The question stumped me. I was in my early thirties, wrestling with deep disappointments, anxieties, and frustrations. Phil was a retired pastor and WWII vet who had become my mentor. Ever so gently, he asked again, “Who are you?”
My mind flashed back to some things my father had said to me in anger, to memories of singing in church and musicals, to adventures with friends, and failures as well. But did those things define me?
“I guess I don’t know,” I said.
The answer I found over the next couple of years changed my life for the better, and it can change yours too.
Some of us look in the mirror and see only disappointment. Some of us see failures or victims of childhood abuse or at least parental malpractice. Some of us see the unlovely and unloved. But that is not what God sees. Consider what scripture says about us when we become believers.
- Col. 2:13 – You have been “made alive with Christ” and are no longer “dead in trespasses and sins.”
- Col. 3:1 – You have been “raised with Christ,” and your life is now “hidden with Christ in God.”
- Heb. 10: 10 – You have been “made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Christ once for all.”
- Rom. 5:1 – You have been justified – completely forgiven and made righteous in the sight of God. (See also 5:19)
- Rom. 8:1 – You are free forever from condemnation.
- 1 Cor. 1:30 – You have been placed into Christ by God’s doing.
- 1 Cor. 6: 19-20 – You have been bought with a price; You are not your own; You belong to God.
- 1 Thess. 1:4 & Jude 1:1 – You are loved by God, chosen by him, and called by him.
In Christ, you are a righteous, complete, accepted, beloved, and chosen person. You may not feel like it all the time or act like it. And it is not an excuse to indulge in sin. But this is what God says is true of you and every believer. This is what Christ accomplished for us. Christ exchanged your life with his. Christ secured your future in him. We were taken out of Adam’s lineage, adopted as God’s children, and given the inheritance of Christ.
But some of us have a hard time accepting that. We see ourselves as something less than God sees us, something inferior. That stifles our development because what we believe about ourselves determines our destiny.
Tom Friends of The New York Times asked Coach Jimmy Johnson what he told his players before leading the Dallas Cowboys onto the field for the 1993 Super Bowl.
“I told them that if I laid a two-by-four across the floor, everybody there would walk across it and not fall because our focus would be on walking the length of that board. But if I put that same board ten stories high between two buildings, only a few would make it because the focus would be on falling.”
Johnson told his players not to focus on the crowd, the media, or the possibility of falling, but to focus on each play of the game as if it were a good practice session. The Cowboys won the game 52-7.
What kind of people will we be if we see ourselves as unholy, unlovable, unworthy, and incompetent: depressed, insecure, resentful, and angry, right? Why? Because life for a defeated Christian feels like a script you can’t remember in a play where you don’t belong, a set of expectations that are impossible to meet. It feels like crossing a two-by-four ten stories high. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead to leave us feeling like that!
Depressed people don’t dream dreams. Insecure people won’t take risks. Angry people can’t build loving relationships.
But what happens when we believe in our worth, value, competence, and goodness? We become world changers. We invest ourselves in life, in dreams that change things, and make life better for everybody.
What does God think of you? Is he proud of you? Does he love you? Who are you?
 See Romans 6.