Say My Name – Hearing the Father Speak Identity
Every other Friday we will be posting an article designed to develop the heart of a leader. The best strategy and tactics won’t do any good if they aren’t fused with a heart that has been shaped in the ways of Jesus.
“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Our 10-year-old daughter Ella has always been somewhat contemplative. Even when she was a baby, her facial expressions were an exhibition of introspection and thoughtfulness. We were always curious about what was going through her little head.
As she has grown, she has often shared her ponderings with us and we’ve often wondered how a young girl comes up with these things.
One day, out of the blue, she asked my husband, “Daddy, how did I know my name was Ella?”
Considering the question, my husband replied, “Well… I suppose ever since you were born we held you close and said your name to you over and over. We just called you Ella all the time, and eventually you came to know that that’s who you were!”
Taking a moment to weigh the answer, she simply responded, “Okay, thanks!” and turned to skip away.
After this interaction, it struck me that we as children of God receive our identity in much the same way. God is our creator and Father. Through Jesus we are connected to the Father and this defines who we are: beloved children of God created for a purpose in his kingdom.
It’s out of knowing who we are that we find freedom to obey God. When we are confident in our identity, we find it natural to act in accordance with that identity. We find freedom in obedience to God, because after all, it’s simply a reflection of who we truly are. Obedience is simply the most consistent way of expressing our identity – a natural response to knowing who we are.
For most of us, understanding who we are is a journey of faith, a struggle to hear and believe the truth of our identity. We often find our identity in other sources and as a result, we respond to life in ways that aren’t consistent with who we really are.
The process of having our identity solidified in us is one that can take awhile. Just like a garden takes time to grow or a piece of sea glass takes time to become smooth.
When we find ourselves struggling with our identity, the good news is that we simply need to go back to the Father to hear him speak to us again. Just like Ella, we learn who we are when our Father simply holds us close and says our name. The Father wants us to come close and speak who we are to us and tell us again of his love for us.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he heard the Father speak to him in much the same way, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I’m well pleased.” Notice it was from that important place that Jesus began his ministry and was subsequently lead out into the desert where Satan tested him squarely in the realm of his identity! “If you are the Son of God…”
One of the things we as parents try to say often to our kids is: “Remember who you are and whose you are. We love you. God loves you, and you were made to have amazing relationships and exciting adventures in his kingdom.” The Father says the same to us today.
Jesus said, ”My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
What does the Father want to speak to you today in terms of your identity? We can never hear too often who and whose we are.
About Deb Sternke
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