Who am I? Well, there are two aspects to this question I feel led to address. First, let me tell you what the world will tell you about me. The world will tell you that I am an angry man, an adulterer, an idolator, a hateful and jealous man who killed my brother in my heart. The world will tell you that I am passably good at things, and that it's best if I keep those things under wraps. The world will also tell you I am a failure, a fiend, unwanted and unworthy, that I was an accident that came into this world as an unwanted surprise, that I was a second-born child, and a third-class human being. If the world is feeling kind that day, that's what it would say about me. And in every respect, those things are 100% true.
Now, let me describe myself the way my Father described me to myself. He only used one word and He spoke it to my heart with such crushing impact that it broke me. It was a word I will never forget and one I will struggle with as the enemy tries daily, hourly and in every moment to wrench away from my soul. It's not a powerful word by itself, but it is when it comes out of His mouth. It's a word unparalleled in weight, meaning. It's a word that comes in the morning with joy, and it's a word that he uttered to teach me something that He'd been trying to say my whole sinful and wretched life, if only I'd have listened.
He calls me, "worthy." That's who I am to Him. I did nothing to earn His love. I did nothing to earn His trust with a ministry. I could never do enough to earn it, yet He calls me "worthy." How am I worthy, God? That's what I asked Him. And he said, "Because I made you, and I am the God of redemption who sent his own Son to pay the ulimate price on this earth so that you might rejoice with me in heaven." When Christ was being scourged, He saw my face. When He was being mocked and ridiculed, His heart broke for me, and He stood. When he was beaten and nailed to a cross, he took every blow and felt every hammer strike and saw me and pressed on. As he suffered a horrific death on the cross, His mind was not on the suffering, it was on his brothers next to Him. And His heart was on me.
When the stone rolled away from the tomb, He saw me then as well. He counted my pitiful, horrible life of sin and sorrow as being something he could pick up, dust off and cleanup, and make shiny and bright and new. And so He did just that. I am worthy of my Father's redemption because I am proof that in my imperfection, His perfection can make up the difference, and take a sinner whose sin tells him he can't even cast his eyes to heaven, and make him whole again.
It's my choice in every situation to believe who I am. The world's definition of me? Or God's definition.
I choose God's. And I will live and grow in it every day of my life, with His help, and His love. I owe him that much and more.
I can no longer be a good role model to people as far as my past goes (who of us can?), but I can definitely serve as a fair warning in that respect, and that even if it all goes sideways, He still reclaims, redeems and rejoices. I would like to be like George Whitefield. Courageous, faithful and unapologetic about my life and my God and fully on fire in his redemption.