As I read this morning, I was reminded of something that happened last week. I was sitting at Pete’s drinking a nice hot cup of coffee. It was fairly early in the day. I had a long list of things that I needed to get done and I had just begun processing where I would start.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned my head to see who it was but before I had the chance to really get a good look, he pulled out a chair at the table and sat down. It was an older man that looked somewhat familiar, but if I’m honest, I couldn’t figure out who he was. He introduced himself and said, “Good morning! I’m Joe. I used to be an architect but now I hang out here! Are you new to the area?” I responded and said, “I’m Billy. I’m not new to the area but don’t normally come to Pete’s. I said I’m a Starbucks lover. I’m a Youth Pastor in the area.” The conversation continued and we talked about family and work. A little while later he said, “Whelp, I’ve got to run but I hope to see you again.” As strange as this all was, it was a good conversation with a stranger.
The piece of the conversation that I was wrestling with was how we both introduced ourselves. One of the first things each of us said as we attempted to define who we are was what we did. If I was to ask you, “Who are you?” would you respond the same way? Identity seems to be a big issue in our culture. Questions of who you are and what defines you, all seem to be swirling. We are bombarded every day with what we should be.
In Luke 10, I was the struck by something and the question of identity is central. In verse 3 Jesus says, “Now go, and remember that I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” As the passage continues, Verse 19 says, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” This is quite the transition. In Christ our identity changes from “lambs among wolves” to “trampling snakes and scorpions.”
In your life right now, which of these better describes how you feel? Do you feel like you are a lamb among the wolves? Do you feel like you are being attacked on all sides with the enemy encroaching with beady eyes piercing through the darkness? Or are you on the other end? Do you feel like you are dancing among the snakes and scorpions? Are you living life trusting God in the midst of hard circumstances?
Here is my encouragement to you; in Christ, you have all authority. As we learn to find our identity in Christ and as we learn to operate in His power, things will change. It does not mean that life will be easy and pain-free. It does mean that as we will learn to release control and trust God, we will be have the ability to stand strong in difficult circumstances.