We're going to ask and answer a very personal question that we all unconsciously ask. Often it never comes to the surface. Who do you really think you are? Not what you want other people to think you are. Not what you think other people think you are. When you peel away the layers like job, success, hurts, pain or abuse - you look into the mirror of your soul – what do you see?
READ – NOTES – “The question is not an easy one to answer because there are many factors involved and many people who try to tell us who we are. To complicate matters, our desperate longing for approval drives us to seek and to look and act and be what we think others want, rather than discover who we really are. It’s a question we all grapple with and one that will determine in large measure the quality of our relationships and the level of contentment that we will experience in this life.”
Lot of people are doing a lot of things in lots of areas, looking for peace and contentment, because down deep they don't know who they are. If the truth is known, they don't like who they are.
Factors that shape our lives –READ – “Our family background, our environment, our personalities, the significant others, role models from our childhood, the values and belief systems we were taught all play a critical role in the formation of our self identity.”
So here's the question I want to tackle with you. So who are you really? We're going to look at the life of Moses, who had quite a journey trying to discover who he was. At one point he thought way too high of himself and he almost blew it. At another point he thought way too low of himself and almost blew it.
1. Moses’ journey reveals how to come to grips with the real you.
If you don't get a sober self-assessment and understand who you really are, you will never fulfil the divine calling God has for you. It’s not about who you want to be or who you think you are, God made you in a certain way. You need to know who that actually is, because you're made for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 "You are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works – good works that he has for you. Before the foundations of the earth, he's prepared an assignment for you that'll be the most thrilling, most fulfilling and the most impactful." He made you in a certain way to fulfil that. But if you don't know who you are, you'll miss it.
Moses almost missed it. "Moses' journey reveals how to come to grips with the real you." Underline "journey." This is a journey. This isn’t a 1 time experience where you walk away and get it all down. “I went to one service where they explained everything.”
A. Moses' parents, childhood, education, and experiences were God's preparation for him to fulfil his divine design.
The children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt for 400 years - during this time the number of Israelites increases dramatically. Pharaoh becomes nervous because there are so many Hebrew slaves. He is afraid that these Hebrews are going to revolt and take over Egypt. He decides that the Israelite baby boys have to die. Exodus 2: 1 - 10 - A lot went into his Moses life. He had parents that were godly. They were willing to risk their lives rather than kill him. His parents were risk takers; they had faith. His parents were whispering in his ear who God was. They taught him about Yahweh and the promises of deliverance. He had parents who were willing to say, "You know what? If this is God's will for you to live in Pharaoh's house, then so be it."
Your parents, background, physical DNA, hardships, birth order –whether you were 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 6th in the family – God sovereignly uses your parents, your background, the lows, the highs, the difficulties, the pain, the experience. All of that is used by a sovereign God to prepare you for your divine assignment. Moses would need great parents to become a risk taker. All these factors made a big difference in his life.
I encourage you to look at your past – not - "Oh, I'm a victim; I came out of this background. I've been through these difficult times." But take at honest look at your family and how that has shaped and impacted you.
There were things going on in the world that shaped who I was. What were the values? What were the beliefs? Who were my heroes? So what are you working with? Just like for Moses, your parents, childhood, education, experiences are all part of God's preparation. God wants to use it all for good. He's in control. It's true of Moses. It's true of you and me.
B. Moses warped view (too high) of himself almost prevented him from fulfilling God's purpose for his life.
Exodus 2: 11 – 13 - "Who do you think you are?" v. 14, 15. Moses thought too highly of himself. Sometimes we get our assignment right: "This is what I'm supposed to do." But we try and do it in our own strength. Moses thought, “I'm capable. I'm able. I'm educated. Guess what? I'm the prince. I'm the man. You know what? I call the shots here. There's Pharaoh, but I'm Moses.”
He had confidence in himself. His warped view was that he had power, prestige and he believed his abilities, his education and his background gave him the right to call the shots. He tried to do God's will his way and because he had this over-inflated view of who he was – he almost missed it.
You think, "Well, I got this education - then I got a job - then I moved up - then I did this - I've spent all these years working hard. I have this on my heart; I think my motives are right." I think Moses' motives were right. But boy, his methodology was wrong. God had to teach him something.
B. Moses’ warped view of himself (too low) almost prevented him from fulfilling God's purpose for his life.
Moses had killed an Egyptian and he was afraid that Pharaoh would find out and have Moses killed. So Moses fled and is living in exile. He is in the desert tending his flocks. He's got a new world - a new wife - but he's in hiding. One day he sees a bush on fire, but it's not burning up. God speaks to Moses - "You're on holy ground." He's in the very presence of God - he's overwhelmed. God speaks to him: "I've heard the cry of my people. I'm going to use you to rescue them. I want you to go and be my deliverer." That’s a short overview - then a conversation takes place between God and Moses - 3: 10. A few years ago he would have thought "No problem - I've got that covered." Now listen to him: v. 11. Before, they asked him, "Who do you think you are?" Now - "Who am I?"
Excuse #1 – “I’m a nobody” “No one could ever use me. I'm a failure. I blew it. I'm nothing. How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?" How many times has a too-low view of yourself kept you from doing what God has asked you to do? God told him, "I will be with you." Here's the answer to "Who am I?" “I'll be with you.” God says, "Who you are is not important. What's really important is – who I am and that I'm going to be with you." Excuse #2– “I’m not smart enough” – v. 13. How does God answer that? – v. 14, 15. Call all the leaders of Israel and tell them the Lord, the God of your ancestors is going to deliver them. God reassures him again. "Hey, you don't have to be smart enough. The leaders of the people of Israel are going to accept your message. I promise even the Egyptians will treat you well. When you leave, they'll give you silver and gold." Excuse #3– “I’m not credible” God reassures him - "I'll be with you. I'll take care of it." But Moses protested again – 4: 1. I don't have the credentials. I don't have the platform. They'll never listen to me. God says, "Okay, Moses, see that staff in your hand? Drop it on the ground." He drops it and it becomes a snake. God says "I want you to grab it." He touches the tail - it becomes a staff again. God said, “If you think you need credibility, what do you think about that? Your credibility isn't the issue. You trust me and get your focus off yourself. I'll take what you have, and by my power and my grace, I'll use you in ways that you never dreamed." Excuse #4 – “I’m not qualified” 4: 10 God's answer, "Who makes man's mouth?" v. 12 - Moses after being convinced by the God of the universe that how he is made is exactly right for the job he's being called to do, says "Lord, could you just send someone else?" God says, "Tell you what, Moses. I'm going to accommodate you. Aaron, your brother – he's a good speaker. He can help you. He can do some of the speaking. But he's going to cause you problems later. He builds golden calves and leads small rebellions." Sometimes we think too high of ourselves and we miss God's will, God's calling. Sometimes we think too low of ourselves and we miss God's will. 2. Moses' reluctant trust in God's promises and God's character were his “baby steps” to a sober self-assessment. Excuse -"I'm a nobody" God says, “I'll go with you.” "I'll never leave you or forsake you. I'll be with you, to do exactly what I've called you to do." Excuse - "I'm not smart enough" God says, "Look, I have all the answers." Philippians 4: 13 "You can do all things" – not on your own, but through Christ, who gives you strength." "I'm going to give you what you need, but step out and trust me." Excuse - "I'm not credible" God says, "I'll empower you." 2 Timothy 1: 7 "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity or fear, but of power and love and sound mind." You have inside of you all the power you need to fulfil all God wants to do in you. Excuse -"I'm just not gifted" God says, "I've gifted you for this job." Romans 12 "According to the grace given, he's given a spiritual supernatural ability, deposited in you, that lines you up and enables you to do exactly what he wants you to do." If you get a sober self-assessment, you realise who you really are, who God made you to be, what your calling is, then you can make wise choices. Yes I do want to present myself the best way I can. There's nothing wrong with being beautiful or attractive, but that stuff can't make me or break me and it doesn't tell me who I am. 3. Moses' life reveals that a sober self-assessment is a prerequisite to fulfill your divine assignment. Key passage Romans 12: 3 "For by the grace given to me, I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of the faith that God has given you." You have strengths and you have weaknesses. You have things that come out of your past and your suffering. Some of you carry unbelievable hurts, and some have even been abused. Those experiences have produced scars that make it hard to trust people and have compassion. It is essential for you to have an accurate view of yourself. God says, “I want you to know what your strengths are, but you need to know what your weaknesses are also.” God's going to bring other people's strengths to help you. You're going to find there are no lone rangers in the Christian life. You need them, and they need you. "Top 3 Strengths and Weaknesses" card. Do some thinking and fill that out. Most of you could quickly fill out the bottom. My strengths include teaching and leading. What you're not good at - I wrote fixing things. No good beating myself up about that because my son in law is good at that. What are your top 3 strengths? What are your top 3 weaknesses? Who are the people that you need in your life? No one can give you a totally accurate view of your life but God. We're back to the verse from Ephesians 2 - You're his workmanship. God created you. There's no other DNA exactly like yours. God knew where you would be born – the opportunities that are unique to you - what time in history you would live. He's been preparing you all these years for today, to prepare you for the good work for you to walk in. Prerequisite - you've got to get an accurate view of who you are. How do you come to grips with the real you? 1. Ask God to help you recognize the warped mirrors of the world that have shaped your life. "I'm a workaholic - It started with a glass of wine and now it's way more - I'm pleasing people all the time - I say 'yes' to everything - I don't like my body - I struggle with depression." “God, would you help me see me the way you see me?" That's a prayer He'll answer. 2.Begin the journey of developing a sober self-assessment by getting God's view of you through his Word. I read scripture because I need to be reminded of what's true of God, me and life. Personal evaluation: Take that card and share it with someone safe - "I was in the service this weekend and we did this little exercise about our strengths and weaknesses. I think these are my top 3 strengths and these are my top 3 weaknesses. What do you think? Give me your honest feedback." There's no pressure. Discover your primary spiritual gift - we will help you on that in the days ahead. Final thing I would encourage you is: 3. Celebrate daily that you are unique, loved, accepted, capable and being prepared to fulfil your divine assignment. This is really possible. I'm not going to lie to you. This is really a lot of hard work. Everyone struggles, but I think the culture has made it much harder for women than men. Isn't it interesting? Movie stars – guys can be, like, 50 and 60, have leading roles and be with all these hot chicks. If you're a hot chick but you hit 40, "Ah, you're out." Unless you can get a lot of surgery. It's true. Changing how you think about yourself is hard work. But the rewards are well worth it. “Father, we thank you that you have made us, that you love us, that you are for us. I realise that we have hit on a nerve that is very painful. It has brought to the surface some memories and some hurts and some struggles. Lord, this is the beginning of a journey. We pray that you would help us launch into the journey of a sober self-assessment, being able to see ourselves the way you see us, in order to fulfil the divine assignment you have for us. In Christ's name. Amen.”