“Who Do You Say That I Am?”

Three ways to ask a very important question

Who Do You Say That I Am

In Matthew 16, Jesus asked his disciples a question, “Who do you say that I am?” It’s a very important question.

It’s important because almost every part of your faith journey is rooted in who you believe God is. Not what you’ve been taught. Not what others think about God. But what you really believe to be true about his nature.

The thoughts you have about God produce the actions you take in your spiritual life, the fruit you produce, and the reactions you have to your circumstances.

What you do is inextricably linked to how you think.

“Every action is rooted in the thought that produced it.”
~Graham Cooke

Because it’s so important, it’s worth taking the time to deeply explore who God is, especially the nature of his love. As Paul says in Ephesians 3:19, the knowledge of his love is the key to the fullness of God in your life. (For a taste, check out the devotional video at the end of this post.)

Who Does God Say You Are?

In the same way, it’s important to turn that question around to God and ask him, “Who do you say that I am?”

Believing the truth about your identity is important because what you believe about yourself will drive many of your actions. Knowing with confidence who God says you are can propel you toward your destiny in God like little else can. As the Proverb says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7)

We can get our identity from many different sources. The only identity source that really matters is God. He created you, and he knows you intimately, even down to the number of hairs on your head.

Have you ever asked God who he says you are? Have you ever inquired about his heart toward you? I think you might be amazed at all the wonderful thoughts he has about you.

If you aren’t sure how to hear from God, I cover a bit of that in my post “Who Are You?” Listening prayer may be new for you, but honestly, what good Father does not talk to his kids?

Who Does God Say Your Spouse Is?

Understanding your spouse’s true identity can transform your relationship, because how you see your spouse, what you truly believe about him or her, will affect your every interaction.

In my post, “Who Are You Married To?” I said this about understanding your spouse’s identity:

There’s more to tapping into your spouse’s identity than just being a careful observer. Sure that can help, but if that is all your rely on, it equates behavior with identity, and we all know that we sometimes act out of an immature expression of our identity. When you know who your spouse really is at the core of their being, you have the opportunity to spur him or her on to walk in their full dentity.

Knowing your spouse’s true identity is what allows you to have grace toward them when their actions fail to line up with who they really are.

Next to God, you are probably the most important ally your spouse has in walking in his or her true identity. (You can also be a big hindrance!) Seeing anew for yourself who your spouse really is can cause you to fall in love with him or her all over again.

Once you’ve spent time understanding the Lord’s nature and then inquiring of his thoughts toward you, I would encourage you to seek the Lord on behalf of your spouse. Listen to the heart of God toward your spouse. It’s a good idea to journal what you sense God saying.

Ask Each Other, Remind Each Other

There is a third way to use the question, “Who do you say that I am?” You and your spouse should ask it of each other.

In doing this exercise, here are a few pointers:

  • You should have an atmosphere of trust in your marriage before you engage in this process.
  • Don’t be surprised if your spouse hears from God accurately, even if this is something new for them.
  • Test what you hear from your spouse against what the Lord has spoken to you about your identity.
  • Whatever is said should agree with the nature of God.
  • In general what you say should offer encouragement, build your spouse up and/or offer comfort to him or her. This is not the time for offering correction or critique.

Even if your spouse is not willing to participate with you in this exercise, I suggest you go ahead and ask the Lord about your spouse anyway.

As you gain clarity on heaven’s perspective of each other, it’s important to remind each other regularly about the truth of your identities, especially if you see lies creeping in. I can’t count the number of time Jenni has done this for me, and it has saved me a lot of heartache.

 

Take your time in this process, but proceed step by step. Start by answering Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Next inquire of God, “Who do you say that I am?” And finally, ask each other, “Who do you say that I am?”


If you want a little taste of what God thinks of you (and of your spouse), listen to this short devotional meditation by Graham Cooke called “Becoming the Beloved.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Who Are You Married To?

You have the chance to agree with heaven’s definition of who your spouse is.

Who is your spouse

By the title, of course, I don’t mean whose name appears on your marriage license. I mean do you know who they really are; who God created them to be? Can you see him or her the way heaven does?

This is a follow up to last week’s post, Who Are You?.

So why spend time discussing identity on a marriage blog? It’s because identity is one of those hidden forces that affect your marriage every day. It’s foundational.

Your identity affects how you view yourself and others. It affects how you (or how you don’t) express and receive love. Believing lies about your identity will hold you back in your marriage, your career, parenting, ministry and every other dimension of your life in which God wishes you to thrive.

Who is Your Spouse?

Yes, it’s important to understand who God says you are. It’s also really important to understand who God says your spouse is.

Do you look at your spouse as God does? Who is he/she at the core of their being? It’s a hugely important question.

Your spouse’s identity affects the way you interact with each other on a daily basis.

  • What says “I love you” to him or her.
  • What are his or her aspirations and dreams?
  • What makes him or her feel joy?
  • What causes him or her to feel valued and appreciated?

One of the biggest reasons for you to really “get” your spouse’s identity is to help him or her fight against “identify fraud.” The enemy (sometime referred to in scripture as the accuser) loves to feed us lies about our identity. Your spouse needs your help combating those lies.

Don’t Seek to Change or Control

I’ll come right out and say this, because it’s important. Identity fraud doesn’t just come from the enemy. It can also come from our own spouse.

There is a natural tendency in marriage to try and change or control our spouses so they conform to who we want them to be. We all do it from time to time. Most often this revolves around trying to get our needs met in some way or to get him or her to love us in the way we want to be loved.

We’ve probably all heard that trying to change your spouse is mostly futile. You can’t actually control someone else. You may be successful at manipulating their behavior to suit your expectations and wants for a short time, but in the long term it’s just not sustainable, and it isn’t love.

More than likely, in truth, trying to control or change our spouses will often produce the very opposite of what we want.

Agreeing with God

Ultimately, your goal should be to agree with the true identity God has placed in your spouse.

I wrote last time about the two kinds of truth we want to agree with. There are those important universal truths that describe our identity in Christ as believers. And then there are the truths about your spouse as an individual. It’s important to have an understanding of both.

There’s more to tapping into your spouse’s identity than just being a careful observer. Sure that can help, but if that is all you rely on, it equates behavior with identity, and we all know that we sometimes act out of an immature expression of our identity. When you know who your spouse really is at the core of their being, you have the opportunity to spur him or her on to walk in their true identity.

Knowing your spouse’s true identity is what allows you to have grace toward them when their actions fail to line up with who they really are.

You have the opportunity to be a powerful ally with heaven in reminding your spouse of the truth. 

Here is a great song about identity by Jason Gray, “Remind Me Who I Am.”


Can’t see the video? Watch it here.

 

Who Are You?

Who God says you are is all that really matters.

Who Are You

The truth is that we all tend to allow ourselves to be defined by others. It starts when we are young, with our parents and family members. We grow up and start giving others permission to shape the way we see ourselves: teachers, bosses, spouse, friends, sometimes even total strangers.

But who really defines you?

There is only One who can most accurately and completely define you: the One who made you.

God specifically fashioned you into who you are. Your skills and abilities, your quirks, your personality, and all that makes you who you are. He put these in you for a purpose, and He has a great plan for how these can be used for His glory and for your blessing. And, I might add, He really likes you.

Wait, you say, but I have all this stuff in me that I don’t like. What about my weaknesses, my flaws, and failings? Well, let me assure you that none of these catch God by surprise. Let me further assure you that when God looks at you, through eyes that know no time, he sees you as he intended you to be in fullness and completeness. He sees past your flaws and failings and into your perfection. 

And He never stops drawing you by the Holy Spirit toward Himself, so that you might discover your true identity.

Finding Out What God Says

If we are going to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and walk in the fullness of who God made us to be, it’s really helpful to know how He sees us. His is the only completely valid definition.

Here are two ways to approach our quest to see ourselves as God does.

The first is to understand what the Bible says about all of us as followers of Christ. There are tons of promises that shed light on God’s perspective and His deep emotions about you and me.

  • We are completely forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1)
  • We ravish his heart with one glance of our eyes (Song 4:9)
  • We are deeply loved (John 17:23)
  • We are one with Christ (Ephesians 2:6)

These are just a few of the amazing truths found in God’s Word about who we are in Jesus.

When God Speaks About You

The second part of understanding how God sees you is to grasp how He uniquely looks at you and you alone, in addition to the general truths we just mentioned.

The cool thing is that we can ask him to show us! God is a good Father, and He has really awesome and amazing things to say to us about who we are as His children. Have you ever asked him to show you and waited for Him to speak to your heart?

I’ve never heard the audible voice of the Lord, but there are many other ways in which I have heard him speak.

  • The Word – specific passages that the Lord highlights to reveal truths that God wants to emphasize about me.
  • Pictures – God has frequently used images in my mind to convey truths to my heart that go beyond words.
  • Music and worship – God touches me deeply through music, because he made me a musician, and He has a musical spirit.
  • Impressions – The Holy Spirit has imparted feelings and emotions to my heart directly.
  • Dreams – I don’t dream often, but I have had a few that were clearly from God.
  • Visions – similar to dreaming while I’m awake or a moving version of pictures.

Understanding the heart of God toward you may come from one of these, a combination of several ways, or something different altogether. The main thing is to seek and ask and be open to hearing in different ways. Believe that the Father really wants to speak to you, because your identity is hugely important to Him.

Others can also help you understand the heart of God toward you but use caution. Not everything that people tell you about your identity will necessarily agree with God. Test it. Pray about it, seek confirmation and clarity. Only receive from those whose spiritual discernment you trust.

Your Spouse’s Role

Because you and your spouse are one, he or she may know you better than anyone else. However, if they only define you by what they see in the natural, then they are only getting a partial picture.

Your spouse does not get to define who you are. They can agree with what God says about you and support you walking toward that, or they can deny it. But they aren’t free to define you outside of what God says about you.

I actually think it’s really important for us all to also ask God to show us how He sees our spouse – to earnestly seek revelation. But that’s my next post.