"What are the people saying about me, the Son of Man? Who do you believe I am?"
They answered, "Some are convinced you are John the Baptizer, others say you are Elijah reincarnated, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
"But you --who do you say that I am?" Jesus asked.
Simon Peter spoke up and said, "You are the Anointed One, the Son of the Living God!"
Matthew 16:13-16 The Passion Translation
I grew up in a semi-religious home. We went to church every Sunday, not out of wanting to go to learn but going because it was expected of us. I learned to put on a face, to sing the songs out of repetition, to kneel because everyone was doing it and to recite the prayers out of thoughtless action. I don't blame my parents at all for this traditional experience, this is exactly what their childhood looked like as well as my grandmother's and I would even say it was like that back in Ireland for my great-grandparent's on my mother's side. I would even go as far to say that this set me up for going with the crowd in school, not thinking for myself when it came to standing up for what I believed was right when peer pressure made me choose what was right and what was cool. This mindset was centered around what everyone else was doing and saying instead of my relationship with God.
When I was around 16 years old, a boy whom I had known through youth rodeo for years asked me to Cowboy Prom. To say my heart fluttered was an understatement. You see in rodeo I got to be myself. All of the kids there were just like me, we all loved rodeo, the western way of life and especially just being different than so many of the kids we had to go to school with. So to begin a relationship with someone who knew me for me was something my heart really cherished.
Back to the heart fluttering, this boy was different than those whom I had dated before. He asked me questions about me. What did I believe in? What did I want to do with my life? He asked me these questions because he had a strong calling on his life that stemmed from a true relationship with Jesus. I was drawn to him not only because he was very cute and made me laugh, but because he had something that I wanted...True Identity. He stood up for what he knew was right and wasn't swayed by popular opinion. When I talked about my religion and the things we did because it's what we've always did, he asked me why. I didn't know why! He asked where it was in the Bible and I didn't know where it was in the Bible because I had never read it myself! I had no revelation knowledge like Peter did of who Jesus was! I knew about him, I knew he died and was resurrected, but I didn't truly know that He did that for me! That I didn't have to live a life in chains trying to be perfect, trying to fit the mold of popular opinion or walk a life of man-made tradition! This boy's questions sent my life into a tailspin into finding out who God was and who I was in Him. IDENTITY! It's what every person wants and what every person absolutely needs! Without it you are a dead man walking, because without it you never truly live.
Let's go back to Matthew 16. After Peter pronounced who Jesus was to him ...
Jesus replied, "You are favored and privelaged Simeon, son of Jonah! For you didn't discover this on your own, but my Father in heaven has supernaturally revealed it to you. I give you the name Peter, a stone. And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church--my legislative assembly, and the power of death will not be able to overpower it! I will give you the keys of heaven's kingdom realm to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven."
Jesus called out who Peter truly was! Peter had heard God's whisper of who Jesus was, this is the same way it is for all believers. We can't find out who Jesus is for us by hearing it from anyone else, but from God. And when that happens, Jesus says, "Yes, now I can show you who you are! You are a pebble (this is what Peter means) and I am the Rock that you are now a part of! IDENTITY! Once Peter got a hold of who Jesus was, this allowed Jesus to reveal Peter's identity in Him. There's such a difference in knowing about Jesus (head knowledge) and knowing who Jesus is and what He did for you (heart knowledge.) To really get to this point you have to spend time with Him, that's what Peter had done. You have to listen to what He's speaking to your heart. This can happen through His words in the Bible but by also being still and asking Him to speak to you. Learn His character, read the parables that He spoke about and study them out in context. They're so powerful. I've recently been reading The Passion Translation Bible and it has opened up the scriptures to me in a whole new light. When life is tough, and you're being pulled in a hundred directions. When you feel rejected, torn down and left alone by this broken world, ONLY Jesus is the solid rock that you can stand on. When the dust settles who will you be? Will you be that person who swayed by opinions of man? Or will you stand strong because you have revelation heart knowledge of a God who is good, who came down to earth and took on every failure of every person to die for them so that they could truly live. I say now is the time to get this straightened out in your heart. Don't wait for tomorrow because NOW is the perfect time.
On a side note: That boy...well I ended up marrying him. To all of my single friends, the person you're interested in, dating or engaged to should draw you closer to Jesus, not draw you away. Being one flesh with my Kody has not only brought me closer to my Savior but taught me how good God really is. Hold out for the right one!!