Advertisements bombard us today. A simple drive down the road is filled with an array of quips, quotes, empty promises, and invitations to spend your money. QVC infomercials and internet marketing seek to convince us that we cannot live without their products.
“Buy this beauty lotion and you will look ten years younger.”
“Drive this car and people will admire and accept you.”
“Eat this food and pounds will instantly drop off your body.”
“Spray on this fragrance and men will chase you like a bloodhound.”
The world is deep in debt and growing deeper…trying to buy what God freely gives us: acceptance, love, approval, value, peace, joy and fulfillment. Go ahead and make a few laps around the racetrack of the world’s system, and you will be saying with Solomon: “Vapor of vapors…all is vanity!”
We can live our lives in an emotional prison simply because of a case of mistaken identity. I had an uncle who actually spent twenty years in prison for something he did not do. He was sentenced because of a case of mistaken identity. Imagine all that wasted time and potential!
Have you been living your life with a case of mistaken identity because you don’t know who you are? Do you live you life in dread, loneliness, control and manipulation, self-condemnation and a litany of ills because you don’t know who you truly are in Jesus’ eyes? Our identity is established as a result of who and what we choose to identify with.
If we live in the shadow of the perceptions of others, we will never live on solid ground emotionally. When we identify with Christ and His love and acceptance of us, we will no longer struggle with our self-image.
The arrogant religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked Christ who He thought He was. (John 8:47-57) Jesus simply told them He was God’s Son. Infuriated, they accused Him of blaspheming Jehovah. Jesus countered with these words:
“Jesus answered, Even if I do testify on My own behalf, My testimony is true and reliable and valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going: but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.” John 8:14
Jesus knew exactly who He was and His critics were enraged. Christ refused to identify with public opinion. God alone was the source of His self-perception and confidence. He saw His reflection in the eyes of His Loving Father.
So many churches invest all of their time teaching Christians what to do instead of who they are. You belong to God! You are His alone! You can walk in courageous confidence. You can feel relaxed in Christ, above unfounded criticism and self-doubt. You can be assured to press toward what you already know is yours, but in your pressing you won’t feel pressured. A customer does not walk into a bank and worry about withdrawing his own money-it’s there for the taking and it belongs to him.
You are a child of God. You don’t have to feel needy. You can rest in the unconditional love and approval of your Creator and no longer need the approval of others to feel whole, complete and satisfied. And be patient with yourself as you learn to walk in your new-found identity in Christ.
As I always say, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m OK and I’m on my way!”
Joyce Meyer, Approval Addiction. New York: FaithWords, 2005, pp. 247-248, 251.
All italicized words are direct quotations.