A person walks up to you and stops. They look deeply into your eyes. Their arm moves forward and they extend their hand and say, “I’m _______, who are you?” What do you say? How do you respond?
In today’s business world, I see a lot of different people. Sometimes, my company asks me to travel overseas. Most times, when I travel, it is domestically. I have to introduce myself to many types of people. Usually, I identify myself by my title and company. Not so strange…..or is it?
Think about this for a second. When we introduce ourselves to people, we are inputting a distinct and specific identity on ourselves. Typically in business, people identify you with what you do. In my case, most people identify me as a technical support engineer. So they assume that I can fix or support anything technical. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are many times people think I know a lot about cameras, but I only know how to turn them on, take the pictures and download them to my computer. You are probably asking yourself, “J.D. where are you going with this?”
Our identity is extremely important. It tells others who we are, what we stand for and what we are willing to do. In ancient times, people’s names were extremely important in society. An example would be a woman called Mara. In the Bible, she was named that because she was a very bitter woman. Another example was Jacob. He was named that because he was a deceiver. He deceived his brother and father when he was 40 years old. Have you ever asked yourself what your name means?
My name means “He shall add, Grace the Angel of Peace”. What is interesting is that my father is named the same thing and yet there are things about us that are very different. One thing is sure, my parents weren’t thinking about who I was but rather named me in love of my father and grandfather.
In recent days, what we believe in identifies us. Tim Tebow is identified as a Christian who loves to share Christ. Bill Gates is identified as the genius who created Microsoft. The late Steve Jobs is identified as the “Apple guy”. You see all three of these men believe(d) in something. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs believed that people wanted convenience and fast technology. However, notice Tim Tebow has not recently been identified as a football player. The media has labeled him a Christ follower who loves to share his faith.
Do you know the story of man who had a precious jewel? If not, here it is. A man had a very special gemstone. It meant a whole lot to him. Instead of placing it in a bank, he took the stone, buried it in a field and then bought the field with rest of the money he had.
Why would someone do this? Well this story was told by Jesus to his disciples. In this story he is giving a “heavenly” meaning using “earthly” examples. When I read this story, I liken it to the joy that Christ has when He finds us. Wait, didn’t I mean when we find Christ? No. I sincerely meant when Christ finds us. According to Scripture, we don’t even look for God.
“There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God” – Romans 3:11 (NASB)
You see we don’t seek for God. If we are truthful with ourselves, we want nothing to do with God. We want our own ways. This is the sin of Adam and Satan. We want to be like God. However, Christ didn’t think of life in this fashion. He thought of His life as a shepherd.
John 10:16 (NIV 1984) – “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
Christ looks for us. Time and time again, Christ looked at people as his sheep. He looked at us and said, “I love my sheep and would do anything for them.” He took a very loving and devoted stance. How saddened should we be when we stop listening to His voice?
Christ died for the ‘sin’ of Adam. He died to set us free from bondage to sin. He died to save us and allow us to have a real, intimate relationship with the Father. Christ died because He really loves you. He is real. He is calling.
Tim Tebow and many others like to identify themselves as a Christ follower. I think it is time that all Christians stop labeling themselves by their work, family or ministry. If we lost everything we hold dear in this life, how would we identify ourselves? The only way to really keep your true identity is to say you are a “_____ follower”. For me, I am proud to say that Jesus is my Savior and I am a Christ follower. Hopefully, you can say the same thing as well.
Don’t identify yourself with things. Identify yourself with the One who is eternal and is calling you into an intimate relationship with Him. Be an encouragement to someone today.