Today’s Scripture: For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9–10
A Christian who doesn’t know who he is in Christ is worse off than a celebrity actor or musician who has forgotten his true identity. Jazz musician, Billy Tipton, was a talented pianist and saxophonist who began his career during the band era of the 1930s. As time passed, there were some strange things people noticed about Billy. He would not give his social security number to his booking agent. His three adopted sons couldn’t remember the last time he went swimming with them. He never visited a doctor, even when he was seriously ill.
It was not until after Billy’s death in 1989 that family members found out why. The funeral director told one of Billy’s sons that Billy was a woman. For most of Billy’s life, she had lived a lie. During her career, women were allowed to sing but rarely played in the band. For the sake of her career, she changed her identity.
Can you imagine the impact this discovery had on Billy’s children? There is just as much confusion and frustration when a Christian doesn’t understand his identity in Christ. This person lives or dies by what other people say and think about them. Their life is an emotional roller coaster, twisting and turning with their circumstances. They have no foundation and are not successful in the Christian life.
A Christian who knows who he is in Christ stands upon what God says about him in His Word instead of the opinions of others. His joy isn’t affected by people who dislike him or hurt him because he knows God loves him. He won’t change who he is to try and please others, because he knows God accepts him the way he is. He won’t let himself or others get him down about mistakes he’s made in the past, because He knows God has forgiven him. He knows who he is. This gives him peace and stability.
Christian, do you know who you are? If so, then you will not let how others respond to you affect your feelings. You will keep on doing what is right and showing love to others regardless of the things they say about you. You will accept yourself for who you are, with all of your faults and shortcomings — because God does, and you realize His opinion is the only one that matters.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder