Matthew 6:55Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?To fully understand what happened in Nazareth, please read Luke 4:16-30, Mark 6:1-6, and Matthew 13:53-58.Today I want to discuss other people’s perception of us and our personal identity. Many times we try to make the two connected and I believe that these passages of Scripture teach us that they are two completely separate items. You and I know who Jesus was and is, yet it is obvious that the people of Nazareth either did not know or they refused to acknowledge Him for who He was. Jesus was the Son of God, not the carpenter’s (Joseph’s) son. No matter what miracle He performed or what words of wisdom and truth He taught them, all they could see and hear was the temporal and physical. I believe they purposefully rejected the spiritual. The question is, Why? Why did they reject Jesus and turn Him out of His own hometown?
- The Perception of Others. As soon as we realize that we cannot control what other people think or how other people feel, we will be free to focus on pleasing God first and trusting Him for the results. Jesus went to Nazareth to minister and they rejected Him. Regardless of their rejection, He did not change the message, the methods, or the ministry. Notice their reaction. It will educate us about other people’s perception. Other people’s perception is based upon… A. What they know about you B. Who they know associated with you C. Where you came from D. Not wanting anyone to make them look or feel badly
- Your Personal Identity. If we are not careful, we will let what other people think, feel, or say about us control us. We will allow their perception of us to burden our minds and emotions. If His own hometown did this to Jesus, then everyone of us need to be prepared for it to happen to us as well. No matter what you do or what your motive is for doing it, certain people’s mind and opinion cannot be changed. Believe it or not, that is okay. Your identity is set by Someone much more powerful and much more important than anyone who may try to marginalize your Christian life. God has an answer for every reason for other people’s wrong perception. Your identity as a child of God is based upon these truths… A. God knows you – God knows everything about you from beginning to end, and He still loves you. – God knows you are His child – God know His will for your life and desires to use you for His glory B. God knows who is associated with you – God is your Father – Jesus is your Savior – The Holy Spirit indwells you – You are in the family of God with wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ C. God knows where you came from – God found you where you were – God came to you where you were – God saved you and lifted you out from where you were D. God always wants what is best for you, 100% of the time – God wants you to live in victory – God wants you to experience joy – God wants you to live a life of purpose – God wants you to fulfill His will
It comes down to a very powerful choice that we must make. Do we live our lives trying to please others and trying to change their opinions about us? Or, do we live our lives for His glory because we know our identity is fixed and set by God our Father. Based upon what other people think versus what God knows, the choice is clear. Your personal identity is a gift from God. He is your Father, you are His child, and He wants to use you for His glory while He gives you joy and victory. Live with the security that these truths give us.
photo credit: Huey Clonch