By Kathy Berkley
Many people have common questions that they ask in their lives. Who am I? From where did I come? Why was I born? I believe God put within each of us a desire to know the answer to these questions. I want to share with you some thoughts and ideas I have regarding our personal identity, value, and purpose. Before I do, let me introduce myself to you.
Hello, my name is Kathleen Ellen Berkley. My life began when I was born to my parents on September 20, 1957. I came from heaven in the eternal realm, created by God, the Father in heaven. He decided what parents I would be born to and what characteristics and personality traits I would have. He also determined all of the details of my skin, hair, and eye color. My gifts and talents were also lovingly decided for me. My loving Father even designed what calling He would place upon my life that would provide purpose.
It has been wonderful how God has orchestrated my life’s journey to bring out the best of my characteristics for what he created me. Usually, when people first meet me, they tell me that I am a sweet person and someone with whom it is easy to converse. I am a lover of all people, an encourager, a woman of great compassion for the hurting. It was perfect for what God chose me for, coming alongside my late husband James Berkley as a pastor over the 33 years we had together. How about you? What has your journey revealed about your identity as a person?
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Here is a passage in the Book of Jeremiah that speaks the word of the Lord to Jeremiah that before God formed him in his mother’s womb. It tells us that He already “knew” him and the purpose for which he created him. The Hebrew word for knew is “yada,” meaning to know. It is used to describe that God acknowledged him and appointed him before he was placed in his mother’s womb. God also created Jeremiah’s character traits that were going to be able to function in the calling of a prophet. The word of the Lord also said that He “sanctified” (Hebrew – “qudash”) him before he was born, meaning to be set apart or consecrated. In this context, Jeremiah was set apart for a Holy purpose. The verse also used the word “ordained” (Hebrew – “nathan”) him. The word was used to mean appoint, ascribe or assign as a Prophet to the nations.
When God created us, He had our eternal destiny in mind. He created us to be in His image and gave us authority to live on the earth. We were given a personal identity and purpose which placed upon us great value. Personal identity is a subject that can be easily misconstrued. Some think that their identity is “what they do” with their life or “what role they function in” during their life. Some may try to find their identity by attaining a college degree or becoming a doctor or lawyer or a mother or father. Your identity is not “what you do” or “what you accomplish” in life, your identity is found in who you were created to be in character before God formed you in your mother’s womb. Your characteristics begin to reveal themselves as you grow. Identity develops what you want to do with your life. Would you identify yourself by all of the things you have accomplished, or who you are by nature and character? What we have done in our lives is a fruit of who we are as a person. God created us to bear much fruit and become successful. God called Jeremiah to be a Prophet and decided to set him apart for a holy use. He also created him with the characteristics that would work perfectly for his calling in life.
As I was growing up as a child, it was the responsibility of my parents to raise me up with love, discipline and nurture in life. My identity would take form into the person that God made me to be. My nature was much like my mother’s. I was a peacemaker, full of mercy and compassion for the underdog. I would begin to realize as I got older what set me apart from the others around me. My parents were to be the ones to teach me skills in life that would help me to gain confidence in what God intended I was to become according to His design. Somehow, my parents chose a name for me that would identify who I was before they ever met me. Kathleen means “pure one,” and my middle name is Ellen which means “of the light.” What a beautiful name that God gave me through my parents. It was a great place to begin to eventually reveal the identity of who God created me to be. As I see who I have become, I realize that God made me to have a pure and sincere heart. I always want to get to the heart of the matter in every situation in life.
There is a scripture verse in Proverbs 22:6 that says, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The part of the verse that says “the way he should go,” literally means to train up a child to find out who they are in their identity as a person. Identity will be woven into their characteristics, traits, talents, and gifting. This celebrates the child to become who they were created to be. This is what determines what they will do in this life. Identity is who “they are” that determines their personal worth and value. What they do with their life will only express in great ways what God made them to become. God designed us to show forth His image and glory in this life through becoming what God created you for. Have you ever met someone who is not being themselves? There is a spiritual battle that every human being faces when they are born into this world. Satan, who is the enemy of God, has plans to distort and destroy the plans for which God has created you.
I decided to talk with several of my co workers to find out how they define identity. It was interesting to find a common thread in my conversations. They usually seem to point out that many people that pretend to be a person who they are not living in their true identity probably to simply fit in with the crowd to whom they associate. They become shape shifters with who they are at home, who they are on their jobs and who they become with the people they hangout with. It is my belief that people are trying to find love and acceptance. When they are not celebrated, loved and trained as a child to walk into their personal identity, that God intended them to be, they launch out to become someone they feel will be loved. This is common among teenagers who are starting to individuate as a young teen. If their parents had not already done due diligence to raise them into who they are as a person, then they look to their peers for the love and acceptance they need and desire. Some teens grow into adults still looking for this love and approval. This breakdown in the home makes a child feel abandoned and they grow up feeling like an orphan.
There is a scripture verse in Ephesians 6:12 that says, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” There is a battle for the life and identity of each child born into this world. While it is true that God has plans for a future and to prosper you, the enemy of your soul is awaiting your arrival to interrupt God’s master plan for you and destroy your life. His plan is to distort your identity and keep you from finding out your purpose in life. Satan also wants to destroy your sense of value and worth. He starts at birth to devise plans to thwart Gods plan and purposes for each child. This is why it is so crucial for us as parents to prepare spiritually for the arrival of our children. Pray for the revealing of their purpose and destiny. Ask God what their name will be. He has a perfect name for each one of us which will describe who we will become.
God has given each of us a gift called “free will.” As we live out our lives, it will be up to us to make choices that will either discover God’s purpose and destiny for us or follow after evil and let sin have its rule and reign in our lives. It is sin that is the problem that we will have to deal with growing up in this world. Our choices will determine our future. Thank God that He has destroyed sin’s evil power over us by delivering us from the slavery of sin by sending Jesus Christ to shed His blood to become our atonement. He has legally dealt a blow to the Devil’s power of sin over us. We can now walk in the power of God’s grace to become all that He has destined us to become without sin’s evil grip upon us. Yet, we are still not without a battle. Satan will continue to develop strategies to keep you from fulfilling your God, given destiny and purpose. The only weapon he has now are lies about who you are in your personal identity, value, and purpose. He puts these lies before your eyes like a smoke screen. God has given us His truth to walk into daily that will set us free from every lie and deception from the enemy of our soul. We become who our heart believes we are. If your parents didn’t raise you in an atmosphere of love and acceptance, then you may need some healing in your heart from hurtful memories that will hold you back from knowing your true identity. Forgiveness and love is the key to overcoming these obstacles that stand in our way from the revealing of who we really are. You want to become all that God, our Creator, has designed you for.
There is a price to pay to walk into your God ordained destiny. You don’t just waltz into it by happenstance. Anything that is of great value is worth giving your life for. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-25, “if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and he himself is destroyed or lost?.” These are words of life and freedom when you think of what Jesus is saying here. He is saying that if you want the real answers to a greater life of purpose and destiny, you must throw away all of your plans and follow after His. Reaching for your destiny is very much like watching salmon swim upstream. They are created to swim against the flow of the water. It builds within us a strength of character, along with perfect and complete faith in God. After walking, in this journey, alongside my husband James, I came to know the love of Abba Father in such a deep way that I came to find who I was in my new nature in Christ. I felt as if I could overcome any lie from hell and those lies could not disrupt me now.
It was on December 27, 2009 that all of my thoughts and ideas about myself and my identity were about to be put to a test. The scripture in Malachi 4:5 came to a focus to the lives of our church and family in a very shocking way. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” My late husband James was preaching with great passion that day on this passage of scripture, as he was referring to the youth of our nation. He said that the number one social problem in America today was fatherlessness. He pointed out that divorce was on the increase and children are crying out for a father. He also said that broken people are getting married to each other and are creating broken families. He was preaching that there is still hope. Jesus Christ came to save broken people and restore their lives back to the Fathers love in heaven. He came to bring us back into close relationship with Himself by sending His only son Jesus to live on the earth and die on the cross to forgive us of our sins and to restore all things back to Himself. While James was preaching this passionate message, he began to get chest pains and had to stop the message. It was a few hours later that James passed and entered into his eternal home with the Father. It was a loss that we were about to walk into that was going to change our lives forever.
We know where James went that day and that he was going to be entering into his eternal destiny. It was at that moment in time that I knew I was to suddenly step into a new role and position in my life. It was decided among our apostolic directors, that it seemed right to the Holy Spirit that I would step into the role as the Pastor of Judah Praise Center. I felt this was the only right thing to do at this time. I had to rely upon who I was in my identity as a daughter, before the Father in heaven, in order to step into this new role. I knew of His love for me and felt secure in that, but had to grow in many other ways to fulfill this new role. God has given us a new identity when we follow after Him and let His Holy Spirit have His way within us. He will do above all we could ever ask or expect for our lives. He is causing all circumstances in our lives to change us for a good work. We will be growing and changing from one level of His glory to another. God had been forming within me this new creation (identity) that He determined was mine before He placed me in my mother’s womb. It was a complete circle back to His original plan for me before sin came into my life and defiled all that what was pure and made for a holy purpose. Just as God created Jeremiah to be set apart and ordained as a Prophet to the nations, even so He created you and I with a great calling and purpose. Therefore, Jesus Christ became sin for us, so that we may live freely in the power and authority that the Father has destined that we should walk in. All is fulfilled in the work of Christ at Calvary. I would propose the question to you, have you allowed the love of the Father to write upon your heart who you really are as His son or daughter? It is in the strength of this that you will launch out into the deep, find God adventures and discover who you are in your God given identity.
In my life’s journey, I have come up against many obstacles. It was through these hard times that I have called upon the name of the Lord. He has always remained faithful to show Himself to me in a personal way so that I may drink of His love and care. It has been through this personal time with my Abba Father that I have found strength for every day which has been filled with love, life and purpose. I give Him Great Praise and Glory for all that He has done and will continue to do today and forever, Amen.
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