i am because of ‘I AM’
Not, I am what I am. Instead, I am because of I AM.
The world tells me to ‘Be Myself’, because I am what I am, I am me. Jesus instructs us that what I should be is like Him. His Disciple. Therefore i am because of I AM!
This changes everything! Read on…
Note from Kip…
God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
Exodus 3:14 (CSB)
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John 8:58 (CSB)
Individualism, Identity, and Natural all sound like good things at first glance. However, there is a serious flaw in the way these are approached in today’s world.
Individualism – The first clue should be the ‘ism’ at the end of it. It’s a fairly safe bet that where there is an ‘ism’ that the expectation is that we are being encouraged to adopt this as our central motivation. In this case is unique, an individual, one of a kind.
We are created with uniqueness, we don’t have to strive to achieve it. You, myself, and everyone else drawing in the air are unique by design. Even identical twins are unique despite having numerous characteristics that seem to be exactly identical to there sibling.
Individualism tells us to stand out and be different than anyone else. It’s done with hairstyles, body enhancements, applying artwork to the body, wearing distinctive clothing, or altering our lifestyle to portray something that contrasts the surrounding culture.
While none of these are bad in essence, we really don’t have to go to these extremes simply to say that we are an individual. We are because that is how we are created.
Identity – Not just individuals attempt to set themselves apart by identity. Identity politics attempts to break people into different groups to potentially designate different rules of behavior, or treatment because of that which they are identified with.
Most often today you see the identity of one group being used as an excuse to force change for other groups that don’t identify with that group. So it is as if to say we all have little boxes that define us and because that particular definition requires this, you other boxes have to be like that, so as to accommodate the identity of the other.
Natural – Now natural sounds good right? I would have to agree in most cases such as getting back to nature, embracing God’s creation for what it was designed to be. Not constantly modifying because we find it inferior to what we would have it be.
There are many things that I prefer to be natural but there is a natural that disregards order and seeks to self-gratify, nurturing an increasing desire to embellish the carnal nature of humanity.
For the Believer
The bottom line for the Christian is that we should recognize that we are individuals each crafted uniquely and wonderfully by the Master Craftsman.
I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.
My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.
Psalms 139:14-16 (CSB)
We should understand that God has made us in such a way that it serves a purpose which glorifies Him and as Paul tells us ‘works together for our good’. Good is a good thing after all.
As for natural, we really should celebrate nature as God has provided it, but we also need to understand that while there is an abundance of wonderfully beneficial elements in nature, all of nature is in a fallen state due to original sin. Despite a plethora of things that are best for us in nature and being natural. While these may help our bodies to function in the manner that they were designed to function, even ‘natural’ isn’t God best, because it suffered the same corruption that was inflicted on humanity with the sin of the first two.
God’s best is where identity comes into play for the Christian. Instead of being categorized into groups and pitted against each other for political or social gain, Jesus wants us to identify with Him. Jesus isn’t talking about that label ‘Christian’ we carry around with us either. Not tied to a particular denomination or sect. Each and every single Christian is called to find their ‘identity’ in Christ Jesus.
Making it a bit less vague, Christ calls us to be His Disciples. From the youngest to the oldest, from every culture and every land, regardless of gender, our professions, or the place we call home. He wants us to identify with Him and be His Disciple.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB)
Be His Disciple and just as He disciples us, we are to disciple others, ‘Make disciples of all nations‘.
Being a Disciple, means we give up that ‘old nature’ which is the state we were left in when humanity fell into sin and corruption taking all of creation with them. The old nature is death and dying, pain and suffering.
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
Colossians 3:9-10 (CSB)
Don’t lie to yourself and each other, telling yourselves that we can be just like the world, do what the world does and take part in all that the world has to offer because WE are not like them. WE are to be like I AM!
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin.
Romans 6:6-7 (CSB)
Yes, there is grace sufficient to cover all our sin, but that doesn’t provide us any justification to wantonly embed our identity in worldly pursuits.
When we come to Christ Jesus and we say ‘Lord forgive me a sinner, I repent of my way and trust in you and your grace to wipe out my sin and give me a new life in you’, Jesus doesn’t respond with ‘Now go tie one on for me.’. He tells us the very same thing that he told the adulterous woman who was facing death by stoning for her sin.
We are no different than the adulterous woman after her accusers had departed.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
John 8:10-11 (NLT)
Forgiveness and the grace by which it is imparted to us, doesn’t give us a limitless sin card we can use anywhere. It calls for repentance, a change in us, and as Jesus told the woman who had been saved by His intervention. When He asked if not one of the men had condemned her….
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8:11 (NLT)
Just as with us, we are not to chase after sin any longer but pursue the identity of Jesus as His Disciple. I am to be identified like I AM.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 16:24 (CSB)
That’s not being careful not to step over that imaginary line in the sand, it means denial of self, lifting our cross and following after the Master.
‘I am’ because of I AM, and that is who we should be. His Disciple.