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Who Do You Think You Are?
By Tom Brown 

            There are a myriad of answers we can reply when asked the question, “Who do you think you are?” We are sons, daughters, teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, moms, dads, etc. Often, the world looks to name people by what they do. In our society, what you do and how you feel equals who you are. The world will tell you self-esteem is how much we feel valued, loved, and accepted by others. The way others see us, and the way we see ourselves, is where we find our worth, they say.

            Many people’s identity stems from their earthly characteristics. Gender. Race. Ethnicity. Sexual orientation. Wealth. Family. People think these characteristics are what defines them. If any of these characteristics are challenged or are taken away, people feel as if they are going through a crisis – an identity crisis. But this approach of self esteem is the world's way of self-esteem, and God is left out of the equation.

A Biblical View

So what does the Bible say about self-esteem and about who we are? What is the truth?

            Knowing who you are is important, because what you do flows from who you are. To find a true, Biblical identity, we can start by going back to the beginning of time.

            “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

            First of all, if we want to know who we truly are, we must look at our relationship with God. Though many people like to spend time gazing in a mirror, we must know that we are to reflect God’s image.  It can even be said that we are mirrors to reflect God’s glory. We are not our own mirrors.

            But the devil likes to tell us differently. He’s been using the same trap since the beginning and continues to use it today. How did he tempt Adam and Eve, the first humans whom God created to reflect His image? Genesis 3:5 shows Satan enticing Adam and Eve, “For God knows that when you eat of it (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

            Satan created the first identity crisis. Adam and Eve ate the fruit because they forgot who they were. They forgot that mankind was already “like God.” They wanted to be more than a reflection. They wanted to form their own identity apart from God, and this was sinful.

            Because we are born naturally into Adam’s family, we share his sinful, selfish, and identity-crisis nature. We are dead in sin because of Adam. But 1 Corinthians 15:22 gives us hope, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

            When a team captain calls heads or tails during a coin toss, his call affects the whole team. Just as a captain’s choice affects his entire team, so Adam’s choice affected all of humanity. But thankfully, because Jesus chose to die on the cross for our sins, His choice also affects whoever believes in Him. In Adam, there is condemnation; but in Christ there is salvation.

In Christ

            Paul understood the meaning of an identity crisis when he spoke to the church at Ephesus. This church was looking outside of God for worth, self-esteem and identity. In Ephesians alone, Paul spoke of believers as being “in Christ,” “in Him,” “in the beloved,” or other variations a total of twenty-two times. In sum, Paul used the phrase “in Christ” or its variations in all of his books some 216 times. He knew we were going to forget our identity. He knew we needed to remember our true identity.

            Who are we?

            First of all, we are in Christ.

            Some look good in dresses, others in slacks, in red, or in black. But we all look good “in Christ.”

I Am a Saint

            This brings us to another question then: what does it mean to be “in Christ?” Paul had something to say on this subject. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:1-2).

            The first identity Paul mentions to those “in Christ” is that of being saints. He says, “To the saints in Ephesus.” But surely there were all types of believers in Ephesus! Some were mature in their faith, some weak. Paul, however, does not make any sort of distinction between the mature and the new believers. He calls them all saints.

        1. In Christ, we are saints.

            When I was young, I accepted this designation. I used to work at a restaurant, and after helping an employee, he told me, “I will ask God to make you a saint!”

            I replied, “You don’t have to. I already am.”

            Of course, he was shocked! A saint? How could I be saint? Didn’t it take some miraculous sign or wonder for me to be considered a saint? What he didn’t know was that in Christ, we are all saints.

            Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How can I be a saint? I sin all the time! Don’t you know how bad I am? Saints don’t act like me.”

            Friend, how can you expect to act like a saint if you don’t even believe you are one? If you believe you are a sinner, you’re going to be walking like a sinner under condemnation. Focusing on sin leaves us in despair. But no! If you are saved, then you are a saint. God has wiped away your iniquities.

            Yes, the bad news is that you still sin. But you’ve forgotten the good news –you’re in Christ now! And in Christ, your sin does not define you; it is no longer a part of your identity.  It does not matter how you feel or what others say; God says you are a saint.

I Am Blessed

            This is not the only thing you are though. Let’s continue reading Paul’s words to the Ephesians. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

            Who are we?

        2. In Christ, we are blessed.

            You might say, “It says that God blessed us with spiritual blessings and spiritual blessings only.In other words, some think we should not expect physical blessings like health and money.

             But if God gives something to us, even if it is physical, then it is a spiritual blessing, because James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

            Your life? A gift from God. Your job? A gift from God. Your family? A gift from God.

            What are some of the blessings God has given us?

1.      Adoption

“he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).

An orphan looks forward to being adopted. But first they must be chosen. We are chosen by God! He adopted us into His family. It wasn’t an accident.

2.      Grace

“in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7).

Why would a holy God adopt sinners like us? Grace. This is free, not earned. Before we could do anything to show the Lord we love and obey Him, He blesses us by showing grace.

3.      Redemption.

“In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7).

      Israel knows what it’s like to be redeemed or set free. They were in slavery in Egypt until God redeemed them. He delivered them from their bondages. Just as they were redeemed, God has broken the bondage of sin from our lives. Because of this, even the effects of sin are broken in our lives.

4.      Forgiveness

Have you ever been of ashamed of the words you’ve spoken or the deeds you’ve done? Maybe there is someone you’ve hurt or people you’ve grieved. One blessing we have in Christ is that of forgiveness. He has taken our shame and has called us pure.

5.      Wisdom and Understanding

“that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:8).

      In order to know what we should do in certain situations, we need wisdom. Wisdom guides us to make the right, God honoring choices. Understanding helps us know why we should do what we should do. These two blessings will affect your business, career, family, parenting, etc.

6.      The Holy Spirit

“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

      The Holy Spirit is the executor of the blessings. He causes the blessings to arrive in your life. He gives the gift of tongues, prophesy, and miracles.

            In Christ, we are blessed! But this is not all!

I Am Called

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-19).

            Who are we?

        3. In Christ, we are called.

        At one point in your life, you may have asked yourself, “What is my calling?”

            Calling is your vocation. It brings purpose to your life, and helps you know that you are not wasting your life on Earth.

            The thing about being called by God is that you are constantly being called. Your calling is fluid. There is a destination God has in mind for you, but you are always headed to it. You are always being called.

            My story is like a lot of people’s – it didn’t begin by me waking up one morning as the pastor I knew I was meant to be. I’ve had many jobs in my lifetime, and I always knew that it was to proclaim the Gospel and to set people free. Though I am now a Bishop of a large church and diocese, my life wasn’t always like this.

            When I first became a Christian, I had a job in a restaurant as an employee. While I was working outside of the church, I volunteered as a children’s church aid. Soon, the church promoted me to become a children’s church teacher.  Then, I was the Sunday school superintendent. Being faithful to where God had called me at the time eventually led me to being a pastor of a small church. I stayed faithful and soon started a Christian program on a radio station. When I felt it was time to move on, I moved onto TV stations, and then started writing books. What started as small beginnings has now led me to being a Bishop. And yet, this is still not the end! Right now, I am faithful as a Bishop, but who knows where God is going to lead me?!

            All those times I was faithful over “small” things. God called me to those small responsibilities. The great thing is that every believer is called, not just those with tremendous business skills or great influence. A calling continues as long as God has given you breath. You are always being called to something, even if it is not the “something” you had in mind.

I Am Alive

            So in Christ, we know that we are saints blessed with all the heavenly blessings, and are continually called. Is there anything else? Let’s look at Ephesians 2:2,5, “As for you, you were dead in transgression and sins…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ”

            Who are we?

        4. In Christ, we are alive.

            On TV, there is a commercial I love which asks kids a series of rather simple questions. The adult will ask them, “Which is better: Faster or slower?” All of the kids will quickly reply, “Faster!” as if there is no other option.

            I have a question to ask you: Which is better: Being alive or being dead?

            To be made alive means that we were once not alive. We were dead.

            The world itself is full of the walking dead. The world will say that you can do whatever you want because none of it matters. The world will tell you that getting drunk and doing drugs is going to make you happy. But the problem is, those people are the walking dead. They are dead in their sins, thinking that what they do will make them feel alive.

            If you are in Christ, then you are already alive! You do not need things of this world to make you feel alive because you are alive in Christ! It is part of your identity!

            Not once have I ever thought a human in a zombie movie should be made dead. I always cheer for those characters to survive and stay alive! It would be silly to think that them becoming a zombie is better for them. I want them to escape, to keep running. The walking dead are not to be admired. Yet, when we were dead before Christ, we used to follow these walking dead. Now that we are alive, we do not follow their ways! We lead!

            In history, the Church was always at the forefront of change. The church has continually stood up for civil rights. Christians were at the forefront of change to end slavery. Christians have continually stood up for women’s rights. Today, Christians are leading the way to end abortion, stand for traditional marriage, and combat pornography and sex trafficking. Christians are leading because God has made them alive!

            We are not the walking dead, living for temporary pleasures. There is more to this life than what we can see; there is a spiritual battle going on in our land. Who are you going to follow in this battle?

            Let’s remember our question from before – the one even children know the answer to. Which is better: Being alive or being dead? Alive! And indeed, in Christ, we are made alive.

            You may look like a father or a mother. You may look wealthy or poor. But in Christ, we are all the same – we are more than what meets the eye. The final question remains: Who are you?

·        You are a saint.

·        You are blessed.

·        You are called.

·        You are alive.

 

 

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