Do you know who you are?  I think that many of us would answer that question without much hesitation.  Many of us would quickly state our name, the kind of work we do, and our passions to define who we are.  Yet, at the same time, many of us may be unsure who we are and not so quick to answer that question.  So, as we enter into the season of costumes, cosplay, and wearing masks, I want to focus on the real you.

Do You Know Who You Are?

Now, I don’t know about you but when I was little, my parents made sure I knew my name, where I came from – my history – to know who I was from the start; they would tell me to never let someone disrespect my name, who I am.  You see, who I was and could grow to be was very important to my parents.  I can still hear my dad telling me and my brother that we could be whatever we wanted to be and to never let nobody tell us otherwise.

It’s important to know 

I am very grateful for how my parents raised me because I benefit from it now.  I know who I am, I have a  sense of confidence — peace of mind – as I am not trying to be somebody I can never be; they raised me to be the best “you”.

You see, when you know who you are, you can share in that same kind of confidence.  When you know who you are, it gives you a sense of purpose; you ultimately have a sense of power – authority – over yourself that nobody will be able to take away from you.

So, with that in mind, when you don’t know who you are, you have much to lose, don’t you?  When you don’t know who you are, you will lack confidence and struggle to find purpose and have peace of mind.  When you have no confidence in yourself, then you lack power – authority – over yourself.  All in all, when you don’t know who you are, you can be easily deceived, manipulated, and controlled – this is why my parents were adamant that I knew who I was.

Now, one thing that many of us come to realize as we get older is that the world doesn’t want you to feel empowered nonetheless have power.  You see, the world desires to have full control over you – your thoughts, emotions, and your actions; it desires to limit you.  If you have not come to realize this, just pay attention to how the world tries to influence you to think and act a certain way.

The world will try to force an identity on you and make you into something that you are not.  By trying to force an identity on you, the world will often try to make you doubt who you are.  The world does this with the motivation of stealing your identity and making you conform to what it finds to be acceptable.  Therefore, may I suggest that it is critical that you know who you truly are so as not to be controlled by another?

Who is the Real You?

Again, I ask the question:  Do you truly know who you are?  Some will point out their true identity by pointing to their outward looks.  After all, our licenses and ID cards use a picture of our face, along with a fingerprint,  to validate who we are!  Is your outward appearance truly your identity — who you are?  To some, the answer is yes.

Others will say that their outward appearance is an expression of who they are.  While I understand the sentiment, this one is tough for me to buy into because so many people dress up their outward appearance .  What I mean by this is that many of us love to make ourselves look good and put a mask over who we really are.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making sure your outward appearance looks good!  However, our outward appearance, we should understand, is not truly our real identity.  No, the real you lies elsewhere, doesn’t it?    

Peter wrote on this thought when he said that one should not let their adornment be merely outward —arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— but rather they should also focus on the hidden person of the heart (1 Pet. 3:3-4). Peter was saying that there is nothing wrong with dressing up your outward appearance but you must also pay attention to the appearance of the hidden person of your heart.

Who is this hidden person?  That’s the person on the inside.  Peter tells us that we need to make sure that the person on the inside looks just as good as the person on the outside.  

Why does Peter tell us this?  Well, he understood that while those around you may identify you by your name and your outward appearance, God identifies you by the hidden person of your heart (soul)!  So, what I am asking you today is this:  Do you truly know who you are on the inside — in your heart?

The Power of Knowing Who You Are

As I have already said, knowing who you are is incredibly important as there is power in knowing your identity.  Today, we will see that scripture backs up this notion through God’s only begotten Son.   You see, Jesus often had to fight for His identity as it was often questioned and challenged while He walked the earth.  

In fact, to this day, Jesus’ identity is still questioned and challenged.  Now, why do you suppose that is?  People want power and authority.  I feel it is important that we take a look at why Jesus fought so hard for His identity and, again, take a look at the importance of knowing who we are.

Jesus identifies Himself

Jesus’ identity was prophesied and of before His manifestation in the world. In the prophecy of Isaiah, it was said that Christ would be identified as Wonderful, Counselor, and the Prince of Peace, just to name a few of His prophesied identities (Is. 9:6).

Going even further back than Isaiah’s prophecy, Moses prophesied to the children of Israel that there would be a Prophet, like him, that they would need to listen to as they would be judged to whether or not they heeded His words (Deut. 18:18-19). Moses identified Jesus as a deliverer. John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus, he identified Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The prophecies of Jesus’ identity were given by God and not by the knowledge of man.

Jesus confirmed these prophecies and His identity when He was in the world. Jesus identified Himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12), the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the True Vine (John 15:1). You see, Jesus knew exactly who He was and there is power in His identity which all of us who are of faith benefit from today.

Complaints about  Jesus’ identity

However, as I have said, when you know who you are, many people won’t like it and this was certainly the case for Jesus.

After the miracle of feeding five thousand, some of the people correctly identified Jesus as “the Prophet” – the deliverer – that Moses prophesied about (John 6:14). Though they had correctly identified Jesus as that Prophet, we will see in my scripture for today that they tried to force their idea of His identity on Him. You see, the Jews looked for Jesus to be a conqueror that would deliver them from under the authority of Rome.

Scripture tells us that Jesus perceived that the people were set to move, take Him by force, and make Him be that conquering king (John 6:15). To be clear, those people did not know (understand) who Jesus truly was; all they saw was power and that they needed to use that power for their own desires. I want you to understand that this is how the world works still to this day; it desires to use you to fulfill its calling and its purpose! Again, this is why it is so important for you to know who you are.

After perceiving the people’s desires, we are told that Jesus got up and left them – He did not give them the opportunity to force an identity on Him. The next day, when the same people came looking for Jesus, we will see that He made His true identity known to them. Jesus, standing boldly in who He was, said to the people, “I am the bread of life (John 6:35).”

As the bread of life, Jesus said that His purpose was to feed hungry souls so that they never hunger nor thirst again, but go on to live forever (John 6:51). You and I know that Jesus repeatedly said He did not come to condemn anyone, including those that were over the Jews at that point in time (John 3:17). Jesus’ identity was not that of Conqueror but that of Savior!

The reveal of His true identity should have been something that the people rejoiced at, however, we will see the people were upset.  In my second key verse, we will see that the people murmured, complained, and questioned the reveal of Jesus’ identity.  They would have been thrilled with a conquering king, but they asked how could Joseph’s and Mary’s son be one to give eternal life?

Satan challenges Jesus’ identity  

Jesus’ identity, who He was, was always questioned and challenged, even going back to after He was baptized by John. After Jesus fasted for forty days and nights, the devil came along the way to question and challenge Jesus’ identity.

Satan knew exactly who Jesus was when He said to Jesus, in his first two temptations, “if you are the Son of God” (Luke 4:3,9). You see, the purpose for Satan tempting with this line was to try and make Jesus question His identity; the devil wanted to create doubt in Jesus’ heart. As a child of God, your adversary will often try to get you to doubt that you are a child of God; they will say, “if you are a child of God”, before moving on to some hypothetical question as they try to create that doubt.

Creating doubt in the heart is the biggest weapon in the arsenal of your adversary!  When one gives in to doubt and begins to second guess themselves, they can hesitate or be reluctant to move in faith.  If one stops moving in faith, you not only lose your power,but you hinder your heart because you are not moving to take possession of your blessing.

The devil desired for Jesus to give up His identity – to give up His power – and fall down and worship him in sin (Luke 4:6-7). Now, had Jesus given up His identity, you and I would be lost today! If it has not been made clear to you, the world and your great adversary, wants you to give up who you are to be in servitude of their nature – the nature of sin.

Stand Boldly in the Real You

Sadly, many of us don’t realize that the fight for who you are is a spiritual battle, just as we have seen in the examples I have referenced.

So, I ask you once again, do you truly know who you are?  As you have heard me say before, you are more than your name, the history of yourself, and your people.  You are more than where you grew up, where you went to school, and where you work.  You are more than the color of your skin, what you sound like, and what you look like.  I want you to know that you are more than your bank account!  

You are more than the world knows

You see, the way that the world tries to define and identify you is all superficial – surface level.  You are more than what the world has tried to define you are!  Every last one of us is defined by what the world cannot see – you are defined by lies within your soul.  

This is very important for you to understand because God will identify all of us by your soul.  God will identify our heart as either a law-abiding heart or a corrupt heart; we will either be identified as holy and righteous or as a sinner.  Do you know who you are?

Just as we had to learn our name as children, we now need to learn today whether we identify as a law-abiding child of God or as a disobedient sinner.  For all of us that have consumed the bread from heaven, we are a child of God.

Now, our identity as a child of God will not satisfy everyone (John 15:18). Jesus said that His children would be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends; we will be hated for His name’s sake (Luke 21:16-17). Those that are of the world will try to force you to take on another identity rather than that as a child of God to make you conform to their identity. Will you conform or will you stand boldly as Jesus did in your true identity (Rom. 12:2)?

A bold stance

I encourage you today to learn and know who you are in order to stand boldly in your true identity as a child of God!  You should be happy to be a child of God as there is power in being one of His own.  I encourage you today to be like Elijah when he stood on Mount Carmel before a great multitude of Israel which also included 450 prophets of Baal.

Elijah said to the multitude of Israel, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men (1 Kgs. 18:22).” As we know, Elijah would go on to challenge the 450 prophets and said to Israel that the time had come for them to choose their identity! Would they identify as God’s children or would they choose to keep following after a false god (1 Kgs. 18:21).

This was a very bold challenge of Elijah, especially at a time where Ahab and Jezebel had killed many that identified as prophets of the Lord.  Elijah was not ashamed of his identity, and for that, the Lord rewarded his faith.  I briefly reference Elijah here because you and I live, somewhat, during a similar day where the world stands against us because we identify as the faithful few that follow the way of Christ.

Sadly, many have let Satan’s doubts get to them as they cave in and let the world define who they are – it’s time for this to change. As my dad said, don’t let nobody define who you are on the inside! Don’t ever doubt who you are as the doubting heart, like James said, is one that does not get rewarded (Jas. 1:7-8).

However, when you know you are – that God made you, that He saved you, and that you are a child of His, there is truly great power. You will move forward in life with purpose, great confidence, and peace of mind. When you move in this manner, there is nothing and nobody that can do anything to hinder you on your journey!

You are the one in charge of your story and with that power, thanks to God, you know that all things are possible — What can man do to you (Ps. 118:6)? Absolutely nothing. In your true identity, there are absolutely no limits to what you can accomplish.

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