“When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do” – These words have always stuck with me. The first time I ever heard them was while doing schools ministry with my friend Ezra. He was quoting this phrase from Craig Groschel to some of the teens we were spending time with. I was recently reminded of these words while reading through John’s gospel as suggested by one of our New Harvest Family. These words from John 1 really stood out to me:
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John knew who he was and because he was comfortable in his identity this allowed him to do what he was called to do. He was not trying to earn his identity of preparing the way for Jesus but was living out that identity since he knew that was what God had called him to do. Notice that he didn’t feel the need to be someone else or give into the temptation of elevating himself to the place only Jesus could hold – no – he was content in preparing the way for Jesus and he did an exceptional job in doing this.
So what is our identity as Jesus’ disciples? One aspect of our identity that has been standing out to me a lot lately is “child of God.” I have had the amazing privilege to spend a lot of time with Seth lately which has been such a blessing. I love my son so much and it blows my mind that God loves me more than I love Seth and that He wants to spend with me like I enjoy spending time with my son. The Creator of the universe – the completely holy and set apart God wants to spend time with His children – how cool is that? God is our Father who loves to give us good gifts (Matthew 7:11) and loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on our behalf so that we might be reconciled back to Him (John 3:16).
If God is our Father and we are His children this means that disciples of Jesus are actually family and we are to love one another as we have been loved. We do not show love to earn God’s love but allow God’s love for us to be the fuel to love fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We love as a result of living out the reality our identity as dearly loved children. It is important that we recognize that this love should not be restricted to the family of God. The full expression of being the family of God is found in loving the world around us in the same way Jesus has loved us. So my challenge for all of us today is find a way to show love to someone that is in desperate need of God’s love and allow God to love that person through you!