Who are you? Seriously… who are you? What makes you what you are? Where do you fit in the great big picture puzzle of the cosmos? Where exactly do you belong? And how do you define your worth on a planet teeming with over six billion other people?
Chances are really good that your first response to these questions is any of these three: 1) stunned silence (“Uh-h-h”); 2) stammered exclamations as you try to articulate the fragments of ideas that are popping into your mind (“Well, um… naturally I feel that I, uh… that is to say…”); or 3) stilted statements that don’t really jive with what the One Who made us has to say about who and what we are (“I’m the MAN!” or “I’m such a loser: nobody likes me; everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms”).
Not knowing who you are is a crisis. Men and women experience a cognitive form of that when they literally forget their own names, their addresses, and their loved ones as cruel dementia dims their minds. Christians experience something spiritually akin to this when they’ve either forgotten or are ignorant of the incredible identity change that is theirs when they turn to Jesus in faith, are forgiven of their sin, and are made spiritually new.
In a very similar way, if we have not yet met Christ (by which I mean, if we have not personally trusted Him as our Savior and invited Him into our lives) we have an identity crisis of another kind. On the one hand, God’s Word (the Bible) paints us as people hopelessly separated from the Holy Creator of the universe. Having either obviously or subtly transgressed His Law, we are incapable of conjuring up enough righteousness for ourselves in order to be accepted into His presence. Refusing to place our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross leaves us with a grim future indeed. “Our destiny is destruction, our god is our stomach, and our glory is in our shame. Our minds are on earthly things” (from Philippians 3:19).
On the other hand, this same Bible paints God as being filled with compassion and sorrow over our estate and not content to leave the matter be. “…The heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Peter 3:7 ESV), but we have hope in the fact that “the Lord… is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b ESV).
God’s amazing compassion for humanity is keenly evident when Jesus, God’s Son, confronts those who are spiritually “lost” about Him. Comparing such “lost persons” to lost sheep and Himself to a “Good Shepherd”, Jesus lets us know in no uncertain terms that He is searching out the lost in order to bring them safely home – home… a sweet daily fellowship with Him as well as an everlasting destiny prepared for us by His side (see also John 10:1-18).
On the day that I realized who I was apart from Jesus (a lost person, reserved for destruction) I also realized that I could become someone new, complete with a new identity, a new purpose, and a new destiny.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith….” (1 Peter 1:3-5a ESV).
So… if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, do you really know who you are? Do you know that you are a citizen of heaven (Ephesians 2:19)? A conqueror (Romans 8:37)? A child of God (Romans 8:14, 1 John 3:1)? Members of a “royal priesthood and a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9)? If you know that you are all these things, how does your life demonstrate that knowledge? If you are really confident that He is truly master of your identity and has made a new person of you, do you then live accordingly? Or are you defeated, broken, and enslaved still to worldly patterns of thinking? Are you convinced that you have no value and are unimportant in the grand scheme of things?
If so, allow God’s truth to dispel such lies and set your mind and your spirit free. You have unimaginable worth! Just consider what it cost God to set you free from the prison of sin and its dreadful offspring, death! God would not have given His own Son up for you if it were true that your life were not important to Him!
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV).
And if you haven’t yet turned your eyes to Jesus and allowed Him to wash you free from sin and make a new person of you, it is good to know that He can and will set you free from your destiny of destruction if only you’ll let Him come into your life as Lord.
“…If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame’” (Romans 10:9-11 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 22 ½ years. He is the author of “The Fairy Tale Parables,” “Crimson Harvest,” and “A Heart at Home with God.” He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).