I find it interesting and providential that I got stuck at this spot in the summaries of my lessons on believing God. I am who God says I am. On 11/26/07 I wrote the title and then nothing since. Why?
Could it be that I have no idea of who God says I am? It could be that after studying this section of the lessons, I was more confused than ever. God does things in His own time. He is not finished teaching me who I am. Therefore, how can I relate anything to you about the subject? Yet it is a priority area because of the results of believing you are who God says you are:
1. You gain SECURITY - after all, your poor decisions are usually due to insecurity.
2. You gain FREEDOM - however sinful you've been, Jesus paid the whole penalty for you.
3. You enable OBEDIENCE - obedience comes from faith! (Rom 1:5)
See what I mean? Even the benefits of believing I am who God says I am are confusing to me. How do I get this FAITH that leads to obedience? And, again, WHO DOES GOD SAY I AM?
By looking at Ephesians 1: 3-8, I got a clue.
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
By God, the Father, I am:
• BLESSED in the heavenly realm with every blessing of Jesus Christ. (v.3)
• CHOSEN before the creation of the world (v.4)
• ADOPTED in love, as His child through Jesus Christ. (v.5)
• ACCEPTED/FAVORED through His grace. (v.6)
• REDEEMED in grace through the blood of Jesus Christ (v.7)
• FORGIVEN in grace through the blood of Jesus Christ (v.7)
If that is who God says I am (and I'm assured by scripture that it is) then I certainly do not act like that is who I am. So I guess I don't believe it. What I need is a strong dose of FAITH so that I can OBEY and in that obedience, I'll know I believe I'm who God says I am. for me, if I act as if I am who God says I am, then I am who God says I am. We had a saying in an office where I once worked that we sometimes have to "fake it 'til we make it." Where can I get information about acting in faith -- really believing that I am who God says I am by acting like it?
According to Romans 19:17, ". . . faith comes from hearing the word of Christ." A good place to learn about walking in faith is in Hebrews, chapter 11 or as some call it, the "Hall of Faith." Here we can learn about everyday, flawed people like us who believed they were who God said they were. They weren't any better equipped than we are to exercise faith. they all struggled -- in fact, the very idea that they walked in faith tell us that they had an alternative but didn't choose it.
Who are some of these lowly, everyday people who ended up in the Hall of Faith? Here, you will find Abel who presented a sacrifice pleasing to God because it was made from faith. (Heb 11:4 and Gen 4:1-16) Faith means believing that blessing never fails to follow obedience, no matter the sacrifice.
Here also, is Enoch, who pleased God, who walked with God, and who by faith was taken from this life without experiencing death. (Heb 11:5 and Gen 5:24) We each have our opportunity to please God by walking with Him. Faith is the evidence of things unseen.
Next, consider Noah, a simple man no different from us (except possibly in his extraordinary faith!) who believed God and built that ark before he had ever seen rain in his life - built it because he believed God when no one else did and had faith that things would go as God said they would. (Heb 11: 7 and Gen 6:5-22)
And how about that Abraham! Here was a man who made many mistakes in judgment and serious bouts with doubt yet his life is also marked with a history of faith. When God told him to go to a place that would later become his inheritance, he started out before he even knew where he was going. Abraham is a vision of hope for me. He reminds me that whatever my past doubts and sins, I still have today to believe God. My life may be over tomorrow but I still have today!
Lastly, there is Isaac who by faith blessed both his sons according to what God foreknew rather than by custom. (Heb 11:20 and Gen 27) I believe Isaac had faith to believe that God had more at work than meets the eye. If you have never read the account of Jacob getting Esau's blessing, you must! It is a scream. God has been wise to include in the Bible stories of people and families that were like us -- prone to tangle themsleves in a mess. Talk about dysfunction, if you will start with the conditions before the birth of Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:19-26) you might get valuable insight into the workings of God. After reading this and Chapter 27, I was asked to title the "blessings" story in Ch 27. I called it "Dysfuction 101: Jacob is a Heel Again."
Of course there are many other stories in God's word, the Bible, that give us models of faith. Maybe you will decide as I did once, to simply believe that God means what He says and what He says is truth. Then believing, we exercise faith and with faith we have obedience. As all this grows, in God's grace, we live minute by minute as if we are who HE says we are – blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven. BELIEVE IT!
AND YOU ALSO ARE AMONG THOSE WHO ARE CALLED TO BELONG TO JESUS CHRIST. (Rom 1:6)