Bible Ballistics: Vol. 18 No. 08 Who Am I???
This is a unique kind of post and while I am writing it in the first person, I am also writing it as a guide for each of us to question and discern who we are being for Jesus, and why we choose the way that we do in our life choices.
While I am the culmination of all my life experiences, I am not just that—I am the product of the work of God in my life; I am a blood bought, born again, heaven bound, grace saved, believer in Jesus, who has the mark of God on my life, and it is HIS work that is to be seen in me.
“What? know ye not
that your body is the temple
of the Holy Ghost
which is in you,
which ye have of God,
and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God
in your body,
and in your spirit,
which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
But who do I think and act like I am? Is what others see a true reflection of the ONE who bought and paid for my salvation, that “abundant life” that HE, Jesus, died to provide? That is the question that I’d like us to consider today, and I hope my method of investigation here will help us to draw near to God, and see what HE sees, for James said if we draw near to HIM, HE will draw near to us!
“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain,
The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith,
God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God,
and he will draw nigh to you.
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;
and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep:
let your laughter be turned to mourning,
and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves
in the sight of the Lord,
and he shall lift you up.” James 4:5-10
Have we drawn near to HIM or let the world come in between? We are to assess our lives on a regular basis to be sure that we are truly hearing and obeying the call of God on our lives, and expressing the glory, grace, and power of our God, with the gifts that HE has given to each of His own.
“As every man hath received the gift,
even so minister the same
one to another,
as good stewards
of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak,
let him speak as the oracles of God;
if any man minister,
let him do it as of the ability
which God giveth:
that God in all things
may be glorified
through Jesus Christ,
to whom be praise and dominion
for ever and ever.
Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
So, who am I? If I might do some exploring with you, there are some things that apply to me, and they may apply to you, or you may have different gifts and callings, but we are each to do what with them? And if you’ll notice there are two main groups of gifts, speaking gifts, and serving gifts, both necessary for the function and edification of the church body! We are to obey and follow our Lord and serve with humility and total dependence upon God’s provision—His gifts, His provision, to His glory and for other’s good. All to reflect Jesus to a lost and dying world! What will I do with my gift/gifts? You?
“He said unto them,
But whom say ye that I am?
Peter answering said,
The Christ of God.
21 And he straitly charged them,
and commanded them to tell no man that thing;
The Son of man
must suffer many things,
and be rejected
of the elders and chief priests
and be slain,
and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all,
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,
and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it:
but whosoever will lose his life for my sake,
the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged,
if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself,
or be cast away?” Luke 9:20-25
I am a follower of Jesus, and that means I have a cross to bear for my LORD, not for my salvation, but as an identifying mark of the Master who paid for my sin! I am one who has a debt of love that I pray will be reflected in everything I do! How about you? What are some of the gifts that we may have? Let’s take a look at some of the callings of God, and as I have shared before, there is sometimes a call on my life, that may not be on yours; as a little tract I read many, many years ago called to my heart, and is still calling today, “Others may, you cannot!” I am bound to The King of my soul no matter what others do or think of what I am called to be and do!
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith
of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
It’s all about Jesus—the only WAY—the only FOUNDATION!
“For other foundation can no man lay
than that is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man’s work
of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide
which he hath built thereupon,
he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned,
he shall suffer loss:
but he himself shall be saved;
yet so as by fire.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God
dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:11-16
Our culture, even the Christian culture around us today, says that there are many “foundations”, and that we are all going to the same destination, we are just going different ways! NOT! Paul said it so clearly—”other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”, and we must heed his warning and be sure that we are building on the right foundation—the only foundation! For even Jesus Himself made it clear that there is only ONE WAY!
“Jesus saith unto him,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.
7 If ye had known me,
ye should have known my Father also:
and from henceforth
ye know him,
and have seen him.” John 14:6-7
Jesus also made it clear that HE IS GOD! First, last, and always.
“My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them,
and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life;
and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man
pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me,
is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them
out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30
If we are HIS sheep, how are we building on that foundation? Are we building with “wood, hay, stubble” or “gold, silver, precious stone”? Choose wisely, for there is a test, and Paul declares that the test of our works will be by fire, and we all know what’s left after fire on the “wood, hay, stubble”, nothing but ashes, and Paul goes on to say that when genuine believers see our “self” works go up in smoke, we “shall be saved; yet so as by fire”! How sad to stand before our Lord, with nothing to show for the gifts, callings, and opportunities that HE has given to us! How sad, indeed!
But there is more to consider!
“Son of man,
I have made thee a watchman
unto the house of Israel:
therefore hear the word at my mouth,
and give them warning
18 When I say unto the wicked,
Thou shalt surely die;
and thou givest him not warning,
nor speakest to warn the wicked
from his wicked way,
to save his life;
the same wicked man
shall die in his iniquity;
but his blood will I require
at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked,
and he turn not from his wickedness,
nor from his wicked way,
he shall die in his iniquity;
but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 3:17-19
God went on to give Ezekiel an even more graphic picture of the responsibility of a watchman; and take note that a watchman isn’t always listened to, and is often unpopular, but when God calls us to it, we are HIS watchmen and watchwomen! What has God called you to do? God gave Ezekiel another message about the watchman, and while it is a bit lengthy, I think it necessary for us to consider the import of our calling—be it a speaking or serving gift!
“Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them,
When I bring the sword upon a land,
if the people of the land take a man of their coasts,
and set him for their watchman:
3 If when he seeth the sword come
upon the land,
he blow the trumpet,
and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound
of the trumpet,
and taketh not warning;
if the sword come, and take him away,
his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet,
and took not warning;
his blood shall be upon him.
But he that taketh warning
shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come,
and blow not the trumpet,
and the people
be not warned;
if the sword come,
and take any person from among them,
he is taken away in his iniquity;
but his blood will I require
at the watchman’s hand.
7 So thou, O son of man,
I have set thee a watchman
unto the house of Israel;
therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth,
and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked,
O wicked man, thou shalt surely die;
if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked
from his way,
that wicked man shall die in his iniquity;
but his blood will I require
at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked
of his way
to turn from it;
if he do not turn from his way,
he shall die in his iniquity;
but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 33:2-8
As we saw Peter’s instruction in 1 Peter 4 above, God gives the gifts, and we are responsible for what we do with them; we are blood bought children of God (if we have been born again by the Spirit of God, see John 1:11-13 and John 3:3-19)), and it is HIS power that we are to walk in, not our own. Scripture is replete with reminders to “walk in the Spirit” and not the flesh, as we share the Gospel truth, trusting God to bring it to fruition. But if we don’t share? Whose blood is on my hands?
“Abide in me,
and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine;
no more can ye,
except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine,
ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me
ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
“Nothing”! Ouch! Crucifixion hurts—it hurt Jesus to pay for our sin on that Roman cross, and it will cost us, if and when we choose to “take up his cross daily, and follow” Jesus! The cross is not just a cute piece of jewelry that some wear, for whatever reason, but the cross is an instrument of death! It killed my Lord, though HE willingly laid down HIS life for you and me, how can we do any less for HIM whom we claim to love and serve! Serving Jesus gets messy, and is often, as Oswald Chambers calls it, mundane to the eyes of men, yet when we are serving our Lord, the results will be seen for eternity in glory. It’s why, with Job, I can honestly declare:
“Though he slay me,
yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain mine own ways
before him.” Job 13:15
So, what does all this mean? Good question: yet sometimes the answer is a difficult one, but sometimes not so difficult, for we can see our duty and our service opportunities clearly; but sometimes we wrestle with balance, discernment, heavy loads, life events that test and try our faith, uncertainty, or just plain bodily weariness. Does God know? Does God care? That I can answer, ABSOLUTELY—HE loves us and cares about every thing that concerns you and me. (If you haven’t heard it, find the Collingsworth Family’s song, “If it matters to you, it matters to The Master”—it will bless your soul!). Jesus loved YOU/ME to death—HIS death– for our SIN!
“Humble yourselves therefore
under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you
in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him;
for he careth for you.
8 Be sober,
because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast
in the faith,
knowing that the same afflictions
are accomplished in your brethren
that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace,
who hath called us unto his eternal glory
by Christ Jesus,
after that ye have suffered a while,
make you perfect,
11 To him be glory
and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:6-11
And as the Psalmist says:
“Sing unto the LORD,
O ye saints of his,
and give thanks
at the remembrance of his holiness.
5 For his anger endureth
but a moment;
in his favour
weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:4-5
And in conclusion, I would simply like to say that even when I’m confused, tired, weary, or even uncertain of the next step, GOD STILL REIGNS! He is my faithful Lord, and I trust HIM—and because I have found Him faithful in every way, I can go on, I can take a break and go on. I can find rest in fellowship, sleep, time away, even outside counsel when I need it. After all, when Elijah ran from Jezebel, God didn’t fuss at him, He told him to go to sleep, and sent food by the birds to feed his body! God cares for you and me, and we can take care of ourselves in living a balanced life, but we must be sure that our eyes stay “fixed on Jesus”—The One who died for me, and Who is working “all things” for me, in me, through me, to HIS glory and my/your good! Amen!
And I leave you with a few passages to ponder through your day, week and beyond.
“O the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom
are his judgments,
and his ways
past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him,
and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him,
and through him,
and to him,
are all things:
to whom be glory for ever.
Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
“And we know
that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate
to be conformed
to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate,
them he also called:
and whom he called,
them he also justified:
and whom he justified,
them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us,
who can be against us?” Romans 8:28-31
And remember that when you take up that “cross” of Jesus, you are also “yoked” together with HIM, and you will NEVER “pull” alone!
“Come unto me,
all ye that labour
and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Let your conversation
be without covetousness;
and be content
with such things as ye have:
for he hath said,
I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper,
and I will not fear
what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
May God’s voice speak and direct your steps today!
Amen and Amen!!!