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November 9th, 2017
Many of us are apparently searching for an answer to that question. In 2015, the word identity was Dictionary.com’s word of the year. Millions are ordering DNA profiles on themselves. Could it be there’s so much focus on this because we don’t know who we are and we want someone with credibility to tell us?
So, who’s had a voice of credibility in your life? Was it your parents, a coach, a girlfriend, or yourself? If so, you might have heard things like:
“You are smart.” Or “You’re not much of a student, are you?”
“You are a great athlete.” Or “You’re so uncoordinated.”
“You’re cool!” Or “You’re a geek.”
“Your kids are really well behaved.” Or “How could you raise a son like that?”
Maybe you’ve let comments like that define you. But it’s important to get beyond the criticisms and even the compliments, beyond the job description and the career, beyond what the culture says identifies you. Because that can all be stripped away, and if you’ve based your identity on your reputation that can leave you wondering, who am I…really?
“Our reputation is not as important as our identity. Spiritual formation begins when we untangle reputation and identity, and when what God thinks of us is more important than what we think of ourselves or what others think of us.” (Pastor Scott McKnight)
The question of identity was important to Jesus.
Look at Matthew 16:13-17:
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' 'Well,' they replied, 'some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.' Then He asked them, 'But who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.'"
Then Jesus blesses Peter by telling Peter who he is:
"'Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.'”
Pay close attention to what takes place in those verses. Peter found out who he was by accurately recognizing who Jesus was. To find out who I am, I need to hear from the great I AM.
So, what does He say?
He says you are loved by Him. (Colossians 3:12)
He says you are chosen by Him. (John 15:16)
He says you are the recipient of a love that can’t be broken (Romans 8:38-39)
He says you are a friend of Jesus (John 15:15)
He says you are His child (Romans 8:14)
He says you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
He says you are a recipient of God’s glory (John 17:22)
(from Who Do You Think You Are by Kent Hotaling)
Beyond those truths, there is a personalized part of your identity our living God wants to confirm about you, just like He did for Peter.
The world can tell you all sorts of things you can allow to define you. Those opinions can fill an auditorium. But the truth is you have an audience of One. What matters most is what God says about you. So, get together with your Heavenly Father. Recognize who He is, then let Him tell you who you are.