Who Are You? (unabridged)

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 of 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 we are by all we have discussed and fail to consider the opinion of God, the architect of our souls. I wonder what His opinion is of who we are?

More intriguing yet, if we were to compare our perception of our identity with His perspective of us, I wonder what enlightenment it might bring to life? Would it necessitate a paradigm shift from our 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 we do accept the dare to see through His perspective, we find that He calls us child, son, friend, lover, royalty, and bride. He considers us holy, redeemed, righteous, OK, set apart for Him, and filled with glory. According to Him, we are triumphant, victorious, warriors, saints, and citizens of heaven. We are the heir of His estate, the one sought after, the testimony of His grace. We are loved, liked, longed for, and when He thinks of us, we 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 our best reasoning aside, along with our biases based upon performance and appearance, God’s opinion of us should be the definition of self we cling to. Seeing ourselves as He sees us must define who we 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 our personality, history, and talent with God’s declaration of our true identity, and the infused power of the indwelling Spirit, presents a portrait of who God is and who we are that no one else can demonstrate.

In other words, not only is it important for us to understand who God says we are, it is important to God as well. He has chosen to use us 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 we demonstrate who we 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? Who are you?