It happens when a verse of His Word holds me close and I sit in front of an open blog post, cursor blinking on the blank page, hoping to send out hope.
It happens when Facebook reveals someone’s hurting heart and I think of sending a message to let them know they’re not alone.
It happens when Christian asks me what it means to be baptized and my words feel too feeble to explain the mystery of new life, the invitation to be like Jesus.
It can happen when I lift my hands in worship, when I sit in the early-morning quiet and begin to pray, when I update twitter, when someone talks to me about their pain…
It can happen any time, any where… this question, slithering into my ear, a voice insistent and encroaching ~
Who do you think you are?
The familiar refrain of my failures and flaws begins to flow through my mind. I repeat the question to myself ~ who do I think I am? I’m just a girl, a girl who falls short so often. I have no credentials, no titles, no real reason anyone should listen to a word that comes out of my mouth. I hear every reason to stay silent, to refrain from reaching out… and so I close my mouth. Take my hands from the keyboard. Walk away from someone’s need. The litany of accusation continues ~ how can I attempt to represent the Holy God? Who do I think I am, trying to lift someone up when I’ve had so many days filled with despair? Who do I think I am, teaching my children the ways of God when I can have such difficulty following His instruction?
I ache from the inside out, feeling unworthy and unable to do any good thing, any good work for my Father.
But one day the question is followed by another.
This second question is in a voice that is quiet… gentle… loving. It is my Shepherd’s voice and He says this:
The real question is this ~ who do you say I am?
Because who you are depends entirely upon Me.
In the presence of the Lord, my ears and eyes are opened. I understand that it was my enemy who posed the question so condemning and hopeless ~ in effort to get me all twisted up with who I have been instead of who my Savior is. And, instead of declaring the Word to send him packing (because James 4:7 says that if we resist him, that roaring lion will flee!), I listened and focused my attention on myself, partaking in his accusations and re-hashing the past without remembering my present…
The words of Jesus echo in my heart… who do you say I am?
I consider the Word and the answer rushes in:
You are the Lamb who sits on a throne, surrounded by angels who sing out Your praise. You are holy, holy, holy, perfect in all Your ways, set apart from everything I can comprehend. You were there before the sun burst from nothing into the sky, before the waters of the deep made way for land. You were there as the Father breathed stars into the night, as man first opened his eyes. You were there and You knew, You knew already, that You would come from Your heights, Your glory we could never reach, to walk with us. You knew a cross waited… a tomb waited… and You said yes, yes to the Father’s will, because You loved us too much to leave us broken… right from the start, You loved us too much to leave us alone in our darkness. You are Love, unchanging. Unending. Eternal. You are the living Son of God, the Exalted One, the King of Kings. You knew me before I was born, You marked my days. You are my High Priest, who knows how I feel because You have been here, You have felt every pain. You are my Redeemer, my Rescuer from sin and death. You are my Beloved, who never turns me away, who has loved me always, who has compassion every time my tears fall. You have engraved my name on the palm of Your hand. You are my Savior.
Yes, He is… He is all this, and He is infinitely more. Words can never adequately describe the splendor and grace of our Savior… and in His light, in the knowledge of who He is and what He has done for me and for you, I have a new answer when the enemy tries to steal my purpose, to destroy my faith. I hope that, if you ever hear this question… Who do you think you are?…you can answer with bold confidence ~
I know who I am because I know who Jesus is. The two cannot be separated, because I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
I am loved by the Alpha and Omega and nothing can separate me from Him.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
I was created on purpose, with purpose. The Lord God Almighty thinks good thoughts toward me… plans life everlasting for me!
You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it… For You formed my inward parts;You covered me in my mother’s womb… I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (from Psalm 139)
I am forgiven.
I am washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Those mistakes and guilt-ridden memories the enemy brings up ~ those things are no more!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Yes, I am a new creature in Christ, reconciled to God!
I am a child of the Most High God… and He has set me free! I am free from sin and shame. I am free from fear. I am free from despair. I am free to love, to rejoice, to serve.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs ~ heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Rom. 8:15-17)
I am significant. I am important in the body of Christ. I am called… and I will not allow satan to deceive me (by pulling me into shame, inferiority, or envy) into giving up my purpose! I am not a ‘nobody’, for I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, ransomed by a King!… Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)
For we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. I have a job to fulfill with the strength of the Holy Spirit, so I will not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (from Romans 12)
I am to follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (from Ephesians 5)
Friends, we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do! (Ephesians 2:10) It does not take credentials, degrees, or titles to testify of Jesus Christ. Every single follower of Jesus has the privilege of sharing His good news!
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (from Romans 10)
…But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? T hat’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!… The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to. (from Romans 10)
Scripture tells the story of who He is from Genesis to Revelation… and from start to finish, we find ourselves in Him. These promises are for every one of us ~ me, you, and anyone who will call upon His name. Each one of us can say:
Who do I think I am?
I know who I am.
I am His.
(My weekend prayer/reminder for you! ~
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”. God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us ~ an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (from Romans 15) )