Who am I? (God’s view of us)

If you were to ask me who I am I would probably give altering answers according to when in my life that question was asked. In 40 years of my life I have taken on many roles that have shaped who I am today. These roles include or have been a son, student, a mascot, a husband, an Airmen, a veteran, a pastor, a dad, a brother and so on. If you were to take a moment and jot down all the different titles or roles you have held, it could be a long list too. Each one of those names you were to put down helped shape or define a part of who you are today. Still with all that, there is some greater titles and roles given to us when we come to Christ for salvation and receive Him in our lives.
Two Sundays ago, I preached on the question that Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” For this week’s blog I want to share what does God say I am when we come to Him for salvation. This may not be an exhausted list, but at least a little encouraging to see some of the ways God sees us.
First, we are children of God. In 1 John 3:1 it states, “3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” When we receive Christ in our lives we are adopted into the family of God. That of course is why we fellow followers of Christ call each other brothers and sisters. As children of God we can boldly go to the father with our requests. We are also loved by a heavenly Father; this love is a perfect love without strings attached. This also means we are heirs of the promise in Christ; that is to live in eternity with God forever.
Second, we are forgiven by grace. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Even though you may know this in your mind, it may be hard for us to accept sometimes. We live in a world where we must earn our way, whether it’s pay, respect and sadly in some relationships, love. Jesus, however, knew we could do nothing to take ourselves out of the sin that we were in, so He came to this world to pay the price of our salvation. Thank the Lord that we don’t need to earn it because we can’t.
Finally, we are being made new. Once again Paul states in Ephesians 4:22-24 “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Salvation is more than a decision made with a prayer, it’s a process, it’s forming in us Christ and the removal of the old self. For many this comes gradually and for others dramatically, but for all of us we are being made new in the Spirit.
Having a healthy view of who we are in God is just as important as having a clear view of who Jesus is. When we come to an understanding of who God sees us as, we can begin to stop dwelling in the past us and move on in the new us in Christ. Viewing who we are in God’s eyes helps us to know we are loved, changed and forgiven. Then we can start forgiving ourselves from our past and loving ourselves in a healthy and Godly way.

Listen For God

When I lived in Idaho, I got the chance to go whitewater rafting a couple of times. Often as we would begin, the river was calm. I would think how boring get to the rapids now! Years later, reflecting on my trips, I realize that the calm may have been on purpose. Many of us on the trips were unskilled at whitewater rafting and though there was an extensive lesson on the banks of the river before we began, it wasn’t until we were on the river that we began to fully learn how to paddle, especially together. The biggest lesson though was learning to listen to the raft’s leader as he would call out directions for each of us to paddle in a certain way. During the calm waters, we learned to hear the leader’s voice and to follow his commands. Once we got to the rapids we had learned to listen and follow, thus making us able to navigate the dangerous waters.

In our Christian lives we to need to learn to listen to God, but how does he communicate. First is by His word. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:16, 17, “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God’s word is there to instruct us in the way we should live so that when trials and temptations come our way, we might know how to respond and how to remain strong in the faith we have in Christ. The word also helps us to be prepared to do the work of God, so that we are equipped with the grace, faith, and holiness needed to represent Christ and His kingdom. The word is important for our lives and we should be in it.

The second way God speaks to us is through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who illuminates the scriptures so that we might be able to understand. Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit instructs us.

Along with instruction, the Holy Spirit also guides our lives. John 16:13 says, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” When we listen, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Truth we have studied and thus guides our paths when trials and temptations come our way.

So, if this is how God speaks and leads what should we do, learn to listen. We must come to the scriptures with a sense of humility; that is come to be taught. We need learn where in our lives we may need to change to be in God’s truth. We also need to learn to listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice and prompting. Remember the Holy Spirit will never say something that is counter God’s word because He would be counter himself. The Holy Spirit will also not force Himself on us, we need to learn to quiet our hearts and minds to allow ourselves to hear what God might be saying.

Lastly, we need to do what God says. A passage that God has really put on my heart lately comes from James 1:22 that says, “22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” When we read and listen to the Word of God but don’t put it into action, we fool ourselves. We fool ourselves into thinking we are followers, yet we don’t live out of the grace that was given to us. A grace that not only saves us from sin, but delivers us as well.