“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 NIV)
When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” he was defining himself. He was saying, “I know who I am.” More than 18 times in the Bible, Jesus says, “I am” and then gives a description. He described himself as the door, the bread of life, the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life. Over and over, he defines himself. Jesus knew who he was and, as a result, he was not under pressure.
This is the principle of identity. As long as you are unsure of your identity, you're going to be pressured to fit into other people's molds. They will manipulate you. They will try to make you into what they think you ought to be rather than what God made you to be.
One of the major causes of stress comes from trying to be somebody that you're not. When you are fearful that someone's going to find out what you're really like, that you might not be able to keep up the façade, it causes stress.
The only way you can counterbalance outside external pressures is to have an internal sense of satisfaction about who you are and who God made you to be. You discover who you are by knowing whose you are.
The Bible says that you were created by God. You are deeply loved by him. You are accepted as you are. He has a plan for your life. Until you settle this issue of identity, you will be insecure and you will be pressured by stress. You cannot serve other people until you settle this issue.
Jesus constantly did things that surprised everybody else. He put himself below others and served them. None of the other disciples would have ever thought to wash each other’s feet in the Upper Room because of their insecurity. But Jesus always served from a position of strength. He knew who and whose he was, so it didn't matter that he lowered himself to serve them.
Service comes from self-esteem. Until you overcome your insecurity and feel good about yourself, you won't feel like helping anyone else. Be secure in who you are and whose you are so that you can effectively serve others.
Talk About It
What are the differences in what the world and others say about you and what you believe God would say about you?
On whose opinion do you want to base your self-esteem? How will that decision affect the way you serve in ministry?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.