Who does HE say that I am?
We have often heard or read the question Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:15b, ” Who do you say that I am?”, and how important it is for us to know Who He really is. But we would also do well to individually ask ourselves, “Who does He say that I am?” and then to receive Grace and make the serious decision to believe what HE says rather than what our senses, circumstances, satan and people tell us.Our true self-image is so attacked by the enemy because he knows too well that as Christ is so are we… Click To Tweet
Why is this such a popular topic these days in messages from the pulpit, in seminars, conferences, Bible studies, workshops, retreats; in books and on CD’s? Our true self-image is so attacked by the enemy because he knows too well that as Christ is so are we already (I John 4:17b), and that if we truly believe who we are in His eyes, in Him, we will truly love others as ourselves, the Son of God will be manifested and his (the devil’s) works will be destroyed (I John 3:8). Therefore, this theme is of fundamental and utmost importance.
Reject all thoughts that are not of peace and all words that are not of Grace.
Graciousness is always poured upon His lips in His communication with us (Psa.45:2b). Click To Tweet
Beware of any thoughts or words toward you that are not thoughts of peace, which will give you hope in your final outcome (Jer.29:11); and do not internalize words that are not of Grace, which are able to build you up ( Acts 20:32). The thoughts and words upon which we are to base our identity are “Spirit and Life” (John 6:63). For example, in Psalm 139, they reveal to us that the Lord has not impersonally mass-produced us but rather has lovingly, carefully, and thoughtfully fashioned us according to a personal Plan for our individual lives. Furthermore, graciousness is always poured upon His lips in His communication with us (Psa.45:2b). The people in Luke 4:22 “…marveled at the words of Grace that came forth from His mouth; …” and undoubtedly, many were touched and even healed by those words.
When we put off the old man and put on the new (which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Rom.13:14), we are clothing ourselves with “the new nature … created in God’s image … in true Righteousness and holiness.” (Eph.4:24). “Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being now done with it [i.e., we are done with seeing ourselves outside of the Finished Work!], let everyone express the Truth [of who we REAL-ly are in Christ] with his neighbor, for we are all parts of the one Body and members one of another.” (vv.24,25) We cannot, however, express the Truth of who another Body member is, nor genuinely love that person as Christ loves him/her, if we first do not know (1) who we are and (2)how loved we are.
We put off and away from us who we used to be and what the natural mind thinks we are.
By faith, we cast down and throw away from our thinking: any thought that does not agree with what HE says about who we are; being now done with vain imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of who God says we are! (II Cor.10:5) Here is a provoking verse that used to puzzle me before considering it in light of this study: “Hear, O daughter, ….submit to My instructions, forget your own people and your father’s house.” (Ps.45:10) In other words, do not let even family members –who have known you from the beginning of your natural life– shape your self-image, for “good or bad”. If anyone knows you after the flesh, they do not know who you REAL-ly are. This is alluded to in verse 13 of Psalm 45: “The King’s daughter in the inner part … is all glorious; her clothing is in-wrought with gold [ Divinity, Who HE is!]” Even in the Old Testament “the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Sam.16:7), which only He can know.
The Lord has given us trustworthy mirrors.
Think of the many mirrors the world has given us: those which reflect back to us what we look like, who we are, what we’re like, what our identity is or what it should be. These are ever-moving, ever-changing mirrors which can never give the viewer an accurate image. The Lord has said to us in Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I AM God…” He could also justifiably say, “Be still and know who you are in My eyes!” Furthermore, we need to be close enough to the mirrors He has provided for us in order to receive a clear reflection of what we truly look like. First, if we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8). When we draw near to His Word to hear or read or meditate upon It, He draws near to us and can communicate to our hearts what we are really like. Likewise, with the Body of Christ: “I would have fainted unless I had hoped to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13) The Body reflects back to us our true identity. Sometimes this is done verbally, sometimes simply by the Love and Goodness of God expressed without words. This reminds us of who we really are, and we are refreshed … yet another benefit of gathering ourselves together all the more as our “exit” from earth approaches!
” … the greatest of these [mirrors] is LOVE.”
In Revelation 2:4, the Lord had just one complaint against the church at Ephesus. Its members were seemingly doing so well: they had, however, left “First Love”. They had wandered in their thinking from the reality of God’s unfathomable, unchanging, unconditional Love for them … a wandering which led them into perhaps self-effort and works motivated by a sense of right and wrong. It was not motivated by the constraint of His Love pressing on them and holding them to His purposes (II Cor.5:14). The Lord actually commands us to keep ourselves in that Love (Jude 21). He reminds us that He rests in it, and is totally satisfied with what It has accomplished on our behalf (Zeph.3:17). He tells us, in John 5:20, that “the Father dearly loves the Son…” Later, in John 15:9, He says that He has loved us exactly and to the same degree that the Father has loved Him! When the Father declared from Heaven in Luke 3:22, “You are My Son, My Beloved! In You I am well-pleased and find delight!”, He was proclaiming something that was true of all who are in this Beloved Son (Eph.1:4-6)!
“I am what I am by the Grace of God.”
My true identity, therefore, is not based on what I do or accomplish. “I am what I am by the Grace of God” (I Cor.15:10) Even in the Old Testament, the Lord reflected to His people who they were without any mention of merit on their part. This reflection came with a promise of what HE would do, simply because of Who HE is: “Because you are precious in My sight, and honored, and because I love you, I will give men for you and peoples in exchange for your life.” (Isa.43:4) Where is the condition? Where is the demand to do? This is truly a reflection of not only who we are in His sight but of Who He is, of what His Heart is like towards us. THIS is who we always and REAL-ly are!