Who are you? Seriously… who are you? What makes you who you are? Where do you fit in the great, big picture puzzle of the cosmos? Where exactly do you belong, and how do you define your worth on a planet teeming with over seven billion people?
Chances are most responses to these questions will involve one, or all, of the following: stunned silence, stammered exclamations, or stilted statements, such as, “I am the man!” or “I’m such a loser. Nobody likes me; everybody hates me. I guess I’ll go eat worms”. None of these comments jive with the truth about us revealed by the One Who created us.
Not knowing who you are is a crisis in itself. There are men and women who experience a cognitive form of this when they literally forget their own names, their addresses, or even fail to recognize their loved ones as cruel dementia dims their minds. Christians experience something spiritually akin to this when they’ve either forgotten or are ignorant of the incredible identity change that they experience when they turn to Jesus in faith, are forgiven of their sin, and are made spiritually new.
In a very similar way, if we have not personally trusted Jesus as our Savior and invited Him into our lives, we have no identity to remember. On the one hand, God’s Word paints us as people hopelessly separated from the Holy Creator of the universe. Having either obviously or subtly transgressed His Law, we are incapable of conjuring up enough righteousness for ourselves in order to be accepted into His presence. Refusing to place our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross leaves us with a grim future indeed. For those who reject Jesus, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).
On the other hand, the Bible explains that our God is filled with compassion and sorrow over our estate. He is not content to leave us in our desperate situation, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s amazing compassion for humanity is keenly evident when Jesus, God’s Son, confronts those who are spiritually lost around Him. Comparing such lost persons to lost sheep and Himself to the Good Shepherd, Jesus lets us know in no uncertain terms that He is searching for the lost in order to bring them safely home to a sweet daily fellowship with Him as well as an everlasting destiny for us by His side (John 10:1-18).
The same day I realized who I was apart from Jesus – a lost person reserved for destruction – I also realized that I could become someone new. I was given a new identity, a new purpose, and a new destiny. This should cause us to have the same joy as it did Peter when he said, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time,” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
So, if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, do you really know who you are? Do you know that you are a citizen of heaven (Ephesians 2:19), a conqueror (Romans 8:37), a unique child of God (Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1), members of a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)? Look it all up if you don’t believe it!
If you know that you are all these things, how does your life demonstrate that knowledge? If you are really confident that He is truly the master of your identity and has made you into a new person, do you then live accordingly? Or, are you defeated, broken, and still enslaved to worldly patterns of thinking? Are you convinced that you have no value and are unimportant in the grand scheme of things?
If any of these things describe the way you consider yourself, then allow God’s truth to dispel such lies and set your mind and your spirit free. You have unimaginable worth! Just consider what it cost God to set you free from the prison of sin and its dreadful offspring: death! God would not have given up His own Son for you if your life were not important to Him. God explains through the words of Peter, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls,” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
If you haven’t yet turned your eyes to Jesus and allowed Him to wash you free from sin and make a new person out of you, it is good to know that He still can and will set you free from your destiny of destruction if you’ll only let Him come into your life as Lord. His great promise to us is this:
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9-11)
We celebrate Christmas every year to recognize this simple promise which God makes to us. Jesus once gave up His identity as King over everything in order to provide us with an identity as heirs to His kingdom. He was born in a stable to change our destiny with the power of rebirth. He revealed Himself as our Shepherd, so that wandering sheep might know where they belong. He came to show the world by His death that we are all priceless in the grand scheme of things. Bringing goodwill between God and sinful men is quite a grand scheme, indeed. Let us live like it was Christmas everyday!
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 16 years and is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables. He is the pastor of Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.