Monday, July 14, 2014

Growing Our Identity

Friends of Faith:
Who am I?

When Moses asked this question of God, he answered, “I am, who I am.” Ex 3:14
God’s identity is supreme, it is stripped of anything or anyone else—it is supremely one, He is supremely his own. And God’s desire for us is that we become like him, holy and without blemish, because he formed us in his image and likeness (Gn 1: 26)

Our identity, then, should not be defined by how we see ourselves or how someone else sees us, by what we own or don’t own, or by whom we know or don’t know, but rather only by how God sees us.
Yet in our human nature, all of us try to identify ourselves either by what we do, by what we have or by whom we know or are associated with (I am an accountant, he is the Chicago Cubs pitcher, they are the ones with the child who …., she’s the one that wears the fancy hat or drives the red sports car, they’re the ones with the mansion of a house or a great “man cave,” or they’re the ones who we always see with … at the football game).

And when I lose my ability to be an accountant, when the ball player loses his ability to throw a ball 99 miles an hour, when a child can’t or doesn’t have the desire to achieve all that we thought they should or could, when our car is wrecked or our house is blown over by a tornado, or when our friends move on – who are we then, who do we become without all this stuff, without all that we do, or without someone we thought we could depend on?
“And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.  It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Mt 13: 2-9

This parable isn’t just about what we do, but rather it is about growing our identity in and through our faith, about opening our ears and hearts to listen to God’s word (the seed) to be sure that it falls on rich ground (us.)
God’s word is like pure refreshing water. We can treasure and accept it like a cleansing rain or try to control it and make our own—eroding the soil and his truth, rejecting it as somehow polluted because we believe man’s ways are better than God’s ways.

I am asked to examine where the richness of my faith lies: in rich soil, Him, or choked out by the rocks and weeds of power or greed. I am asked to look for, recognize, and pull out the weeds and rocks in my life by examining and prioritizing Him over the materialism which overtakes the growth of the identity he desires for me.
I desire roots which are firmly planted in the truths of His church, nurtured by prayer and formation, and which will allow me to overcome the peer pressures of an immoral society.

I hope to grow my identity upwards, so that the fruit I am gifted with will become pollen for others by evangelization and the spreading of His good news.   
Heavenly Father, You are the greatest farmer, with seed so rich it fills my every need.  Refresh me with the pure, true and living water of Your Spirit. Help me to weed out the impurities of my life and strip myself of earthly riches, of the rocks and thorns which overshadow the identity you desire. May I bear fruit not of human materialism, but of a love which cares for and serves others. Help me to become more like your “I am,” created anew: holy, pure, humble and grateful to live in this, your heavenly garden. Amen.

Is my soul growing richer in God’s identity each day? Will I bear heavenly fruit?
May we reach out to each other to grow in faith together,

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