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Who Am I?

What does the Bible teach us about our identity, including womanhood/manhood and vocation? What has this to do with being created in the image of God?

Rationale

We live in a society which is consumed by the question of who we are? Life ,and education, is construed as the search to find the answer to this question, coupled with getting as much as you can along the way. This the Secular dream. It is a symptom of how lost we are as a society that we are so self consumed. The larger questions of why we are here, what is right and wrong, does God exist and where are we going are ignored or trivialised  The Bible, however, takes another approach. It tells us not just about God but also about ourselves. It deals with the questions of who we are, why we were created, how we are to live, where we are going, what is right and wrong and so on as being the foundation of reality in which the question of who we are finds its answer. Students are about to enter into a world where they will come into contact with a myriad of alternative answers to all of these questions, and most of all a mad scramble to find themselves and get as much as they can for themselves. At this time it needful that they stop to focus on these questions and get a clear picture in their mind of what life is actually about. For Christians it begins with God as creator, who created both men and women in his image and works outward from there. Further, Jesus came not just as God, but as perfect humanity as well. He was fully human in every respect. So, in seeking to know who we are meant to be, students should look closely at Jesus and his relationship to his Father and to those around him.

Key Concepts

  • The universe was created by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus Col 1:15-20
  • God is the centre and the reason for being, including ours
  • What is meant by the image of God? What is the purpose?
  • Where are we meant to draw our personal value from?
  • Implications for the value of people compared to animals - animal rights
  • Implications that both men and women are created in the image of God - exploitation of women
  • Implications that all people are created in the image of God equally - racism
  • How do people who are not Christians seek to build self-identity and where do people get their value from? - consider Humanisms goals
  • How do these concepts relate to education, our jobs/careers, being a man, woman, husband, wife, mother, father?

Scripture References

Genesis 1:26-28; 9:6 - image of God
See Joseph in Egypt and Daniel and his friends in Babylon who maintained they identity in very difficult circumstances
Matthew 16:24-28 - perhaps the definition of what it means to be human? See also John12:23-26, Philippians 3 not just the mission of Jesus or the call on Paul to be an apostle but as paradigms of what it means to be human
John 5:19 - the Son does what he sees the Father doing, not quite the same as finding yourself or being the best you can 
Galatians 2:20 - no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me

Ephesians 1:1-14; 18-23; 2:1-22; 3:14-21; 4:1-16; 5:8 (1-20); 6:10-20  “In Christ” and related themes

Romans 8 - children of God and heirs

1 Peter 1 and 2 - range of metaphors talking about who we are and then how we are to live

John 1:1-18; 5:16-47; 6:43-59; 17:1-26 - close look at passages which give insight into the relationship of Jesus and the Father

Galatians 2:19-21 - no longer I who live
Galatians 3:28 - no longer male or female, salve or free and so on 
Proverbs 31:10-31 - the ideal woman/wife?
Ephesians 5:21-33 - husband and wife relationships; see the wider passage Ephesians 4:17-5:21

Romans 12:3-21 - basic relationships and orientation towards others and away from ourselves

 

Resources

http://www.purposedriven.com/discipleship/ - some resources from Saddleback Church on discipleship
Issues Facing Christians by John Stott - see chapter “Women, Men and God”, as well as any other issues which might be of relevance
Answers In Genesis
Creation International
http://creation.com/darwins-bodysnatchers-new-horrors - Aborigines not regarded as fully human/racism
The following articles are taken from two very popular Christian magazines, both listed in the Digital ToolKit. They are a hug resource with a focus on contemporary issues. Below are listed a few examples. These two magazines are worth subscribing to so that they can be full searched online.
Christianity Today examples:
Christian Post example articles
Contemporary magazines and other media sources – used to investigate contemporary influences on personal identity and compare and contrast these with a Biblical view
Advice columns to discuss issues
YouTube - from various perspectives
http://markdriscoll.org/sermon-series/who-do-you-think-you-are/ - sermon series on Ephesians and who we are in Christ by Mark Driscoll (Driscoll has become a controversial figure, with some hating him and others loving him. Use with this in mind.)

Ideas/Strategies for Lessons

Look at key passes which deal with issues like in order to live we have to die and discuss
Look at those who are willing endure persecution and even death for Jesus. How does this relate to our cultures search for self-fulfillment?
Brainstorm: (small friendship groups…trusted audience) What am I living for? What drives me to get up in the morning? What drivers would I like to shape my life? What do I do about the gap between these ( assuming there is a gap)
Build a profile: me as I am today and another me as I wish I could be Reflection what could close the gap? Extend this to how would I like to be in 10, 20, 40 years and why
Teachers could explore the possibility of links to texts studied in English, Lit or Drama that reflect a post-modern and bleak view of humanity and contrast this with the Biblical view. Extend to current movies, e.g. No Country for Old Men or There will be Blood
Teachers could explore the implications of man as just another animal links/conflicts with the Science/ Biology courses

Investigate influences on our self image…. Build a collage from current magazine images and text; build a table of the influences from other media (TV, cinema, digital media esp. social media and Youtube)

Look at popular magazines and their concepts of self-identity and where do they seek to derive their value

Teacher needs to share their own battles with self-identity and worth; maybe split into boys and girls groups to discuss boys/girls issues