As we are all aware the month of February is the designated month of ‘Love’ or ‘Luuurve’. Anyways, it is the month where we celebrate Valentine’s day in honor of St Valentine (or Valentinus) who was a Roman priest in the 3 C.E who defied a decree that prevented young soldiers from getting married. St Valentine was believed to have performed secret weddings for these young lovers. St Valentine is also believed to have helped Christian prisoners escape the harsh and torturous Roman prisons. It is also Black History Month in American and North American countries, the annual celebration of achievements within the black community. This year in particular has been highly celebrated on social media due to the release of the blockbuster ‘Black Panther’ (watch out for my movie review!).
It can be quite easy to become lost in these different traditions and start to believe that is where one’s identity lies. As much as I want to celebrate both of these things, I have to remind myself that, identity isn’t defined by relationships or by our ethnicity. Rather, our thirst for identity can only be satisfied through the person of Jesus Christ.
First of all, I do believe an important thing to do is to avoid being defined by what people and society say that we are. It is so important to guard your heart against all things because from it flows the course of your life. By nature human beings are flawed and our ideas and thoughts are constantly changing. This is evident in the ever changing trends we see in the mainstream today. For example, he resurgence of 90’s era trends in music and fashion. It makes you wonder, who decides and when was it decided when certain trends would be come cool or stop being cool anymore. Anyways, I digress. The truth is our identity is not defined by what we say we are or by what society says we are because all these things change. People are fleeting just like our thoughts are also fleeting. Therefore, that goes to show that our identity must be anchored in something that is sure, something that is changeless and solid. That anchor is God. Whenever we feel that we may be losing our sense of self or that our true identity is being altered by what other people say, that is when we should resort back to the Word.
When I talk about the word of God, it can be in different forms. For example, through inspired songs, I recently discovered ‘ Solid Rock’ by Tash Cobbs Leonard ft Jamie Grace.
“I can lean on You and You won’t move
I can cry to you and You won’t move
I can trust You cos You’re my
Solid, my solid rock
You are solid, my solid rock.”
God is the only solid rock that we can turn to and who can honestly comfort us in the way we need to be comforted. Through his son Jesus Christ, God has literally experienced all types of pain and suffering we could possibly encounter. That is why it is very important that we go to him alone for our validation. When our foundation is Christ, our future is secure and our identity is sure
If you are a bit more old school then you check out the lyrics from the classic hymn;
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
I once read that ‘Our greatest emotional need is for intimacy.‘ That is for someone to truly love us for who we are, one who is a true friend and that for lack of better term ‘sticks closer than a brother’. That is why as young children we all long for a ‘best friend’.
Timothy Keller states that
“To be fully loved, but not fully known is shallow
To be fully known but not fully loved is our greatest fear
But, to be known and fully loved is our heart’s deepest desire.”
The bible’s answer to mankind deepest desire can be seen in Matthew 11:28
“Come to me , all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
What are the heavy burdens we carry? Well these are the negative thoughts that clog up our minds that try to cause us to fall.
Did you know that the enemy studies us in order to bring up past insecurities or remind us of our past failures so we are unable to move forward into God’s purpose for our life? ( If you haven’t already, do check out ‘Cycles’ by Jonathan McReynolds and pay close attention to the lyrics). This is why we need to study ourselves and figure out our weaknesses – this can only happen when we spend time with Christ. Studying God and His word can reveal to us who we are as well.
Don’t get me wrong, love is a beautiful thing and self-love is very important. However, our deepest desire for intimacy can only be satisfied by one person and that is God. To be loved and valued for who we really are and the only person that can actually fulfill that is God. I think back to the story in the Bible when Jesus and the disciples were at Caesarea Philippi and Jesus asked his disciples ‘Who do people say I am?’. I find it interesting that although the disciples reply with various answers. Jesus instead asks the disciples directly “But, who do you say I am?’.
These are the people that have been walking closely with God right, the ones that should be able to some extent correctly define who He is. Peter then goes on to state “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Because Peter correctly states the identity of Christ his identity as the ‘rock’ is solidified (#punintended).
Matthew 16: 18 “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
The name Peter or Petros means “the rock” which through his correct identification of the person of Jesus, his identiy is solidified. Did you know that Peter is one of the first disciples to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is that shocking? Absolutely not, Jesus had already spoken into his life. Peter could only have correctly identified Christ because he had been paying attention to God, he had been studying him, communing with him and seeking intimacy with him. Peter was in the ‘inner circle’. We cannot correctly identity and walk in our purpose if we do not spend time with Christ, developing intimacy so He can reveal our true identity to us.
We cannot love ourselves and nor can we accept the love of others as we should, not until we understand the love God has for us.
Mo 🙂 x