Who Do People Say You Are? Stealing Your Identity


Matthew 16:13-19 (GW)
13   When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”
17 Jesus replied, “Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! No human revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven revealed it to you.
18 You are Peter, and I can guarantee that on this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell will not overpower it.

Let’s think about the word IDENTITY. The definition of the word identity is “The fact of being who or what a person or thing is.” We could sum up our identity with so many attributes that make us who we are, but the fact of the matter is that our identity is found in who God says we are. Only He can define what we are, and the Bible says that He calls us His treasured possession. In fact, it says that He has chosen us to be His treasured possession that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.

Deuteronomy 14:2 (NIV)
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Our identity is not in how much talent we have or how many Facebook likes we receive. Our identity is not how much fame or future we garner or how big an applause we get. Our identity is not defined by social media hype or buzz, nor is it defined by positive or negative tabloid reviews.

When Jesus asked his disciples what the social buzz was about who  he was, he was greeted with the most obvious answers, his identity was being compared with other famous people of the day.

Some  said he was John the Baptist, or Jeremiah, Elijah or one of the other prophets. They were relating to him what others said about Jesus based on what he was saying and doing. They were judging him based on his performances in the city square, and really had no idea who Jesus really was.

Jesus then asked his disciples personally who they though he was. Peter answered with Jesus’ true identity that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  Jesus praises Simon for comprehending who Jesus really was, a revelation he got directly from God himself. As a result Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter which means rock. And upon this rock of the revelation of who Jesus really was, upon this solid foundation of Jesus’ true identity, Christ was going to build his church. A  church based upon the knowledge of Jesus being the living God, the one and only true Messiah.

Many still see Jesus as nothing more than a good man, or a prophet of God, but not until they get the heavenly revelation of Jesus’ true identity will they really know Jesus for who he really was and why he came to earth.

Getting back to who do people say you are, we need to look at how we identify ourselves. How do we define who we are. How do we gauge our successes or failures?

How do you define yourself? Do you define who you are by what you do? Do you find your identity in who your family is? Do you decide who you are by what you own? Does your bank account determine your self-worth? Are you more concerned about what others say about you and as a result of attempting to please others you have lost sight of what really makes you happy? Who are you? What makes you tick? Why do you do what you do? What makes you who you are?

When we allow others to define who we are it is easy to get lost in the fantasy world they will then create for us to live in. Their approval, or applause will decide how we behave. When we are living for the approval of others, it is easy to lose sight of what really makes us function as a whole human being. Opinions of others matters more than our own opinions. Being forced to do for others to please them is a pretty sure path to losing yourself in the process.

When the applause stops our purpose for living ends as well. When others start to criticize and belittle us, we start to believe their bad press. By allowing others to define who we are, we fall into the trap of defining our self-worth based upon what others think we are worth.

This could very well explain entertainers who self-destruct through the abuse of drugs and alcohol because they have lost sight of who they are and what makes them happy. They have spent so much of their life pretending to be someone else to be liked by others that they despair for lack of a true identity.

One of the positive results of knowing Christ is He changes our identity and places within us a new improved identity, one that is incorruptible and life changing. God does not see us how the world sees us for that matter even how we see ourself. Simon became Peter once he knew who Christ really was. It was the life-changing revelation that allowed Peter to be bold in the face of personal attacks and character assassination attempts by those who wished to demean him and dismiss him as insignificant. Peter now knew who he was in Christ, his identity was no longer based on the shifting sand of popular opinion, his identity was now hid in Christ who saw him as ‘a rock.’ We need to note that all this took place before Peter denied he knew Christ three times.

Jesus knew who Peter was better than Peter knew who he was. Jesus was able to teach Peter what his true identity was and is. In Christ we find our true life, and our true identity. It is in Christ we find our purpose and our hope for living, apart from Him we actually can do nothing.

John 15:5,6 (AMP)
5  I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. 6  If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.

By associating with Christ, and drawing from Him, and allowing Him to define us, our identities are changed from a fruitless vine into a fruitful one. We are no longer fit for the garbage heap but instead are considered a treasured possession. We have value, so much so that Jesus shed His blood and died for you. You have eternal value, do not allow your value  to be cheapened by allowing your identity to be stolen by the beggarly elements of society. Your of heavenly value, believe that and then live like you are a treasure, your life has great value and God knows it. Do you?

Don’t let others steal your identity secure it in Christ.

Christianity, the World’s Most Falsifiable Religion


See on Scoop.itEagle Views

The central claims of the Bible demand historic inquiry, as they are based on public events that can be historically verified. In contrast, the central claims of all other religions cannot be historically tested and, therefore, are beyond falsifiability or inquiry. They just have to be believed with blind faith.

1 Corinthians 15:14-17 (AMP)
14  And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded).
15  We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised.
16  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised;
17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is mere delusion [futile, fruitless], and you are still in your sins [under the control and penalty of sin];

 

The central tenet of Christianity is that there was a Jesus Christ who was born, suffered, died, was buried, and rose again, to later ascend into heaven. He was seen by many witnesses after he rose from the dead. These were eyewitness accounts of his resurrection who later went about telling others what they saw for themselves.

 

After Jesus was crucified we must note that the disciples were discouraged and afraid because they hid themselves in fear that they too would be next to be crucified by the Romans. When the women went to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus they found the tomb to be empty. There they were met by angels who asked them why they where looking for the living among the dead.

 

They did not believe that Jesus would actually come back to life even though he told them he would. They were expecting to find a dead body not an empty tomb.

 

When the women went back to the disciples to tell them that Jesus was indeed risen, they too did not believe. Peter took it upon himself to run to the tomb to see for himself. He found the tomb empty and the grave-clothes folded neatly, but was unable to grasp what it all meant.

 

Luke 24:1-12 (KJV)
1  Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2  And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3  And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
8  And they remembered his words,
9  And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
10   It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
11  And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
12  Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

 

Had the story stopped there than anyone could hypothesis a scenario about what actually happened at that empty tomb, but the story does not end there because Jesus made it a point to show himself alive to his disciples and many others. These first-hand witnesses then went about telling others of this miracle.

 

There are still many today who do not believe that Jesus was and that he actually loved them enough to be willing to die for them. But to us who have had an encounter with the living Christ know for a certainty that Jesus is alive and well and His spirit lives within all of those who believe and receive his gift of salvation through faith.

 

Have you heard? Do you believe? Why doubt? Why not ask Jesus to show himself alive to you as well. He is always willing to make himself known to those who are looking for him. I challenge you to seek him with your whole heart. Go looking for him like Peter did, but do not go looking for him among the dead, look for him among the living for that is where he can be found.

 

And that is the way I see it. What say you?

 

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