Who do you say that I am? These were the words spoken by Jesus to His disciples recorded in Matthew 16:15-16. The disciples could have said a carpenter, a prophet, a miracle worker, a teacher, but Peter said “You are the Christ, Son of the living God”.
Peter recognized Jesus’s true identity. Yes, Jesus was a carpenter, and a miracle worker, and a teacher. But those titles are vastly inferior to His true title: Messiah.
As first responders, and as service members, we like to find identity in our jobs. We wear crisp uniforms decorated with our medals, we tell war stories about our accomplishments, and we even like to look the part when we are off duty.
There is a lot of pride to be had for answering the call of first responder, or Marine, or soldier, or whatever capacity you serve in. These aren’t just jobs, they are callings. We don’t do them for the paycheck, we do them because at some point, we all wanted to help others, and be one of the good guys.
Here is where we must be careful. Too many of us, and I myself am guilty, seek to find our identity in our calling. We seek validation from those around us because of what we do for a living. If you were to ask your closest family members, your spouse, your friends, “who would you say that I am? What would you say defines me?” What would they say? Would the first words be “police officer, or soldier?
If you are defined by your occupation, no matter how honorable it is, you are wrong. Christian, we need to be defined by who we are, not what we are. Jesus was a carpenter, and a teacher. That was what He did, not who He was. Our true identity lies in the fact that we are children and heirs of the King. You are a son or daughter of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. The God who put the sun in the sky, the God who split the Red Sea, calls you His own.
There is so much freedom to be had when you realize that your identity is not tied up in what you do, but in who you are. There will always be better cops than me, and no matter what I do, my accomplishments will eventually be forgotten. I’ll eventually get old and no longer be able to do my job. But what will never change is who I am! My identity in Christ was given to me by my heavenly Father as a free and beautiful gift. Thankfully this gift is not predicated on what I do or accomplish in my life, but because Jesus gave His life for mine. So rest easy in the fact that your vocation and accomplishments do not define who you are. Our identity is received from our Father above, and protected and sealed until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14) Amen!