For a long time I had an identity crisis. Being from a broken home, two years younger than my average classmates, and being a little on the short side, most of the things I heard about myself were negative, at least the ones I remember anyway. And life has taught me that whatever problem I’ve had has been someone else’s, whether in the ancient times or contemporary times or the not so distant past. And I’m not talking about the fleeting psychological sense of ‘identity crisis’: not only adolescents experience identity crisis. I believe it’s okay to ask ourselves who we are. Jesus once asked His disciples, “What do people say about me?” The disciples answered, “John the Baptist, a resurrected prophet, etc.” The Master went on to ask “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matt. 16:13-20)
Jesus did not need Peter’s validation of Himself; He knew who He was already so He was able to confirm correctly what Peter had said and even compliment Him. If Jesus had had an identity crisis He would have responded, “Er, erm, really, are you sure? I mean it’s true but do you really believe it? I’ve had people tell me I’m Beelzebub, my own hometowners don’t believe in who I am. But do you all twelve believe I’m the Son of God? Really, truly?”
Inasmuch as we ask ourselves who we are, we should be able to answer that question correctly. And I believe the best answer is: Who I am is who God says I am. That might be hard to swallow, since we don’t see God telling us who we are in broad daylight whilst on the other hand, people keep telling us what they think about us, some good, some bad all the time. But He says it in the Word. There are so many scriptures indicating how God sees us. For example, Isaiah 43 verse 1 says “But now this is what the Lord says, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name; you are Mine’.”
It’s as simple as that. We (Christians) are God’s. He has claimed possession of us in the Word. What is more sobering than this thought: that the Maker of heaven and earth, who is “no respecter of persons”, has chosen us to be His? Unless we see ourselves this way, it would be difficult for us to enjoy our status as Christians. As long as we are on earth people will continue to tell us what they think of us, and try to get us to believe them.
And unless we say with David, the man after God’s own heart that, “Lord, You are the Lord, my only source of well-being” (Psalm 16:2, emphasis mine), we’ll go through the unnecessary emotional burden of people-pleasing. Giving our lives to Christ is an end in itself, not a means to an end. For “in Him we move and breathe and have our being.” No matter how hard we try, we can’t do anything without Christ; our very respiration we depend on Him for! We can only acknowledge who Christ is, then who we are, then what He expects of us. Otherwise, though Christians, we would be like “a wave of the sea (of life), blown and tossed by the wind (of public opinion)”. (James 1:6, mine in brackets)