Who is LeBron James? Many people today would say that he is the greatest basketball player that has ever played the game (Those people obviously haven’t seen MJ play, but I digress). Who is Tom Hanks? Most would probably say that he’s a great actor (if not the greatest), depending on the movie. Who is Adele? Some would say that she’s one of the greatest singers of this generation. If I would say that LeBron is just a basketball player, Tom Hanks is just an actor, and that Adele is just a singer, I would be absolutely wrong because I would not have described to you who they were. I would have only told you what they do. The most common mistake in our world happens when people allow their performance to determine their identity. One of the greatest mistakes that we can make is to define ourselves by what we do. Yet ironically, this is the primary way in which people define themselves.
When men get together, one of the first things that we want to do in conversation is ask the other person what they do for a living. We then figure that if they have an important job, with a significant title, and earn a large paycheck, then they must be somebody. However, one’s self-definition, or identity, is not to be rooted in performance because, if so, then we will always misdefine ourselves and others.
People go to great lengths to obtain an identity. They attempt to purchase identities. They go to plastic surgeons who fix their looks while hoping to fix their identity. They seek higher-paying jobs or nice business cards to help their identity. They carefully select friends whose influence in their social circles can elevate their identity. Some people even go around asking celebrities or famous athletes for autographs so that they can show other people who they know in order to promote their identity.
Here’s the point: Satan knows that if he can keep you from discovering your true identity in Christ, he can keep you from discovering who you are. If in fact you are a Christian by virtue of your relationship with Christ, he can keep you hostage. He can keep you from claiming your inheritance. He can keep you from victory because you cannot be liberated if you don’t know who you are.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
(1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV)