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In Search of Self

I’ve written in the past about what and who we are as Christians, but I haven’t until now addressed how to find yourself as an individual Christian in today’s world.  This is an important subject.  This article won’t give a lot of specifics on who exactly you should be, because that is controlled by you as an individual and your relationship with Christ.  However, God knows the plans He has for you, but I’m safe in saying that He isn’t going to tell you what He has planned with a loud voice booming from a cloud.  But He will guide you through the Holy Spirit’s interacting with you. I will give you some guidelines that will help you find out what God’s plans for you are.

No plans He has will fall outside of His word:  This is important.  The Bible sets God’s standard for all of us.  He will never guide us into becoming someone or something that falls outside of what He tells us in the Bible.  A good guideline here is to study the life of Jesus on earth, and how He treated and interacted with others.  Everything He did pointed to the Father and guided others in that direction.  That is a good guide for us.  You aren’t going to be perfect.  No one is.  Even Paul, the greatest of the apostles, made mistakes and sometimes misunderstood what God wanted of him.  But he kept working at being better all the time.  And you, me, and all Christians need to continually work at being more like Christ in our daily lives.

Don’t confuse the path with the destination:  No path exists for becoming saved. That is instantaneous at the time you make a commitment to Christ and accept Him as your Savior:  “By grace you are saved by faith, and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God.  And not of works, lest anyone should boast.  But you are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He has before ordained that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).  After being born again there is a growing up in Christ process.  Just like a baby isn’t born with the knowledge and skills to become whatever it is in life he or she will be, so do new Christians have to learn more and more about being what Christ wants them to be.  But this process isn’t the end result.  The ultimate end result will be entering heaven and living in God’s presence forever.  The path, if I may call it that without confusing anyone, starts after salvation, not before, and continues throughout life.  It never ends in this world.  I know people who know a lot more about the Bible than I do, and they study the word every day, and are continually learning more about being who God wants them to be.  The path is really growing up as a Christian, and finding God’s purpose for you in this world.  It is a process by which you grow up from being an infant in Christ to being an adult Christian.  And it is  a tool for you to use for becoming, not an end in itself.

Social status doesn’t matter:  God loves you and has had a plan for your life since before the foundation of the world.  You can be famous, or worth billions of dollars, or be a homeless person carrying everything you own in a back pack.  You are just as loved by God no matter your status.  I like to quote a homeless Christian’s response to a upper middle class man who questioned who he was to witness to him.  The homeless man replied, “I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody who can save anybody”.  The homeless man wasn’t speaking from his own authority, he was speaking from God’s authority.    In fact, God uses people with problems as much or more than the more fortunate people.  Jesus Himself had no place to live.  He was a homeless itinerate preacher who travelled from place to place.  He was a carpenter by trade, but He didn’t work at it.  So, it doesn’t matter if you are homeless or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  God has a plan for you.

Occupation doesn’t matter:  Very few Christians are pastors or missionaries.  However, the world needs more of both and other Christian workers.  God may have other plans for you.  A shoe salesman witnessed to an unsaved man who became a Christian, and then an evangelist who led tens of thousands of people to Christ due to the shoe salesman’s witnessing.  You may be a doctor, trash collector, unemployed and homeless, waiter or waitress, police officer, lawyer, store clerk, butcher, baker or candle-stick maker.  God has a plan for your life.  You can be just as effective in your position in Christ as any other person, no matter what your calling.  The trick is to use whatever you do in life to point to Christ in such a way that others will want what you have, which is Christ.  Nothing in this world really matters.  Salvation is of the utmost importance for everyone.  If unsaved people can see Christ through you it doesn’t matter what your work is or isn’t, they will want what you have.  Tell them about it!

How do I know what God wants me to be?  He’ll let you know in many ways.  You need to be open to His direction.  Study the Bible and pray for direction.  He has already given you gifts of abilities to do and be what He wants you to use.  Part of this is in your DNA and genes that you inherited form your parents.  Genes can and do change through the influence of life experiences.  Follow your abilities while studying and praying, and God’s plan for you will emerge, maybe quickly, maybe not so quickly.  This blog is part of what God has called me to do in life, but I didn’t start writing The Son-Day Posts until I was over 70 years old.  And, God put me through all kinds of trials and tribulations getting me to this point.  I know of others who have known God’s plan for them almost from the instant of salvation.  You are unique.  He has a distinct plan for you that will work out in His time frame.

Don’t compare yourself to others:  Everyone has his or her own place in this world.  God has designed you as an individual with a distinct purpose in His plan for the world.  Your place is critical, though you may not realize the effect you have in His scheme. You are important to that scheme.  True, we are all part of the body of Christ.  We-not a building-are the church.  But just like you body has hands, eyes, a mouth, ears, heart and other critical parts that function together as a whole, so do you have a distinct function in the body of Christ.  Eyes can’t speak, ears don’t see, but all parts of the body are necessary to make up the whole.  Those people who are blind, deaf, or have other disabilities  also have a critical part in Christ’s body and are no less important.  Your place in God’s plan is just as important as any other person’s place.

Have patience:  Your calling in Christ may be obvious at age 7, or like me past age 70.  God has been patient with me through all my rebellion and trying to do everything myself.  He has stuck with me through decades of my misunderstanding His intended purpose for me.  I have been from time to time a perfect example of the prodigal son, but hopefully no longer.  God has used all of my miss directions to His benefit.  So, if you make mistakes don’t think it’s fatal because it’s not.  God has known forever that you will make those mistakes and He has made allowances for them.  And all He has planned for you will work out when He wants them to work out, not when you would like them to work out.

In summary:  Finding out who you are in Christ requires Bible study, the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, and a lot of prayer.  Direction will come.  You will know your on he right track when seeming coincidences work together to further God’s plan for you.  A minor point here:  I didn’t know about Suicide Prevention Day and Week when I started writhing the two articles on teen suicide.  I just had a strong urge to write on that topic.  That, I believe, was not coincidence, it was God’s direction.  God may put you through a lot of trials so that you can better understand how to implement His plan in your life.  Don’t expect to be perfect at doing His work, none of us is.  Just do the best you can with the help of the Holy Spirit and be assured that your mistakes will somehow work out for His benefit.  You have what every unsaved person needs, and God has a particular plan for you to get His message to them.  You are one of Christ’s ambassadors on earth, working with His authority.  Study His life and how He related to and worked with others and His plan for you will work out as He planned it to work.

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