Who Are You?

“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11 (NIV).

Years ago, I did a Bible study based on the 307 questions in the Bible that Jesus asked.  Each one offers us the opportunity for self-reflection and growth.   I think these questions are particularly profound because they give us a greater insight into Jesus and ourselves. 

As I think about all of the questions asked by Jesus, my mind is drawn to Matthew 16:13-17.  “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to Him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

I think the first question is important because it reminds us that others may have an incorrect understanding of Jesus. (Note:  If somebody has an incorrect understanding of Jesus, they will not be able to have a proper understanding of themselves or others.) Our relationship with Jesus is personal and should not be based on the opinions of people that don’t truly know Him.  Yes, we are called to love others and be in community with others but our relationship with God is one on One.

The second question is critical – Who do you say I am?  How you answer this question will profoundly shape your Christian walk and inform your sense of self.

Jesus disciples witnessed His many miracles but yet after He calmed the seas in Luke 8, they still struggled to understand the true identify of our Lord.  In fear and amazement, they asked each other, “Who is this?”  We have the benefit of having the Old and New Testament so we all should be able to answer the second question.

Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value.  Scripture teaches that you are good simply because God made you in His image. Period.  You were made so He could love you.  1 John 4:19 reads, “We love before He first loved us.”  1 John 4:9-10 reads goes a little bit deeper by reading, “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  The sacrifice allows us to be presented pure and without blame to the Father.  Moreover, the blood of Jesus ensures that nothing can come between us and God (Romans 8:39).  The love of the Father and the sacrifice of the Son is fundamental in understanding ourselves and God.

Once we begin to realize how much God loves us, then we are better equipped to “consider it all joy” (James 1:2), “be content in any and every circumstance” (Philippians 4:12), and “be content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

So, once we understand who God is, then it helps us to understand who we are and gives us a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in life.  True satisfaction happens when you engage in your role as an image bearer of God. Such was the view of King David. “As for me,” he wrote, “I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).  David was on a journey to have more of Christ in him.  He knew that God was working in him to burn away the impurities just as a refiner of silver as described in Malachi 3:3.  The refinement is done when the refiner can see his face in the silver.  The Holy Spirit resides in you, but can a stranger look at you and see God?

Ephesians Chapter 1 is our basis for understanding who we are and our relationship with God.  We (1) were chosen, (2) are holy and blameless, (3) have been adopted, (4) have redemption, and (5) were granted forgiveness, and (6) were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

The issue of our identity is also connected to the very same question that Jesus asked of His disciples, “Who do you same I am (Matthew 16:15).  If our answer is You are Lord and Savior, then we can claim our identity in accordance with Romans 8:17 which teaches, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, “

Do not let yourself be defined by society or unhappy people on social media but instead commit yourself to living and knowing you are a child of God that was made in His image so He could love you.  The Bible teaches us that the enemy comes to deceive, divide, and destroy.  The destruction occurs after we are deceived from our true identity and divided from the Body of Christ.  The sniper is a pawn of the enemy.

When I encounter bitter and unhappy Christians, I realize that they do not know the truth about God nor themselves.  That is the sad result of a poor choice.  There is joy and freedom when we understand why God loves us so much.  It has everything to do with whose we are – we are His.  You are free to choose bitterness and hate, but as for me, I chose faith, hope, and love.  The choice is yours.  Choose wisely. 

Prayer:  Dear God, There is so much hatred and bitterness in this world.  We are a people divided and often over things that really don’t matter.  Forgive us for failing to forgive and love others as You have loved us and free us for joyful obedience to You.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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