I was raised in the “holy land” of New Jersey, where there are more Jews than in Jerusalem. My grandmother escaped to America during the Holocaust with only my father. She’d had to choose one family member to bring with her; the rest of our family perished in Europe. I can’t imagine all my young grandmother had to overcome as she settled into a new and different country with other Jewish immigrants.

My father grew up and, in 1966, married a nice Jewish girl. I came along in 1974. Being Jewish was important to my family and me, as it was for others in our community. Growing up, I celebrated all the traditions and holidays of our people. I also attended synagogue and Hebrew school. At 13, I had my bar mitzvah and became a “son of the commandments.”

But my eyes weren’t set on following God and His ways; they were focused on the fame and fortune this world offers. In my teens, I took to the streets and, in the infinite wisdom of my youth, began to hang out with the high school DJ and the class drug dealer. Eventually, I dropped out of high school and became a hip-hop DJ.

By my early 20s, I was working at a large recording studio in New York City with famous hip-hop and rap artists. Surrounded by all those celebrities, though, I saw the futility of life and the truth that no amount of success or money can make a person feel good about themselves, loved, or secure in their worth and purpose.

These people had everything the world said would satisfy—money, power, and fame. They partied day and night, constantly surrounded by other people. Yet they were the loneliest, emptiest, and most dissatisfied people I’d ever met. I was young and impressionable but could see that the world’s offerings weren’t the answer to life.

Fulfillment, I realized, had to come from within. It was a matter of the soul. So I set out on a spiritual journey. I attended the local synagogue to study with my rabbi. I also studied martial arts, Eastern philosophy, and religion. I became what some call a Jew-Bu, a Jewish Buddhist. I spent hours every day, meditating and practicing yoga, until one day, something life-changing happened.

I was deep in meditation when my soul began to vibrate within me. Every cell of my body shook violently, and then, I lifted out of my body. I saw myself sitting meditatively, lifting through the roof and clouds, and ultimately rising into heaven. There I stood before a king, raised high. I knew instantly who He was and trembled in His presence and under His power.

“Jason,” Jesus said. “You are called to serve Me.”

The next thing I knew, I was back in my body, running around my house exclaiming, “I’m called to serve Him! I’m called to serve Him!”

“Serve who?” My mother looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

But I didn’t dare tell her; the name of Jesus was taboo in our home.

I had a Jewish friend who had recently come to faith in Jesus. He’d been telling me how he’d discovered the truth and, annoyingly, had been asking me to go with him to his messianic synagogue. Until this point, I hadn’t wanted anything to do with his newfound faith. But now I couldn’t wait to get to the service.

My heart leaped as the rabbi taught from the Word of God—both the Old and the New Testaments. His words came to life within me, and at the end of the service, I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

My friend was overjoyed. He told me he’d been praying to lead one Jewish person to the Lord but never dreamed it would be me. I didn’t know if I should be offended because he’d been praying behind my back or because he never thought I’d be the one to come to faith.

The rabbi gave me my first copy of the New Testament. I took it home and hid it under my bed. (It would have been better to bring pornographic material into our home than a New Testament.)

Eventually, curiosity got the best of me, and I pulled it out from under the mattress and started to read. I was blown away by how Jewish the New Testament was. It spoke to my heart and confirmed that Jesus really was the One Moses and the prophets had spoken of.

My mother was sure I’d joined a cult. She told me repeatedly that I’d broken her heart by becoming a follower of Jesus. She made me meet with the Jewish rabbi at her synagogue. He and I had some interesting conversations.

Also devastated by my decision to follow Christ was my dear grandmother. She cut me, her only grandchild, out of her life; she even publicly denounced me as her grandson during a recorded testimony for the Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg. She didn’t speak to me for years after that, not until dementia set in and she’d forgotten what I’d done.

As you can see, becoming a follower of Jesus came with a heavy price tag. Still, knowing from my vision that I was called to serve Jesus, I began studying to be a messianic rabbi.

Jesus had radically transformed my life by opening my eyes to Him (John 14:6). He’d shown me the way to true contentment and revealed my purpose and identity. An unquenchable desire to share Him with others burned deep within.

People in my community labeled me a traitor, ostracized me, and physically attacked me because of my faith. Despite the rejection, the threats, and even the beatings, I couldn’t keep the Good News of Jesus to myself.

Being treated that way by my family, friends, and community hurt. It did then, and it still does. But through it, I’ve experienced the presence and love of God in profound ways, and I’ve found my ultimate purpose.

Growing up, I was that awkward and uncoordinated kid. You know, the one always picked last for sports teams. Being rejected so many times as a kid had formed a belief in me that I was unworthy of being chosen or wanted.

Learning that God wanted me and saw me as worthy changed everything. He revealed this truth through the book of Numbers, where there’s an accounting (a census) of the Hebrew people. Through that accounting, I saw that every person has value to the Lord.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “count” means “to lift the heads of the people.” The children of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt, and as such, they were prohibited from looking into the eyes of their master. They had lost their identity and voice. God sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt and reestablish them for who they were.

Leviticus 26:13 (NLT) says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.”

God wanted His people to remember that He was their Savior and Deliverer and that they were freed children of the King. He wanted them to lift their heads so they could see and know their identity because identity is destiny.

I had struggled my whole life, wondering who I was, what value I had, what my purpose was. Why was I even here? One day, I was talking to the Lord about this when I heard Him say, “Jason, you’re My favorite son.”

I thanked Him; it sounded awesome. But…how could that even be possible? Then the Lord showed me that His love for me, as it is for all His children, is beyond comprehension. Unlike my love, which is finite, God’s love is infinite—He can have an endless number of favorite children.

It was an exciting revelation. But then the conversation got uncomfortable when God told me to go out and tell other people that I was His favorite. “No way could I do that,” I argued. “People would think I was crazy or prideful.” But God knew better.

“Jason,” He said. “The real reason you don’t want to tell people you are My favorite isn’t because you’re afraid of what they’d think or say. It’s because you don’t think you could be My number one son. Truth is, you don’t believe I could love you that much.”

He was right. I struggled to see myself as God sees me. Looking in the mirror, I still saw an awkward, always last-to-be-chosen dropout. And when I thought of my worth, all I could hear was my high school principal telling my folks that I was destined for trouble.

I couldn’t imagine that God saw anything different. Nor could I understand why He would choose me to serve Him. I had too many issues for that, I was sure.

Moses felt this way, too. Exodus chapters 3 and 4 tells us that he argued with God about his qualifications. But God wouldn’t be swayed. He wanted Moses, imperfections and all. Moses was God’s choice. God has always used imperfect, unqualified people to serve Him.

Interestingly, when God called Moses, the Lord told him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5 KJV). Did you know that the Hebrew word for shoe here is the same word for a lock?

God, in essence, was telling Moses to remove the things locking him out of his destiny. He was to stop looking at his faults and failures. He was to take off those things like he would take off a pair of shoes.

We all need to remove the locks from our feet so we can move forward with God into our destiny. Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) says, “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Those locks and weights can be many things, but often, they include our limited view of ourselves. Like Moses, we focus on our imperfections. We agree with what the world has said about us. We don’t think we’re worthy of God’s love or being used by Him. But God says differently. He chooses people this world says have no value or power (1 Corinthians 1:27) and partners with them to do incredible things.

I couldn’t believe it when the Lord revealed His plans for me. I was a high school dropout with only a GED. But God didn’t see that as a limitation. He never sees limitations; He only sees potential.

God wants you to lift your head so you can see and know your identity as a child of the King. We’re the ones who limit our destiny. When we look at ourselves through the world’s eyes, we see only fault. With that perspective, we will never be anything more than what we see. We must look at ourselves through God’s eyes.

With God’s help, I’ve written several books, two of which ended up as New York Times bestsellers. I also travel the world, appear on national television, and teach people worldwide through my ministry, Fusion Global. And this high school dropout has a master’s degree. Who could have imagined? Certainly not my parents, principal, community, rabbi…or me!

But God imagined it, and He imagines marvelous things for you, too. God sees incredible greatness in you, but first, you must realize that your identity and value don’t come from your community, affiliation, possessions, or accolades. Your identity, value, and purpose come from how God sees you. And how does He see you? You are His number one son or daughter. Believe it!

To become His number one, you must first embrace His one and only begotten Son, Jesus (John 3:16). Only then can you begin to unlock all that being a son or daughter of God means.

So many people wrestle with their purpose and identity, but it’s simple. Your purpose in life is to be a son or daughter who accepts the love of your heavenly Father and walks obediently in relationship with Him. When you step into that God-given identity, you will discover your God-given destiny.

I know stepping into your identity as a child of God and following Him can be frightening. And yes, it will be costly. But being in relationship with God is worth anything that comes your way. Nothing the world offers can compare to what God has for you, His child. It’s all worthless when compared to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8–10). Nothing you sacrifice can compare to what God has sacrificed for you (Isaiah 53). You can take comfort in knowing that God will never ask you to do anything He Himself is not willing to do.

Our Lord promises in Matthew 19:29 that anything you give up for Him in life will be returned to you 100 times over, and you’ll have eternal life. He also says in Matthew 5:10–12 that He will bless you when people mock you or lie about you or speak evil against you because of your faith, and that a great reward awaits you in heaven.

This life you are experiencing is not all there is. There’s so much more, and God wants to give it to you. The Bible is clear: God loves you and chooses you. The question is, will you love and choose Him in return? Only then will you find your identity and experience your ultimate purpose.


JASON SOBEL’s personal revival led him to pursue revival on a global level through his nonprofit, Fusion Global. His outreach reconnects Jewish and Christian followers of Jesus through relevant and inspired teaching. Jason works with influential creatives and collaborates with many spiritual, entertainment, and marketplace leaders His unique message empowers audiences worldwide to discover their potential and understand their full inheritance in Christ. To learn more about his outreach or his NYT bestselling books, visit fusionglobal.org.