I’ll say it… these are crazy times!
Worse, they are perilous times. Everyone is talking at everyone else and no one is listening. Oh, we may THINK we listen, but mostly we just listen for the word or phrase that will trigger a knee-jerk response and we spout that response – sometimes we even vomit that response onto others around us.
No desire to understand. No looking for true dialogue. No hope of building bridges. Everyone is just looking to be the last and loudest voice standing (or shouting).
One of the things people are shouting is trying to define who the other person is.
- You don’t care about …
- You are a …
- You hate…
- If you follow ABC person, then you are…
- You are a wimp because you are over-reacting to…
- You don’t love others because you are not reacting enough to…
Everyone around us is telling us who we are. The more we hear it, the easier it is to believe it.
But that’s not all.
The accuser of the brethren wants to say who you are.
My husband did a wonderful teaching for our church recently talking about this very thing. What I walked away from that message thinking about was how far back in history the enemy was trying to define who we are.
:…the serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:4-5
Even here, he was trying to convince the woman that she was gonna have the opportunity to be like God and that this was what she wanted. And from that moment on, he began to accuse us before God for our faults. But praise the Lord, Jesus came and ripped apart those accusations, by His very blood in payment for our sins. Still, the enemy only seeks to accuse… He can’t accuse us before the Father anymore, so he accuses us to ourselves and he uses others to jump into those accusations.
Who you are in Christ.
I have found that my absolute defense in these accusations, whether from within or without, is to know PRECISELY who I am. Jesus is the One who has defined me. He bought me. He paid the ransom for my life. He alone can tell me who I am. He designed me at my physical conception and He recreated me at my spiritual birth. He gave me a new name that no one knows except Himself. He fills me with His Spirit, He endows me with purpose, passion, and power.
And the sad reality is, we so often do NOT know who we are in Christ: we aren’t filled up with the knowledge of our identity. And even if we have heard these things with our ears, they often don’t become “real” enough to become a part of our heart reality, our inner vision of who we really are.
… we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ… Eph. 4:14-15
When we are NOT fully immersed and centered in who JESUS declares us to be, we are at the mercy of every thought, every ideology, every accusation that “comes down the pike”. We listen to what others (including ourselves and our enemy) say about us. And we either believe it, hook, line and sinker, or we spend our focus trying to defend our position. Both of these get our eyes off of Jesus and onto us. Both of these will sink us FAST, just like Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus when he walked on the water!
Where do we seek our identity?
You know, Jesus actually asked his disciples what others thought of who he was. And, of course, no one really knew. Oh they guessed: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. WRONG. Then He asked the disciples who THEY thought He was. Peter said that He was Messiah, Son of the Living God.
And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matt 16:17
Jesus accepted Peter’s declaration, not because he was a close friend, but because his words were true and based on the revelation of God! Jesus never wavered on knowing who He was because He was centered in the Father’s heart, mind and will. He didn’t seek approval or validation or recommendation from anyone other than the Father. He KNEW who He was and He never faltered.
THIS is the example He left for us: to know who we are based on who God says we are! And to live solidly in the power, peace and purpose of that spiritual reality.
Standing firm in who we are.
I firmly believe that we can not only survive these perilous times, but we can thrive! How? Learn the scriptures describing your identity! There are countless of them! Meditate on them, let them fill you, let them transform you, let them define you! Then, when accusations come at you, from within and without, you can put up your hand and say, “Wait a doggone minute! I don’t accept that lie! My Jesus tells me who I am and this is what He says… ” and simply declare the truths Jesus has spoken!
And when we are confident in our identity, you will be surprised at how much easier it is to love those who speak against you. When we don’t have to defend against accusations (but simply stand in our identity in Christ) we are free to love as Jesus did: wholly, unconditionally, and sacrificially.