Who am I? Most people ask this question at one time or another. We hide behind a fence that builds a ghetto around us. Moroccan, Yemenite, Brazilian, Argentinian, Ethiopian, American, Afro-American and so on.
These associations come from the areas where we grew up and the culture within them. Even in the time of Yeshua there were different assumptions made according to people’s backgrounds. We have a good illustration in John 7:52 of how the Rabbis in the time of Yeshua viewed people from the Galilee.
Having said that, let’s take Paul as an example in addressing the question of “Who am I and why is it important?” Paul identifies himself and his personal history in the following verses: Acts 22:1-3, 22:25-29, 23:6; Philippians 3:5-6 and Romans 11:1.
He admitted having had a zeal for the Torah and persecuting the congregation (church, followers of the Way). He describes himself as being a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew, an Israelite, a Pharisee descended from Pharisees and finally a Roman citizen.
In spite of all that Paul says about his background and culture, he continues on in Philippians 3:7-11 to express that all of the above is nothing in comparison to the calling that is in Yeshua.
We must stop seeing ourselves according to our identity in the worldly sense and instead see ourselves primarily in our identity in the Messiah. What exactly does that mean?
- We are the children of God, and we have the right to call God “Abba Avinu” – our Father God (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 3:26-29, 4:6-7; Colossians 1: 5, 3:11).
- We are the temple of God, meaning He will dwell within us and never leave us (Romans 8:9-12; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20; Galatians 3:13, 4:5).
- We are partners in God’s nature, meaning we have the character of Messiah Yeshua. That is the fruit of the Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).
- We are citizens of heaven and ambassadors of the Messiah. We are living epistles, living letters. (Philippians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:3, 5:20)
- We belong to Yeshua and can overcome all the tests of life (1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:26; Philippians 2:13, 4:13; Ephesians 6:10-18).
- There is a purpose to our life. It is to reflect Yeshua. We are made in His image (Genesis 1:26; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14; Philippians 3:10,21; 1 Corinthians 15:49-58).
- God reconciled us to Himself, forgiving our sins and enabling us to identify ourselves in Him. (Colossians 1:22)
What am I expected to do with this new identity? Proclaim faith and live life according to the Lord’s commandments.
How is our identity in Yeshua reflected or expressed in our everyday lives?
* Doing good
* Loving honestly
* Teaching and reading the Scriptures
* Fellowship with believers
* Prayer and thanksgiving
Only through our identity in Yeshua will we stand in times of trouble, persevering with Him until the end. Otherwise we may find ourselves rejecting the very one who is our identity.
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, December 2017, and reposted with permission.