In 1978 the British band, The Who, released their hit single, “Who Are You.” The song is marked by exceptional musicianship and vocal harmonics. Its presentation is so dynamic that at times the lyrical theme, “Who Are You”, becomes secondary.
Just as the dynamics of the song tend to obscure the central importance of the question, “Who Are You,” so too, as the Western world embraces a more secular tone, the question, “Who Are You” has been skewed.
Not long ago a conservative biblical perspective of roles and personal identity marked who we are as societies and individuals. As time has passed, they have increasingly become skewed. For many the concept of who we are is little more than a matter of preference, and those seeking to encourage traditional biblical values are deemed pharisaic oppressors of individual rights and freedom.
As with everything, absolute balance is at the core of true perfection. Perfection is not grasped by mortal man because the pendulum of his reality never ceases to swing to the left or to the right. The only man to halt the pendulum’s mighty swing was Christ Himself, and that was but for a moment in time here on earth.
Today, pursuit of individual rights have replaced the once cherished blessings of God, government entitlements are sought more than hard work and self-sufficiency, and self-gratification reigns over self-sacrifice.
The byproduct of these shifts can be seen in the breakdown of families, marriages, businesses and even national economies.
Why are roles and a god-centered identity so important? Because they are part of the fabric and foundation on which truly successful societal balance and order rest. A god is better than no God in terms of societal order, but the God who parted the sea and raised Christ from the dead is the real deal and therefore the beginning of success and long term stability.
Embracing God-ordained roles and personal identity are so important that God holds Himself to this standard. One need only look to the Trinity to see defined roles and the embracing of a personal identity, perfectly illustrated.
Where would mankind be if Christ had not uttered the words to God the Father in Luke 22:42, “not my will, but yours be done?”
As great as Christ was, He understood the importance of embracing the role that had been given to Him. And what was that role? In John 6:38, He said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” And what did that consist of? Leaving perfection and absolute purity for imperfection and impurity. Leaving an exalted state for the most humble of circumstances. Maintaining absolute control in place of the merciless beatings, mock trial and execution by the very people He created and sustained.
Because Christ completely embraced the lowly role and identity His Father set before Him here on earth, His word in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 does not ring empty when it says, “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.”
Is it God’s desire for us to merely tread water during our lifetime? No. Rather, be we Jew, Gentile, slave or freeman, let us embrace the role God has set before us. Let us fix our eyes and hope upon Him, and let us view reality from His eternal perspective and not merely from our small and lowly vantage point.
When we truly embrace the role and personal identity God has set for us, internal strife and agitation are minimized. Hopelessness turns into hope. Humiliation becomes humility. Weakness becomes strength.
Simply put, the Lord said in Matthew 6:25-27, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Should we throw off the cares and concerns of this world, such as work and caring for our family, in order to rid ourselves from such worry? Of course not. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NKJV) Christ Himself was a carpenter while here on earth. He labored for His provisions.
The roles and personal identity that God has set for us do not nullify the necessity of living life and embracing the demands that come with it. Rather, it provides us with a framework in which to do it.
To the extent and degree we as individuals, married couples, families and societies embrace this God-ordained pattern of roles and identity, Christ-centered success is sure to follow here in this world and on into the next.
Knowing that which is right and doing it are two different things. Embracing God’s role for your life is far from easy.
Ezekiel 28:14 and Isaiah 14:13 are thought by many scholars to in part describe Satan before and after he rejected the role and identity God established for him. Ezekiel 28:14 says of Satan before his fall, “You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.” And in Isaiah 14:13 it says, “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God.” No matter how exalted, it wasn’t enough for him.
Be it Satan or the mighty kings of Babylon and Tyre, the outcome is the same. God raised them up for an appointed role and a defined identity. Yet it was not enough. At some point each turned on God. Each was not satisfied with what God had set before them. Ultimately, the paths they chose led not to greater glory, but to humiliation and ruin.
While in the perfection of the garden God had created for her, Eve was not content with that which God had made for her. Thus, with very little effort, the serpent turned her eyes from God’s wisdom to that of her own. Be it Eve or Moses’ sister, Miriam, Saul, Jonah, Solomon and the like, all of them were given a very special role by God, and each of them needlessly suffered when they rejected God’s role.
Who are you? A child of God or one who has rejected Him. A child of God, yet one who greatly struggles with the role and identity He has ordained for you. Regardless of which state you find yourself in, there is only one correct path to take, the path He made for you.
Who are you? Only you can answer that question. Only you can make the decision to embrace that which was designed for you by The Designer Himself. Who are you?