One of the deepest questions of human experience is this: “Who am I?” And this question seems more urgent for our generation as we tumble into the abyss of self definition. Is there anything that I “objectively” am. And I mean this as a human, and especially as a Christian? And is this something I need to create or to recognize?
How can we wrestle with the contradiction that we are? How can we honestly embrace the innate virtue and vice that is humanity?
It seems that everyone is trying to sell us a story for this. And it is hard to take the answers seriously when they come from marketers, politicians, and angry preachers. On one side are the cheerleaders telling us how amazing everything is. If I could just recognize my inner superhero, euphoria awaits! On the other side you have the misanthropes that can only see the evil and injustice of humanity. They downplay the obvious value and virtue we see in the world. Both sides see something important, and simultaneously miss something obvious. How can we wrestle with the contradiction that we are? How can we honestly embrace the innate virtue and vice that is humanity? My answer below comes from Christ and what he has done for me.
- I am a unique human being designed by a wise and powerful creator. I am not merely an animal. Like every human I have an eternal soul. I have value and dignity because I am made in the image of God. I was made to be like him in goodness and creativity. I have the ability to love and be loved by God and others.
• I am a fallen person. I have turned my back on God and chosen to break the laws he gave for my good. Sin has affected every part of my body, soul and mind. I was designed by God for good, but on my own I do not have the strength or will to do his good purpose. I am now broken by guilt and shame. My natural tendency is selfishness. My attempts to fix myself often make things worse.
• I am now a redeemed child of God. I am not what I once was. Jesus took my nature so that he might die for me and be raised from the dead. I am loved and forgiven because of the work of Christ, and his Holy Spirit lives in me. I have confessed my sins and returned to God. I have been made righteous in Christ, and though I battle with sin, his grace is at work in me to restore my soul. I am now part of the body of Christ, and my fellowship with God has been restored.
• Though I struggle, my faith in his promise assures me that he will complete the work he has begun in me. He is daily renewing me and I am slowly growing to maturity. Through Jesus my sincere love and faith please God. One day he will completely renew me and all things. And though my body is still decaying, I look forward to the day when I will be with him forever. He is making me more like Christ. In this joy and hope I live and serve.