“Who do You say that I am?”

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter got it right. Was it a test question, though, or was it a necessary step in His anointing? If there are no believers, can there be a Body?

 

I listened to a charismatic preacher on Sunday morning. Spring boarding from John 7 he suggested “Ask God, then, ‘Who do You say I am?’ And really listen. Be prepared for the preposterous and be prepared to go with it.”

 

I asked and listened, and by the end of the day I heard “You are rubbish, and at harvest-time you will be thrown on the waste heap to burn.”

 

Obviously the first thing one has to ask oneself is, whose voice did I hear? Was that the voice of my own self-esteem? A perhaps more than usually difficult early life did leave me with big self-esteem issues. On the other hand, the storms mostly over and fifty years of apparently ‘adult’ life to review, I’m not that blown away by my track record. A bit of charisma and charm, a smart brain and a tender heart have been no match for the stupidity and mess of much of my life.

 

But I’m pretty sure that it’s not what we do that counts, it’s what we are. It’s maybe a bit of a riff on ‘salvation by works’. It’s not what you do, it’s what you are. Our deeds are really just projections of our identity, I think.

 

As I lived this conversation I moved beyond self-esteem issues to the other choice, that it might actually have been God’s voice, and actually found more peace and comfort there. These days I’m spending quite a lot of time praying, and just, as I understand it, hanging out in His presence. The sweetness of this time is more than I ever expected or even hoped to find, and it just keeps on getting better.

 

And it’s enough for me. I don’t feel particularly horrified by the rubbish heap prospect. It makes a certain sense to me, and it doesn’t in any way diminish the sweetness of the present conversation. In a way it makes it perhaps that much sweeter. It lets me say “Jesus, loving You is all I want now. This time with You is maybe the sweetest thing I’ve ever known, and the future doesn’t matter a bit. At the end of the day You can do what You need to do. I get to be with You now.”

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