Do You Know Who You Are?
The enemy wants us to think very little of ourselves because he knows if we caught a glimpse of who we really are, it would radically change how we live our lives.
“I have called you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
This week’s Day Camp is called “Joy Story” with a nod to the popular Disney animated film series Toy Story. While the Toy Story films may be targeted towards kids, I thoroughly enjoy them, with such classic characters as Woody and Buzz Lightyear. One of my favorite scenes from the entire series is found in Toy Story 2, and it’s actually quite profound. Woody gets kidnapped. As he’s trying to escape, he is wildly greeted by three strangers: Jessie, Bullseye and the Prospector. They are incredibly excited to see Woody, and Jessie exclaims over and over, “It’s you! It’s you! It’s really YOU!” The horse Bullseye is wide-eyed and as excited as a puppy to see his owner come home. The Prospector says, “Why, the prodigal son returns!” Meanwhile, Woody doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. He doesn’t know who they are and can’t figure out how in the world they know who he is. When he asks how they know his name, Jessie replies “Everybody knows your name, Woody!” He’s visibly perplexed, and then the Prospector asks one of the most profound questions in any movie in recent memory. “Why, you don’t know who you are, do you?”
I love what happens next. Bullseye turns on some lights and reveals an extensive collection of Woody memorabilia. He’s on posters, lunch boxes, games and clothing, and even more astonishing, he has starred in his own TV show. Woody is stunned. As the reality dawns on him, he moves from stunned to exuberant. He starred in his own TV show! He was bigger than life! But what happened? Why was this such a shock? Somewhere along the way, either Woody forgot who he was, or perhaps his identity had been stolen.
Identity theft is becoming a bigger and bigger crisis, costing billions of dollars of loss each year. Identity theft regarding who we are as a child of God is an even bigger crisis. So many of us are completely unaware of our true identity in Christ and the authority we have in Him. We think we don’t have much to offer, or perhaps that our lives don’t matter that much. That’s exactly what the enemy would like us to believe. In his book Waking the Dead, John Eldredge speaks about the loss of knowing our true identity, who we truly are. “The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”
― John Eldredge, Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive
Jesus was absolutely clear about his identity. He says about himself, “I am the resurrection and the life.” “I am the light of the world.” “I am the bread come down from heaven.” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
What about you? Do you know who you are? The Bible says you are a child of God. You are an ambassador for Christ. You are a brand-new creation. You are more than a conqueror. You are a son, a daughter, of the Most High God. You are a royal priesthood. You are a friend of God. Do you know that? Do you believe that?
The enemy wants us to think very little of ourselves because he knows if we caught a glimpse of who we really are, what our true identity is, it would radically change how we live our lives and the impact we’d have. The problem is we either never fully grasp how truly new a creature we are, or we have short-term memory and forget.
The group Geoff Moore and the Distance wrote a song called “Remember Who You Are.” Here’s an excerpt:
Stand where you are, sure of your call
Believe in the one that brought you this far
Consider the price that was paid for it all
And if you should fall
Remember who you are
And when the enemy comes calling
Never forget that you are one of the chosen
So ask yourself, who am I? If you struggle to find more than two or three statements, look through the Bible and write down who God says you are. If you’re not sure where to look, do an online search for “Who does the Bible say I am?” You will find a long list.
I’ll go one further. As Pastor Greg would say, I dare you… Take some time to get alone with pen and paper and ask the Lord directly, “Lord, how do you see me? Who am I?” I bet you’ll be blown away by what He shows you. And when he does, remember. Write it down and remember it. Hang on to that truth. When your identity is questioned, you can say boldly, “I know who I am!”
Father, I thank you that you’ve made me in your image, and that I’m your beloved child. You’ve chosen me and adopted me into your family. Thank you for the new life and identity that I have in You. Please show me how you see me, and help me to truly know who I am in you. I love you.