Written by Millie Liao, Art by Jeff Yeh
After accepting Jesus into my life at the age of 14, I found it relatively easy to relate to God the Fatherâ€”the Father who loves me unconditionally. Whenever I mess up, Father God has grace for me. He is the One who provides for all my needs. Naturally, I felt connected to my Fatherâ€”mind, heart, and soul.
Meanwhile, there is Jesus. Jesus is the dude who died on the cross for my sins. He is the crazy guy who healed the sick and walked on water. He is the Truth, the Way, the Life. Sure. Makes sense in my mind, but, that is not enough. I want to know Jesus deep down in my heart and in my soul: What does it mean to have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior? Who is Jesus to me?
For the past couple of years, the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus to me as my Teacher. Jesus not only taught verbally, but He also taught through His life by setting the ultimate example. And, of all the things Jesus taught, the Holy Spirit has been emphasizing to me the importance of being secure in my identity in Christ, just as Jesus was secure in His identity as the Son of God.
As described in all the Gospels, when Jesus was baptized, heaven was opened, and the Father spoke, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” If I were in Jesus’ place when that happened, I would have thought, “Uhhâ€¦ Godâ€¦ Are you sure you’re talking to the right person? You love me, and you are pleased with me?” But instead, Jesus received and held onto the truth of love and pleasure the Father had declared. Likewise, because of Jesus, I am now adopted into Christ’s family (Eph. 1:5). I am a beloved daughter of the Lord Most High â€“ I believe it, and I want to know how to live in this identity as Jesus did.
For example, during a school field trip, I have no choice but to sit next to someone who is, in my arrogant perspective, “not cool” or “super weird.” I think to myself, “What will the others think of me? I don’t want to be associated with this person!” On the other hand, when I think about Jesus, I believe He would not only not mind sitting next to the uncool, but He would also voluntarily choose to sit with them and hang out with them. When Jesus hung out with the tax collectors and the social outcasts, He didn’t care about what the Pharisees were thinking about Him or if they wanted to kill Him. Jesus cared only about what the Father thought about Him. Jesus was secure in the Father’s love for Him and He knew that the Father was well pleased with Him.
On the other hand, when I am around a cute guy I like, why do I act differently from how I normally do? When I hang out with the “cool” kids, why do I feel so pressured to say the “cool” thing or have the “cool” things? Why am I so concerned about fitting in with the crowd? Jesus wasn’t concerned about pleasing His crowds. Even if the people wanted more healing and didn’t want Jesus to leave (Luke 4:42), Jesus knew what the Father had called Him to do. Jesus was only concerned about obeying his Father, regardless if that left the crowds disappointed.
What about a less obvious situation? When my pastor asked me if I wanted to serve as a leader, why did I feel so pressured to say yes? Was I afraid my pastor would think differently of me if I said no? Did I just want to please my pastor? Jesus didn’t feel pressured to start His ministry as soon as possible. There’s a time for everything. I believe the first 30 years of Jesus’ life (although there wasn’t much recorded) was preparation for later ministry work that was to come in proper timing. In many ministry settings, there’s lots of pressure to serve, but it’s ok to say no, not yet. We might be pressured to serve to please others or even to make us feel better about ourselves, but service should always be done out of an authentic love for Jesus and His people. Moreover, God calls all of us to serve a variety of people and in a variety of places. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that my pastor’s judgement was not accurate and that I should not hold his opinion in high esteem and that I shouldn’t serve in church, but what I am saying is: don’t feel pressured to jump into service unless you know it God’s timing for you and don’t allow others to limit you to a certain ministry area when God’s plan might be to grow you through another ministry. Father God declared his love over Jesus before He even started His ministry. All the things Jesus said, did, and taught in his ministry wasn’t to “earn” God’s love but was rather from living in the overflow of the Father’s love.
Of all my teachers and mentors, Jesus has been my best example of how to live my life and how to minister to others out of the abundance of the Father’s love. Is He your Teacher? Who else is Jesus to you? I don’t think anyone can fully know Jesus here on earth. But as I have sought to know more of Jesus with all my mind, all my heart, and all my soul, it has been a tremendous joy to receive each piece of Spirit-breathed revelation of who Jesus is. It’s like being given a golden nugget to add to my treasure chest. I am excited, for there is much more that is coming! Think about it: to know Jesus as a friend! Ask and seek for such treasures in your life. Who is Jesus to you?