One song I have come to love very much is “I know who I am” by Sinach. There is this affirmation of the relationship we have with God in the lyrics that is soothing and assuring. I also find that the songwriter kind of concludes that the knowledge of oneself as a result of knowing who God says I am. “I know who God says I am, what he says I am, where he says am at, I know who I am”. It is very important for us Christians to know exactly who we are. Many things get in the way of fulfilling God’s call to love your neighbors as yourself. One of such things is not knowing who you are. When you do not know who you are, it is certain that you also will not know who your neighbor is. And when you are at a loss as to who your neighbor is, misperceptions set in, and misnaming sets in. We call people by names God has not given them because we fail to know who they are.
There are so many discriminatory attitudes in society that are direct results of misnaming and misperception. It is because of misnaming and misperception or not knowing fully who we are that makes people tend to value some folks’ lives more than others. One pet peeve of mine is that many folks, especially in the evangelical movement, often value some lives more than others. The action of many of the leading Pastors and their political utterances tend to indicate that the value they place on the lives of minority folks seems to be lowest on their own totem poles. For instance, this community of Christians are very outspoken when it comes to the issue of abortion. Yet they are not that outspoken when it comes to the issue of capital punishment, neither are they outspoken when it comes to the incessant ways that law enforcement has been wasting the lives of black people in this country. To me, it is an irony, for if indeed we value the life of one then we should value the life of all. We as Christians must learn to value the lives of all God’s people, not only some of God’s people.
This talk about knowing who we are of course begs the question “who am I?”. Who does God say I am? The word of God in Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born, I set you apart”. That is the truth about God’s people. He has set each of us apart. We are unique. He knows our names, He knows our purpose, He knows our everything. John 1:12 says we are children of God. Romans 3:24 tells us we have been justified and redeemed by His Grace. John 15:15 says we are no longer slaves but friends of Christ. Romans 8:1-2 teaches that there is no condemnation for any of us because we have been set free from the law of sin and death. Ephesians reminds us that we are chosen, holy, and blameless before God. Psalms 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. As we embrace these truths from the Word of God about who we are in Christ, we are able to extend the grace of this knowledge to others, knowing fully well that God has created them no less than we are.
We are all the handwork of God, and the Bible tells us that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31a). His creations are all good and we ought to regard them like that. Many times, we tend to focus on our personal flaws and allow them to define us. We must stop focusing on our flaws all the times we fail to hit the mark that we set for ourselves. We must begin to focus on God and the work He is doing in us. What we must do is to look past our own flaws and even those of others and focus on the lesson of the day. While you are striving, we must remember that there is nothing too hard for God to do. He can turn us around; He can fix us up, and He can restore us and place us exactly where He wants us to be. He is the potter, and we are the clay. The intent of the potter is always to come out with a masterpiece. We are His masterpiece because we have been beautifully and wonderfully made. I pray today we will realize that all His creations are His masterpieces, and not allow our misperceptions to get in the way of loving God’s people who are equally beautifully and wonderfully made.
October 24, 2021 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya