This clip from the movie Anger Management is one that I have found quite profound (I’m not necessarily endorsing the actors or their movies). Who are you when it comes to your identity? In this scene Jack Nicholson asks Adam Sandler the question, “Who Are You?“.
Adam attempts to answer the question in different ways but Jack shuts him down each time saying he was describing his job, hobbies or personality each time. How would you answer the question?
The question of who we are or who we see ourselves to be is at the core of addressing the question of our identity. Where do you draw your sense of meaning, significance or fulfillment? Who or what defines you? If we consider it carefully, outside of what we do, we tend to define ourselves based on our self perceptions in relation to people around us. This could also be expressed in our roles or race.
You feel smart when you seem to know more than the people around you. A day later you see yourself as not so smart when you are around people who seem to know more than you do. Or you see yourself as a passionate Christ follower when around people who are not Christ followers, but feel less spiritual when around some gung-ho Christians. So, which is it?
The things we do change, the people we are around change, the situations and perceptions we experience never stay the same. Yet, if we look to these things for our source of identity or for answering ‘Who are you?’ we will be sorely disappointed.
We need a view that never changes.
And only God can give that view.
We need to understand how God sees us. His view is the truest and most reliable view. It’s a waste of time to try to psyche yourself up in front of the mirror. We try by saying , ‘People love me’, ‘I’m funny’, ‘I’m smart and good looking’. You will only exert so much energy constantly until one uncomfortable encounter lays all that positive thinking to waste.
It is time to get in touch to how God views you. Rom 8:15 speaks to one aspect of a Christ follower’s identity
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
My answer to the original question is that I am God’s son. My identity, meaning and significance is rooted in this truth. I’m his beloved and He is my Abba Father. Even if I change jobs this fact remains ingrained and unchanged. It doesn’t change when I do a great job at work or when I get dinged. Those things don’t define me.
Take some time to consider:
- How you would answer the same question?
- How in touch are you with how God views you?
- Is the way you live your life aligned with this view?