A Thirty Day Devotional adapted from the NEW book: Identity: The Distinctiveness of You – Day 14
Christ is being formed in me. Galatians 4:19
I am being conformed into the likeness of His Son. Romans 8:29
Jesus was surrounded by deception, by false prophets, by religious ones who had selfish goals in mind, by political ones, by criminals and by many persons who only wanted a miracle from Him, but didn’t want Him. How did He handle all of this pressure and yet maintain who He was?
One day the disciples were discussing among themselves with Jesus present what it must be like to see God, the Father. Jesus then began telling them that He needed to go away and they would be unable to come with Him at this time. He revealed to them that He was going to prepare a place where they could come. Then Thomas asked Him, “…How can we know this way?” Jesus said those wonderful words in reply, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He added, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:5-7)
The disciple Philip then inquired of Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus’ reply was pretty firm, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:9, 11) From this dialogue, we are reminded there was only one image the Son was reflecting— that of the Father.
Paul the Apostle confirms Jesus’ very words when he writes, “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Perhaps the disciples struggled to comprehend this level of image/identity building, but Paul did not. Paul was a trained Pharisee and he understood having his security, his esteem, his image and his identity built within a religious system that failed to show him who he really was.
For Paul, it took an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus where he received a vision and heard the voice of Jesus himself. Just after this amazing and personal encounter, the Lord said to Ananias, another disciple, concerning Saul, “This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings.” (Acts 9:15, emphasis mine)
Up to this point in time, Saul was carrying his given name and his authority in his Pharisaical beliefs. While this character was powerful and ended the lives of Christians, God had a different name, or different mission and a different identity for Saul. He would become Paul, a chosen vessel that would carry a much more powerful mission, identity and name.
We carry that name today as well. This name is above every other name on this earth. This name represents the image of our God within us.
It is estimated by astronomers within our Milky Way galaxy alone, there are 100 thousand million stars. The web site Space.com tells us the Hubble telescope has uncovered 100 billion galaxies and speculates this number will increase as telescope technology increases. While all of this seems unfathomable, God, the creator of the universe, of every galaxy and every star also knows the name of every galaxy and every star.
Truthfully scientists can’t tell us how many stars actually exist within our vast universe, but God knows each one and He knows you. He knew you before you were in the womb of your mother. He knows your name and He calls you by name. He loves your name, the sound of your name, the sound of your voice, because He loves you. Your name represents your existence on the earth and His call to you to follow Him. Just as the disciples questioned, He wants to show you Himself and in actuality show you His Father. Just like Paul, He has chosen you to carry His name, His identity and who He is to the world around you.
Question for reflection:
How are you carrying His name to others?
You can purchase the book Identity: The Distinctiveness of You here.