Three ways to ask a very important question
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.”
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.