by Pastor Tim Burt
Who are you? Do you remember back in your teenage years when you became interested in pursing the opposite sex and met that person you thought might be your true love? As you became acquainted, the process of mutual discovery began. When it happened to me, I remember that I wanted to get to know who this girl was as a person and likewise she wanted to know who I was. When I think back to my answers of who I said I was, I’m sure there was some truth mixed with the hopes of who I wanted to be, and probably who I thought she’d like me to be.
We all know that trying to be who you aren’t doesn’t work over the long haul. We’ve all been guilty of trying to be someone other than who we are, to please someone else. We know we're maturing when we learn to get comfortable in our own skin and appreciate who God has created us to be.
One thing the Holy Spirit helped me realize was that if I wanted to discover who I was, I first had to how God expected me to live. I had to learn His guidelines and boundaries that would promote blessing, and protect me from the temptations and destructive places the enemy of my soul had tried to lure me into before I gave my life to Christ. That phase was like coming out of the dark. Living for Jesus became the focus of my life, and when that happened, it was like the lights were turned on. For the first time I could see life through God's eyes and perspective. That was the real beginning of learning who God made me to be. I began to learn God's ways and started to see what God wanted for me—to live a life of influence. Your profession or calling doesn't matter if it all becomes about developing the ability to learn and influence others with the knowledge and love of God. That was my real and ultimate purpose. When that became settled in me, my drive to excel, love others, and impact my life shaped who God made me to be. And for the first time, I began to become settled with who I really was and loved it. What a life transforming path that was! I no longer allowed people to lead me down a wrong path. I was leading others to God's path! And that made me love my life!
Who does God say we are? I hope and pray that to some degree, revelation of who we are in Christ comes forth every time a write a Fresh Manna devotional. But today, let me start out answering the question, Who am I? by focusing on Hosea 14:1-2. (NKJV) “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you, And return to the LORD. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”
This verse starts off with Hosea the prophet speaking God’s words directly to them. These are God’s words to His people. He addresses them, “O Israel…” Israel means the power and strength to rule as God. This is how God addressed them. This is what He named these people – “O Israel” meaning You the people who I established a covenant with. Who I gave power and strength to influence this world in God's ways! Think about that! That is what God named these people! Why? Because they were to become His influencers—His leaders and influencers of all He wanted mankind to know about Himself in the earth. They were to be His light to all people. The ones to show them God’s love, His ways, and God’s power in the earth.
Just like anyone might, they had trouble believing that. They answered the Who are you? question from the perspective of who they saw when they looked in the mirror instead of who God said He created and covenanted with them to be. They saw themselves as ordinary sinners who weren’t capable of much more than becoming like every other people group they were surrounded by. They were caught up in the culture and peer pressure of the day. Instead of becoming God's influencers, they became the influenced backsliders who were entangled in sin, idolatry, and living far outside of God’s will for them. Instead of representing God with lives of power and influence, they lived a mediocre life filled with sin and complacency. They were despised and became a joke to the world.
He then told them one more powerful thing to do. He told them to say, “For we will offer the sacrifice of our lips.” That meant they would begin to praise Him for everything He was, for everything He had done in the past for His people, and for all He yet promised to do. Why was this important? Because this praise would help stir in their hearts to want to know more about who they were to become and their purpose in life.
“Who am I?” is further answered in Psalms 95:7 NIV which says, “For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today if you will hear His voice.”
If Jesus has become your Lord, then like Israel, you are His people. You aren’t just another guy or gal on the block or in the workplace. You are someone who God established a covenant with through Jesus Christ. You are someone whom through His Holy Spirit, gives you power within to say "Yes" to what is good and right and "No" to what isn't. You are someone He gave power and strength to, to become an influencer and world changer. That is who we are in Christ. Is that hard to believe? Most things God reveals to us about who we are in Him, are difficult to believe. But, it’s the only way you will get to know who you really are! And the rest of your story is summed up in these next verses!
Acts 26:16-18 (NIV) "Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people.... I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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