But Moses said to God, “Who am I… ”
And God said, “I will be with you…”

Exodus 3:11-12

The Question of Identity

Every one us carries the same existential question Moses asked in our hearts. “Who am I?” When we are confronted with choices that affect our destiny, we find we need greater clarity about our identity.

The way God responds to Moses’s question however is a stunning revelation for us if we can grasp it.

God’s answer to Moses in essence was: “You’re the one I want to be with.”

He reiterates this revelation by laying out the purpose of his call on Moses life: to return from Egypt with a people set apart for the worship of God. What is astounding is that in God’s mind, this was the ultimate answer to the true question Moses was asking. Moses identity was primarily found in being with God.

What if the same was true for us?

When we are confronted with our destiny and our heart cry out, “Who am I?” I believe God’s response is “You are the one I want to be with.”  

In Scripture, we find this identity was God’s intention for us all along.

In the garden, God created man in his image for the purpose of communion and connection. Daily, God would come and walk with his creation in the cool of the day. God simply wanted to be with them.

Jesus himself is the ultimate example of this. He was called Emmanuel , meaning “God with Us.” His teachings to his disciples always emphasized union with God, abiding “in him” and becoming one with the Father and with him.

We are the ones he wants to be with. If we don’t get this truth at the core of our identity, we will miss out on so much in God.

The fate of our destiny is determined on the battleground of identity.


Identity Determines Destiny

I spent many years striving to achieve God’s destiny for my life without knowing the truth of my identity. The result is almost always burnout and discouragement.

There is a reason God created us as human “beings” not human “doings.” All of our doing comes out of our being.

Some of us are doing our absolute best to live for God, but our efforts feel futile. Deep down, we carry shame about who we are, guilt from our past mistakes or pride that puts pressure on us to perform and measure up.

We cannot go higher with God with these things clouding our identity.

Let me restate this clearly: if we’re going to achieve anything great for God, we MUST reclaim our identity as the one’s he wants to be with.

So how do we reclaim our identity as the one he wants to be with?

The answer is in the question itself. We must spend time in his presence and be with him. Only then, will we realize how deep his desire for us runs and learn how valuable time spent with him truly is.


Set Apart By His Presence

Moses later in life learned this lesson. He is remembered as one who spoke to God face to face, as a friend. Intimate communion with God became the thing he craved to be known for.

Looking at his conversation with God, we see this so clearly:

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

Exodus 33:14-15

Moses wished above all else to be distinguished by God’s presence. He learned that he didn’t want to go anywhere or be known by anything without God’s presence involved. He laid hold of his primary identity as “The One He Wants To Be With

I pray we can reclaim that same identity he did and learn to walk in it daily.

It changes everything.

Questions to Ponder With God:

  1. Who am I? What is my primary identity
  2. Has my identity become clouded by any shame, guilt or pressure to perform?
  3. Do I believe God wants to be with me? How am I intentionally making time to be in his presence?
Richard Shaull

Author Richard Shaull

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