Summary: Knowing who we are in Christ is vital. Without it, we can be confused, lost, and have no meaning and purpose in our lives, and therefore, fail to accomplish God's plans for us. This is the first sermon series on "Our Identity in Christ."
Last week we learned from Romans 12:3 the importance of having a correct understanding of ourselves. Otherwise, we can become arrogant, feel that we are great, smart, strong, and right, when in fact it is not. Or conversely, we can become inferior, not realizing the gifts and abilities that God has given to us so that we can use them to serve Him. Let us read the verse again, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."
To avoid looking at ourselves or thinking of things that are higher than we ought to think, we must identify ourselves properly. In general, this is often referred to as a "self-image." But I prefer to use the term "self-identity." “Self-image” tends to focus more on ourselves and how we see ourselves. While “self-identity" focuses more on how we see ourselves as God sees us. Only when we have the correct self-identity can we have the right view and attitude towards ourselves.
There are five essential elements to having a correct identity:
1. We are precious humans created by God in His image. Let us read Genesis 1:26-27: "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall the creatures that move along the ground.” So, God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Knowing ourselves, as human beings created by God in His image and because of that we are unbelievably valuable, is vital for us. Especially because we live in America where many people, teachers, and scientists teach that humans are the result of the evolutionary development of apes; Therefore, in their view, humans are only animals with high intellectual abilities. With such a concept, it is not surprising that, for example, they did many abortions without feeling guilty because they do not understand the value of human beings. And because they do not believe that they are created by God who has purposed for their lives, many of them also experience emptiness in their lives.
We must know that we are humans, not animals, created in God's image. We get our image from God, not from ourselves or others. Therefore, we are valuable in the eyes of God. Something is interesting about the creation story. After God created man, Genesis 1:31 states, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Before God created humans, He saw everything that He created was good (verses 10,12,18,21, and 25). But after He created Adam and Eve, He saw everything He made was very good (verse 31). After Adam and Eve, He created humans through their parents miraculously. Psalm 139 especially verses 13-14 tells “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." It is truly miraculous how 23 chromosomes from the mother in her egg cells, and 23 chromosomes from the father and sperm that are so small, can produce such a complex human being with trillions of brain cells and various body organs. They are amazing. Some say that the human brain has a memory capacity equivalent to 10 million Gigabytes. If our brain is like a music player, it can play music for 2000 years.
So, we have to respect ourselves. Regardless of our physical condition, we are still more valuable than animals and everything else. Do you still remember Lizzie Velásquez, who suffers from a genetic disorder had an abnormal physical condition? For years she was insecure, frustrated, and angry with her situation. People often bullied her and called her: "The ugliest woman in the world." However, praise God, when she realized that she was a creation of God made in His image, she gained confidence. Lizzie found the self-identity that is not based on her appearance, physical condition, intelligence, or abilities, but on the image of God in her. She is now a motivator who is invited everywhere to teach young people to have a true self-identity. As Christians, we must know that humans are higher in rank than animals. So, it would be wrong if there are people who love or prioritize their pets more than humans or their own families. It does not in line with the teachings of the Bible. Illustration: You may have heard of a cat named Tommaso who got an inheritance from Maria Assunta for $ 13 million. Or about Gigoo, a Scots Dump hen owned by the textbook publisher, Miles Blackwell. Blackwell left little Gigoo $16 million in his will. Or about German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein, who inherited her dog, Gunther IV, $106 million when she died. Those amounts of money could help thousands, even millions of orphans and poor people in many places.