My Dear People of God,

I have often asked myself questions like, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘Is there more to life than this?’. Ultimately, all these questions drove me to one defining question and that is, ‘What defines me?’. Have you ever confronted yourself with this question? If you have, you will have discovered that it is a very challenging question, with far reaching consequences for us, depending on the answer that we arrive at.

For a large portion of my life journey I had defined myself but what I had achieved (or not achieved), and by what others thought of me. I constantly sought the approval of others and defined myself by people’s acceptance of me by what I did. I found my life consumed with a striving for approval and acceptance and at the core my being, I knew I was performance driven – because it held the key to my place in life. Sadly, I was always restless and never really fulfilled. All my efforts seemed meaningless and it felt that I would never really be accepted unless I kept doing and doing – what a mess! Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes talks about the pointless exercise and exploits of trying to perform and achieve – just to be accepted and make our mark in life (Eccl 2:1-17). Defining myself by what others thought of me, based on what I had achieved or not achieved, left me often empty and with my life tank never really filled. If I was honest my life was raided by the devil and his lies (John 8:44b); the lie that I would never be good enough, that I would never be accepted, that I would be a failure – unless I achieved and performed and lived up to people’s expectations. In the end all I became was a people pleaser (Gal 1:10).  In the end I was tired and spent up – until Jesus brought such a powerful revelation into my life…

I had given my life to Jesus, as a young 18 year old, and yet never really experienced the real freedom that Jesus came to bring (Gal 5:1) – freedom to be who God made be to be and to live the life He made for me to live (John 10:10/ Eph 2:10). As a believer then, at that point, I still lived with the fear of failure and rejection, and with the constant need to perform. Then at the age of 32, the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to me in such a powerful way that my life has been redefined forever. The revelation was simply this: Father God was telling me, ‘David, you are not defined by what you have done (or not done) or how much you have achieved (or how little you have achieved); you are not defined by whether people accept you or admire you or if they don’t accept or admire you. You are defined by Me who made you; you are defined by what I think of you and what I have planned for you. You are defined by my relentless love for you and My belief in you. It’s not about who you are, David, but about who I am. It’s not about what you have done, David, it’s about what I have done for in Jesus (1 John 4:9-10). David, when you confess your sins and repent of yours sins and when you turn to me and put your trust in Jesus alone for your salvation (John 1:12) and invite Jesus into your life as Savior and Lord (Rev 3:20), you become one of my children (John 1:12). As my child, you are defined by being my son (1 John 3:1/ Gal 4:4-6) and the reality that I love you, I am for you and I delight in you (John 3:16/ Rom 8:31-32). What an amazing wow moment – what glorious freedom!

No more striving, no more performance driven life, no more fear of rejection and fear of failure. With confidence I can now say this is what defines me: ‘I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God’ and ‘You are a good, good Father, that’s who you are… and I am loved by You, that’s who I am…’.  Won’t join me now and share the freedom that I have in Jesus – to be only who He says I am and to only do what He has prepared for me to do.

Finally remember this: ‘am I trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ (Gal1 1:10). You can’t be defined by people and the Lord at the same time. You have to choose!

Bless you all,

David