When you know who you are – you know what to do!
Imagine for a moment that you wake one morning and your memory of your past was suddenly erased. You don’t remember your name. You don’t remember who your parents are. You don’t remember anything!
What would you do? You can’t go to your parents, because you no longer live with them and you don’t know where they live. This would be horrible, wouldn’t it? Can you imagine trying to live your life that way? Talk about confusion!
I submit to you that is exactly where many Americans are today. They’re living in confusion and chaos because they don’t know who they are, where they’ve been or where they’re going. As the late Zig Ziglar once said, “They are wandering generalities and God created them to be “meaningful specifics”.
When I was first asked, “Who are you?”, I said things like, I’m a teacher, I’m a Christian, I’m Baptist, I’m an athlete, etc. But one day I realized that I was not saying who I was, but what I did. I was getting my self-identification and self-worth from my job, my religious affiliation, my family name or my athletic accomplishments. The problem with that is when I’m no longer one of those things, I have no identity. And in reality what I do has little to do with who I am, according to the Bible.
So what kind of answers do I think are best when someone asks me who I am? Well, that depends on a number things, including your spiritual gifts, physical talents, personality traits and your current God-given assignment. Since I’m a Christian, I try to let the Bible determine my identity, not the world system, my job, my career or anything else.
Then why are so many Christians allowing the world system to determine their identity? Well for me, I noticed that about 50 years ago most people had a strong self-identity. Divorce was much less, capitalism was honored, Billy Graham was one of the most popular men and American culture was honoring its clearly defined Judeo-Christian ethics some have also called “the Puritan work ethic”. Movies like “The Ten Commandments” were smash hits at the box office and family oriented movies were commonly the favorites of their time. The societal expectations of men and women were clearly defined and homosexuality was considered to be a “deviant” lifestyle. And according to one of my college Psychology courses in 1971, the American Psychological Association (www.apa.org) called homosexuality “a deviant lifestyle”. But, today the same organization calls it “sexual orientation”. What happened?
How could homosexuality be a “deviant lifestyle” in 1971, as I was taught in my college Psychology call/textbook, and 40 years later it’s a “sexual orientation”. In 1970’s, many areas of American culture reflected the traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs in which hard work, a good education, honesty and integrity would lead a person to the American dream of their choosing. In the 1960’s, public schools were Christian friendly and supported Judeo-Christian character and personal faith. They looked down upon adultery and have babies outside of marriage. And for over 100 years, the American mantra was “Do unto others as you would them do unto you”. This mantra was called “The Golden Rule”. But today, our mantra seems to be “Do unto others before they do unto you.” What happened?
Throughout the Bible, God has urged his people to “remember” him. Remember the Sabbath… remember his statutes… remember his commandments and in the New Testament, “remember me” by practicing communion. Maybe it’s because mankind has quickly forgotten where he’s from and to where he is going. Perhaps that’s one reason the Prophet Habakkuk in chapter 2 said, 2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
And the Prophet Jeremiah said that in future, God will write his law on the tablets of men’s hearts.
Many Americans seemed to have awakened one morning and like a strange episode of the Twilight Zone, have forgotten who they are and from where they’ve come. Have you ever seen so many people in America confused, depressed and without purpose?
I want to suggest to you that it’s time for all real Christians to get up, study up, pray up, stand up and go out with God’s divine purpose motivating them and delegated authority sending them. This can only be done by finding your identity in Christ. First, find out what God says about your identity in the Bible; and then finding a mentor. If you’re a male, find an older male. If you’re a female, find an older female. It can be your dad, granddad, uncle, aunt, sister, etc. Just find someone that is walking with God like the Elisha did with the Prophet Elijah (1 Kings-2 Kings).
In order to do this, Malachi 4:6 said that God will …turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. The fathers are the ones that are responsible to give their children identity and many of them have been “demonized” by foolish media-types and many men have forgotten God, while divorcing their wives and children.
That is why the current generation of young people is frequently called “The Fatherless Generation”. Here are some telling statics that demonstrate this.
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
Father Factor in Education
Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.Churched young people are not returning to the religion of their parents after attending US colleges and universities.
Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
Father Factor in Incarceration – Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.
Father Factor in Crime - A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. Forty-two percent grew up in a single-mother household and sixteen percent lived with neither parent
Father Factor in Child Abuse – Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.
Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.
Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.
43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]
90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behaviour, Vol 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]
71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
"But for the grace of God, there go I!"
So who do I say that I am today? I am crucified with Christ. I am a son and heir of the most high-God, who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Please listen to my cousin, Dan Dean of the popular Phillips, Craig & Dean Christian singing group, sing their powerful song, “I Am Crucified with Christ”. Just click on this link,
When YOU KNOW who you are, YOU KNOW what to do!
WHO DO MEN SAY THAT YOU ARE?
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE?
WHO DOES GOD SAY THAT YOU ARE?