Who Are You?

March 2009
Author: 

Steve CoxAre you concerned about the current economic health of our world? The Bible encourages us to avoid worry and fear. But we should certainly be aware of, and deeply concerned about, how the worst economic decline in over seventy years is hurting people around the world, including us and those dear to us.
 
I am very thankful that currently I still have a job (at least at the time of this writing I still do). I work in a medical clinic treating job related injuries. Every day, I interact with hurting people who are facing layoffs or reductions in hours and are facing significant financial stress. Our clinic is also considering reducing hours as our business activity is gradually reducing. 
 
I find that times like this cause us to raise some very deep and important questions, such as “Who am I? What is really important in life?” It’s interesting to think about how we define or describe ourselves. For example, think about when you meet someone new, how you describe yourself. Typically, we define ourselves to this new person in terms of our roles. For instance, I am a physical therapist, I am married and have five children. But if we define ourselves by our roles, what happens to our view of ourselves when one or more of those roles is threatened? If I define myself as a physical therapist and then I lose my job, or live in fear of losing my job, then I may diminish my own self worth, for some very unhealthy reasons.
 
I am writing to encourage us today, not to give in to feelings of low self worth, or give in to fear. Because of the negative pressures surrounding us, it may be more important than ever that we understand who we are from God’s point of view. If we understand who we really are in God’s eyes, we can have confidence that he is with us, and we can face any adversity, with the strength, comfort, and the provision he gracefully supplies.
 
The Bible tells us we are God’s “chosen people”, “members of God’s household”, and “dearly loved children”. The Message describes who we are before God in this way: “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
 
In Ephesians 2, we are told that we are “God’s workmanship”. The Greek word used here for workmanship is “poiema”, from which we derive the English word poem. You and I are individual poems written by God. Paul describes us as a letter, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God”. As I am writing this letter, my ten year old daughter entered the room to tell me excitedly she has just finished her first book and is very eager to read it to my wife and I later today. It’s a twenty-four page story about her future adventures as a horse rancher. The excitement and joy in her eyes is an excellent picture of the excitement and joy Christ has in each one of us, as we are his creation, his child, his story, written by the Spirit of the living God.
 
Thankfully, he is with us as we face the hardships of this world, and he is sovereign over all that happens in this world. The challenge for us is to look to him, not to ourselves or the world. In the midst of today’s trials, and even attacks to our own self worth, we can turn to the truths of scripture and encourage each other with these words. “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!” (Romans 8:16-17) Praise God for his indescribable gifts. May we continually encourage each other with these truths.
Steve signature

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