Summary: I AM is a complete statement when made by God, but how about us? What do we add to that statement when describing ourselves? Is it accurate? Is it honest?
(Exodus 3:13-14 NASB) "13 Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'""
God introduced Himself to Moses with just two words: "I AM." Typically that phrase needs a third word to complete the sentence. But because God is everything and everyone and everywhere that He needs to be in every moment, His name doesn't need a third word.
You and I, on the other hand, need that third word to anchor our identities to specific, tangible, descriptive terms. But completing the "I am _________" sentence is not as easy as it sounds.
We fill in the third word blank all the time with automatic and subconscious nouns and adjectives, but we seldom stop to question whether we've gotten our third words right.
1. Dig Deep
To dig deep requires some soul searching. As a kid I used to listen to Michael Jackson religiously all the time. I still argue that he was the most talented musical artist of all time. I so badly wanted that red jacket he wore in the “Beat It” video, but my favorite song he ever did was “Man In the Mirror” in which he sings
“I’m looking at the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways,
No message could’ve been any clearer,
If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.”
But often we don’t want to look at ourselves, at least not honestly. We want to either beat ourselves up or masquerade as the best possible version of ourselves outwardly, when inside we are a mess.
One thing this series Unqualified has done is it has caused me to asses myself honestly before God and it’s been uncomfortable.
Here are some third words I hear all the time, both from my mouth and my mind when I fill in the third word:
I am… Unqualified. Stupid. Strong. Driven. Screwed-up. Loyal. Stuck. Hurting. Overwhelmed. Blessed. Capable. Disappointed. Broken. Hopeful. Failing. Content.
Which of those do you identify with? Circle them mentally.
What word of your own would you write in?
How does all this compare with God's assessment of you?
These are enormous, confusing, and brave questions. And getting them right will take a lifetime. But I challenge you not to ignore them.
Dig deeper into who God has called you to be; sometimes that means doing things you don’t want to do in order to become who you could not otherwise become.
= In Decision, Joni Eareckson Tada writes:
Honesty is always the best policy, but especially when you’re surrounded by a crowd of women in a restroom during a break at a Christian women’s conference. One woman, putting on lipstick, said, "Oh, Joni, you always look so together, so happy in your wheelchair. I wish that I had your joy!" Several women around her nodded. "How do you do it?" she asked as she capped her lipstick.
"I don’t do it," I said. "In fact, may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?"
"This is an average day," I breathed deeply. "After my husband, Ken, leaves for work at 6:00 A.M., I’m alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 A.M. That’s when a friend arrives to get me up.
"While I listen to her make coffee, I pray, ’Oh, Lord, my friend will soon give me a bath, get me dressed, sit me up in my chair, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I don’t have the strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I don’t have a smile to take into the day. But you do. May I have yours? God, I need you desperately.’"
"So, what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?" one of them asked.
"I turn my head toward her and give her a smile sent straight from heaven. It’s not mine. It’s God’s. And so," I said, gesturing to my paralyzed legs, "whatever joy you see today was hard won this morning."
I have learned that the weaker we are, the more we need to lean on God; and the more we lean on God, the stronger we discover him to be.
[Joy Hard Won, Citation: Joni Eareckson Tada, "Joy Hard Won," Decision (March 2000), p.12, used by permission]
Samson, born of Manoah, failed to understand God’s desire was not for him to be strong; His desire was to be strong in him (Judges 13-16)