“Who am I?” is often asked by people searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. But, that question is not asked alone. Related questions are, how do I fit in with the rest of society? What am I supposed to do with my life? And, how do I find myself?
Asking these questions is normal and can be quite healthy. After all, to exist as a human being means to have rational thought, moral awareness, social integration, and family relationships. People want to fit in, to get along, to be liked, and to be appreciated. Most people also want to get married, have a family, contribute to society, make a living, and provide for themselves and others.
All this begins with answering the question “who am I?” and there are many potential answers. It can be answered in different ways. I am a father, husband, wife, daughter, mother, sister, brother, provider, protector, nurturer, mechanic, doctor, fast-food worker, lawyer, nurse, waitress, student, etc.
But, sometimes, when we ask, “who am I?” We want something deeper. We want something that identifies us, that reveals to us what we are really like. You want to know who we are so we can know what our purpose is and how we fit in the world.
Are you who other people say you are? Or, are you what you do? Are you what you own? Or, are you owned by something like drugs, pornography, lying, stealing, or self-centeredness?
Who am I according to the Bible?
The Bible says that you are an eternal soul, created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), who God loves (Matt. 5:43-48). But, it also says that we are fallen in our nature (Eph. 2:3) and that our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful (Jer. 17:9). Now, this does not mean that where are as bad as we can be. But it does mean that sin has affected all of what we are: heart, mind, soul, body, etc. If this were not so, we wouldn’t be asking the question, “who am I?”
In Christianity, those who have trusted in Christ are called the redeemed (Gal. 3:13), those who were bought (Acts 20:28), the chosen ones (Eph. 1:4). Christians are indwelt by God (John 14:23) and have been made new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). We, therefore, are loved by God. In fact, the Bible says that we have been chosen for salvation (2 Thess. 2:13) from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). This means that God’s love for us is infinitely old. He has loved us from eternity!
A standard of comparison
The Christian’s identity is found in Christ. When we ask, “who am I?” We answer by saying we are children of God (John 1:13), cleansed by the sacrificial blood of Christ (1 John 1:7-9), loved by the infinite God (1 John 4:19), and guaranteed a place in heaven (John 14:2-3). Because we know this, we seek to love God (Matt. 22:37) and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:39). We then discover that by loving God and loving others, we find out who we really are in ourselves because now we have a standard to compare ourselves to, Jesus. Instead of becoming self-centered, we become other-centered, just like Jesus. With that comes peace and maturity.
Sometimes those who ask questions as they seek to discover who they are, become self-centered. They want to know how to please themselves, respect themselves, feel good about themselves, etc. But this is selfishness. It is not what we were designed for. Instead, we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28), and since God is love (1 John 4:8), we are designed to love.
Love is the opposite of selfishness. Love is sacrificial. Jesus says, “Greater love has no man than this, but he lay his life down for his friend,” (John 15:13). One of the most famous verses in the Bible is John 3:16, which says, “God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son… “ Notice that in both of these verses, Jesus teaches us that love is other-centered.
Who am I?
You are who you are. You are the summation of your past in the attributes with which you were born. We are different in appearance, body style, attractiveness, intelligence, and intellect. But what we are inside is what matters the most. Are you a person of character who seeks honesty and integrity above selfishness, narcissism, and appearance? You have to answer questions about yourself in order to learn who you are. But when you do, subject the answers to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who can take you as you are, no matter what you are, and make you into something far better. After all, he is God in the flesh.