4 Things That Show Us Our Identity Pt. 1

The Haves & Have-Nots Pt. 1

We are off to a great start in Refresh Student Ministry this year. With so many changes and moving parts, it has been a little hectic. To reground us for the new school year, we started our Wednesday Night series off focused on Identity, studying Moses' life. Let us be honest, we all tend to compare ourselves to those around us or those we want to be more like. This also leads us to lose a bit of who we are, and we are more focused on how we need to change. So, this series focuses on what we already have. The conversations that have surrounded this topic have been great, and I thought it would be great to share this beyond our walls. During this series, we have focused on four things that God has given to every single one of us: you have a past, you have today, you have a future, and you have a family.

We all compare ourselves to others sometimes, and that's not completely bad depending on the severity of it. When we start to compare and start dreaming of what we wish we had, it starts to reveal a few things about us. It reveals less about who we are and more about who we think we need to be to compare or keep up with others.

With our easy access to media, we are constantly aware of what others are doing or aren't doing. It is easy to think that your life is not as exciting, successful, or fun as other people’s lives. My prayer is that we will focus less on what we think we do not have, so we can better see what we already have.

You Have a Past

In the book of Exodus, in the first few chapters, we see that Moses has one exciting and painful past. Moses was born into God's people, the Hebrews, who were enslaved in Egypt. Around the time that he was born, Pharaoh ordered all male Hebrew babies to be killed. Luckily Moses' mother was able to keep him safe for a few months. Eventually, she was unable to keep him safe and put her trust that God would take care of him, and she put him in the Nile River in a basket. While floating down the Nile, Moses was found by the Pharaoh's and was adopted into Pharaoh's family. One day, later in Moses' life, he saw an Egyptian solder beating a Hebrew slave and was overcome with a sense of injustice. Moses' in a fit of anger murdered the Egyptian soldier, which led him to run away and flee the country. (Exodus 1-2)

Sometimes we run from our pasts... We are ashamed of where we come from, we wish our childhood was different, or we are haunted by something we did or that was done to us. Luckily God was about to show Moses, that despite his past, he had value and so did his past.

Our past is valuable because it has helped shape who we are, but the ugly or disappointing parts of our past don't have to define who we are in the future. I know that God will not waste our past. Our story is not over. God can use and redeem our past but we have to let Him.

You Have Today

Today is valuable if we choose to let God use us today. It is not always easy to focus on today or be present in the moment. Sometimes we get sucked into reliving the exciting or embarrassing parts our past or spend all our time dreaming or worrying about the future. When we are too focused on the past or the future, we are missing out on opportunities right now.

We see in Exodus 3, God came to Moses and asked him to partner with God to bring the Hebrew people out of Egypt. God was trying to show Moses that his past had value and He could redeem it. Unfortunately, Moses was hesitant, probably because he had regrets in his past but also feared for his future if he returned to Egypt. Then we see that Moses also didn't feel like he was equipped to do what God had asked. (Exodus 4:1-5) God shows Moses that he can use Moses just the way he is, using the tools that he already has on hand.

 I don't know exactly what God is asking you to do today, but I know he has work and opportunities for you today. Maybe God has already given us the tools we need to do His work today, what is it that is right in front of you today that you can do? Ephesians 2:8-10, states that we are saved by grace a gift from God. We are made new in Christ for good works that God has prepared for us. God can redeem our past and use us just like we are today, so what is He calling you to today?

In Closing

We all have a past but it does not define who we can be today. God can redeem our past, and with a simple choice today He can use you right where we are. I hope that this is an encouragement for you today, and that you will go forward this week reminded of what you have rather than what you don't have.

Check back next week for the second half of this blog post.
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