BIBLE TEACHINGS WITH JOEL OSOBA
Hi friend. It’s another Sunday already! and you are welcome to this column that pours life like a spring.
Today, I want to share with you what transpired in a conversation between myself and a dear young woman (Let’s call her Reina for the sake of our story) who asked me a question about her identity. She is an honorary graduate of philosophy so you can understand that her training and knowledge in philosophy have remarkable impacts on how our conversation went on matters of life and humanity.
I pray that what we shared will be of help to you and open your eyes to finding security in knowing who you really are so that you will make the proper corrections to how you define yourself. I will try to report the conversation as directly as possible so that you get the full meat. Are you ready like I am! Let’s dive in!
She approached me and said “Pastor Joel, how do I answer the question of “Who am I”? do you define yourself as you are or as you hope to become” Then she added, “please don’t answer me immediately please think about it and I will come back for your response”. So, I took a break from my work, knowing that a girl’s life and identity are in the balance and I went to God and said can you please help me help this, my friend. As I paced the floor and thought about how I define myself, my understanding cleared to see the parameters of self-definition and identity. I stepped back into the room after about three minutes to share the following thoughts with her. By the way, you may want to google some words just in case you are not familiar with them, as you can imagine the kind of words and concepts I’d need to use when speaking with a trained philosopher.
How people define Identity: I began the conversation and shared the following with her.
“Reina, the truth is you really can’t define yourself and give yourself a lasting identity without having a conversation with the person who made you. You have to first be willing to accept that there is a God, a supreme being that made you. If you accept this ideology, then you can begin to explore God’s definition of yourself as his creation and how he intends for you to have a sense of identity; because if God made you then he had something in mind when he did. The code of your identity is in God’s mind, therefore having a conversation with him will help you unravel who you are and give you a sense of identification, purpose, and meaning to life. Otherwise, you are left with the notion of BBT and evolution.”
“People have over the years endeavored and established to define man, giving themselves a sense of identity without consulting God. Some even acknowledge there is a God with capital G but do not have their identity defined by his standards and system of identification. People define identity with and by a lot of things. Some people with the intellectual approach will define identity scientifically, saying that man is nothing more than a higher animal. Some others will take a philosophical approach like in epistemology and define man as a rational being, that has the ability to question and rationalize his existence. Man has metacognitive capabilities and thus he’s self-aware and so on can go all the philosophical concepts and definitions.”
“Other people who are not so intellectually or philosophically inclined have their identity attached to their relationships, saying things like “I’m the son or daughter of so and so, I am the husband/wife of so and so”, some attach their identity to their job, job title or academic attainment “I’m a Developer, I’m a professor of economics, I’m a politician, etc.”. Some people attach their identity to their bodies, the good looks they have, so much that their body is almost treated as a god, a diva or it’s male equivalent”. Some people have their identity attached to their wealth, cars, bank account balance, social status, religious title. There are so many things that you can define yourself by or allow to give you a sense of self-assurance and identity. However, the fault with this system of self-assurance and identity is its propensity to fade away or make you behave less than a human being given some peculiar circumstances which may occur every day”.
“Everything you may attach your identity to besides having a conversation with God is transient and can change or is a notion developed by another man like you and I and that is quite preposterous and presumptuous to think you can define yourself by yourself or just take on another human being’s definition for yourself.”
All the while she kept quiet and was listening to me then I paused and ask If I made sense she said “yes”. Then I said let me tell you how I define myself based on a conversation I have had with God. I am a Christian man, but that may be a little vague to define myself to you, knowing that that word has almost lost its weight and meaning in our society today. However, because I am a Christian and I believe in God I derive my sense of identity and self-assurance from three things; firstly, my nature, secondly my relationship, and thirdly my purpose, assignment or destiny in life. All of these three things are where I draw my sense of identity, self-assurance, and security from.
“The benefit of defining your identity from God’s perspective and using God himself as the reference of your identity is that God was, and he is and he will always be. He is from eternity past to eternity future, and he is present with you, nothing or no one predates him and when all things are gone, he still remains, if your job is gone, and your financial status makes you socially uncomfortable, if your parents disown, violate or betray your trust, if an illness or accident affects your body and you are not as good looking as you used to be, or love to be, God’s love towards you remains unchanging and your identity in his eyes remains unaffected. Your whole life lies bare before his all-seeing and knowing eyes, your future is fully known to him. He is constant, unchanging, dependable and reliable.”
I said all these and observed her dreamy eyes revealing the stream of facts and thoughts being processed in her mind. Checking all that I was saying against her experiences, and knowledge of philosophy. All the while I had a prayer in my heart “Oh God help me help this dear woman, help her see the light even beyond the words I am saying, I really care about this young woman”
If you’ve ever had to share your faith with someone, which I encourage you to do if you are a Christian, you will discover your need for help and absolute reliance on the Holy Spirit inside you, to speak the right words and answer the questions that will help draw a person to Jesus.
Let us stop here today. In my next post, I will continue and conclude the rest of what I shared with my philosophical friend. Till then, I’d love you to think of yourself and your identity, how have you defined yourself so far. What are the things that have shaped your sense of self-assurance and personhood? What do you even call yourself to yourself when no one is there? Begin to pray and ask God for understanding of who you are in his mind and how he sees you and what he has created you to be.
Kindly drop your comments and question and I will be very glad to answer and share whatever God helps me with, with you.
Thank you for reading through this, we will pick up and conclude the conversation next week. You should not miss the concluding part of this conversation in the next post, it will be intellectually enlightening and spiritually satisfying.
Remain blessed up!
Joel Osoba is a bible teacher and businessman focused on teaching and inspiring people to find, follow and fulfill God’s plan for their life. He believes that finding, following and fulfilling God’s plans is the true meaning of success in life. Joel blogs at LifeSpringWeb