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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Above All, Know Thyself!




by Jeremy Anderson



I’ve always been fascinated by chameleons. Some species of chameleon lizard are able to change color in a matter of seconds. They can go from green to yellow, black to spotted-brown, or from yellow to orange. In my youth I would describe myself as a bit of a chameleon. I could change my look or identity to blend in with my situation or surroundings. From high school through college, and even after college, I went from one extreme to the next, searching for my identity. Who I was hanging out with would even determine my personality at the time. Many of the personalities and cultures that I went through were created by music, television, and my environment. 

I was not aware of it at the time, but I was going through an identity crisis. It wasn’t until I matured in Christ that I finally realized I was a child of the King! “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:16, 17, NIV).1 I learned to use Jesus as my only example, rather than allowing my surroundings and peers to determine my conduct and shape my character and personality. This realization gave me a sense of completeness. For the first time in my life I knew who I was and to whom I belonged. 

Many young people just like you have moments that they question their identity.  “Who am I?” is one of the most common questions people ask. It’s vitally important that as Christians we reach a point where we look to Christ as our only example in every aspect of life. He is the ultimate manifestation of the character we should strive to emulate. He alone possesses all the qualities that make a person acceptable to our God. He is loving, kind, patient, caring, understanding, compassionate, and, above all else, obedient to the Father, even unto death.

Many of us want the title “Christ follower,” but we’re not willing to follow Christ. That’s like buying a brand-new BMW 745 but refusing to get regular oil changes or put the right grade of gas in it. If you don’t take proper care of the car, it will run poorly and gush smoke, which will give a bad name to the high-performance vehicle it is. Young Christians today need to stop claiming to have Christ in their lives and actually start applying His teachings to their lives. They need to start portraying Him to others.

Our lack of self-sacrifice is hindering our relationship with Christ. We seek to maintain our own identity instead of taking on the fullness of His character, being identified as followers of Christ by our actions, our speech, our attitudes, and general demeanor. Romans 12:2 says: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT).2

Paul also teaches in Romans that the only way we can be transformed by God is by “dying to self.” In order for us to “die to self,” we have to make God the first priority in our lives. Once we deny self, we are able to live in the Spirit of God. Does your identity depend on your environment? Are you one type of person at church but another around your friends at school? If you want your identity to be in Christ, stay focused on His power and plan for your life. Once self has been taken out of the equation, you will find your own identity in Jesus Christ.

God has given us all individual character traits. He doesn’t want those who serve Him to be robots. But when you are living life for yourself, seeking to fit in with the world and its morals and fashions, you become a slave to the world. In vast darkness, light illuminates the most. Find your identity in Christ and let your light shine in the darkness around you so that others can find a way of escape into the fullness of life that Christ offers.

1 Scripture quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Jeremy Anderson is the author of five published books and has a passion for youth and young adults. He’s also had the privilege of traveling internationally, speaking on behalf of God. Jeremy, his wife, Traci, and their daughter live happily in Madison, Alabama. You can learn more about him at www.jeremyanderson.org.
 





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