When Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘who are the people saying I am?’ well they replied, some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah; some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. “Then He asked them, ‘who do you think I am?” Simon Peter answered, “The Christ, the Messiah, and The son of the living God. God has blessed you, Simon, son of Jonah, “Jesus said, for my Father in heaven has personally revealed this to you- this is not from any human source.
(Matthew 16:13-17, The Living Bible)
An identity is the knowledge of who a person is. According to the oxford learners’ dictionary, identity refers to the characteristics, feelings or beliefs that distinguish a person from others. It represents that elements or core that gives a man the disposition and expression obtainable from such a life when interacting with the members of his environment. Identity is not the double nomenclature occasioned by biosystematics as designed or written as a name on a card, or the labeling on a door office. It is the spring that issue out the waters that affects others either positively or negatively. Your identity is not your name or position but the unconscious man that gives a passive or active response when the life orders call for one. The identity of a man is built on the foundation of tribe, professional standing, and family responsibilities and is the offshoot of encounters and experiences acquired through the feed of time.
Can you ask yourself, who am I? What is my identity? What are the basic elements that influence my decision making? What is rated most highly before I take a step?
Various identities prevail in the life of a man per time, and this depends on the stage of living and the interests of such a life. A teenage girl would possibly be a student, apprentice and a child at the same time while a male adult on the other can be a father, manager, church worker, or a kind of professional all at the same time, Prevailing identities in people’s lives dictates the decisions different individuals make when faced with similar situations, depending on the requirement for success, survival and self enhancement, individual respond based on one or a combination of identities. When a situation demands for your tribal insights in order to prosper you, you can respond as a Yoruba man, when another demands family considerations, you are a father or husband.
Take a quick appraisal, have you ever been a Christian or does the love of God play the ruler in your decision making? You have been a child, mother, father, wife, a teacher, and so on, several identities has ruled your life, but is your faith in God the prime identity? Does being a Christian transcend all other responsibilities in your actions?
The opening scripture tells the story of Jesus our standard and our pattern life clarifying and setting the knowledge of his disciples aright as to what His identity is. Jesus affirmed here as seen in many other scriptures his identity as the son of God sent to save the people of the world from the tyranny of sin. And this is the identity that prevailed in every decision He made, it was the only thing that mattered, though a Jew by birth, tribe, and lineage, son of Mary, brother to James, and a carpenter by profession, Jesus affirmation was the theme of His life and never for once lived as nothing else but the son of the living God. When asked to judge the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), His response was not that of a Jew, neither as a carpenter when caught in sinking boat (Mark 8:35-39) nor as Mary’s son at the wedding at Canaan of Galilee (John 2:1-11). On every occasion of demand and at every juncture of need, Jesus Our Lord and Master responded as the Son of God and that was the only identity that ruled His living.
The confusion of the people of Jesus time on earth did not influence him to live otherwise, or make him deviate from being the son of God. Despite the profession and expectation by some that He was some prophet of old, or as the son of the carpenter, Jesus never lived as thus, but was perfect in living as the savior of the sinning world, the Christ.
What kind of person are you in your school and workplace? What influences and guides your decision? Is it your present situation and predicament? When you experience hard knocks and unpleasant side of life, how do you react? When you are pissed off or offended, what are your actions and reactions? In your relationship, how do you respond to issues? Is it as occasion demands or how you feel at that particular time, or as a child of God?
What is your identity? What are you known with or known for? Are you the sister that is known by her harsh and abusive words? Are you the brother that is known as the god of thunder, always fighting and causing trouble? Are you the type that is always depending on things of the world to look good? Do you have inward beauty? What is your identity?
A character in the bible that lived His faith in Christ Jesus as His prime and sole identity was Paul the apostle, in almost all of his epistles; He was careful, deliberate, and meticulous and consciously showing His identity as a child of God, even though He was a prominent tentmaker by vocational training, a Hebrew by birth, a Pharisee by religious beliefs, a lawyer of Jewish customs but all of this were irrelevant when He wanted to describe His identity and His personality, the wheel on which His life was pivoted was His relationship with Jesus as His apostle, His life decisions were made as an apostle of Christ and not on His qualifications, Apostle Paul’s profession brought him so many trials and challenges and peril(2nd Corinthians 11:23-27), but despite all He faced based on His identity with Jesus, there was no relenting but a continual pressing towards the fulfillment of divine purpose (Philippians 3:4).
Jesus was trained as a carpenter but lived as Christ, Luke was trained and practiced as a doctor/physician but lived as missionary of Christ (Colossians 4:14), Paul was the tent maker who is an apostle of Christ (Acts 18:3), and Timothy, though a Greek was a bishop of a church.
What is the definition of your living? Is it as Christian or according to the philosophies and guiding principles of your profession? Do tribal insights and familial demands dictate your choices? We have to come to the point where Jesus and nothing else has to be our identity, every other decisions we make based on other factors apart from Jesus will only hinder God’s blessing and true realizations of who we are in God.
Let Jesus Christ be the prime identity in your decision making, for you to even make this choice, Jesus must be the only and most important factor.
(Matthew 14:33, Luke 8:28, John 9:35, John 20:31, Philippians 3:7-8)
Michael Oluseun is a young Nigerian writer.
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