In what do you find your identity? Your answer is important because your answer will inform your actions.
The Pharisees and Jesus
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees send their disciples along with the Herodians to trick Jesus. Approaching Jesus the group says,
“Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.” (Matt. 22:16b)
If you can’t tell, their flattering is false. Yet, there is some truth to it. Truth they are hoping to use against Jesus. Jesus is, as they say, unconcerned with the opinions of others. Jesus isn’t a politician who makes calculated political maneuvers or who holds back because of what other might think.
Jesus doesn’t do those things because Jesus doesn’t find His identity in the acceptance of others but in His relationship with the Father. As a result, He says and stands for the truth.
What We Should Do
Just like Jesus, we shouldn’t find our identity in the acceptance of others either. We shouldn’t be wrapped up in what others think about us. All that’s going to result in is us being let down.
Think about it. Our peers opinions changes as quickly as the weather. If we want their acceptance, we have to constantly win it by doing things of which they approve. That, however, is no way to live, especially if we are Christians.
You see, if we are constantly worried about the approval of others, we are more likely to equivocate on God’s Word – to act contrary to God’s will, and to cave when we should stand for the truth. So instead of trying to win the approval of our peers, the public, or even our own families, we should seek God’s acceptance.
The Sureness of God’s Acceptance
God’s acceptance is something we don’t ever have to be anxious about because it never changes. God’s acceptance never changes because it’s not based on our work, but on Jesus’ work.
You see, when we believe in Jesus as our Savior and repent of our sins to follow Him, Jesus’ work is attributed to us, so that when God looks down on us, He sees Jesus. He doesn’t see all the mistakes we have and will make. He doesn’t see our sin. Instead, He sees Jesus and the life He lived.
So instead of finding our identity in others, we should be like Jesus and find our identity in God. If we do, we will be more likely to stand for the truth.
Question for Reflection
- Do you see a correlation between identity, acceptance, and standing for the truth?
Post adapted from my sermon: How should we think of authority?