February 11, 2013
When someone asks, “Who are you?” what do you reply? Most of us will say things like, I am a housewife … a psychiatrist (fill in your profession) … a father, soccer mom, or volunteer. Sometimes a role we play in life can become our main identity. Our world then actually revolves around that part of our life … and it can make us feel pretty good about ourselves. Super mom … world’s best dad … successful career person … accomplished musician … popular pastor … well-known writer … politician … beloved teacher … computer whiz … helper of others – like doctor, nurse, volunteer for a non-profit, feeder of the homeless. But these don’t answer the question as these answers describe what we do, not who we are. Although good roles to play, if we aren’t careful, they can hinder our growth and even lead to our downfall.
When we start thinking the role we play, what we do, is our main identity, our focus on Jesus and His plan for us will certainly diminish. Then pride can set in as we think this cool role we play, these great accomplishments, is our own doing. On the opposite end, we can battle fear setting in. We have so much invested in that role or persona, and now others’ expectations are so high, we have to keep up that performance so people will know us and care about us … otherwise we wouldn’t know what else to do.
Watching the Super Bowl and its amazing athletes, you see that some of them get defined by their skill and then even develop a persona around that. Unfortunately, this posing leads them down some terrible paths. Lance Armstrong, Mike Vick, Ray Lewis, Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Clinton, Charlie Sheen, Jimmy Baker, and Lindsay Lohan are famous examples of an oh-too-common phenomena of what happens when what we do (and excel at) becomes our identity and it spirals out of control. It becomes an idol, an addiction even.
As Christians, we all have the same innate identity … we are children of God and followers of Christ. He will give us a different combination of gifts, have us grow through diverse experiences and situations, lead us into distinct roles, and give us opportunities to represent Him wherever we are and whatever we do. But the bottom line is this: We are His children. That’s our main identity. That’s who we are … and nothing could be better.
We need to keep that mindset and focus at all times, because this then dramatically affects how we view the circumstances we experience and the people we interact with … every single day. Ultimately and most importantly, this powerful identity should strongly influence our decision making, because this is where true peace, confidence, and self-control begins, maintains, and ends.
Today, think about how you last answered the question, “Who are you?” How has this answer affected your present course in life? If you answer the “Who are you?” question with, “follower of and ambassador for Christ”, ask if this is an intellectual answer only, or one that truly determines your daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. Make it your identity and attitude today! Journal about some of your wrong decisions, your mistakes. What was your identity in that moment? The answer, if you are honest, will be very revealing and a great place for you to do some work. Who you are is your decision, so choose well.
Father, thank You for the gifts and opportunities You’ve given me. Help me to always remember that I am first and foremost Your child. Help me to use these gifts and opportunities to honor You. May I never become proud of myself for anything I do. Help me to always remember that all good and perfect gifts come from You. Encourage and equip me to see myself through Your lenses only. I pray this and all prayers through the One who gives us our identity, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me. Romans 15:17-18