“I AM” Transforms Our Identity
This is the last of a three-part series on God’s name, “I AM.” Be sure to go back and read Part One (“‘I AM’ shows us how we encounter God”), and Part Two (“‘I AM’ gives us the ground rule for knowing God”).
Most of us know what it’s like to feel insecure, to feel like we just aren’t up to a particular challenge. Maybe you just got hired for a job you aren’t sure you can handle. Or you’re dating someone and are nervous about living up to family expectations. Or you’re a parent, and you’re worried that you just don’t have what it takes.
The bad news is that, in ourselves, we probably don’t have what it takes. The good news is that, with God, we don’t need to. Knowing God as “I am” transforms our identities and overcomes our insecurities.
Moses knew insecurity. By the time he meets God at the burning bush, he’s a pretty defeated man. He had started out his life with a lot of confidence, a good-looking guy in a high-paying job. But things went horribly wrong. He tried to stand up for his Jewish people and ended up killing a man. Because of this, the Jews rejected him and Pharaoh banished him. For the next 40 years, Moses was wandering around in the wilderness, nursing that failure.
How does God overcome this? Not with any “power of positive thinking.” He doesn’t say, “Moses, here’s a mirror. Look into it and repeat after me: ‘I see pride! I see power! I see a bad man who won’t take no garbage from nobody!’” None of that. Simply this: “I will be with you.” Real confidence comes not from competence, but from the assurance of God’s presence.
So when Moses says to God, “Who am I?” God says to Moses, “It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.” Moses says, “I’m not eloquent, or smart or successful.” And God says, “I didn’t choose you because you were those things. I’ve got enough of them for the both of us.” God doesn’t want the guy who has bought his own publicity. He wants the guy who knows he’s an empty vessel.
Feeling inadequate is actually a prerequisite to being used by God. So God says to Moses (and to you and to me):
“I am the God of very unpromising material. You think you’re unskilled? Lacking courage? Not very good? You don’t even know the half of it! You’re so weak you can’t even guarantee tomorrow. You’re like a wisp of smoke, a blade of grass. In the scope of this universe, you are smaller than a grain of sand. But it’s not about you! You are not, but my name is I am.”
Whatever you’re not, whatever you need, whatever you didn’t get from your parents, whatever you aren’t getting from someone else … God says, “I am!”
“Who can I trust?” I am.
“I’m not sure who is really on my team.” I am.
“Nobody is listening to me.” I am.
“How am I supposed to know which way to go?” I am.
“My marriage is crashing and I do not know where to turn.” I am.
“I’m 50 years old and I feel like I am starting all over.” I am.
“What if I fail again?” I am.
“I’m not sure I believe anymore.” I am.
“I have given all I can give and it is not enough.” I am.
“I’m pouring into everybody but nobody is pouring into me.” I am.
“I can’t hold on.” I am.
“I am tired.” I am.
“I quit.” I am.
“I need a drink or a fix or a hit.” I am.
“I need a lover.” I am.
“I need a fresh start.” I am.
“I just need somebody to hold me.” I am.”
The name I am is the answer to every insecurity in our lives. And here’s the amazing thing: when we became believers, that name became ours. We took God’s name and became one with him. So when we start to look at ourselves and say, “I am so stupid. I am a loser. I am such a terrible mom,” God says, “I am not any of those things! And if I am in you, you are not either.”
So when you say, “God, I am so dysfunctional,” he says, “Yet I am so complete.” You say, “I am so deficient,” and he says, “I am so sufficient.” You say, “I am so doubtful,” and he says, “I am so faithful.” You say, “I am so sinful,” and he says, “I am so gracious.”
When the voices in our lives and in our hearts whisper, “You are not…” we can shout back, “You’re right! But he is, and now I am in him. I am not, but I know the great I AM.”
 I’m deeply indebted here to Louie Giglio, and his inspiring book, I Am Not, But I Know I Am.