Thursday, May 7, 2020
How does knowing someone change you? I guess there are a lot of undefined specifics that need to be known before we can answer that question. One such specific is to identify the person we know. I know a lot of people, but they have not changed my life simply because I know them. Other people have had negative impacts on my life, seemingly making it worse, yet God always uses it for my development. Other people have truly made my life more enjoyable. But some people, like my wife, have had a major impact on who I have become.
When you think about relationships, good ones have a reciprocal affect. We influence others, and they influence us. The most meaningful of all relationships begin with an understanding of personal identity.
Our relationship with Jesus is the same. It is most meaningful when we understand His identity, and when we accept the identity He gives us. Let’s pick up the story of Andrew introducing his brother Simon to Jesus.
John 1:41-42 He (Andrew) first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Peter meets Jesus. When his brother told him that they had found the Messiah, Peter took a step of faith by following Andrew to where Jesus was. He accepted the identity of Jesus. Then, the first words from Jesus to Simon declare that he has a new identity. He will now be called “Rock.” He would need to grow into that identity, but Jesus declared it from the start of their relationship. This is who you are now that you know who I am.
There is an ordained sequence to establishing relationship with Jesus. FIRST, we accept His identity. He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Savior, the Redeemer, the Holy One, the Eternal Word. SECOND, we accept our new identity in Christ. We repent of all past identities, all searches for significance, all activities designed to validate ourselves, and all attempts to discover the meaning of life. We choose to accept the identity Christ gives us.
Have you done that? It’s not easy. We want to believe we know who Jesus is, but we have a hard time believing who Jesus says we are. We are God’s children, loved by the Father and precious in His sight, redeemed, set free, chosen by God, no longer sinners but saints, joint-heirs with Jesus, and so much more. Here’s how the Rock describes us:
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
This fundamental truth of relationship with Jesus is the first point of attack of our enemy. He tempts us to question our identity in Christ, and to look to the world to supplement our value with what we think Jesus can’t provide. So we get on our knees and go back to the foundation of relationship. We affirm that we know who Jesus is, and we accept who He says we are. This is the key to following Jesus.