Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Identity’

Identity

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  ~~ Genesis 1:26-27  (KJV)

Do you really know who you are? The verse above says we were created in the image of God.  We are to have dominion, to be in charge of the earth. But we are not God.

We have limitations, limitations set by God. But we have an enemy who will continually try to get us to violate those limitations. He is always questioning us “Did God really say…?”  (Genesis 3:1)

That question is designed to make us dissatisfied with who we are. And the enemy is cunning. He will pose that question in whatever form he thinks will prod us to question God.

The enemy was successful in getting Adam and Eve to question God and to violate the stipulation God had set for them. That violation created a separation between man and God.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Have you ever been homesick? Lonely for someone absent? Then you know what that hunger is. There is something missing – a part of you that is missing.

We are created with a God-shaped hole in our hearts. We run after things to fill that hole, but nothing satisfies exactly. Oh, we can rationalize “if I just had a little more money” – “if my family loved me more” –  “if I had just a little more success” – “if I could have one more drink” – “if I could win (fill in the blank)” – “if…  if…  if…”

None of those things will really satisfy. Only a restored relationship with God can ease that hunger. In His generosity, God has made a way for us to bridge that separation.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. ~~ John 3:16-17 (KJV)

We don’t need to let the enemy steal our identity. God has given us a path to friendship with Him again.

Father, God,

Help us to see the wiles of the enemy for what they are – the desperate ploys of a vanquished foe. Remind us of who we are and Whose we are. Grant that we may seek to fill our lives only with You, not with empty things.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

 

Adonai

And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?  ~~  Genesis 15:2  (KJV)

This “Lord” is the first usage in scripture of the word Adonai. It comes from a root meaning master, but it is the emphatic form of that root. It’s like printing it in bold print all caps.  MASTER.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  ~~  Matthew 6:24 (KjV)

So we get to choose.  Who will we serve?  Do we serve ourselves in the flesh, eating, drinking and making merry? Or do we serve the Lord, listening for His voice, obeying His commandments?

Don’t misunderstand me here. When we choose to serve God, we have just enlisted in His army. There is an enemy who will be only too glad to throw everything he can at us. He’ll drag out the big guns, hoping to discourage us or stop us in our tracks.

But we have read the book and have it on good authority, God’s own words:

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  ~~   Isaiah 45:22- 24 (KJV)

Every knee includes the knees of the enemy, the knees of the unbeliever, the knees of the believers – all of them.  In the end, everyone will know the truth and feel the power of God.  They will have to acknowledge His Mastery over the universe.

Jesus queried the disciples about His identity.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. ~~  Matthew 16:15-17

I have long contended that God must either laugh or weep over our sectarian differences, that this question Jesus asked of the disciples is the only one that makes any difference.

Our answer should be “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Master of my life.”  If this is your answer to that question, it makes no difference which church you attend, which discipline you espouse.

Those who answer that question in this way are all brothers and sisters, members of the same family. As such, what touches one of us, touches all of us.

None of us is truly alone – ever.

Father, God,

Help us to see that with You as the Master of our lives, we can be assured that our obedience is all You ask. We thank You that You have given us many siblings in Your family to come along side to comfort, uphold, rebuke, correct, and just plain love us. Keep us ever mindful of Your generosity in granting us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, as our most intimate guide and friend.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

And You Are?

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.   And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.   And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.   And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Genesis 1:26-30 (KJV)

I’ve spent Wednesday afternoon and all day yesterday at a writers conference in Dallas, Texas. At these functions there is a lot meeting new people, introducing yourself, and telling a little about yourself by describing what you write.

That’s fine, but it is just one facet of who you are.

Can you identify yourself? Who, exactly, are you? Not your name. Nor your job. Nor your relationship to any another person or persons. What is the essence of who you are?

These verses tell you. You are a being created in the image of God. You are not God. You will never be a god. But you are created to be like Him. And He commissioned you!

He delegated His life-creating powers to the union of male and female. And He commanded that you be fruitful and fill the earth.

And subdue it. Take authority over the earth, an authority that was delegated by God, the Creator of the universe. If you know anything about military or corporate structure, you know that your authority is limited by the person to whom you report. Your authority never exceeds that of the superior officer.

So, too, we need to be aware that while we have been given authority and dominion by God, we are still subordinate to Him. While we rule over the earth and all it’s fauna, we are not, ultimately, the One in charge.

You will note, also, that God gave us a vegetarian diet. And this vegetarian diet was not limited to man, but to the animals as well. Animals were not originally intended to eat meat – or become meat. That came later.

Hmmm… So who am I? I am a child of God, created in the image of my heavenly Father. I was designed to be creative and fruitful. I was given authority over the earth and the living creatures. And I was designed to eat seeds and fruit — not meat.

Father, God,

As I have questions about myself, my goals, and my endeavors, help me to seek the answers by seeking to know You better.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.
This is a republication of a devotion first published on this blog
1 January 2009.
Thank you for your indulgence.

Responsibility

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-35  (KJV)

As children of God, we have a single responsibility to this world – that we love one another.  Having been recipients of God’s love,  we become channels of His love to a world that doesn’t know Him.

Perhaps we need to define love before we go much further. Love is NOT a warm, fuzzy feeling.  It may include that feeling, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. Love is a commitment to the welfare of another. It is a decision. And grammatically, it is a verb.

Short, simple grammar lesson – those of you who already are aware of this may skip this paragraph. “I love you” is a sentence composed of a subject pronoun “I”, a verb of action “love”, and the object pronoun  “you”. This is a very simple sentence, the first basic sentence form we learn to read and write.

When we decide to love someone, we take on the responsibilities enumerated in I Corinthians 13.

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a (NKJV)

As children of God, this becomes our to-do list, our responsibility. If this list sounds familiar, we might take a short look at the fruit of the spirit as enumerated in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV)

The action is followed by a result. The actions of love help to ripen the fruit of the spirit.

Father, God,

As Your children, we have taken on a new identity and a new responsibility. Make us a channel of Your love to this hurting world. Help us to remain faithful to Your calling on our lives. Give us Your grace and peace as we walk through these days.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Identity – Part Two

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13 – King James Version (KJV)
Now that we have decided who Jesus is, perhaps we should look at our own identity.
When we are introduced to someone new, there are several identity type questions that spring to mind. Where are you from? Who are you related to? What do you do?
Take a minute and try to define who you are without answering any of those questions.
Yes, it is harder than it looks.
This is who God says you are. You are His child.
Some years ago, my friend Sandra and I were talking about children. She had five. I had four. And she was laughing at the thought that we were in charge of family planning. “We think it’s because of our love for our husbands that these children were born. We had nothing to do with it. Each child was conceived when God said ‘(Name of child) come forth!’  We had very little to do with it.”
She had come to the same conclusion as the poet, William Wordsworth.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:    
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,    
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,    
          And cometh from afar:    
        Not in entire forgetfulness,    
        And not in utter nakedness,    
But trailing clouds of glory do we come      
        From God, who is our home:
from his Ode – Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
We started as His children. We were born into a world of sin and God-forgetfulness, becoming children of the world and of sin. When we believe on Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we claim our identity as God’s children.
And God claims us as His children.  What a privilege!  What a responsibility!
Father, God,
Help us to understand the depth of Your love that called us forth into this life and that redeems us from the world. Grant that we may be ever aware of Your love, Your generosity, Your provision. Give us the grace to extend to others as we witness to them about Who You are and how much You love them.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Identity and Purpose

Focus Verses: Genesis 1:26,27; Genesis 2:19-25

Looking at the first set of focus verses tells us what we are, creations in the image and likeness of God. We were created to have dominion over all the other creations of God. And we were created in two genders. The two genders were, in my view, needed because of our human limitations. God is infinite with infinite capacities for love, tenderness, judgment and wrath. It would be impossible to get all the qualities of God wrapped up into a single human being, unless that human form were God himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

The second set of verses speaks to the creation of woman out of man. She was created to be a companion equal to and fit for him. This places woman at the side of man, not over his head and not under his feet.

The relationships in these two passages are both vertical (with God) and horizontal (with man). Because God is our creator, we are subservient to him, to his purposes and plans. We are not capable of knowing all of those purposes and plans, but we are capable of trusting him to know them and to see them to fruition. We need only supply our obedience to him.

Because woman was created from the rib of man, they are the same flesh. She wasn’t created from his head to be dominant over him, nor from his feet to be subservient. She was created to be a companion and helper, fitted to him perfectly. Equal in all things.

This requires being respectful, submissive, kind, and loving. You respect others because they, too, were made in God’s image. Being submissive requires letting people see who you are, without pretense or mask, and letting them show you who they are the same way. Being kind means treating each person as if they were your other self. And loving means having their best interest at heart, equal to or even more that your own self-interest.

Those are tall orders, but possible if we remember who we are and whose we are.

Father, God,

Help us always to remember that our beginning is in you. Help us to remember that everyone else has that same beginning. Grant that we may sink our roots deeper in you, so that we are not blown about by every wind nor uprooted by every storm. Keep us firmly grounded in you and your word that we may be about the work you would have us do.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Identity

Focus Verse: Isaiah 43:1

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou are mine.

I can think of no better way to start the new year than by remembering exactly what and whose we are. We belong to God. We are his adopted children. He created us. He has plans for us. He has only our best interests at heart.

If we are his, we should seek to make our lives consonant with his thoughts and plans. Therefore we begin the year seeking him – and him alone. As we seek him, everything we need will be added to us.

We need not make resolutions that are abandoned by February. We won’t have to try to force ourselves into molds that he didn’t design for us. We need simply to seek to be closer to him, not for what he can do for us, but simply to be near him, in his presence. Or more accurately, to be aware of his presence in our lives.

So this year, my goal is to be more of a Mary and less of a Martha. With Brother Lawrence, I will try to practice the presence of God.

Father, God,

Help me to sit at your feet and listen. Keep me still until I know what you would have me do. Help me to instantaneous obedience when I know what that will is.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.