Take A Moment – Forming Your Identity

woodys-footIn 2 Corinthians 5:11 says, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” This verse is interesting because it points us to a couple of significant truths that we must grapple with. First, we have this phrase, “fear of the Lord”. ┬áThe word here translated as “fear” carries with it the connotation of respect, reverence, awe. It is not an irrational fear, the kind of fear that I have for needles for instance. Fear of the Lord is something that is the result of what Paul was talking about in verse 10, the reality that we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. This reality brings him to the place where he “knows” the Fear-of-the-Lord. Eugene Peterson in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places talks about how “fear of the Lord” is how we relate to the God of the universe as he really is, the triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I think that Paul is calling us to remember that our God is wild and sovereign. He is the God who has the power to create and resurrect. The passage is really bound up by the fact of the resurrection, check out verses 14-15. Donald McCullough in The Trivialization of God says, “Visit an average congregation on a Sunday morning and you will likely find a congregation comfortably relating to a deity who fits nicely within precise doctrinal positions, or who lends almighty support to social crusades, or who conforms to individual spiritual experiences. But you will not likely find much awe.”
The second phrase, “what we are is known to God” is talking about the fact that Paul doesn’t need to defend himself to the Corinthians anymore. God knows who he is and what he is, and that’s all that matters. He hopes that the Corinthians also know who and what he is, but what matters is that God does. This is something that most of us struggle with, if we’re honest. We care very deeply about the way that we are perceived. We spend a great deal of time and energy building ourselves up or trying to make sure we look good in front of others. Paul, however, is confident in his identity, he knows who he is and knows that God knows who he is.
Over the next few days we are looking to spend some time wrestling with our identity. We want to be able to say with Paul, “what we are is known to God.”
Here are some questions to chew on:
  1. Close your eyes, imagine God’s face. What does it look like? Is he smiling or frowning? Why?
  2. Read Ephesians 1. Grab a journal or piece of paper or open a doc file and list out all the things that are true of the follower of Jesus. Spend five minutes meditating on the list. What stands out as most significant to you? Now read question #1 again. Did your answer change?
  3. What do you think it means for a person to be known as a child of God? How does it make you feel that God chose you to be his child?

More questions coming tomorrow…

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