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When my parents decided to give my Dad’s name to my brother when he was born they never anticipated the shear amount of laughter that would come from it years later…
Growing up my brother has always answered to the name Bradley or Jr. When he signed up for the local Explorer Program he was able to specify that he wanted to be called Bradley. However, when he signed up for school in the Fall of last year all the forms required a first name and last name; giving no option for a nick-name or the name you preferred to be called.
So, the guys at the fire station know him as Bradley or Brad. At school he goes by Mark or Marky-Mark…The best part of this has been confusing his buddies…A couple of the the guys he goes to school with also work at the fire station and so they’re always a little confused what to call him or what his name actually is. As a result it’s led to a lot of laughter over the past couple of months.
As I was thinking about this I was reminded how easy it is for us to become confused about our own identity; about who we really are.
So often the world places labels on us and we become defined by who others say we are. A joke or off handed comment said by someone years ago stays with us and eventually we believe that what they said was true. Other times we made mistakes in our past that haunt us day after day. We carry the guilt and the shame of those mistakes with us each day and feel that because of that ONE mistake we will never be able to move on or change even after we’ve repented and become Christians.
But here’s the truth. We aren’t defined by our mistakes or someone’s comment. We are defined by who God says we are! God says that were loved even when were His enemies (Romans 5:8), we are worth dying for (John 3:16), and that there is grace for every need (2 Corinthians 12:9). And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! If you really dig into the pages of Scripture you will find verse after verse that reminds us of who we are in Him.
If you’re anything like me you like to have visuals. Little things like a song, book, movie, etc that remind you of who God is, whose you are, and the job that you’ve been given. When I thought about writing this post two things came to mind. The song “Hello, My Name Is” by Matthew West and the book he wrote titled, “Hello My Name Is: Discover Your True Identity“.
I love the way that the book in particular gives such a good glimpse of how easy it is to let someone else’s words or a traumatic event become our identity and as a result we live in fear. I really enjoyed reading each Scripture passage included in the book as well. As I was reading, I’d find myself wondering, “Is that verse really in the Bible?” Then I’d run to my Bible and find out that it was. This book really encouraged me to discover who I am in Jesus and to embrace that identity as His child.
I want to encourage you to pick up your Bible and just read it. Read the stories of doubt, faith, grace, redemption, forgiveness and love. Throughout it’s stories you’ll find a little piece of yourself. Something that one of these people went through thousands of years ago will remind you of what you’re going through today. And I hope that you’ll SEE just how God came through for them and know that He can do the same for you. In fact, He can do so much more (Ephesians 3:20).
Until next time,