Spiritual Identity

Who are you?

Much like many of you, I have had to grapple with my Identity.  And having said that, everything in the question of “Who are you, or who am I?” boils back to one thing.

Self awareness. Or self identity

There are a few factors the effect self awareness and development of it

Family of origin (we are given a role)

Social context (determines behavior)

Fraternities (you are instructed how to act, and view the world)

Relationships (motivation or lack thereof)

Self – esteem (the nature of how you view or grade yourself)

Acceptance of others (things like appearance attitude and behavior)

Our self awareness or our identity dictates who we are, how we behave, and how we perceive the world. Much in the same way, our identity in Christ, is reflected in almost the exact reverse manner.

Where as with self awareness, we gauge where we start, with spiritual identity it is where we end up.

Social context is what determines how to act, and react. But the key word there, is context. It all matter what we are comparing it to.

Fraternities are replaced with the body of Christ, rather than a select group of people who determine who is in charge. And what person you need impress, it is all about impartiality, and that God views us all the same.

Relationship with Christ.

Self – esteem has the individual as the center, our identity in Christ has God as the center. And how he views us.

Acceptance of others (things like appearance attitude and behavior) Rather than acceptance, it is forgiveness of others.

 

While Gideon was threshing wheat, an angel spoke to him and addressed him as a mighty man of valor. Some people see this as humorous because Gideon was hiding from the enemy and Gideon’s response was that he came from a poor family and was not a hero.

Judges 6: 11 – 16

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon is seems did not know his identity, despite an Angle of the Lord showing up and telling him so.

 

How do you see yourself? I think it’s true to say that most of us, if not all of us, have an internal picture of ourselves that dominates every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s our personalities, our capabilities, our aspirations and dreams – our self-image, if you like, it affects how we perceive ourselves and therefore how we perceive others see us, and how we begin to relate to others and effectively how they will relate to us. More than that, not only does our self-image affect our own well-being and how other people relate to us, but it affects how we view God – it shapes our understanding of the Almighty, and in fact how He sees us and what we think He feels about us.

some of the lyrics in the song “Priceless” by: For king and country seem to match what our Identity is in Christ.

Mirror, mirror
Mirror on the wall
Tellin’ those lies
Pointing out your flaws
That isn’t who you are
That isn’t who you are

It might be hard to hear
But let me tell you, dear
If you could see what I can see
I know you would believe
That isn’t who you are
There’s more to who you are

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you
Oh, so priceless

On the subject of priceless, I have a good old fashion object lesson. Please bear with me.

For Michelangelo, the piece David proved to be a defining moment in his artistic career. The story begins with a commission for a statue of David dating as far back as 1466. The original block was a highly prized piece of marble standing at least 17 feet tall, and a minimum of 5 feet wide. When the original artist began work on the marble block. It is said, he did not make much progress, only managing to mark out the shape of the legs, feet and drapery, his work on the project ceased for reasons that remain unclear. The project was resurrected some ten years later when another artist worked on the statue but his contract was terminated with no real progression being made.

The marble block, purchased from the famous quarries at Carrara, remained in the courtyard workshop of Florence Cathedral and lay neglected for the next twenty five years.

After the success of the Rome Pieta of 1499-1500 Michelangelo was recognized as a genius, a master of his craft. He was just 26 years old.

The Guild of Wool Merchants wanted to revive the abandoned project for David, Michelangelo was the artist who was offered, and accepted, this prestigious contract. Working with a second-hand piece of marble that had deteriorated during it’s years of exposure to the elements did not please the artist. It is said (with no real proof) that Michelangelo wanted to abandon the block, that was so badly deteriorated and get a new block. But even though the block was badly weathered, it was still very expensive, and very heavy. The Guild of Wool Merchants did state in Michelangelo’s contract that the stone was “badly roughed out”. The wording is perhaps intended to make it clear to the artist that the aged marble block (too expensive a commodity to waste) was to be used for the statue.

He began work on Monday September 13th 1501 and it would take him two years to turn the marble block into the iconic image that we know and admire today.

Here is something that blows me away. As far back as the year 1466. This piece of art was thought of. and two other artists had already tried and failed to bring it to fruition. And the artist who finished it, was not even born yet.

This can be looked at though our Identity as well. You may think that you are badly weathered and damaged. Neglected even. But you are too precious a commodity to just throw away. Your artist has big plans for you, and you truly are a masterpiece.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, wrote a fantastic song called Through Heavens eyes, and it was featured in the animated movie “The Prince of Egypt”. It illustrates a large point I want to make.

A single thread in a tapestry, Through its color brightly shine.

Can never see its purpose, In the pattern of the grand design.

And the stone that sits on the very top, of the mountain’s mighty face

Does it think it’s more important Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth Or where your value lies?

You can never see through the eyes of man. You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

A lake of gold in the desert sand, Is less than a cool fresh spring.

And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy Is greater than the richest king.

If a man lose everything he owns, Has he truly lost his worth?

Or is it the beginning Of a new and brighter birth?

So how do you measure the worth of a man In wealth or strength or size?

In how much he gained or how much he gave?

The answer will come to him who tries To look at his life through heaven’s eyes.

And that’s why we share all we have with you Though there’s little to be found.

When all you’ve got is nothing There’s a lot to go around.

No life can escape being blown about By the winds of change and chance.

And though you never know all the steps You must learn to join the dance.

 

Genesis 1: 26:

At the very beginning of the creation story, before man fell into sin,

God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over all the earth”.

Now right away there, God is creating mankind, male and female, in His image; and He creates them in His own identity. Now that means a whole lot of things that I don’t have time to go into, but one thing we do know is: God breathed into the clay that He made from the ground, into the body, the physical form of Adam, He breathed into Him His ‘ruach’, His breath, and Adam became a living soul. So there is a spiritual entity in all of us that connects us to God, it’s called a human spirit.

 

Psalm 139 1 – 18

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Verse 7, Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Verse 13, For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Verse 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

I want to ask you tonight, whether you’re a Christian or not: what is the mask that you wear? What is the image and the identity that you put on in the morning?

How do you see yourself? I think it’s true to say that most of us, if not all of us, have an internal picture of ourselves that dominates every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s our personalities, our capabilities, our aspirations and dreams – our self-image, if you like, it affects how we perceive ourselves and therefore how we perceive others see us, and how we begin to relate to others and effectively how they will relate to us. More than that, not only does our self-image affect our own well-being and how other people relate to us, but it affects how we view God – it shapes our understanding of the Almighty, and in fact how He sees us and what we think He feels about us.