“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:15-18, NIV).
In the film, the Bourne Identity, fisherman Jean Carnot pulls Jason Bourne out of the ocean and tries to help him. Jason is unconscious and Jean sees that he’s been shot. He removes the bullet and also a small piece of technology from Jason’s body which contains info about a bank account. But Jason suddenly wakes up, assumes that Jean means him harm and attacks the fisherman. Jean assures him that his intentions are good and says, "I’m your friend.” He then asks, “Who are you? What’s your name?” But Jason, who is confused and weak, no longer remembers who he is. His self image has been erased. In fact, Jason has been “reprogrammed” to become a weapon. His identity has been lost.
I believe that the first important question we must answer is not the “Why am I here?” or the “What must I do?” question, but rather the “Who am I?” question. How we answer this question is the beginning of everything. As author Richard Rohr puts it: “When you get your ‘Who am I?’ question right, all the ‘What should I do?’ questions tend to take care of themselves.”
For most of us, our view of ourselves is shaped by our environment and our interactions with others, beginning in infancy. I learn gradually that my name is Greg, that I belong to a family, that I have certain talents and abilities, etc. Regardless of what I choose to do or be vocationally, this self-awareness stays with me and I come to accept it as who I am.
However, something happens when we, like Simon, recognize Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. We, like Simon Peter, receive a new self-identity. That new self is the basis of everything. It changes our vocation. It may impact our location. It is the very motivation that compels us to act out of love. “Christians affirm a foundation of identity that is absolutely unique in the marketplace of spiritualities…Love is our identity and our calling, for we are children of Love.”
Why is this important? Simply because it is from this starting point of who I am in Christ, that I can be what God wants me to be and then, from that place, meet the needs that are around me. As I join with God in the work of building His kingdom, let me remember that God’s work flows from who I am in Christ. It all starts with my view of myself—my new self in Jesus Christ.
Warmly in Christ, Greg Aikins
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)
What happens when I lose my sense of who I am in Christ?
Someone remarked that it takes them about 24 hours to slip into spiritual "in-authenticity.“ How do you stop the slide toward living out of a false sense of self?
What kinds of things remind you that you the beloved child of God?