“Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine,
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!
(From Letters & Papers from Prison)
I have always identified with the above verse in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s poem “Who am I?”
When I doubt myself, when I am fearful or worried, when I feel like a hypocrite and behave in a way that is unacceptable – this verse echoes in my mind.
Paul says almost the same thing in his letter to the church in Rome!
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7)
Ever felt like that? That you are at war with yourself?
You want to love God with all your heart but you are afraid to trust Him
You want to grow into the person God created you to be but you doubt that will ever happen in this lifetime
You want to give up drinking but don’t
You want to stop gambling but continue
You want to stop being a comfort eater but are always putting food in your mouth
You want to be able to control your temper but are always ‘losing’ it
In the end it comes down to a matter of faith – either I believe what God says about me or I don’t. If I don’t my destructive behavior will continue.
God says: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death…the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace”.
Are you fleeing from a victory that God has already achieved in your life?
In the end only we can make the decision to set our minds on Christ, to want Him more than our doubts and fears.
God does not expect us to do this by ourselves…”the Spirit helps us in our weakness…the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will”.
And then there is the incredible knowledge “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son”. (Romans 8)
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God…we were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.”