Who am I? (Part 1 of 2)
In our narcissistic age, the question, “Who am I?” has become representative of many things: pop psychology, excessive navel-gazing, the endless need to “find yourself.” In other words: Me. As a result, many believers have steered clear to their detriment. The Bible has a great many important things to say about who you are, and it is no less a figure than God who has cared to answer this question. The reason is because both non-answers and wrong answers have devastating consequences upon your life, both now and in eternity. On the other hand, if you get your identity correct, the confidence which truth imparts to your core, inner perceptions will lead you from Glory to Glory now and forever. Life with Christ is life in Christ. Therefore, true life flows inner to outer. What flows from this question directly or indirectly controls your mindset, choices, fruitfulness, mood, and yes, even your eternity.
In Matthew 16 we see Jesus asking his disciples the question, “Who do men say that I am?” Their response was all over the map: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, maybe one of the other prophets. Yet, when Jesus makes it personal, Peter responds with a pivotal insight, that Jesus, the son of Mary, is the Christ of God, the Son of the Eternal Father in heaven. Jesus confirmed that flesh and blood had not revealed this truth to Peter. In other words, his intellect did not come up with the right answer, but rather the “Christ recognition” was a divine revelation given to Peter by the Father. Revelation comes to the heart first, Spirit to spirit, then moves to our understanding!
It is important to note that once Peter understood Christ, he was prepared to understand himself. Immediately, Jesus told Peter who he was. This is the order of truth in the innermost: see Jesus, see ourselves. A correct understanding of God imparts a correct relational understanding of ourselves, why we exist, what we are made for. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10). In salvation, we are (re)created in Christ! Everything else that happens begins, and flows from, there. Unfortunately, when people answer the question of who they are today the most common response involves what they have or what they do. For example some say, I am a teacher, others I am a mother, or an electrician, or a doctor. A few people say I am a millionaire, or the owner of 7 Pizza Huts. These are not I Am statements, they are I Do statements. One is identity, one is occupation. We so easily relate to others, but also ourselves, by defining our worth according to our deeds? Why is this so instinctual, so automatic? It is because we have not yet seen God, and so we have not yet understood ourselves. We are still creating a rationale for our lives, a self-defense for our existence. We are “earning our place.” Do, do, do!
But this has not yet spoken to the high purpose or sure confidence of who you are, which flows out of love and relationship, not effort and achievement. We so desperately need true revelation, the deep that calls unto deep (Psa. 42:7; Eph. 2:9-12). Without such revelation—God, speaking to your spirit—we will spend much of our time trying to prove our identity, often exhausting ourselves in the process. It’s a dead end street! You’ll never be more than you are, unless you first understand that you are all that He is (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:14-17, 29) and have all that He supplies (1 Cor. 1:30, 2:12; 2 Cor. 1:20; Phil. 3:9). Consider this truth! (to be continued...)