Before I had my salvation moment, my moment of rescue, my moment where I saw God for who he indeed is; I saw myself as worthless, useless, and introverted. I couldn't fathom what other's were saying about who God created me to be, even tho I grew up in church and knew I was created with intention. And then something happened, I met the Creator of the Universe who is the I Am face to face, and then I saw myself as more than enough, I saw myself as a creator, and I saw myself as his daughter.
You see, in that moment of rescue, I had an identity change; I had a But God moment that caused a shift in my spirit which, in turn, caused me to become what he created me to be. In my claiming of the new identity that was already mine, I took on certain character aspects he possesses as my own, day after day becoming more and more like the Father. I now see myself as creative because I see him as Creator of all things. I see myself as more than because I see him as Everything. I see myself as the worthy vessel I am because his Spirit resides within me. Anybody understand what I am trying to get across?
But God moments are the turning points, the conjunction or the climax of the plot. The But God Moments in life are the mere vehicles for God bringing about the character change he desires to see in each of us, chipping away the buildup of the world we have picked up along the way. Your identity is essential pre-Jesus because it gives you 20/20 vision of God's provision in your life, reminding you that what once was is slowly becoming less and less so that he can become more and more. That alone will preach, but let's keep going.
In the first part of the book of Matthew's account of Jesus' ministry, we see that Peter and the other disciples have come to the understanding that there is more in Jesus than just a teacher. They had witnessed the miracle man. Here is Peter (Matthew 14), a loud and foul-mouthed fisherman turned follower of Christ who tends to be brash, calling out to Jesus as he walks across the water to let him come out and meet him there. Little did Peter know he was about to be fully immersed (pun intended) into a But God moment.
Yes, Peter faltered and fell into the waves, and that is what most would see, but I see more; I see the But God moment. At that moment Peter encountered God's peace at the same time where doubt and fear flooded his soul. I see a man coming face to face with God made flesh showcasing his faithfulness and provision. Peter was beginning to become the man he was created to be. Peter knew from that moment on, even if he didn't always show it, that Jesus was still there and still faithful and still true to his word and steadfast in spite of the waves crashing down on him. In that moment of faltering, Peter set his gaze on the waves of his current circumstance, but God showed him that he was above the circumstance - above the waves and Jesus began to teach Peter and mold him into who he was created to be.
Peter's story didn't end. He went on to struggle with his same tendencies to be loud, foul-mouthed, and brash (Luke 22/John 18/Mark 14), but those human tendencies or "character flaws" is what makes Peter one of the greatest leaders of the church. Peter had a complete understanding of who he was before Jesus; in essence, his hindsight of who he was, had become 20/20 enabling him to see Jesus for who he is; God the Son.
Peter was not the only one to have this same sort of journey. Remember Saul? Saul, the persecutor of the church (Acts 8), the one who despised Jesus because he went against tradition and religion? Saul encountered a resurrected Christ and became Paul (Acts 9), a truth spitting man of God. He had an encounter with Jesus, he had a but God moment, and it resulted in him losing his sight and receiving brand new vision (literally). Paul tenaciously and passionately ventured along the path of sharing that same salvation message as Peter, bringing Jesus' message to those who would otherwise turn away, but because of his religious studies, people paid attention.
Once Peter and Paul's sight or understanding of who they were had become 20/20, Jesus could give them an even better vision; a vision of seeing through the lens of the cross - a 3/16 vision, if you will. 3/16 vision is what enables us to see, not only who we are and who God is, but who we are because of the grace extended to us through the cross of Christ. After the events surrounding the crucifixion, both men had a change in their countenance and now walked in the authority which came with the new name Jesus had already given them, growing the church.
But God! I am so thankful for the but God moments in my life because without those moments I wouldn't be the fearless woman of God I am today. I wouldn't be so bold as to write with such conviction, create with such passion, be who I am with all my crazy sarcastic one-liners and off the wall jukebox karaoke. Without my but God moments where I gained vision of myself, vision of Jesus, and vision of how my God views me I would still be dead in my sin, without grace and mercy, without his righteous covering, and without an eternal home. Without but God moments, I would still feel worthless, useless, and introverted, but now I know I am a more than just a creator with a God-given ability to think outside the box, I am a daughter of the King of kings with a unique perspective of my Father.
You can't see him the way I see him, because who he says I am now effects how I see him.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.