In response to Netflix’s extraordinarily popular 13 Reasons Why, a series devoted to why a young teen commits suicide, I’m offering 13 reasons why not take your life. Thus far, I’ve offered six reasons. They are:
God loves you and knew you before you were ever born.
God knew your name before you were born.
God has a plan for your life only you can accomplish.
There are people only you can care for.
If the sun comes up, there is always hope.
You are not what you feel.
Here is number seven: God defines who you are. You are not what you feel. You are not who other people say you are. You are who God says you are.
This is especially true if you are a follower of Jesus. When you invite Jesus to dwell in your heart, the Holy Spirit literally becomes one with your spirit. That’s what it means to be “born again.” A new life has entered your heart. Your old life has passed away. A new truth has come to dwell within.
Think about this reality: Your lifeless, selfish, purposeless spirit is united with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the one who breathed life into all creation. Now the Holy Spirit forms new life into your body. You are born anew. God’s very life now lives in and energizes you! It’s quite amazing, but true.
And please don’t miss the Father’s next step. The Holy Spirit, who has now become one with your spirit, incessantly talks to you (Romans 8:16). Throughout your day, for all of your life, he speaks to you regarding God’s truth. And one of the major truths he daily teaches you is your new identity in Jesus---your true identity.
You should regularly hear:
You are an adopted child of the King of the universe (Romans 8:15).
You have royal blood pulsating through your veins (1 Peter 2:9).
You are an heir of everything the Father in heaven owns (Romans 8:17).
You are the Father’s priceless possession (Ephesians 1:20-23).
You are so valuable to your heavenly Father that he is willing to die for you to live forever with him (John 3:16).
No matter what your feelings may say to you, you are who you are because of who the Father in heaven says you are. That’s all that counts. His voice is the only one that matters. That’s all you need to know. And if you believe this fact (and not your feelings), life takes on new focus and purpose. You’ll behave accordingly---based on your true identity---not your feelings.
In high school, whenever I went out on a date (which wasn’t too often---I was painfully shy), my dad would always say to me the same thing. Every time, without fail, as I was ready to close the door and leave for my date, he would say, “Son, always remember who and whose you are.”
When he did it the first time, I didn’t understand what he meant. Slowly but surely, over time, especially as I matured in my knowledge of his love, I fully understood his message. He was simply reminding me:
Who I am. I’m a child of God. On this date, I represent the King of the universe. In my behavior, words, and attitudes, I am letting the girl I’m going out with, plus her family, know who my God is. Hewas reminding me that of the need to represent my heavenly Father well, to be a good and positive witness for him.
Whose I am. I am also a child of my mom and dad. I am representing them as well on this date. Dad was reminding me that whatever I did or said reflected well or poorly upon them. I was safeguarding the Chadwick name. And if I love them, I’d want people to think well of my parents too.
Here’s my point: Behavior follows belief. If I believe I’m God’s child, and my parent’s son, on a date, I’d behave well. If I didn’t believe these things, I’d probably behave poorly.
Similarly, if you believe you are worthless and purposeless, at some point you may consider taking your life. But if you believe you are loved by God and he has a grand plan for you, you will most likely choose to live life to the full---especially for his glory.
Please grasp today who and whose you are. Even if your earthly parents don’t love you, the Father in heaven does. The proof is the reality that he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins.
When you receive him, the Holy Spirit enters your heart. For the rest of your life, he incessantly whispers to your spirit, “You are my beloved child in whom I’m well pleased. There is no one like you in all the universe. You are my unique creation and design. My eternal blood flows through you. You are an heir of all that I own in heaven. I will never leave you for forsake you. You are that valuable to me---my priceless possession.”
Your feelings don’t define you. God does. Your new birth does. You are a member of God’s family. You are a son or daughter of the Creator of the universe.
Believe this truth!
Then you’ll always choose life, not death.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)