…and He is love.
Tom and Leslie Crandall are youth pastors. They spend a lot of time mentoring young people and bringing them into a place where they can discover their identity. It’s the most common issue with young people today. We’ve written several articles on this topic, but today I’m going to take a fresh approach on getting clarity on this issue of identity.
Tom wrote an article about a year ago addressing the two most important questions that we can ask:
- Who is God?
- Who am I?
How we answer those two questions, he says, will shape how we view ourselves in a huge way.
I agree, and will delve a little deeper into the issue, and show how it has everything to do with our identity.
Let’s start with who God is.
First, who is he to you? Is He distant, controlling, threatening to punish you, etc.? Or do you see Him as loving, kind, protective, etc.? We all have perceptions of who God is. Sometimes they are based on truth, and sometimes they are founded in misconceptions.
Now, who is God, really? Not how you or I see Him, but who is He actually. There’s one thing I want to point to right here: He is Love. (1 John 4:8)
We’ve talked about it before and you may have read it or heard it from other sources, but it’s important to note again that our identity comes from the Father. You remember hearing that verse from the Bible about us being made in His image? (Gen 1:27} Well, If God is love what does that make us?
Ok, now back to that other question from before: Who are you? Take yourself trough the same process. Who are you to you? Now, who are you really?
We often see ourselves differently that who we really are. It’s a symptom that everyone seems to experience at some point in life. And almost always, our false perception of who we are is rooted in a false perception of who God is. We project onto ourselves whatever attributes we think he has.
The more you let love in, the more love from God you allow yourself to experience, the clearer your identity becomes. Why? Because it’s who He is. It’s the truth of His identity, and you were made of the same stuff. Your makeup, your design, the fabric of who you are is love. It’s the essence of who God is and he made you out of the same material, out of Himself.
So often on the podcast we ask influencers and leaders what it means to be successful and to leave a great legacy. The most common answer we hear might surprise you – and it’s found in this one simple question: Did I love well?
How well you love will depend on how loved you are – or better put, how well loved you let yourself be. We are all extremely loved by the Father. We just don’t all know it, or how much. (Side note: I love how often in the Bible, the word “beloved” is used. It’s a term of endearment about people who are loved, yes, but it’s also a command: Be loved.)
When helping others discover who they are, like Tom and Leslie Crandall are doing, the most powerful “tool” you can use is simply to love. And then to point people into an encounter with the love of God. Nothing will give someone a clearer picture of who they really are than that.
So, who are you? Well, that depends…who is He?
You are His beloved. So be loved.