Though I had heard God’s call as a young boy, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-20s that I finally listened. After four years of college preparation, I took the position of full time pastor at a rural church in Low country South Carolina. Six years later, I moved to Upstate South Carolina and spent another six years pastoring a larger church. Then things changed suddenly. Due to an unfortunate divorce, I could no longer effectively pastor in my denomination. I reluctantly wore the dreaded “D.”. Had my identity been completely tied up in my profession, this could have been an even more devastating experience. Fortunately, I realized it didn’t change who I was from God’s perspective.
The psalmist defines himself from God’s viewpoint. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139:14 NLT)
What I do is not who I am. During my lifetime, I’ve been a bag boy, termite inspector, weave room operator, floor sweeper, third shift overseer, warehouse worker, tax office supervisor, country store manager, youth minister, and pastor. Had someone asked me who I was, I probably would have included whichever of those titles happened to be true at the moment. But truthfully, none of those positions encapsulated my identity. Had they, losing any one of them would have meant a loss of my identity and purpose.
Who I am is unique. I’m wonderfully complex and special due to who created me. God wove me together in my mother’s womb. There has never been anyone like me before, isn’t now, and won’t be in the future. No one has my exact personality type, body features, unique opportunities, or identical gifts and talents. Because of the grace of God, I’m forgiven and never have to worry about condemnation any longer. If this wasn’t enough, God also assures me of a bright future in heaven with him.
If you know Christ, you can say all of the above as well. How do you answer when someone asks who you are?
Prayer: Father, enable us to discover our identity in You rather than in our present employment and relationships.
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