Knowing and living out our identity sets us up to live lives of impact and eternal significance.
But, who am I?
This is a question that plagues most people in this world, whether they recognize it or not. How does one gain a sense of identity in our world today? Is it in the clothes we wear, the degrees and accreditations we obtain, our impressive resume, or the image we offer those watching? Is it in who we know or where we’ve been? It is my guess that most of us search for our identity in the opinions of others.
I have struggled with my identity much of my life. I have realized that the most difficult time I have in understanding and living out who I really am is when I am concerned with what those around me are thinking. Caring about what others think is a trap. It is like wondering into a net that doesn’t allow you to go where you are supposed to go and be who you are supposed to be.
The Bible says it this way in Proverbs 29:25
“The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe.”
When we “fear man” we will alter our behavior, words, and lifestyle to please other people instead of living in a way that pleases God. The Bible promises, however, that if we trust in the Lord, we will be kept safe.
I think FEAR is at the root of my “fear of man” issues. I am afraid that the people whose approval I crave will think less of me if I boldly walk in the ways I was created to walk. I make myself small to fit into their boxes and into what makes them comfortable instead of fixing my eyes on my creator and living from who He tells me I am. I often cave to the voices in my head that tell me that I should remain quiet because my voice doesn’t matter, or to join in with the empty chatter and gossip of others because I need their approval. I feel tempted to be less than I am called to be. I tend to ignore the desires and dreams deep in my heart for fear that others will think I am arrogant for aiming so high, or maybe just foolish for thinking my life can be a part of a world-changing movement. This “fear of man” has a dampening impact on my spiritual passion and creates a basket that hides my light.
I don’t want to fear man. I want to trust God.
I know that the opinions of man cannot keep me safe, but God can. He can hold my heart in a way that even if others scoff at me or misunderstand me, or tell me my dreams are too big, and my expectations of God are too lofty, He will be my defender and in Him my heart will be safe.
So, as I trust Him, and live for this audience of One who is Holy- rather than the crowd of men, I need to know who He says I am.
“Who do you say that I am, God? You are my Maker, the Author of my life-story, and the Potter who is shaping my destiny. Out of everyone in my life, You will know best who I was created to be…so who am I, Lord?”
He says to my heart, “you are…
– One who has Deep Roots
– A Force to be Reckoned With
– Royal because of Christ, Influential through His power, Significant in your identity and calling as His ambassador, Authoritative in the power of the Holy Spirit
– One who speaks a word of truth and healing in season to the weary”
He has spoken many things over the years to me, in regards to my identity as I have sought to find myself in Him. These are just a few to give you an idea of how He sees us when He looks at us. These words are reflective of my destiny in Christ. Each of us has a destiny to impact our different spheres of society with the love and power of God. In order to live that out, we must know who we are in Him.
God doesn’t look at us see us as half-baked and messy, though we may feel that way some days. He sees us as who we will be in the fullness of time when we are made complete in the likeness of Christ and calls us into that identity. I am not yet fully walking in the reality of the words written above, but as I remind myself daily what He has spoken over me, and pray for the grace to live out those things, He emboldens my heart and lifts my eyes to be fixed on Him and to walk in His truth. As He grows me in these words I am learning to value His opinion, not the opinions of other’s around me who I have so often tried to please. The battle is to walk in the reality of who He says I am, rather than what I fear others think of me. I choose to believe the words He says, and not fear the opinions of others.
How about you?
Take some time today and ask God to speak to your heart about your identity. Who does He say you are? This may take some time, because for so long we have endured internal beating after beating with regards to our view of God and our view of ourselves. We need a re-wiring of our thinking and our acting so that we can hear God’s heart, believe it and live it out.
I pray for you the same prayer Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
Spiritually speaking, those whose hearts belong to Jesus are seated with Him at the right hand of God- because of our position in Him, you have power to live in this world according to God’s will, not bound by the control that comes from fearing others’ opinions of you. We were made to be great in God, and for our lives to shine with a blinding glory that draws everyone who sees us deeper into the knowledge of God. If you don’t know what this means, and are not sure if you have taken the step to make Christ the center of your life, then pray right now to God, and give Him the control of your life. Ask His forgiveness for going your own way and offer your life to Him and His will. He is trustworthy and good. He is worthy of your life. He is what you were made for.