WHO ARE YOU? (November 2018)

Imagine you meet somebody for the first time.  What do you say to them about yourself?  Perhaps your name, who you are related to or (and) what you spend your days doing usually?  What are the first things you want to know about them?  .  It is said that we form opinions about people within seconds of the first meeting.   We are used to having all kinds of ideas and expectations in our society.  And when we introduce ourselves to others, we choose how we want to be defined. 

This relates to our sense of identity, which is something we develop as we grow and mature from childhood onwards.  My sense of who I am (and who I am not) is all caught up with what I regard myself as able to do (or not able to do).  Research shows that young people are very dependent on others in how their sense of identity develops.  As we become adult, for the most part, we become more self-assured, and we grow to know our own identity more clearly.

How we see ourselves (and how others see us) is always going to be a partial view, though.  Even we ourselves only see part of the picture.  The only completely fully-rounded view of our identity is seen by God.  He knows us more than we will ever know ourselves.  He made us in the first place.  Moreover, He has in store for us far greater things than we could ever dream of or imagine.  God has an identity for us, in Christ.  That is total, abundant fulfilment for each of us.  The most healthy, the most mature and complete and fulfilled way of being is in Christ. 

Some people are more emotionally mature than others.  Some Christians are more emotionally mature than others.  Occasionally somebody might point at a relatively immature or badly behaved Christian, and another person who is wonderful and great to be with, but not a Christian, and ask how it is possible for me to argue that being in Christ is the way to greatest fulfilment.  My answer would be, consider how much worse that Christian would be if they were not in Christ.  And, looking at the wonderful mature and good person who is not a Christian – just think what they would be like if they also had faith!  

If we think of life as a journey, the journey of growing in Christ, or growing in our knowledge and love of the Lord, puts every other life experience in the shade.  God has our faith journey planned before us.  He made us to be the kinds of people we are, with all our complexities and difficulties.  As S.Paul wrote to the Ephesians, ‘We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.’  (Ephesians 2.10)  Growing close to God, in Christ, through prayer, bible reading and worship is what God created us for in the first place.  May we each of us grow up in our faith and in our true identity in Christ. 

Tina Upton


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