Who Are You?

"But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says, 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1...."The poor deluded fools feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, 'Is this thing, this idol that I'm holding in my hand, a lie?' " Isaiah 44:20

 

I heard Sheila Walsh tell the story of one of her experiences after she had checked herself in to a psychiatric hospital. Upon her first interview, the Doctor asked her who she was. She answered "Sheila Walsh." He said, "No, I didn't ask your name, I asked you who you are?" She then answered, "I'm the co-host of the 700 Club." He said, "I didn't ask you what you do. I asked you who your are?" She then said to him, "I don't know who I am.".......A month later, as she was leaving the facility, the Doctor who conducted that interview, leaned out of his office window and called to her, "Sheila Walsh, who are you?" She called back, "I'm Sheila Walsh, a daughter of the King."

 

I think so many of us, if we're really pressed on this issue of who we are, would, like Walsh, end up saying, "I don't know who I am." It would be because like Walsh, we put our identity into the name we have before others, or even more, the job, ministry, or role we have in life. That's who we are. The great problem in this is, who are we if that name, job, or role we have had is lost? Who then are we?

I know something of this. A great part of my life was spent identifying myself by these things. A day came when I was no longer any of them. I had been a husband, a pastor, and I had visibility in these roles before others. Then....I didn't. And it was a terrible blow. If I was no longer any of these, then what was I? Who was I? If I saw great value in being these, and I did, then now that I wasn't, I obviously had no value. I had knowledge about how others saw me, and how I saw myself, but I lacked any real understanding of how He saw me, and didn't really know that His was the only viewpoint that mattered.

 

When Isaiah spoke for the Lord to the people, he spoke the Father's heart to a people who had embraced other gods, idols, and did not know the lie that held their hearts concerning them. We do the same, though we are very slow to come to grips with it, if at all. We hold fast to our hearts what we do and what role we play. Insert the title of the job you have, or the relationship role you're in. We so easily see that as being who we are. We may have dedicated these roles and places to Him, but it's they, and not He who define us. Our identity is one with them, not with Him. We hold onto a lie...a lie that cannot help us once they are gone. In that psychiatric ward, Walsh, with her marriage destroyed, and her co-hosting role gone, had to come to terms with who she truly was, and where and with who her value really lie. Have you come to terms with it yet? Or do you still hold to the lie?

 

I remember the deep sense of loss concerning my roles. Yet losing them didn't immediately result in my recognizing the lie I still clung to. In His mercy, He began to restore my place as a pastor fourteen months after it had been lost to me. Yet I continued to feel that it, along with the hoped for restoration of a marriage would be what made me truly whole. So I continued to hold on to the lie. Yet He is so faithful. It took a lot of hard years and disappointments resulting from believing that lie until, at last, the beauty and reality of the above Scriptures came alive to and in me.
I was not defined by what I did, or who I was with. I was defined by the One who made me, and made me for Himself. To know beyond doubt that I had His love, His approval and acceptance, and His constant presence, meant that I could live in victory, have wholeness, be complete in Him no matter what state I was in, or how others saw or measured me. The power of the lie had finally been broken, and the power of His Truth had finally come.

I won't say that the lie no longer shows up to try and woo me back. It does. But such is my knowledge of the power of His Truth, that each time, I need only look to Him, and feel His presence, security, and oneness with Him wash over me. Finally, after so long, I know who I am. I may often need reminders, but I know. Do you? Or, do you continue to hold on to the lie?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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