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Who am I?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

From Luke 11
Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Who ever said Jesus was a meek and mild peace-maker? Over and over he points out dire consequences if his listeners choose not to follow him. Jesus knows exactly who he is and he wants us to accept what he says about that. He calls God Abba, and he knows God is OUR father too. We belong together.

Who am I? I am not just my thoughts, not just my feelings, not just what I do. I am not only my strengths and not only my weaknesses. These are all gifts from my Maker that let me do my life. They are NOT who I am. Jesus knew who he was; will following his ways help me know who I am?

A pre-requisite to knowing myself is to know God. What did Jesus do to know his Father?On Sunday, our teacher Greg saw four ways for us to follow Jesus into intimacy with our Father:

First, I can “know my identity in Christ.” In many languages, which sometimes involve words, God has plenty to say about who we are, and I can listen like Jesus listened. Faith follows listening and trust follows faith.

Second, I can be obedient. Obedience follows trust. The rule-maker loves me, this I know, and so it’s not just respectful but easy to obey him. I can “run in the path of his commands, for he has set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32). Obedience builds and demonstrates relationship. Jesus “only did what he saw his Father doing” (John 5:29 and 8:28).

Third, I can have faith in forgiveness. I can talk to God and share everything. He forgives what I think, what I feel, what I do, but much more importantly, in spite of every reason not to do so, God forgives ME. God has faith in me and trusts me.

Fourth, I can engage with God emotionally. When I feel loved beyond all failures and success, I weep with joy and pour out my own love. I am the sinful son returned to my prodigal father’s house, rejoicing, celebrating, so in love with him.

This gets at a transformative answer to “Who am I?” When God forgives what I do, I am relieved. But when God goes further and forgives ME, my life is renewed and redeemed at the very deepest level. Even if it’s only for a moment, I join God in what Thomas Merton called “la pointe vierge,” the “virgin point” where God abides in me always.

Then I know what God has always known I am: his always-and-forever-loved son.

Lord, when words take flight and all I have are these tears of joy, I know who I am. In the culture of your abiding love, I am yours.

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