Thursday, February 28, 2013

Remember Who You Are


Have you ever struggled with knowing who you are? I’m not talking about amnesia, but I’m talking about knowing the deep place in your soul that gives you identity, purpose and a sense of belonging.

I want you to ask yourself some personal questions. Who am I? Not who do others say I am, not who do I say that I am, but who does God say that I am?

We mess up a lot of stuff in life when it comes to answering this question. We let a lot of things define us: status, material possessions, and how we either follow, or don’t follow the law.

Do we know the law of God? The 10 Commandments? 
1 - Have no other Gods
2 - Do not make any idols
3 - Do not take God’s name in vain
4 - Honor the Sabbath
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5 - Honor your Parents
6 - Do not Murder
7 - Do not Commit Adultery
8 - Do not Steal
9 - Do not Lie
10 - Do not Covet (be jealous)

What are these all about? 

If there was anybody who truly knew who truly knew themselves, it was Jesus Christ. There was a moment where Jesus was asked a question that was aimed at trapping him into declaring one of God’s commandments to be more important than the others.

Take a look at Matthew 22 and see what Jesus has to say:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In one sentence, Jesus revealed not the letter of the law, but the heart of the law. All 10 commandments, and the countless number of laws that had been created over the hundreds of years, hinged on two highly connected principles: Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
If we take a look at this, one thing is really crucial, we have to know who we really are. If we don’t know who we really are, how can we honestly love ourselves? If we don’t honestly love ourselves, than how can we love others without using them to our own advantage? If we can’t love ourselves and we can’t love others, we will never be able to honestly love God. God created us, we can’t hate the creation and love the creator, it works in every aspect of our lives. I want us to take a look at my favorite video clip to begin to put this inout our own words:

You see - we are just like Simba. We have forgotten God because we have forgotten who we really are. We have left our lives as princes and princesses at God’s side to go and live in the jungle with friends who tell us to just not worry about life. Now, that life does sound attractive most of the time, like a permanent vacation. However, it is completely void of purpose and a true sense of belonging, where what you do feels organically empowered by what you were designed to do, and that you make a difference. It is an illusion that so many of us convince ourselves is the “good life” or the “American Dream”. We let the world pass us by and we live life on the side lines. Don’t you want to get in the game?
I’m so glad for people like Rafiki, for people like my Young Life leaders who refuse to believe that God is dead, who refuse to allow me to believe the lies about myself that I have bought into.
I want us to take one last look at how Jesus lived this out:
Jesus left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
The Gospel of John, chapter 4, verses 4-30 & 39-42
This woman had a twisted view of who she was. She believed that because of where she was born, that she was some half-breed outcast sleazy woman who God wanted nothing to do with. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Jesus called her daughter. He calls you daughter. He calls you son.

Remember who you are and stop living a shallow existence in the jungle. You are a child of the king. You can love yourself because God loves you, so much that he came down as Jesus to take your place of punishment. He died for you so that he could also live for you.

You can take off the garbage in your life and put on the identity of Jesus, you can live as God’s sons and daughters.

You have to take hold of Christ and him alone, everything else has to be let go of.

When you realize who you really are, you can absolutely love yourself, failures and all, without guilt, shame, and insecurity. When you love yourself, you can love others the way they were meant to be loved, without using them to reach your own needs. When we do this, we are giving God’s love for us in our whole person, and therefor loving God with our whole person.

Christ doesn’t want you to live passively in a life that isn’t true. Sure it is easier than fighting for what is true, but what is true gives freedom and life, not death, eating bugs and hiding in shame.

God loves you, he wants you to remember who you are. Will you listen to him?