Who are you?
Most of the time, people ask this question more tactfully, “What do you do?” Or, if in an arena providing more time, they may say, “Tell me about yourself.” But the quest remains the same: to find out who you are.
We craft elaborate answers to these three words—who are you?—and hang data from each serif on every letter. I’m a doctor, a lawyer, an Indian chief. I’m a mason, a mother, a machinist; a parson, a podiatrist, a philanthropist; a dancer, a debutante, a developer; a queen, a quadruplet, a Monday-morning quarterback; a general, a guru, a gypsy at heart.
And we continue to sophisticate our identities with qualifiers: I’m a doctor of dermatology, a lawyer in Louisiana, or I am Chief of the Cherokees. But while there appears to be honor in most of what we have listed thus far, there are those, who if asked and were honest, would say, “I am nobody.”
We tend to plot our identity somewhere on a spectrum between success and failure. Acumen, accolades, and acceptance are used to determine who you are. Money and material possessions map your identity location on the success-failure spectrum. Quickly take inventory: Where do you perceive your identity to be on the spectrum?
The intriguing thing about identity is how tempting it can be to define who you are by all we have discussed and fail to consider the opinion of God, the architect of your soul. I wonder what His opinion is of who you are? More intriguing yet, if you were to compare your perception of your identity with His perspective of you, I wonder what enlightenment it might bring to your life? Would it necessitate a paradigm shift from your definition of self to His?
Paul writes, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. You are looking at things as they are outwardly” (2 Cor. 10:5 & 7a). Do we dare ask God what He thinks of us?
If you do accept the dare to see through His perspective, you will find that He calls you child, son, friend, lover, royalty, and bride. He considers you holy, redeemed, righteous, OK, set apart for Him, and filled with glory. According to Him, you are triumphant, victorious, a warrior, saint, and a citizen of heaven. You are the heir of His estate, the one sought after, the testimony of His grace. You are loved, liked, longed for, and when He thinks of you, you cause Him to leap for joy.
If you have satisfactorily defined your identity by the stamp of earthly success, finding motivation to redefine your identity—by any other standard—seems nonsensical. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if you associate your identity with failure and rejection, listening to God’s perspective of you sounds too good to be true, and who needs to add delusion to an already faltering self-esteem?
But laying even your best reasoning aside, along with your biases based upon performance and appearance, God’s opinion of you should be the definition of self you cling to. Seeing yourself as He sees you must define who you are.
This is a good thing! While we all share common characteristics, each of us is unique. We are individuals who share similarities but who are different right down to our thumbprint.
The blending of your personality, history, and talent with God’s declaration of your true identity, and the infused power of the indwelling Spirit, presents a portrait of who God is and who you are that no one else can demonstrate. Not only is it important for you to understand who God says you are, it is important to God as well. He has chosen to use you as His principle means of letting others know who He is.
It is part of God’s plan that others will understand who He is as you demonstrate who you are. In Satan’s opinion, this is a flawed plan, but in God’s mind, it is nothing short of ingenious.
So, what’s your opinion? Tell me about you. Who are you?
If you would like to read more about identity and heart and what God thinks of you, the novel No Mercy tells the story of one man's quest to be significant.