The “I-Am” Declarations of Christ

“If there’s anything more exhausting than running from your enemies, it must be running from your true identity in God. – Laura Story

MAN’s search for consciousness and true identity is locked up in Christ Jesus. One might ask: What does the most developed human being look like; Who is the most cultured human; What is the highest form of being human? 

According to the Dalai Lama, this is altruism. Is this when we do the most good for humanity and win a Nobel Prize? For other religions it is when we remove ourselves to somewhere on a mountain, away from humanity, and reach a form of esoteric “Nirvana”.

According to the Bible, we find the highest form of being human in Jesus Christ. The Creator clothes Himself with creation, to reveal our purpose in creation (John 1). We find the pinnacle of being human when we serve and bless mankind with His talents and gifts (Matt. 6:33). Through theft, lies, jealousy, murder, rivalry, laziness, selfishness, and greed, we destroy this ideal world (Gal. 5:19-21). Through humility, obedience, forgiveness, goodness, peace, love and gentleness of spirit and attitude we restore His blessing on people and mankind (Matt. 5 – 7).

Man tends to fluctuate between good and evil without thinking, and no matter how hard we try to do good, we can become the victim and slave of our own lives. With a personal pursuit of God’s friendship, love and guidance, the wisdom He grants brings abundance and peace. The carnal and impulsive will and mind of man without Christ is incapable of creating sustainable and life-giving innovations, education and culture. Even in developing relationships, our circle of friends and family, can ultimately land up being what we worship (idolatry). God created humanity for deep connection and relationship with Him which is the living water and bread we live on. Anything substituted is a temporary fix.

It appears from history that man is systematically and collectively developing dictatorships and transgressions against humanity. The effect of world’s moral decline is being supported by the use of smart phones and social media. The tendency is that there is no longer a need for interpersonal connection since information and entertainment (detainment) has fast become the preference and substitute. 

A virtual reality and a subsequent ingenuineness is taking hold of personalities worldwide. Most people want to look good, and not be known as vicious, and cruel. We thus become actors, wear masks and develop becoming master secret-keepers to hide evil that lurks deep within us.

Who Decides Good or Bad?

Not all “good” things are good for mankind. Who therefore, decides what is good and bad? A parent who never reprimands and educates his child, gives everything he wants, is deceived to think the child is doing well. But is generosity, compliance and neglect of discipline really good for the child? Was the child raised and empowered to do good, and to be a blessing to mankind? 

Furthermore, can something that brought solution to a problem be deemed good? Was the creation of the atomic bomb good since it brought an end to a bloody war? Was the outcome worth the cost? Thus, man justifies his actions, with limited insight and understanding of the long-term consequences. 

We sometimes feel a need to live for the moment, to do something fun, and feel good. Man wants to be free to do what he or she wants, without any accountability or rules. The result, however, is that we do not realize the damage and destruction we are inflicting on mankind and creation.

The person who misuses substance justifies himself ~ that at least he does not “beat his wife and fight with the neighbors” or that his drinking or drugging does not “really bother anyone”. Those who get involved in an extramarital affair say they did not intend to hurt anyone. They declare, “How can something that feels so good be so wrong?” The one who is addicted to pornography argues that he “does not sleep with real women”. The one who steals does it to give to the poor. The one who lies does not want to hurt and offend anyone.

Created For Fulfilment & Satisfaction

To truly do good and right, to be a blessing to mankind comes at a significant price! One must be brave to learn to say no, to deny oneself certain pleasures. To give oneself for the success and benefit of others. It is much harder to forgive than to retaliate. It is much harder to give to others, than to take. It is much easier to be served than to serve others. It is more fun to receive than to give.

Jesus who made man, our Creator and Blueprint, the One Who really knows us, knows: 

  • what we are really looking for inwardly
  • knows better.
  • all selfishness does not satisfy the soul
  • to satisfy our seeking of meaning and value 
  • to guide us in really being and doing good 
  • real fulfillment when we bless humanity and creation.

Salvation, deliverance, freedom from evil is therefore much more than just confessing my sin and acknowledging that evil is dormant in me… it is a quest to achieve my creative purpose, to be likeJesus.

  • Why do doctors and medical staff work such long hours? Because they find fulfillment in order to help people get well. 
  • Why do lawyers do what they do? They find accomplishment in fighting evil. 
  • Why does government and politics previal? Because they find satisfaction in making the world a better place. 
  • Why do we do business? Because we add value to humanity by blessing mankind with delicious food, producing a consumable, fulfilling a need, etc.

In the end, therefore, we seek and essentially need (though some would never acknowledge it) Jesus Christ ~ the highest form of being human. The abiding Holy Spirit in each heart is God’s solution to humanity. He is creating His “new Eden” in this world through every believer in Jesus Christ.

How Jesus Found His Identity

Adam and Eve did not pass the identity test when satan sowed doubt in their hearts: 

“then you will be like God in knowing all things.” (Gen. 1: 5). 

They doubted God’s word, God’s command, and therefore their own identity. Jesus defeats satan’s attempts to sow doubt by quoting God’s Word every time. Therefore, Christ shows that He not only knows the Scriptures, He also believes in them. He in essence has become the Word. Therefore, He had full authority to command satan: 

“Go away, satan, for it is written, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.’ (Matt. 4:10).

  • Likewise, we must also see ourselves in the Word, and find our identity in the Word: 
  • John the Baptist had to see himself in the Word, to understand his calling (Mal. 3: 1 compare with Mark 1: 2). 
  • Paul believed that he was alive with a special calling (Gal. 1:1). See how Paul sees and understands his calling: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called on him by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might be with him among the Gentiles to proclaim. ” (Gal. 1:15). 

When we base our identity on temporary things, our identity is also temporary and short-lived. By finding your identity in Christ through the Word, we anchor inwardly for a long full life!

Nowadays one finds many manuals and guides on how to live, work with your finances, how to work with your people, relationships, marriages, education etc. The Word has age-old proven wisdom, and insight into all of these things. 

As through “spectacles” of the Holy Spirit, we see life, ourselves, and humanity through the Word: 

  • The Word is eternal! (Ps. 119:89)
  • The Word is powerful! (Heb. 4:12)
  • The more we direct our lives based on the Word, the more we align with our purpose of creation – Christ! (2 Tim. 2:15; Ps. 32:8; Prov 16:9; Is. 58:11)

 The Seven “I-Am” Statements 

They deal with the sources from which I determine my identity:

  1. Bread: basic self, existence, every day, what satisfies me? (John 6:48; 7:37-29) and Living Water (John 4:14, 26)
  2. Vine: point to what I offer humanity, in terms of my talents, gifts, knowledge, abilities? (John 15)
  3. The Way: How do I live? My manners, habits, my ‘way’? (John 14:6)
  4. Light: speak of direction, purpose, my ‘why’ why? Calling? My legacy, my ultimate goal? (John 8:12)
  5. Door: right of access, belongs to? Part of? My legitimacy? What and who gives me a right to this life? (John 10:9)
  6. Shepherd: Speaking of caring, what do I do to live and earn an income so that I can be cared for? (John 10)
  7. Resurrection: After death, do I continue to live as? My legacy? My timelessness? My eternity? What about Jesus rose in me? (John 11:25)

1. “I am the Living Bread” and “Living Water”

Water from the well of Jacob temporarily quenches man’s thirst. The living water that Jesus gives, however, satisfies forever (Matt. 5: 6; Isa. 49:10; 55:1-3; 58:11; John 6:32; 48).

Man seeks satisfaction, seeks a reason to exist, seeks a source and motive, a why, to establish us. We need bread and water daily to survive. Likewise, we need to daily find our life in Jesus, and the Word to survive as human beings, in this humanity. Jesus was in communion with the Father all the time. That is why He says, man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God.

As we eat bread every day, we need to have a fresh word, and the word of the Holy Spirit, every day. That’s how we discover our identity. In His revealed Word! The more He speaks to us, teaches and directs us, as a parent teaches a child, we discover life in Christ.

Jesus refers here to Himself as the Bread that came from heaven in contrast to the manna that the migrating people picked up. The manna was good bread that could quench the bodily hunger, but it was temporary. The people ate from it and were satiated by it for a day, but they had to get some of this bread to eat every day, and it could not save them from death either (Exodus 16). 

Jesus, who is so much greater than Moses, offers Himself as the spiritual bread to us. He fully satisfies us spiritually and thus gives us eternal life. Religion, and conversations about Jesus can never satisfy you. It is to know Himself, and to hear. It satisfies man on the deepest level.

2. “I Am The Light of the World” (John 8:12; 9: 5).

Jesus was in the courtyard of the women at the temple where the thirteen sacrificial chests were kept (8:20). In that room, candles were lit during the Feast of Tabernacles as symbols of the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel through the wilderness (Ex. 13: 21–22). 

This is why Jesus at the striking moment referred to Himself as the “light of the world”. For the migrating people, the pillar of fire was a symbol of God’s presence, protection and guidance. In the same way, Jesus came to make God’s presence, protection and guidance visible to the world.

3. “I Am The Door” (John 10:791114). 

A door speaks of access, right of access, entry, and participation. It also speaks of about opportunities, and favor. We walk through the door into a house. The method, and access are therefore no longer rituals and methods. He Himself is the new way of life (Heb. 10:19). We do not have to follow religious methods to “be inside”. He Himself came to fetch us outside, and brought us inside!

4. “I Am The Good Shepherd” (John 10:14).

At night, the sheep were chased into a sheepfold according to custom to protect them from thieves, thunderstorms and wild animals. These folds were usually caves or an open field with walls of stone or branches. The shepherd then slept in the entrance. As the shepherd cared for every sheep, so the Good Shepherd gives His life for His followers  (Ezek. 34:23) who know His voice. Anyone who wants to hurt His sheep must pass by the only entrance where the Good Shepherd waits. Jesus is the entrance and the Good Shepherd.

5. “I am The Resurrection and The Life” (John 11:25).

I have already mentioned this in a previous chapter, but it is through His resurrection power that He gives us victory over our urges, desires, sensuality, carnality, sins, temptations, temptations and wrong spirits. The awakening of Christ in us! (Col. 1:27).

6. “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life” (John 14:6).

The Way indicates a way of life. A diet, or exercise program is often referred to as “a way”. Jesus is the best way to live life.

7. “I Am the True Vine” (John 15:16).

The imagery regarding the vine emphasizes that fertility in the Christian life stems from a ‘rejoicing in Christ’. Even after Jesus left, unity among His disciples was maintained. The vineyard is a well-known image from the Old Testament, where it refers to the believing people (Ps. 80: 9–16; Isa. 5: 1–7; Jer. 2:21; Ezek. 19: 10– 14; Hos. 10:1).

Identity Activation

Becoming What You Worship

Jesus exposes satan’s entire motive very clearly with the words

“Go away, satan, because it is written:” You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.”(Matt. 4:10).

Even today the enemy whispers in ears: “you are a failure; you are evil; you are bad; you are addicted; you are sick; you are inferior; you are not good enough; you are a loser; you are worth nothing; you are ugly; you are your own happiness” and much more! When we believe these words and act accordingly, we become the instruments and slaves of satan to sow destruction and injustice. 

On the other hand, Christ wants our lives imitating Him: 

  • He who created all things through Jesus Christ (Eph. 3: 9) 
  • all things were created by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16)
  • in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:17)
  • for through Him we live, move, and exist (Acts 17:28); we show who we really are: “IN CHRIST.”
  • We are saints (1 Cor. 1: 2; Rom. 1: 7).
  • We are capable of all things (Eph. 4:13).
  • We are new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17).
  • We are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • We are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37).
  • We are wonderfully created (Ps. 139: 14).
  • We are the crown of his creation (Ps. 8: 6; Heb. 2: 7).
  • Make us able to do His will (Phil. 2:13).

“…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor. 6:10).

BUT TO GET AND BE ALL THE WONDERFUL CREATION POSSIBILITIES, WE MUST WORSHIP JESUS! “

“The eye is fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of the faith.” (Heb. 12: 2).

Obedience to Live The Word

God sent Him: 

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:33; 5:24; 30; 36-38).

” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Matt. 26:42).

He comes to serve and to do good: 

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and equipped him with power. He went about doing good everywhere and healing all who were in the power of the devil, for God was with him. ” (Acts 10:38).

In Jesus Is Everything I Need To Live

We shape our identity, through our: 

  1. narrative, story, history, and experiences
  2. education
  3. culture, family, social status
  4. qualifications and achievements
  5. possessions, clothing, appearance, taste, preferences 
  6. official mandate, profession, appointment, recognition 
  7. talents, character, preferences.

This is all well and good, the problem is, when we determine our identity through external variables (which we can lose) it leaves us vulnerable, exposed, violated, and fragile. It is also possible that we can pretend to be a false identity, and when we are drunk, tired and vulnerable, sick and dependent, the true self emerges.

An egg that is broken from the outside is lost, but an egg that is broken from the inside is new life! So it is what comes from within us that gives new life. External influences do not bring about permanent change.

It is therefore essential that we establish our identity and self-confidence in Christ!

  • He is our existence – Water / He is our food – bread, biological, physical needs (John 7:37-39).
  • He is the fulfillment – Vine, knowledge, growth, meaning (John 15).
  • He is our direction – Light, purpose, meaning, reason for existence (John 8:12).
  • He’s the best way to live – being good to someone (Matt. 7:24-27).
  • He is our access – through Him…, belong to…, be part of… (Eph. 2:18)
  • HE is our care – Shepherd, protection (John 10).
  • He is our Resurrection when we die – Legacy (John 11:25).

Find Yourself In Scripture

My revelation of who I am came the day I found the Scripture: “broken down walls” in Isa. 58:12. This Scripture resonates with my mind, as the best one-on-one definition of who I am and what I do. As you spend searching time in the Word, the Holy Spirit will highlight the word about your life to you.

Eight Words that Describe You

Write down eight words that describe you.

The following list stems from years of discovery as I developed as a human being: “Spiritual Explorer & Reformer | Biblical Scholar & Theologian | Apostolic Pastor & Missionary | Relationship & HR Consultant | Social Reformer & Acculturalist | Peacemaker & Lobbyist | Speaker & Writer | Worshipper and unashamed follower of Jesus Christ. ”

The “I-Am” Principle – God’s Antidote to Inferiority

The most important statement in your life begins with: “I am…” Jesus’ temptation questioned the “I am” statement in His life: 

“If you are really the Son of God…” (Matt. 4: 3).

If the enemy catches us off guard around our identity, then he catches us in His snare of lies to finally do His will (2 Tim. 2:26). It is essential that we each know who we are. Your purpose for being created is in fact Christ. God chose people beforehand and decided that they should be like His Son Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29).

Although we can never be physically like Jesus, God wants us to think, act, and live like Him. He is the best way to live. His values and motives are pure! He is the perfect will of God. We are therefore the most beautiful people, when we are most like Him. The basis of belief therapy used in prisons and rehabilitation centers is: What you believe about yourself determines your behavior and choices.

But our purpose for being created goes beyond that. God has a plan for each of us, and once we understand that plan, we can live a life of meaning and significance (2 Pet. 1:10).

The “I am” identity has nothing to do with what we can do and accomplish. “Because God created us as ‘Beings’ not ‘Doings’!” People who go through trauma just want someone present, you do not have to do anything. 

Older people who by the end of their lives can no longer accomplish all the things they could have done before are no less valuable and important now. Their presence, who they were, is important to us! You are first and foremost a human being. 

Who you are in the Spirit, your presence, your attitude is decisive. Someone with a bad spirit can negatively affect an entire room. The opposite is also true! Someone with a positive attitude can change history!

Look To The Rock From Which You Were Hewn

That is why Paul admonishes the brethren: 

“For consider your calling, brethren” (1 Cor. 1:26).

They had to remember how God called them. They were not prominent people. 

Behold the rock from which you were hewn, and the cave of the pit from which you were dug.” (Isa. 51: 1).

Your salvation and the way God saves you can be meaningful in understanding your calling. The man who developed the well-known EE3 Evangelism technique and course was converted through the two diagnostic questions. The things from which the Lord has redeemed you, and how He has redeemed you, can now also be of help to others.

“Even though He was the Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and having been made perfect, he has become the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” (Heb. 5: 8). “Even Jesus needed a body prepared for Him through generations.” (Heb. 10: 5).

Even your parental home and circumstances in which you were born are important. Do not see it as a curse. Note the inclusion of Jesus’ genealogies, to show that He did not fall from the sky.

Prophetic Word and Revelation

“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you came out of the body, I sanctified you; I have made you a prophet to the nations ”. (Jer. 1: 5).

So the Lord called Abraham, Moses, Samuel and many others to work for Him. When we meet God, we get our identity. We are identityless precisely because we do not know Him. Adam and Eve disobediently broke off the relationship they had with God and walked away, thus losing their identity. Likewise, Esau did not value his birthright (Gen. 25:34).

Our own urges and carnal desires deceive us. We think we are the sum total of our urges and desires. God has a higher purpose for us as human beings, therefore He created us with divine abilities. Paul was on the wrong path at first, because he walked in the traditions of his ancestors and did not know what he was doing (Acts 9:3-6). He also received his calling through the prophetic word of Ananias (Acts 9:15-16).

“But by the grace of God I am what I am.”

Paul makes this powerful statement (1 Cor. 15:10) – a deep spiritual paradox: To deny yourself (Matt. 16:24; Rom. 2:20) and ultimately just be yourself.

Madame Guyon explained that God, wants to remove the snake’s poison out of our “self” in order to finally give us back our health. The selfishness, ambition, self-justification, passivity, pride, of the self ruins our lives. However, when we die to the self, He returns our “self” to live in humility, submission and obedience to Him. There is a unique part of the image of Christ locked up in each of us. 

“… By the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6).

The Importance of Your Name

Nowadays, people easily give nicknames and sometimes derogatory ones. When Cyrus, the king of Persia, saw his name in the holy scriptures 100 years before his birth, it gave him faith to conquer the mighty impenetrable city of Babylon (Isa. 44:28; 45:1, 3, 4, 10).

The Bible gives many examples of people called by their name:

“The Lord called me from the womb; from my birth he called my name.” (Isa. 49: 1).

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you came out of the body, I sanctified you; I have made you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1: 5).

Some’s names are changed: “But now, thus saith the Lord thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Maker, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I called you by your name; you are mine!” (Isa. 43: 1).

Others ask the Lord to bless them, despite their name: “When his mother gave him the name Jabez, she said, ‘I brought him into the world with sorrow.’ Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Pour out your blessing on me, enlarge my territory, take me under your protection and keep evil from me so that no pain will strike me.” (1 Chron. 4: 9-10).

Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?” (Isa. 45:10).

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