Do you know who you are? If you asked me this question a year ago, I most likely would have said “yes!” and given a list of things I like or stated something about my personality. All those things listed might be true, but this display of facts would only have given you a surface definition of who I am, and not gotten to the deeper meaning of the question. Recently, God has brought me to know myself better and thereby Him as well, through a discontentment which He has placed in my heart concerning how I spend my free time.
In the past few months, God has opened my eyes a lot and helped me better understand who I am at center. He has brought me to realize that if I want to understand the core of who I am, I need to dig deeper inside myself to find the answer. I need to peel away the layers of sinful thoughts and desires, down to that seed which God has planted in me. That seed of righteousness and true life, that new man. By the grace and strength given me by God, I have begun to understand what it means that I am a child of God.
Each of God’s children have certain sins which they struggle with every day. One of those struggles for me is how I use my free time. An example of free time would be after dinner when I have nothing planned for the evening. I have all this free time to fill before I go to sleep. During these times I would think things like: all I want to do is curl up and read a good book, watch a good movie, go on You Tube, play a game on my phone, etc. And yet when I do these things, there would be emptiness inside me. I’d find I wasn’t really content. One book would lead to another, after one movie there was sure to be another soon. One video lead to another and one quick look at Facebook lead to an hour. Why? Why was it never enough?
God works in mysterious ways. Through this battle going on inside myself, God has lead me to see a very vital part of what I need to acknowledge about myself if I am ever going to really know who I am. One video, one book, one game, one minute is never enough. Why? Because my old man will never be satisfied with just one. My sinful flesh will never reach a point when it is full and does not demand more and more wickedness. When I click on this which leads to that and then the next thing, watch movie after movie, I am feeding my sinful flesh. In order to see this I need to understand what it means that I have an old man and new man. There is a war going on inside of me every day. In Romans 7 God, through Paul, describes this battle inside the elect child of God. Verse 19 says “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” My flesh says “Yes! I need to watch that new movie which just came out and everyone is talking about. It sounds so good. It will make me happy if I watch it! It is such an innocent story. It will teach me so much!” So I go and watch the movie. When I do fill my time with such things, I am dissatisfied and left feeling empty. The void I thought I was filling is left aching. Why am I left so discontented? Wasn’t that entertainment supposed to satisfy me?
It is important that I know who I am at center. When I peel away all the lies and deceits the devil has worked so hard to have me believe about what I need and what will make me feel better/ happy, when I look beyond all that, I see a little seed which God has instilled in me when He regenerated me. 1 John 3:8-10 says, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” This would be the old man in me who wants to watch the sin filled movie. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” This new man in me is born of God and cannot sin. While I yet live on this earth I will sin because I have my old sinful nature, but when I die, I will be freed from that man of sin and I will worship and serve God perfectly. Yet, in this life, the command of God comes to me and all of Gods children, “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:13-16)
Who am I? By the grace of God, I am His child, who has a new man at center which does not sin. I strive to live out of my new man and put away the old. I no longer fill my time on earth feeding my fleshly desires. I do not indulge in the movies, concerts, and entertainments of this world, filling my mind with things of this earth. I will be as God calls me in 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”