In all of the hustle and bustle of our lives, it’s easy for us to forget who we are. Instead of focusing on God and remembering that we are His children above all else, we define ourselves and our situations using earthly terms. I have fallen into this trap. I had academic standards for myself that were impossibly high. I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach my goals, but when I failed I would still get mad at myself. It was a destructive cycle, and I began to think that I was a failure.
During this time I obviously didn’t remember my true identity, but I could have if I had just looked to nature. Take the night sky, for example. Gazing up at the dark expanse spotted with pinpricks of light that are light years away, I could have remembered God’s awesome power. David seemed to have had a similar revelation when he wrote Psalm 19:1 which says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” How humbling it is to see the greatness of God in creation and to remember that that same God formed me! Staring up at the sky would have reminded me of one of the most important parts of my identity: I am one of God’s creations.
But even remembering how God made us and the universe could cause us to doubt ourselves. “If God is capable of making such an awesome place, why should I be important? Am I not like the dust to Him, so common, so unimportant?” Yet again, David asked God the same question in Psalm 8:4 when he wrote, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” It’s normal for us as humans to question God in some way, and thankfully, when we have questions such as these, there are numerous verses in the Bible to reassure us of our importance to God. Jesus himself told his disciples how valuable humans are to God by comparing them to sparrows in Matthew 10:29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” This reassurance from Christ reminds us of another important part of our identity: we are valued by God.
We might remember all of this, but the truth is that it’s not always enough to remember that we are God’s creation whom He highly values. What if we sin? We already know that Christ died for our sins, so that we may be forgiven, but all of the sin that we inevitably commit changes us. How highly can God value a broken vessel? When we think this way we start to think that God is limited, that He doesn’t have the desire, or the power, to change us. But many people have proven that God uses the imperfect to further His kingdom, and one great example is Paul. Originally known as Saul, he persecuted and murdered Christians thinking he was doing the right thing. But after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul saw the truth, and God used that encounter to change Saul and make him into a missionary. Much later, after Saul changed his name to Paul, he wrote to the Corinthians from Ephesus and gave them his testimony in 1 Corinthians 9-10: “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of [the other apostles]—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” The key words here are “by the grace of God I am what I am.” Even though Paul thought little of his right to be an apostle, he acknowledged another part of his and all of our identities: by God’s grace there will be forgiveness and change.
Now we know our true identity. We are God’s valued creations whom, by His grace, He forgives and changes to further glorify Himself. We are not defined by a failed test or by the human standards that we missed, but rather by God, who created us, loved us, and is willing to help us change for the better despite our circumstances.
Ariana Delaney (15) is on staff with CLM/TPS Chapel and a student at The Potter's School.