Who Are You? (By Matt Vince)

This past weekend my leadership team, our students, and I were able to get away for our annual Winter Retreat. This year, our theme verse was Mark 12:30: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Over the course of the weekend, we looked at what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
I had the privilege of digging into what it means to love Him with all your soul and admittedly, I wasn’t sure what it meant. I could give a decent idea of the other three off the cuff, but I had to study what it meant to love God with all our soul.
So, what is our soul, and how do we love God with all of it? I found that what is conveyed in the word “soul” is what makes us ourselves. It’s our life; it is who we are. In short, it is our identity. This then brought me to the question, who are you? Who am I? How would we, or others, define ourselves? If we had to boil down who we are to the bare bones, what would make the list – both the good and the bad?
Well, there are some of the obvious physical things that can identify us: our height, hair color, body shape, or skin color. But then there are the positions we hold: in our families, we’re sons/daughters, siblings, spouses, parents, etc. In our social circles we’re friends, confidants, employees/employers. We’re members of groups or clubs: Democrat or Republican, a Boy or Girl Scout, a member of the school band, national honor society, the management team, etc. Then there are things that we might see as being even more foundational to our identity, like our passions: writer, singer, creator, or teacher.
For the majority, most of what we would say makes up our identity are positive things. But unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Some would see their identity as something very negative: a failure and a screw up, unloved and unwanted, a victim, a target, etc.
All these things, and many more, impact and contribute to our identity. For all of us, we tend to cling to some of these things, with a vise-like grip, to bring us purpose in our lives; to the point that if something happened to challenge or change that identity, we would be unable to define who we are, and our world as we’ve known it would come crashing down around us.

But we all have a deeper, more foundational identity that we must understand and cling to. That is our identity in Christ. The Bible tells us that, as believers in Christ we are “…a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are not bound by how we used to define our identity, we are made new! Here are just a few ways we ought to see ourselves in Christ:

  • You have been chosen, handpicked by the God who created the universe (1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 1:3-4)
  • You are treasured (Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2)
  • You are irreplaceable (1Thessalonians 1:4)
  • You are worth dying for (1 John 3:16; Romans 5:7-9)
  • You are set free (Romans 6:18; Galatians 5:1)
  • You are His Child (1 John 3:1; Galatians 3:26)


And this list is nowhere near exhaustive! It is this identity – our identity from God – that we must test against all other means of defining ourselves. I am a creation of God who has created me to be a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a writer, an employee… whatever He has created you to be. But we also must understand that this also helps to expose the lies of who we can think we are. I am NOT worthless but valued. I am NOT a failure but I have a purpose. My identity is not set by me or anyone else, it is determined by God my Father!
So my question to you is this: are you going to continue to allow the world or your feelings to define who you are? Or are you going to allow the Creator of the universe to define your identity, and teach you who He has made you to be?
Who are YOU?