Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Who Do They Say You Are?

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him . . . and when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13–17

What emotion does God feel when he thinks about you? What stirs in his heart when you come to his mind? Your identity, and all that’s connected with identity, flows from your answer to that question.

The reality is that the one who makes something always knows best the thing that has been made, whether it is a car or a poem, a painting, a building or even a person. Your identity only truly can come from the one who created you, your maker, and your sustainer, the only one who fully knows you and fully loves you. Our lives are full of voices that try and tell us who we are, what we should be, where our value comes from. These voices drown out the voice of God. Most of us are really never still, we don’t set aside time to listen God’s voice. So, we don’t hear it -- we can’t hear it -- we drift, untethered from whom we really are.

The reality is that God is madly in love with you. He calls you to himself; calls you to hear that love. God invites you, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) But, how often are you still? Stillness does not come naturally to most people. Stillness and silence take practice. It takes intentionally setting aside times to be still and silent. The practice of solitude and silence is one way to allow God’s Spirit to descend upon you and confirm this love.

- Think through the words that God the Father spoke to Jesus in the passage above. Dwell on the word “beloved.” Why did God choose to say that? What do you think Jesus felt when he heard these words? Can you imagine God saying this about you? What does it mean for you to be beloved by him? In what ways can this belovedness impact your own feeling of mission in the world? What else does this passage unearth for you? How can it point to a deeper sense of his love for you? How does his belovedness give you identity? What tempts you away from your identity in God’s love?

Only with the love of God can we face the temptation to leave who we are in order to settle for a lesser good and a false identity.