Have you ever wondered who you are? You’ve all heard about the stages of identity crisis–the dreaded teenage phase, the midlife crisis, toppling “over the hill”. We all must figure out who we are and what our purpose is in this life. It is an important step towards maturity and a successful life in the long run. Major life events change and morph that identity constantly, and it can take years of discovery to figure out exactly how we identify ourselves.
But really–that’s only because we are stubborn. Isn’t that the story of humanity?
We are stubborn and refuse to hear an answer we claim to be desperately seeking when there is someone literally spelling out the answer in front of us. Who knows you better than God?
Now, I’m not going to give you the cliché answer of “your identity is that you are a child of God.” That is true–that is a huge part of your identity if you are a Christian. But that is not the only part of your identity.
We are not all carbon copies of each other as Christians, and if we were then Christianity would not work at all.
We are all one in Christ–we are all of one mind and make up one body. Think of your physical body though and really examine the metaphor used here. Does every organ in your body do the same thing? Does every nerve fire at the same time or every muscle operate in the exact same way? The answer is no.
They all work together to make up one body, but each part of your body is uniquely designed to make the whole work seamlessly.
Let’s not say that because Christians must “die to themselves” that we must shed every part of our identity but the faith part, going through life constantly repressing every part of ourselves that even threatens to be unique. That’s like saying you are going to go view the greatest works of art ever created and wear an eyepatch over one eye. You are going to miss most of the picture and the magnificence of what could be is largely lost on you.
So, if you are more than what the description of a model Christian is laid out to be, then what are you? Obviously, I can’t tell you that. Your pastor can’t tell you that. It takes exploration. Let’s look at an example of this:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.
-Matthew 16:13-18a (NIV)
What you have here is Jesus himself asking the disciples who they perceived him to be. He is literally teaching them to think about the questions and form an identity all their own. At first, they just repeat the rumors of who Jesus is that are going around at the time–simply repeating what everyone was saying about him. Kind of like how we seem to jump first to the descriptions of ourselves as what our pastors or peers say we should be. Jesus, however, is not interested at all in this answer: “Who do you say I am?” In other words, “Don’t listen to others. Think about what I have shown you and tell me what you see.” So why do we do it? Why don’t we have a proper identity crisis and follow this model?
Jesus is showing here that we have unique identities. Look at what he says–“who do people say the Son of Man is?” He has already identified himself as the Son of Man. But that is not his whole identity, just one part–there are elements that make this up, and that is what he is asking them to define. So, who do you say the Body of Christ is? Well, some say they are rigorous churchgoers, others say fanatical; and still others, those who never drink or get tattoos.
And still God asks, but who do you say the Body of Christ is? God has the answer to who you are, and he is waiting on you to finally reach the point of crisis to bother to ask.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5a
So before you were you, God had already designed every single element of you. Most Christians take this verse to mean we are, as a group, set apart as children of God. And we are–that is part of it.
God also set you apart as an individual, and until you have that identity crisis, until you dive deep into your heart and soul with the only one who knows the answer, you will only discover part of yourself.
You will look at yourself with an eyepatch on and only see one piece of the grand design. You must come to God to put that puzzle together. It may take a lifetime, as each season of life brings changes, but only when you go on that journey with God will you be able to live to the full potential He created in you.
So, who do you say that you are?
Many thanks to my “soul sister” for writing this post, for sharing what God shared with her heart. Thank you for being vulnerable and answering His call. – Macey