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The Peace of Knowing Who You Are

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

sunlight beams through a window of a church at the Vatican

Who are you, really? Wife? Son? Mother? Grandfather? Student? Housewife? Doctor? Lawyer?

Without realizing it, many of us define ourselves solely in terms of external influences. If we have struggled with chronic illness, we may think of ourselves as sickly. If we have enjoyed great success, we may think of ourselves as winners. If we have failed, we may think of ourselves as losers. If we have suffered abuse at the hands of others, we may think of ourselves as victims.

Often we slip into these and other roles without really being aware of them. But by defining ourselves merely in relation to other human beings, we have adopted stories that may contradict the one story that should define us. That is the gospel story—the one that tells us we are sinners loved by God and saved by grace for a gracious purpose--to become his sons and daughters. That is our true identity. If there is one adjective that describes who we are in Christ it would be "Beloved."

I like the way Miroslav Volf puts it:

By opening ourselves to God’s love through faith, our bodies and souls become sanctified spaces, God’s "temples," as the apostle Paul puts it (1 Corinthians 6:19). The flame of God’s presence, which gives us new identity, then burns in us inextinguishably . . . at times a temple in ruins, but sacred space nonetheless. Absolutely nothing defines a Christian more than the abiding flame of God’s presence, and that flame bathes in a warm glow everything we do or suffer.

As you go about your day-to-day routine, try visualizing the truth of who you are—a temple. A temple in ruins, perhaps, but still a place where God is pleased to dwell.

 

 

 
Originally published March 30, 2017.

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