Socrates said, "Know yourself."
Will Rogers said, "Be yourself.
James Thurber said, "Which of you am I talking to now?"
Arthur Miller said, "He never knew who he was." And Popeye said, "I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam."
Just who in the world are you? I am talking to you now, so don't turn away or roll your eyes.
I know more than a few counselors who have told me that most folks don't seem to know who they really are and what they reveal to the therapist is only what they want to show or what they think the counselor wants to see or know.
"But this is not me! I don't know who I am, but whoever I am is better than the person I have become!"
When I was much, much younger, I was introduced to Edgar Rice Burroughs by a wise librarian. I knew what I now wanted to be: Tarzan ... swinging through the trees, killing lions with my bare hands, having Jane looking at me with great admiration as I beat my chest in victory, and never having to take a bath! I might have been a bit gamey — and people would not stand downwind of me — but I would be that mighty hero. After falling out of most trees and being chased by small dogs, I gave up on wearing the family towel as a loincloth and hosed down to remove most of the grime from my backyard jungle.
As I grew older, my heroes began to change. I liked Harry Truman. How many people had the courage to say, "The buck stops here!" This I know: every hero had the qualities I wanted to copy: courage, integrity and honor. For me, courage is doing what must be done; honor is saying what must be said; and integrity is being dependable.
Who are you, really? Do you know? What would you do to protect your identity: kill for it, lie for it, die for it? Some would. Some have.
Jesus made a remarkable statement at the time He visited an important Pharisee, "So, therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple."
Jesus can't be talking about giving up our integrity, honesty, charity or kindness. He must be speaking of those qualities we cling to that give us status, security, admiration, power or even structure. Perhaps the Bible will allow me to interpret the words of Jesus in more modern language, "So therefore, any of you who do not count the cost, evaluate the future, is not prepared, just may not be able to be My disciple."
Remember the young man in Matthew 19 who asked Jesus, "What must I do to achieve an eternal life?"
Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself."
"I have done all this. Anything else, just to be sure?"
"Well, yes there is. Sell all you have and give the proceeds to the poor." There is a risk to following our Lord.
Can we risk what might happen if we stand up for action? What risk might we endure if we let go of the security we have in things, attitudes, unfounded values and give our total trust to Jesus Christ? That's a terrible price to pay! Does Jesus really want all that? Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:39, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for Me will find it!"
When we give up that grab for power, the kicking, biting, scratching climb to the top, and turn to Jesus Christ for meaning, we find that what we always searched for was here all along.
What does Jesus Christ want from us?
He wants us just as we were meant to be. We ask, "Who are we?" The answer is loud and clear, "You are the one Jesus died for ... nothing more and nothing less!"