Summary: This message is part one of two that focuses on the first two chapters of the book of Ephesians which give us a detailed description of who we are as born again Christians in Christ Jesus.
Born Again Christian Part 5a
Who Are You?
In my message last week I shared with you that was the conclusion of my series on Born Again Christian. This week the Spirit laid on my heart one additional message for the series. The subtitle of this final message is “Who Are You?”
If you ask some people who they are they will tell you about their job title or the role they play within their family. I saw this often in the companies I have worked for. Let me give you an example. Most of you know I work in an industry that is constantly “right sizing.” Depending on the company, political environments, and the life cycle of the products being promoted it is not uncommon for companies to announce without warning that they are going to downsize their sales force. Several years ago I was a field manager at a company that had never experienced a downsizing. This was one of the “benefits” we told candidates whenever we visited college campuses or attended job fairs to recruit potential employees. This was a selling point for our company and part of our identity until we had our first downsizing which shocked many of those working for the company. Imagine that part of your identity of never having gone through a downsizing being shaken to its core when your company goes through one. In my position as a manager I had to tell my affected team members that they were being downsized. I watched the range of emotions that they went through upon hearing that the job they had counted on for years was being eliminated. I witnessed the transformation of their identity, going from being employed to being unemployed. As I witnessed this I never wanted to experience that pain.
I lived for years under the cloud of being downsized and wondering how I would take care of my family. While I knew that God had me and would take care of me I did not want that belief or my profession of faith to be put to the test. I did not want to have to prove that I trusted God. You see, it was easier claiming my identity as His child with all of its benefits while I was working. I remember praying “God I know you have me and I thank you for this job and if it pleases You, I would like to keep it because it’s allowing me to do Your will.” Did you notice how I casually mentioned that the job allowed me to do His will? While this was the absolute truth in my mind, I know that God did not require me to have “that specific job” in order to do His will, but it was comforting for me to stress that to Him. Well, in 2014 my number was called and I was laid off from that company. I had been an employee of that company for 13 years so my work identity was now stripped from me. What I feared and dreaded had finally happened. But something else happened too. After going through that and witnessing firsthand how God worked it all out I no longer fear being downsized. It took me going through a downsizing to lose my fear of it. My personal victory came over the fear because of God, not me, Him alone! I am sharing this story with you because while I was working at that company I had a sign on my computer that said “God is my real employer.” While I worked for that company in the natural, I reminded myself and attached my identity to the fact that God was my “real” employer. That attachment to Him enabled me to go through the process of finding another job and reestablishing a new work identity.
We all have several identities and those identities help define who we are to ourselves and to the world around us. Now before the start of our service each of you were handed a sheet with a question for you to answer. The question was “Who are you?” and you were to write the top 5 identities that define who you are. While you do not have to share your answers with anyone, I want you to look at them and see if you put on your list that you were a Christian and a child of God and, if that did make your list, where did it fall on your list? Was it the last thing you thought about or the first? Or did it show up somewhere in the middle? This morning I want you to think about the fact that as a born again Christian God has to be first in our life. We have covered a lot of Scriptures in this series, but today I want to direct your attention to just two chapters in the New Testament that, if you will read them weekly, you will know exactly who you are as a born again Christian in Christ Jesus. Before we go to those chapters I want to remind you of what I shared with you last week about the power of the Word of God when it’s believed.