How do you define yourself? We all finish our “I am __” statements in different ways. We can go with something fairly basic, such as “I am a writer/sister/Christian.” That’s often how we introduce ourselves to people. But there are also less flattering “I am” statements that we tell ourselves. “I am anxious; I am too fat/skinny/unhealthy; I am a sinner not good enough for God.” Or sometimes we go with more positive self-affirmations: “I am a good friend; I am confident in using my gifts; I am a redeemed and forgiven child of God.”
How does God define you? Scripture reminds us in several passages that our “I am” is not as reliable as God’s “you are” (see 1 Sam. 16:7, Is. 55:8-9 and Jer. 17:9-10). He knows us better than we know ourselves and He can give us insight into His perspective. If we ask, He’ll reveal things about ourselves to us directly as well as through His word.
Some of the “you are” statements God makes about people are critical, such as when He describes all humans as sinner under a death penalty or rebukes Israel for their rebellion (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Is. 1:18-25). But while part of God’s perspective on us involves seeing our faults, that’s not all He sees. For those in relationship with Him, His “you are” statements are overwhelmingly positive. There’s certainly a place for acknowledging our sins, abhorring ourselves, and repenting as Job did (Job 42:5-6). But we’re not to stay downcast. God wants us to have a realistic view of ourselves, and He values us far too highly for this view to not involve some incredibly positive things.
You Are Of Value
Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7, WEB)
Our God cares even when a sparrow dies. But we’re not just another animal crawling around the earth that gets a moment of attention from Him. We’re valued highly — so highly that the Father and Son think you’re worth the price of Jesus’ life. And They thought that even before you were saved (Rom. 5:6-8).
You Are My Friends
Jesus died because He and His Father love everyone in the whole world. That love, agape (G26), is a benevolent, selfless love. But He also died because He wanted to save His friends and to make new friends.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:13-14, WEB)
Friendly love in the New Testament is expressed by the word phileo (G5368). This is the sort of warm, affectionate regard that you feel for your closest friends. And God Himself has that sort of love for those in a committed relationship with Him. You are His friends.
You Are Clean
On His last night on earth, Jesus told His disciples, you “are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3, KJV). And through His sacrifice, the rest of us can be washed clean as well. Paul writes that “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” but there’s hope for our unrighteousness to go away (1 Cor. 6:9, KJV).
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11, KJV)
Jesus turns our “I am dirty, bad, unworthy” into “you are clean, sanctified, and justified.” And He wants us to rejoice in that fact — to see ourselves as the changed beings He has made us and define ourselves based on His work in our lives more than by our own shortcomings.
You Are Light
Once we’re in a relationship with God, His power working in us transforms us. Jesus said, “you are the light of the world.” And we’re meant to let that “light shine before men; that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16, WEB). The more closely we follow the Light of the world, the more we become like Him. Being light means we walk in the light (1 John 1:5-7).
You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night, nor to darkness (1 Thes. 5:5, WEB)
You Are My People
“I am the vine, you are the branches,” Jesus said. This “you are” statement relates to several others recorded in the New Testament. Connection to the vine makes us children of God (Gal. 3:26; 4:6; 1 John 4:4) who belong to Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:23; 6:19-20; 7:23). And He is building us into something magnificent.
- “You are God’s field, God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9, LEB).
- “You are a temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16, WEB).
- “You are the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27, WEB).
- “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession” (1 Pet 2:9, NLT).
We matter to God so, so much. He’s pouring His love, attention, and efforts into making us part of His family. He wants us to let Him be our God and to love us as His friends. When we let God’s “you are” statements define us, He’s also giving us permission to make a “you are” statement about Him. For centuries, He’s been saying, “You are my people” and longing to hear us say “You are my God” (Hos. 2:23, WEB). He sees us as a precious people, so let’s view Him as precious to us.