Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Peter. ~John 1:40-42
Today’s devotional is very personal and an idea I’ve struggled with my entire life. The idea of labels and identity, the “I am ______’s” of our lives. At a very early age we all start adding labels to our lives… as we grow some are changed and some are added by others.
Here is a quick list of some labels and identifiers either I’ve given myself, or I’ve been given by others…
- A liar
Now out of this list, most are negative, some even contradict each other but most would be consider weaknesses.
The truth is we all have weaknesses. We call them hang ups, screw ups, mistakes, problems, sins, faults, inner demons and addictions. We all have them and it’s these labels that determine how we live our lives.
When it comes to my ministry here at Keswick I’ve always felt unqualified. Through any of the ministries I’ve been apart of here I’ve never felt educated, talented or experienced enough to complete the tasks God has placed me in.
All my labels and identifiers were crippling me and stealing the joy of me working in the Lord’s ministry.
Now, i’m not sure if Peter knowingly went through an internal crisis like this but he sure did live it. At the beginning of his faith in Christ he a was placed with a name he wasn’t qualified for. As many of you know the translation of Peter’s name is “rock.”
In Peter’s early ministry he has moments like, taking his eyes off Jesus on the water, letting himself be filled with emotion and slicing the ear off a man in the garden and even denying Christ three times at the crucifixion. None of those events sound very “rock” like (steady, never changing, faithful).
A few weeks ago I put a status up on my Facebook that said, “The first half of my twenties was discovering who I was and the second is now changing who I want to be.”
We all have a calling and a purpose but our own labels and identifiers can cripple us from doing the tasks God has called us too. God gives us all a name and identity we may not be ready for but one he will prepare us for. A name, that only through his truth and strength we can inherent.
So what do we do about these labels?
The first step is to truly understand who has the right to fill in your “I am _____’s”
A great analogy from a book I’ve been reading is one of the teacher…
While taking a test, most questions are formed in two ways, either multiple choice or “fill in the blank” questions.
There is no game of chance with “fill in the blank” type of questions, you either know the correct answer or you don’t. The only one who truly has the authority to fill in blanks is the teacher.
In Psalms 139 is says…
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If God has created me and designed me, even my inner most self, only he has the right to fill in our “I am ____’s” of our lives.
Secondly, we need to truly understand “how” God see’s us. This step is so incredibly important yet so easily misunderstood. God doesn’t love us because Jesus died for us. Jesus died for us because God loved us.
That means God loved me in my hang ups, screw ups, mistakes, problems, sins, faults, inner demons and addictions. So now that we understand that no one, including ourselves, have the right to fill in the “I am ____’s blanks, only God and that we truly understand how God loves us and views us, we can begin the process of discovering who we are in Christ.
In the life of Peter we see a man given a name he didn’t deserve, nor was he qualified to have. A name he had to grow into. Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, Peter recognized what Christ did for him and who he was in Him. Peter allowed Jesus to fill in his “I am _____’s” and qualify him for the work he predestined him for.
So what do we do?
First, we need to be brutally honest and ask ourselves what are the “ I am _____’s” we’ve either given ourselves or have been given to us.
Second, we need to ask what are the “I am _____’s” God has given us.
And lastly we need to truly understand who we are in Christ and allow him to work in us and through us even with our messes and weaknesses because that’s where his glory and power shine brightest.
We’ve all been given a name, and only he can qualify you to live it.
Written by Graeme Wilson: Graeme is the Director of Marketing at America’s Keswick and is passionate about coffee, technology and travel. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Quote:“I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.” ~Billy Graham
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name. ~Psalm 33:20-21