Monday, February 27, 2017

Re-defining Our Identity

UV 2212/10000 Re-defining Our Identity
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Corinthians 15 v 10

Re-defining our identity is key to re-orienting and achieving our purpose. God defined Himself in His cryptic reply to Moses as to who should he say He is: “I am who I am.” But a manger leader or manager defines himself in the words of Paul: “I am what I am by the grace of God.” The difference between the first expression and the second is that ‘who’ implies that God is self-existent, the Creator who has an identity in and of Himself. The use of ‘what’ by Paul implies that we are created beings, not sovereign but we are both autonomous and dependent on the Creator. God does not need to look to anything else to define, describe or explain His Self. He is full of grace and glory or effulgent as Jesus is described in the gospels. He is the sovereign One. But each of us derive our identity in relation to Him. Where earlier mankind were a flawed or sinful race doomed to failure despite every effort and approach to redeem ourselves, now we have become a “ race of grace.” Our lives itself is a race of grace. We cannot sit back and idle. We are to labour hard. We have to do our own running like an athlete. But the Great I Am is with us and will help us in every way needed. Not only our souls but our every effort is redeemed by grace. Not just eternity but our time here on earth is redeemed.

Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Having received Jesus into our hearts, the grace of God is with us, upon us and working its amazing power within us to change us to His very image. That grace will make manifest in us and through us the love, justice, righteousness and power of God. Grace does not free us from attempting to do our best in all that we do. We are now to strive to do the best according to the grace and power of God at work in us. We use our natural strengths, gifts, talents, abilities but it is the grace of God that perfects and completes our incomplete or imperfect resources. We show the genuineness of our faith by striving or trying hard to attain the goals set for us by the Lord while He shows His grace and faithfulness by filling the gaps in our striving. His power working in us and with us makes us what we are and this is not of ourselves that we can boast.

All the beauty, grace, power and truth of God are realizable in us with the help of God in Christ and by the power of His word and the Holy Spirit. Christ as man suffered death but as God overcame death. Death lost its sting. Death is the number one weapon of the enemy of our souls but in defeating death, Jesus defeated every lesser weapon against mankind. Disease lost its sting. Defeat lost its sting. Shame lost its sting. Loss lost its sting. Sorrow lost its sting. Insults lost its sting. When we work by the grace of Christ, we are setting ourselves up for eternal victory. Nothing by any means can hurt or sting us permanently. We might feel a temporary sting in the heel of our foot at times of trials, tests, illness, failures, losses. But we can kick it off and start with renewed hope and vigour.

Prateep V Philip

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