By Barbara Henderson
People may ask who you are, and you may be able to give them an answer. You can tell them your name, your family, your place of employment, worship, and residence. But, if you as yourself the same question, what would your answer be? Do you have a self-definition that goes with you day and night? Who are you really?
Self-definition is the way you think of yourself. Most people think of themselves as honest, fair minded, and probably a bit above average in intelligence and appearance. However, this does not answer the question, ‘Who are you really?’
Self-definition begins by answering some questions about yourself. You have to answer truthfully. You don’t have to write the list down and publish it in the newspaper. However, most people will figure out who you really are if they are around you very much. If you define yourself to yourself very clearly, it will make your life much easier.
Here are some key questions that need to be answered.
Christian or not – practicing Christian or marginal – how serious do you take your faith?
Male or female
Married or single – that is just what you are – one is not better than the other – ask the Apostle Paul
Parent or childless (no better or worse – just part of who you are.)
Nationality or ethnic origin
These things are pretty straight forward. They shouldn’t be hard to answer. They do set how you will probably act in most situations.
If you are a Christian, don’t be a lukewarm Christian.
If you are single act like it – some things are made for marriage only.
If you are married, act like it. Faithfulness, compassion, and loving-kindness are proper behavior.
Do you have children? Then parenting should be foremost in your thoughts.
What is your profession? Do you do it with all you might?
What is your nationality or ethnic origin? It isn’t really important to God. God divides people into saved or lost, Jew or Gentile, and free or bond. That’s it. Your ethnic origin or nationality may allow you to spread the Gospel to a certain set of people. It could be important in that way.
What Value do you place on your Christian faith?
If you don’t really act like a Christian, then the answer there should be ‘low value’.
It is easy to say that you really value your Christian faith. It is another matter entirely to actually live like you place a high value on your faith in Jesus Christ.
The real value you place on your faith in Christ will determine what goals you set, how you go about reaching them, and whether you reach your set goals or not.
What are your goals in life?
Goals in life
Think like a Christian
Talk like a Christian
Act like a Christian
You may set a thousand other goals. You may set them every year and call them New Year’s Resolutions. However, these goals should always be set within the boundaries set by your self-definition. Live within the boundaries set by your self-definition. Your daily needs can be met while living within the boundaries set by your own definition of who you are.
The self-definition of man might go like this;
I am a
Who puts a high value on his Christian faith
Who starts each day with the goal of
Thinking like a Christian
Talking like a Christian
Acting like a Christian.
Having a clear self-definition gives you a solid foundation for making decisions.
Determine to stay within the boundaries that are automatically set by your own self-definition.
If you don’t have a solid self-definition, you are much more susceptible to fears and worries that come with events in the world.
Knowing who you are will be a big help in avoiding defining yourself by material possessions or so-called success. Actually, a strong sense of who you are helps you avoid defining yourself as someone ‘special’ because of your car, house, job, or public image. Those things may fluctuate with time, but your core values, who you really are, will not change. It will only grow stronger.
Those defining themselves by material possessions are going to have a difficult time. That new vehicle is only new until the first payment is made. The newest house on the block is only new until a few years have passed or until a new house is built. In ,just a few years, economic obsolescence sets in most neighborhoods. Homes in rural areas fare better, but they still get old and out of date. If someone defines themselves by their home, then it will help them if they a little on the delusional side. When the home gets older and dingier, they won’t notice it so much.
Those defining themselves by their public image are also doomed to eventual despair. That young movie star is just a few years from being a somewhat wrinkled has been.
Ultimately, your self-definition is going to be what points you in the direction you will go when it is time to make a decision. In a changing world, it is important to understand how fleeting the things of this world really are.
Someone who has a clear self-definition isn’t nearly as easily rattled by the events going on in their personal life, their country, and even in the entire world. The world has a history of always changing. Economic prosperity may change for better or worse. Feast may change to famine. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people may fade away in front of your very eyes.
The Christian who clearly defines him/herself within Biblical guidelines, and acts according to those values, understands something very crucial. God does not change. The world may change, but the principles by which they live life will not change. In a world that is changing faster than we can comprehend, we have a anchor that holds..
Did the Christian lose his job? He can still get up in the morning and say,
‘Today I will think Biblically, speak Biblically, and my actions will be within Biblical guidelines. That has not changed. The God I serve has not changed. What He wants me to do has not changed,’
Is the Christian mother a new widow with 2 little children to raise? She can still get up with the knowledge that God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. That has not changed. She can still know she is the same person who thinks Biblically, speaks Biblically and sets her mind to act within the guidelines of acceptable Biblical behavior.
What about the little widow lady? After nearly sixty years of marriage, she is alone in a house. The silence is deafening. Her world is limited by her own frail health and economic situation. All she can do a lot of the time is sit in a chair. She is still able to make her own coffee and scrambled eggs, but who knows how much longer that will go on? She can take comfort knowing that the person she is inside has not changed. What she is able to do has changed. Who she does things with has changed. But, she is still the same person inside. She still loves God and keeps the commandments. The events surrounding her have not changed who she really is and what she really loves.
What are you facing today?
Severe health problems?
Loss of loved ones?
Transition from one job to another one – or to no job at all?
Turmoil in your family?
Turmoil in your church?
Fear of terrorists attacks?
Sorrow at the decline of your country?
Loss of safety and freedoms?
The economic, social, and political foundations are in transition.
All of things can be overwhelming. And it seems that many times troubles don’t come alone. They bring reinforcements. You get whacked from every direction at the same time.
If you are a Christian, there are certain things that cannot be shaken.
God is still Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.
Who you are as a Christian is the same. You can probably improve how you show the world who you are, but who you are still the same.
You can still define yourself as someone who loves God and keeps the commandments. You can still avoid the sin of despairing at your circumstances because God is still the same. Your position as His child is still the same. Your future is still secure in Jesus Christ.
Defining who you are and setting your mind to live within the boundaries set by being a practicing Christian limits your choices in bad behavior. It opens doors to your behavior in many circumstances. You are not limited by the whims of society and political correctness. You are only limited by the boundaries of good Christian behavior.
So, I ask you again. ‘Who are you?’ Really – who are you?
You fill in the blanks.