Think for a moment: Who do you think you are? How do you define yourself?
A lot of us introduce ourselves in terms of what we do for a living: “I’m Jim Wood. I’m the Executive Director of a children’s home.”
The problem with defining myself in terms of a job is that I may outlive my job. Then, who am I? Defining ourselves in terms of our work tends to lead to a bunch of “has-beens.”
I spend a fair amount of time with precious Christians in places that have an elderly median age. I preach in some churches where the average age is over seventy-five. These aren’t usually dying churches; rather, they are churches located in retirement communities. Some of the people still live vibrant lives, but often when I talk with them, they say things like:
“I used to be an attorney.”
“I used to be in sales.”
“I used to be a banker.”
“This is my husband, Fred. He was a doctor.”
I think to myself, “How sad to be a ‘was’ already. How sad it is to define yourself in terms of what you used to do.”
Some of us find new ways to define ourselves: “We’re the grandparents of thirteen.”
Defining ourselves in terms of relationships has the potential of lasting longer than defining ourselves in terms of a career. You can even keep updating your resume as babies are born. The problem is that even these earthly relationships begin to lose their power to give us the kind of identity God wants us to have.
Only one relationship should define who we are – our relationship with God in Jesus Christ. If we get this relationship right, it changes everything.
However, I want to submit to you that the Scriptures are very, very clear about the dangers of presuming upon a relationship with God that you don’t have.
Many people believe, “Well, we’re all God’s children.”
I want to offer some particularly neglected words of Jesus spoken to those who refused to recognize who He is:
You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
When I was child, we had a promise box on the kitchen table full of little cards with isolated “feel good” verses to make us happy. We could pull one out each morning as we headed off to school or work. In our current more affluent age people put these “happy thoughts” on ministry calendars. This verse was not in the promise boxes or on the ministry calendars designed to uplift us in our walk with God.
You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. …
Some folks recoil when they hear such things: “That’s not nice. I don’t like that verse. Only a ‘sicko’ would say something like that.”
Jesus said it Himself. Jesus said it. He didn’t say it to everybody. He said it to people who hated Him. Nevertheless, He did say it.
In the end, what defines you is your relationship with Jesus Christ. If your relationship with Jesus Christ is like that of the devil — “I will not submit to Christ; I do not want to bow to Him” — you are in peril.
Intellectual assent is not Christian faith: You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder. James 2:19
God promises, “As I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.” Romans 14:11
Even those hostile to Him now will bow before Him, because Jesus Christ is Lord. He’s not running for office. He is Lord.
Because Jesus is Lord, those who bow before Him now, who honor Him now, who receive forgiveness by grace through faith now, will have a relationship with Him that lasts forever.