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I Do What I Am

I am consistently challenged by the notion that my lifestyle is a reflection of who I believe I am. If I believe I have been created with a purpose and have been equipped with the talents to accomplish the mission, I will live with focus, energy, and resolve. If I believe I am an extra in life who has no assurance that a part actually exists for me, I will lack any real focus and may either be frantic to find something worthwhile or settle for underachievement. The difference between the two has nothing to do with talent. It is all about who I believe I am.
Paul understood the connection between perspective and performance so he described to the believers in the city of Ephesus who they are in Christ. He knew that if they understood who they are their lifestyle would be a pursuit of excellence. In Christ we are:
• Equipped with “every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (v. 3) This means we have been given everything we need to live the Christian life. Just as we need food, shelter, transportation, etc. to live life here on earth, we have been fully furnished with the spiritual vitality, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and anything else we need to be successful in our spiritual growth.
• Adopted children of God. (v. 5-6) God approaches us as a Father who is lovingly dealing with His children. Jesus approaches us as a big brother who is intensely interested in his siblings. Although we will give an account of our lives before the throne of God, we will be giving reports as children telling their father the adventure of their lives rather than as defendants trying to justify ourselves.
• Redeemed. (v. 7) “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” The word redemption refers to a transaction in the slave market where someone paid a ransom to set a slave free. Through the payment of Christ’s blood, we have been set free. We are no longer bound to a lifestyle of sin. We will not achieve perfection in this life but we now have the resources and the opportunity to seek excellence so that it makes sense to be better each and every year of life.
• We have “all wisdom and understanding.” (v. 8 ) It needs to be developed but it is already there. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer deposits in seed form the ability to discern God’s will and have clear direction for the next decision of life.
The point is that each of us has been equipped. I am currently enjoying watching my youngest son play college football. I played high school football but he has experienced much more success than I did in his sports career. His confidence has always been higher than mine was. His understanding of the game has developed much easier than mine did. As I talk with him, I realize he has a different mindset than I did. I was insecure about it and was “trying” to be a football player. He believes he is a football player and is simply living it out while he is earning his college degree.
As you walk the journey of your life today, be who you are!

Who You Were Meant To Be

So, the question, “What kind of person do I want to be?” is still hovering in my thinking so I decided to take another look at Ephesians 1. I know there is a profound definition of who we are in Christ in this chapter and I figured a reminder would do me good. I was not disappointed.
• We are spiritually rich. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (v. 3) Everything we need for spiritual vitality, eternal influence and fulfilling God’s plan has already been given to us.
• We were designed to represent Christ on earth. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (v. 4) Holy means we are set apart for a purpose. Blameless means we can carry out that purpose according to its design. It comes from the temple where silver and gold vessels were set apart for bringing the sacrifices to the altar. In the same way, our lives and our words carry the message of forgiveness to a waiting world. I am amazed because I am so aware of my shortcomings, as I am sure you are, and yet the presence of the Holy Spirit in us makes us more than adequate for the job because we represent Christ the same way a child represents his or her family since “”he predestined us for adoption to sonship . . .” (v. 5)
I believe this contrast gives us a mandate for cultivating a sense of humor. We are all imperfect people representing a perfect God. If we take ourselves too seriously, we will get overwhelmed and overbearing. To keep my perspective clear I like to collect funny sayings. Here are a few of my favorites:

“One nice thing about egotists: They don’t talk about other people.”
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
“I doubt, therefore I might be.”
“Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.”
“If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?”
“If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown too?”
“If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?”

“If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”

• We have supernatural wisdom. “With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure . . .” (v. 8-9) The presence of Christ in us gives us the mind of Christ and the insight of His Spirit. In every decision, every question, and every circumstance we have the wisdom of God to work with. As a result, we can have peace in stormy situations, confidence in challenging decisions, grace with difficult people and determination in all our pursuits. To be sure, we don’t always take advantage of His wisdom but it is there at all times.
Heavenly Father, give me wisdom today for my decisions, the willingness to laugh at my shortcomings, and the confidence to know I can do what you want me to do.