“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4 KJV)

whoami… One of the most common commands on unix-like operating systems and available in most Windows resource kits. The command whoami prints the effective user name of the current user. For most system administrators it is not uncommon to constantly be switching the user they are running as or running an administrative function as some user with higher or lower credentials to troubleshoot and / or resolve a problem. We do much the same as we go through our week. One moment we have our work hat on and another we have our social organizer hat, our spouse hat, our coach hat, our good Samaritan hat, or even our hat that just wants to hang loose and have fun with the guys. One might inquire at any point in time, what is our current identity? Are we Mr. Smith, dad, honey, coach, or Norm at that moment? As we play each role, we inevitably become better at each one if for no other reason than sheer experience. We know what makes a better associate, a better spouse, a better parent, a better team, and a better friend. At some point those around us notice the value of our experience (for some a much longer wait than others) and give a certain respect to the advice we give in whatever the going task happens to be. For most, this is a perfectly intelligent means of establishing the due process of a maturing individual. Certain people simply deserve a specific level of attention as their advice is rooted in a maturing process.

There are a couple of problems though. The first, an obvious one (that I will not spend much time now on), is if the individual thinks they have “come further” than they really have. They have mastered the task of delivering an ideal identity that is not necessarily reflective of themselves. For humility is the revelation of reality and this type of individual has distanced himself from reality in the pursuit of rewriting their identity. This gap is generally recognized as a false sense of accelerated maturing as it is heavy on ideal and light on experience. It is also easily prone to gross arrogance. This first issue is easy enough to recognize and deflate in the normal course of maturing. After all the most direct translation of the term hypocrite is actor.

The more difficult issue is to deflate the identity that is legitimately earned. Why would you want to intentionally undervalue a resume that has taken so long to build? Not to manipulate a market or escape a tax, but to permanently reduce your ability to build your own identity. The command whoami is a query command. Although it prints an output, it has to determine a value to print. We likewise adjust our identities by a query of what is valuable. We put on the role that we need to to best accomplish a task. The power that is in us is based on how well we do that task, what the current supply and demand is for that task, and the quality of information available on how to do that task better. As common as these factors are, they are limiting because they are inherently tied to us, to our abilities, and our circumstances. So again, why would you intentionally undervalue a resume? Why not be so concerned about building the identity that you are building? Because our identity is in Christ! “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28 KJV) The emphasis is now not on our ability to establish who we are, but in understanding in whom we have been made. When you understand the source of real Life (and that this source is not you) then you have a much clearer picture of what identities have been established. You do not need to make them, you simply need to work with them. The sad part is that it is the authority that establishes a name that most work so hard against because they want to be the establishing authority. The role of a willing and attentive apprentice is often far more powerful than the role of a self made master.

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians actually uses the term “found in Him” (Philippians 3:9). It is not that we do not have roles to fulfill, but that our rights to be able to completely and properly execute are delegated by our doing in strict service to Him. “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6 KJV) More than words… More than the faith to execute something stirring within… The actual authority and right to accomplish on behalf of God. The opposite can also be a concern when we are acting outside that properly delegated authority. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:15-16 KJV)

Richard Mlynarik is credited as being the author of the unix-like whoami command and is also known for this advice to the San Fransico area transit rail system. You can be known for so much more by having a clear understanding of your identity in Christ as you walk through the many roles necessary in life.

“And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.” (1 Chronicles 17:16-17 KJV)

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