (John 3:16).

All it takes to be found – and forgiven – is to seek God back. “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me”  (Proverbs 8:17) and “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Have you asked God to forgive you and find you?  That’s all you have to do! “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

And just like that, you are forgiven!  You are rejoiced over!  Listen to how Jesus responds when one of us is found.  “He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).  What a party!