Links Daily Devotional

MISTAKES: Lessons learned from 50 years of disciple-making (Part 8)

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15, ESV)

When Jesus questioned his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” he asked one of the most important questions ever asked. How we answer that question will determine our final destiny.

Today I want to pose a second question alongside that one. It is, “Who do you say you are?

“Who am I?” is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever asked myself. Growing up, it didn’t seem to be a hard question. I was “Jimmy Hiskey, son of Pete Hiskey the golf course superintendent.” During college it was pretty easy too. I was “Jimmy Hiskey, member of the University of Houston Golf Team.”

After I came to faith from agnosticism, I went through an identity crisis. I was still Jimmy Hiskey, son of Pete Hiskey, but I was no longer on the golf team. I was taught that … “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God…” (Galatians 3:26, NIV) and “to all who did receive him,… he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12, NIV).

This new identity as child of God didn’t help me during my early days of faith. I wasn’t able to tell anybody I was Jimmy Hiskey, child of God because I didn’t feel like God’s child. Not long after, I learned that all of God’s children are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). I loved this identity, but that too felt uncomfortable to me.

This inward struggle continued for probably two decades. Then I began to realize God knows more about who I am than I do. As I look back, I believe it was my pride that caused me to make a huge mistake. I thought I was intelligent enough to figure out who I am and why I am here on earth.

Why I couldn’t accept God’s definition of who I am and why I am here I don’t fully know. Pride, yes. Wanting to maintain my autonomy, yes. Probably fear that he would make me be someone I didn’t want to be.

I had to let go.

The day I accepted that God was my Father, all-wise and all-loving and that he made me and knew who I really was and why I was here on earth, life took on new meaning. I loved the idea that I was a child—and his ambassador!

C.S. Lewis said it this way:

Until you have given up your self to him you will not have a real self…

The first step is to forget the self altogether. Your real new self … will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for him…

The principle runs through all life… give yourself up and you will find your true self. Lose your life and you will save it… Keep nothing back, nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised…

Look for yourself, and you find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay.

But look for Christ and you will find him and with him everything else thrown in.

If you are still asking the big questions of meaning in life, it’s never too late to “look for Christ.”

Jim Hiskey
September 24, 2015
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