Do You Know Who You Are?
By Rodney W. Francis
Knowing who you are is one of the most important issues in life. Knowing who you are determines the type of person you are, the life you lead, the vision you carry, the faith level you live at, the challenges you will rise to. What you believe about you is a powerful "seed" that is setting the course of your future. What you believe depends on what you know.
So, ask yourself:
Think about the following – and believe the truth of Jesus’ Word:
"You are the salt of the earth . . . " (Matthew 5:13 , NIV).
"You are the light of the world . . . " (Matthew 5:14 , NIV).
One of the keys to an effective Christian life is in knowing who you are:
"You have been regenerated – born again – not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm) but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23 , AMP.).
"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fail . . . " (2 Peter 1:1-10 ).
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last" (John 15:16 , NIV).
"It was He (Christ) Who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . . " (Ephesians 4:11-12 , NIV); or . . .
"But to each one is given the manifestation of the (Holy) Spirit – that is, the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit – for good and profit. To one is given in and through the (Holy) Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same (Holy) Spirit; to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight – that is, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose; to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:7-10 , AMP.).
"Now you (collectively) are Christ’s body and (individually) you are members of it, each part severally and distinct – each with his own place and function. So God has appointed some in the church (for His own use): first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers, then wonder-workers, then those with ability to heal the sick, helpers, administrators, [speakers in] different [unknown] tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:27-28 , AMP.).
For one who is called to effective Leadership in the Kingdom of God it is vital to know:
"You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you . . . " (John 15:16 , KJV).
"And he said, The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know His will, and see that Just One (Jesus), and should hear the voice of His mouth. For you shall be His witness unto all men of what you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:14-15 , KJV).
"And you, who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh – your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature – [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having (freely) forgiven us all our transgressions" (Colossians 2:13 , AMP.).
" . . . unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (1 John 1:5 , KJV);
"These are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed them white in the Blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14 , KJV).
"If the Spirit of God, Who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then He Who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of His Spirit in you"(Romans 8:11 , GNB).
" . . . because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory"(Romans 8:14-17 , NIV). (See also 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 .)
"That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might (Greek word is "dunamis") by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:16-21 , KJV). (See also Colossians 1 .)
What is an ambassador?
A fuller meaning of the word "ambassador" is:
The word "plenipotentiary" means:
We need to take some time to consider what we have just read, for it is a clear description of who we Christians really are. We have been invested with power and authority to speak and act on the behalf of the King of the Kingdom we represent, which is the Kingdom of God! We have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ to represent Him and His Kingdom here on earth! We are His ministers of the highest rank, invested with His full power and authority to do His business (will).
To be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" is exactly what being an ambassador is all about! Commissioned by the King of the Kingdom Himself! That makes us very special indeed!
"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us . . . " (2 Corinthians 5:120 , NIV).
"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? . . . God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16 , NIV).
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 , NIV).
Or . . . do you choose to set a lower standard for yourself and see yourself as a "need-orientated" person still struggling to accept the truth of the Word of God?
I have come to this conclusion: As Christians we can pray, fast, read the Bible, go to every Christian meeting, be involved in so many church things, etc. (and these are all very good and desirable things to do), but if after all that we still see ourselves as being "useless nobody’s" who can’t make decisions, still feel inferior to others, still bound up by fear, etc., then that is the level in life we live at. We live according to the level of our self-esteem or at the level we see ourselves!
If you are a negative person who carries a negative belief about yourself, then you will be hindered in your releasing the ministry of the Holy Spirit through your life. That is why it is so important that you know who you are. Right now, make a positive decision to believe what the Word of God says to you as a born-again, Spirit-filled follower of Jesus Christ. What He says about you, and what you say about you, are often two very widely separated positions of opinion!
We must choose to live according to what God declares about us in His Word as His new creations in Christ, or we will live at the level which our own mind-set dictates to us. Our mind-set and way of thinking about us usually sets a standard far below that which God has set for us. What level are you living at?
Gideon is a very good example of a person who was locked into a negative mind-set and life-style (Judges 6 to 8). Israel was in bondage to the Midianites. Their strategy was to keep Israel subjected by controlling the food supply, which in turn kept the likes of Gideon physically weakened. Gideon, however, had managed to secretly grow some wheat and was in the process of threshing it when an angel of God appeared to him. Gideon would have been malnourished, hungry and lean! Yet, in spite of those circumstances, the angel proclaimed to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty("strong, powerful; very great in extent, importance" or "warrior, tyrant, champion; one who excels" – Strong’s) man of valour ("strength: courageous and brave, especially in battle")."
What Gideon was experiencing, feeling and believing was not what the angel was declaring! The angel saw the potential in Gideon to rise to greater things. But at that point in time Gideon did not know who he was. He did not know the power of the word and will of God for his life. Gideon was so caught-up in his own circumstances, disappointments and discouragements he could not take it all in. His response was a negative, "How can it be . . . Why is all this happening to me? . . . Where’s God in all this? . . . Who me? . . . Hang on there; I’m from a poor family . . . and the least important one at that! . . . There must be others better than me . . . "
Because Gideon did not know who he was, his mind-set and confession was built around complaining and excuses. But God declared to him that he was a mighty champion, able to excel ("surpass; to be outstandingly good or proficient" - Collins)! That experience left Gideon in a position where he had to make a choice. The choice was:
If he chose the first, he would be able to see things change for the better. He would really discover and know who he was in God. If he chose the second, life would continue on its negative way. He would never know who he was as a person, a Christian and a man of God.
With some trepidation Gideon chose to believe what God said and, from that time, a positive change began for (and in) Gideon that saw him rise to lead Israel back into its God-ordained position of being the victors (not the victims). The more Gideon co-operated with God the more he discovered who he was - and the more he rose to become a great Leader. In fact Gideon’s life so changed that he became a powerful force for good and God. Under his Leadership Israel enjoyed 40 years of safety and security (Judges 8:28 ), whereas prior to that they were slaves to the Midianites.
Gideon represents your life and mine. The same choices he had are the same choices we have today. Are you going to believe what God says about you? Or, Are you going to believe what you say about you?
When we know who we are we carry a vision, a sense of destiny and purpose. We know we are on a journey, a mission; we have a task to fulfil. That task is bigger than ourselves and we need others (like-minded) to help us fulfil it.
When we know who we are we lead others, because we know where we are going. We know something of how to get there. We take responsibility for the decisions made and know we have to live with the consequences.
If we don’t know who we are, then we cannot be a Leader, but only a follower.
What is a follower?
A follower follows someone else. A follower does not have to make decisions or take responsibility for decisions made; a follower can always hide behind someone else when things go wrong. When we know who we are – ambassadors of the King of the Kingdom – we don’t have to hide or rely on others to make our decisions for us.
THREE VITAL QUESTIONS:
Effective Leadership is determined according to the way you can answer the above three questions. Knowing who you are in God is the ability to believe what God’s Word says about you more than what you say about you!
Knowing Who God is in you is what releases the Holy Spirit’s power and ministry out of you to touch a needy world around you. He chose to make His base for His earthly operations in you and me! He sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit to set-up residence in our lives, out of which He wants to impact others around us:
"However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be of God and not from ourselves" (2 Corinthians 4:7 , AMP.).
The word "power" here is from the Greek word "dunamis" meaning "natural capability, inherent power; capability of anything, ability to perform anything; then, absolutely, not merely power capable of action, but, power in action" (Bullinger’s).
God is now "Greater in us, than he (Satan) that is in the world" (1 John 4:4 , KJV).
And He is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power ("dunamis") that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20 , KJV).
The word "works" here is from the Greek word "energeo" meaning, "to be active, efficient, be mighty in" (Strong’s).
God’s will is that the "dunamis" of His Holy Spirit will be actively outworking from our lives as we fulfil our calling of being "the salt of the earth," "the light of the world" and true ambassadors for Jesus in our generation.
Make very sure you know who you are today!
Your future depends on it!