What do I offer this world?
It’s a question that haunts many of us. We dearly long for a clear, tangible identity.
The drive to be useful and necessary is strong. So much so that what we do can overwhelm the mystery of who we actually are.
And when our usual ability to ‘do things’ for ourselves or others is stripped away – so often is our pride. Our sense of purpose, our value, our reason for living…
I remember suffering from a bout of pneumonia a few years’ back. It had it along with Denghi Fever, which seemed to have resulted from a trip I’d made to Bali. It’s one thing to be sick in bed for a few days, but quite another to feel like your function and purpose has been stripped away for weeks on end. I remember feeling helpless, deflated… and even though many people say suffering brings you closer to God, I found myself distant from him. I was angry about so many things. All the daily rituals I’d relied upon prior to my illness weren’t available. I couldn’t go for a walk, or play very much with my son, or have coffee with a friend in the usual way. I was bed-bound, and suffering from this infernal fever that gripped me daily. And I felt that no-one truly understood what I was going through.
Man was I relieved when I could start to reclaim my purpose. The purpose that I felt defined me.
But, coming out of that illness, it had me wondering if I’d missed some gold in the process of being sick. If maybe I’d escaped some kind of enlightenment surrounding the importance of ‘being’ rather than doing. That I’d failed to realise my value is found in who I am to someone rather than all the external stuff that temporarily makes me feel useful or healthy or important.
Value, I believe, is bestowed upon us by a Creator who saw fit to make us his children. Not because of anything we’ve done, but because of who he is.
This loving creator made us to be valuable to him. To be loved by him. He covered all our sins by his death and resurrection, and he offers those that believe in him an eternal, life-giving relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit (three-in-one). We are rich beyond compare because of the identity he’s given us. And this isn’t related to what we do – but what we receive.
He’s not against us having a life purpose – not at all. But I do believe there is treasure to be found when we relax into the blessing of knowing – deep down – who we are when we are hidden in him. I think our purpose comes out of this identity, rather than the other way round.
Neil Anderson elaborates on these affirming Bible verses:
|I am accepted…|
|John 1:12||I am God’s child.|
|John 15:15||As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.|
|Romans 5:1||I have been justified.|
|1 Corinthians 6:17||I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.|
|1 Corinthians 6:19-20||I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.|
|1 Corinthians 12:27||I am a member of Christ’s body.|
|Ephesians 1:3-8||I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.|
|Colossians 1:13-14||I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.|
|Colossians 2:9-10||I am complete in Christ.|
|Hebrews 4:14-16||I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.|
|I am secure…|
|Romans 8:1-2||I am free from condemnation.|
|Romans 8:28||I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.|
|Romans 8:31-39||I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.|
|2 Corinthians 1:21-22||I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.|
|Colossians 3:1-4||I am hidden with Christ in God.|
|Philippians 1:6||I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.|
|Philippians 3:20||I am a citizen of heaven.|
|2 Timothy 1:7||I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.|
|1 John 5:18||I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.|
|I am significant…|
|John 15:5||I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.|
|John 15:16||I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.|
|1 Corinthians 3:16||I am God’s temple.|
|2 Corinthians 5:17-21||I am a minister of reconciliation for God.|
|Ephesians 2:6||I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.|
|Ephesians 2:10||I am God’s workmanship.|
|Ephesians 3:12||I may approach God with freedom and confidence.|
|Philippians 4:13||I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.|
Is this just a list of statements you’ve heard a million times? Or do these truths sink into the depths of who you are? Do you know this? That your identity is wrapped up in what he bestows upon you as his child? It’s not about what you do, what label you have, what others say about you, or what your reputation used to be.
I need daily reminders that I am a daughter of God. Beloved, treasured, doted upon, and watched over. Just because I love him. Everything else pales in comparison when he truly, deeply fills my soul, my identity, and my life purpose – whether it’s lying on a sick bed in quiet, earnest prayer – or heading to another country to tell those people he loves them too.