Who do you say you are in a world that shouts “reach for the stars, more is better and think of yourself first”? Jesus asked a similar question of His disciples to teach them they are always secure in what the Father says about them.
Who do people say I am?
This question spoken by Jesus to His disciples was repeated several times as they traveled to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. The disciples answered, “John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets.” But then Jesus looked at Peter and asked again, “who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29, NIV) Peter spoke and said, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone.
You might wonder why Jesus didn’t want to call any attention to Himself. But over and over again, Jesus modeled humility by walking away from the crowds or asking those He healed to keep it to themselves. Jesus’ identity was secure in the Father and that was enough.
But what about you? Is your identity secure in the Father too? Who do you say you are?
I find my identity is wrapped so tightly at times that I lose sight of who I am as a daughter of Christ. I barely take my next breath, afraid that the small action will break me. Change is something to avoid at all costs. I forget that free falling into the arms of God is the best thing I can do instead of holding onto lies that say otherwise.
The invitation for all of us as we ask “who do you say you are” is to answer authentically. It is not to automatically put on a happy face so we look good on the outside. But how do we move from putting up a good front to honesty in a world that seems to call for the opposite?
If God takes our ever-changing identities and redefines and repurposes them for His glory, then surrendering our messiness is easy. Complete renewal takes place when we allow God to define who we are.
Christy Nockels in her podcast, The Glorious in the Mundane, speaks about the power of consecrating our hearts to God. It is the shift from accepting only who the world says we are to knowing exactly what God says. She shares the following words:
A consecrated heart is a heart that then begins to look up as we shift our gaze above our tunnel vision to God – the one who made us and loves us. Instead of sinking deep into our circumstances, we develop a heart that looks to God to meet the needs in us. This readies us to receive from the Lord our validation. We learn to receive our voice, which is really us operating in authority as a child of God. When we begin to live in that place of authority that is seasoned with humility, our hearts begin to experience an overflow. Our hearts take the shape of gratitude.
When we we ask ourselves, “who do you say you are”, we need only look to God. By allowing God to consecrate our hearts, we accept that He knows what is best for us. The process unfolds in the in-between. It is the place where what God calls us to do meets our inadequacies. When we surrender in complete authenticity and vulnerability, we find the place of renewal. This is where God takes our hearts and redefines and repurposes them for His glory. It is where we let out that deep breath and believe we truly are a daughter or son of God.
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Today I am still surrendering. Letting go is hard for me and there are days I wake up knowing I need to do it all over again. But together we can support and lead each other in grace and truth, when our identity feels shaky. Let’s walk alongside others with authenticity and grace believing that taking baby steps will lead us directly to God.