THE CRUCIALITY OF IDENDITY

One reason we don’t know what to do is because we don’t know who we are.

Once we are certain of our identity we can be certain of our calling.

First God calls us by name.

Then He commissions us.

I’m very pleased with the names of my six grandsons.

My children made great choices when they named their own children.

Honestly I wanted to name them myself.

But that’s not the prerogative of a grandfather.

That’s the right of the mother and father.

The right to name is one mark of ownership.

Jesus Christ gave Simon bar Jonah a new name the moment He met him.

It was Jesus’ way of saying “You belong to Me now.”

There’s good reason to believe the “angel” Jacob wrestled with the night Esau approached was the pre-incarnate Christ.

Jacob’s wrestling opponent that evening gave him a new name.

It was the name “Israel”.

Israel is still wrestling with Jesus.

Jesus still owns Israel.

God has a right to name us because He made us, because He bought us,                                  and because He owns us.

If He calls us sinners then we are sinners.

If he calls us His children then we are His children.

If He calls us righteous then we are righteous.

The last thing Jesus heard at the river was “This is My beloved Son.”

The first thing Jesus heard in the desert was “If you are the Son…”

“If you are the Son prove it on my terms.”

Before we can sufficiently understand who we are, we must accurately identify the voice which is telling us who we are.

The voice at the river was the voice of God.

The voice in the wilderness was the voice of the devil.

Most Christians are usually at the river, in the wilderness or some place in between.

There will always be voices in those places telling us who we are. Telling us where to go. Telling us what to do next.

At the river Jesus heard the acclaim of the Prophet.

At the river Jesus received the accolade of God. John the Baptist said “This is the One.”

God the Father said “This is My Son.”

In the wilderness Jesus was alone and Jesus was hungry.

The devil picks his moments.

In His starving moments in the desert Jesus heard the devil say “If you are the Son.”

In His dying moments on the cross He heard the same words from the devil’s faithful representatives.

In our seasons of real deprivation and apparent desertion the devil will draw close and try to tell us who we are. Those are the moments when it’s most necessary to remember what God said to us, to remember who He said we are.

Once we know that, we will know what not to do.

Sometimes it’s more important to know what not to do than to know what to do.

Because doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.

Jesus knew what not to do to keep from starving.

Jesus knew what not to do to keep from dying.

We cannot know who we are until we know whose we are.

The Lord is our Shepherd.

We cannot be our own shepherd for the same reason we cannot be our own Saviour.

We are His people and the sheep of his pasture.

Our lives are not our own.

We live and we die for His glory.

And he who seeks to save his life shall lose it.

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