Friday, February 18, 2011

Who Am I?

I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past redeemed, my present makes sense. My future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor in power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turn back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up, for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me; and when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me – my banner will be clear.
Anonymous African Pastor from Zimbabwe

I encountered this quote at a leadership gathering this past weekend. As I read these words, I felt I could hear the man’s passion, and could sense the joy he had in the Spirit and the confidence he had in these words he so elegantly articulated to those listening. I pictured an antagonist standing up in the crowd and asking this man, “Just who do you think you are to be telling us that this God of yours is the one true God” and the Christian pastor replying with this impassioned statement of who he is and why he is the man he is. There is no doubt remaining of this man’s devotion for and commitment to God nor of his intention to live into to this incredible picture of who he is.

I started wondering – who am I in Christ? What does God expect of me and what do I expect of myself? As God would have it, this line of questioning continued in my mid-week small group when we looked at the Great Commandment, the Great Commission, and the Great Requirement.

The Great Commandment – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

The Great Commission – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

The Great Requirement – He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

We were asked to consider what God expects of us in light of these scripture passages. Again, I found myself asking, “Who am I and what is expected of me?” It seems that I’ve been asking these very same questions all of my life, but now it’s more important for me to answer, not only for myself, but for the world of people around me. It’s been uppermost in my mind and my meditations this week. While it’s by no means my final answer, I have come to an understanding that will let me put this line of questioning away for awhile.

Who am I in Christ and what is expected of me? I am a unique creation of God tempered by the fire of pain and abuse, depression and grief – a gentle, joyous woman gifted with a heart for mercy. My arms ache to embrace the brokenhearted and my heart is full and overflowing with love and compassion for those who are hurting. I am a servant to those in need, a teacher, a leader, and always a friend. I am a beloved child of God Almighty, devoted servant of Christ Jesus, and faithful student of the Holy Spirit. God would have me to earnestly desire him to grow Jesus in me until I can see Jesus in every moment of my life as clearly as he sees Jesus in my heart. I expect me to let him – to let him work in and through me until that glorious day when he brings me home into his loving arms.

As I have been challenged this week, so now I pass the challenge onto you – Who are you in Christ and what is expected of you?

About the pictures:
North Park (May 2010)

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