Who am I? Have you ever asked yourself that question? We can often feel we have to define who we are through our jobs, marital status, successes, grades, where we live, what we own, even our appearance or many other criteria society wishes to impose upon us.
I am not one usually to ask that question of myself, but have recently found myself in a position that gave that question a little shake. For the past 40 years I have been a teacher, 36 years of them in the one school. So, my life was routine and part of my sense of identity existed in this external measurement of my job, my career.
At the end of last year when I decided to leave that school and move into some casual teaching up here in Wollongong, I had to face the prospect of letting something go that had been a strong foundation and stability for me. It was a school I loved working at, but I needed to step back and not be so busy.
I remember very clearly reading the Bible during this time of decision making and this particular verse reminded me that teaching is not my identity. 1 John 3:1 says:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
And that is who I am – a child of God, regardless of whether I am still teaching or not. Being a teacher cannot be my identity because one day it will pass. We cannot place our identity in any external thing or circumstance. If the foundation of our identity is in external things, our identity will be forever changing as our circumstances change. The only true and sure identity that will not pass or fade is the one we have in Christ. That is our true identity that can never be altered by what we do.
Romans 8:15-16 says
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
What an honour, what a privilege to be called a child of God!! We get to call our God, Father. Knowing who we are in Christ means our identity won’t be shaken or altered when life’s circumstances change. God’s opinion is the one that counts.
So next time you think “who am I?”, think about how God sees you – He loves you and calls you His child.