Whose are you?

I think we all go through a time of questioning and wondering: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?”

These are all very valuable things to ask ourselves to keep our lives in good, healthy checks and balances. It is more important to know if we are asking the questions in the right perspective and what the answers are!

I will never forget when one of my sons started college, and we asked him how his classes were going. He said “good,” except he was having problems with Philosophy I. He felt life was confusing enough but when he left Philosophy class, he was more confused than ever. I asked him, “Why?” He replied “because we are answering questions: ‘Who am I’ ‘What am I?’ ‘Am I really here?’ and ‘if I leave this room, are you really there?'”

I understood his dilemma. That was 26 years ago! Today, our world has become even more complex.

So today I ask this question of you and of myself, “Who are you?” Or how would you describe yourself to someone you are just meeting?

About seven years ago, my husband and I returned to a high school football championship banquet to honor the team’s winning season and coaches. As with all reunions, everyone was catching up. As I listened to people describing their lives for the last 44 years, it was all about jobs, houses, cars, vacations, money and accomplishments, and of course, family and friends. These are external world-view answers. The reality is when push comes to shove, life gets hard and times become difficult, even painful, somewhere along the line “world-view items” will let you down, hurt you or betray you.

We need to go back to the beginning. We are really asking the wrong question — not “Who am I?” but “Whose am I?” The world does not have the right to tell you who you are because God already did it when He created us in His image, the reflection of Him. We got separated along the way through Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). But God in His unending love wanted us back so bad, He gave us His most valuable possession, Jesus. As long as we try to fill our need for reconnection with God with “world-view answers,” life’s problems and storms will leave us in that Philosophy I class with my son.

In Matthew 16:13-16, Jesus was talking to the disciples and He asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” The group responded, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah or Jeremiah or some other prophet.” Jesus rephrased His question: “But who do you say that I am?” Now, this was the disciples who were with Jesus 24/7. They had seen amazing miracles and heard truthful spiritual teachings that had never taken place before. No one answered except Peter, who replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus tells Peter his answer is correct. Peter’s answer is not a “world” answer but an internal understanding that you only can get from a right connection with God.

And on this answer, Jesus will build His church. In other words, Jesus is telling Peter that Peter knows “whose he is” because he knows who Jesus is. And when you know your true identity is whose you are, Jesus’ and not the world, your life makes sense and God can move in you and in your life.

Do not get me wrong. You will still have up and downs, highs and lows, happiness and pain in this earthly life. But when you ride the “roller-coaster” of your life, your successes and shames cannot define you because your life is built on Jesus. Instead, whose you are will carry, strengthen and see you through.

So my real question of you today is, whose are you? Who defines you? Who do you trust and believe, the world or Jesus? If your identity is by world standards, you will experience despair and hopelessness and be where the devil wants you to be. But if your identity is in Jesus and who He is, when your life gets shaken, your faith in Jesus will enable you to handle times of doubt, negativity and crisis.

Jesus said, “I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.

With Jesus, you are not alone, dumb, useless, a failure or a mistake. But instead, you have a friend in Jesus, He has a purpose and a plan for your life, and He loves you!

The challenge: find out whose you are. If you have never asked Jesus into your life, now is the time. If have already done so, but are really not living that way, now is the time to recommit.

As with Peter’s answer, Jesus can move in your life, your decisions, and your choices. He can move even in the things that you cannot control.

Now when my life is spinning out of control, I stop and say wait! This might be a mess, but I know whose I am, I am with Jesus, the Son of the Living God, and He is going to find a way.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Janis Heiser of River of Life Fellowship, Lock Haven.