This guest post comes from Robert Basilious - a member of St Mark Coptic Orthodox church in London who has guest posted before. Robert works as a software engineer by profession, but his true passion is serving church communities across the UK with their software needs. You can check out his work on his website, Serving Jesus. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I am a father’s child, a mother’s child, yet no one’s son...who am I?
It may only take a moment to solve this riddle. However, in times of loneliness, as a sense of defeat creeps upon us and we feel we are of diminishing value, invisible to others, we need to identify our personhood. We need to examine this question: who am I?
In loneliness, we sink in our own emptiness and the emptiness of this barren world. To rise from the desolation, we first need to separate ourselves from the world. We must accept we are truly strangers in the world.
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Observing the pain of the world around us and recognizing that we are strangers suffering in it, with a contrite heart, we abandon the practices of the world and seek God’s will for our lives.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world ... Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
In school, at work, with family and with friends, even in church, we continually seek acceptance. Distressed in constantly having to change the masks that we feel obliged to wear to no avail, we finally find relief in tearing them all up. Bravely standing naked in front of God, we find He does not reject us, but instead, clothes us in spiritual maturity.
We grow spiritually through prayer when we stand apart from the crowd, and turn inward, in the divine presence of our Lord. In strengthening our relationship of prayer with God, we find healing, but the focus of our supplication must be God and not our loneliness. In unceasing prayer, we ask God to reveal to us His will for our lives.
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3)
In our brokenness, we place our life at God's feet and plead for the authentic life He wants us to live. With devotion in prayer, the counseling of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit abiding within us awakens us.
As we grow spiritually we encounter the beauty of our individuality. God gives us a liberating appreciation of our irreplaceable personhood. We only experience our uniqueness in the presence of the Lord of all Creation,
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful …” (Psalm 139:13-14)
We live a fulfilling life of authenticity as God brings us to the realization of who we are. The front that we presented when the world told us who to be is gone. Our face is uncovered, and it is good.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (2 Corinthians 3:16)
We discover that our identity is in Christ. Ever since the Incarnation and Salvation, the Father sees His Son in us every time He looks at us. We find that our identity is in the Body of Christ as Sons and Daughters of Him as Father. We are His family by Grace, as the Son is by nature. We are One Family, those whom the Father calls His own, interconnected and interdependent, in unity.
“so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us …” (Romans 12:5-6)
Our sense of this identity is strengthened as we come to appreciate our distinctive purpose in the Body of Christ. Christ shows us the unique gifts He has given to us, and their place in the world. We then realize that we have an important part to play in the world, and we are able - in fact, we are obliged, to use the gifts from above to change the world from within.
‘And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? … But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.’ (1 Corinthians 12:16-19)
From loneliness, our Savior has restored us, with the blessing of separation from the afflictions of the world, in an affirming relationship with God in prayer and with all in the Body of Christ, our personhood identified.
(Oh, and the answer to that riddle: daughter.)