January 12, 2022 : By Ryan Klinker - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
As Liberty University’s first Convocation guest of the new semester, Christian author and speaker Sadie Robertson Huff inspired students Wednesday morning to base their identity in Christ and use their influence as the next generation to lead others to Him.
Since gaining a platform through her family’s popular reality television show “Duck Dynasty,” Robertson has become a bestselling author and popular speaker. The Robertson family has many ties to Liberty; Sadie’s older brother, John Luke, and younger brother, Will, have both attended Liberty, and members of the family have appeared at Convocation.
Seated onstage in the Vines Center with Liberty Campus Pastor Jonathan Falwell and LU Shepherd directors Melanie Denney and Brandon Milks, Robertson introduced an issue that she sees in today’s culture, particularly among college students and young adults: finding identity in the wrong areas. She asked her followers on Instagram how they identify themselves, and many responded that they are “who God says I am.” However, Robertson said this belief is rarely reflected in people’s lives.
“When I look around at the world and even my following … I don’t see a generation necessarily living like that,” she said. “We are all struggling with fear, anxiety, perfectionism, self-doubt, depression, loneliness, and more. Who we say that we are in a genuine conversation does not necessarily line up with who God says we are. Why? Whatever is on the throne of your life is going to be the thing telling you who you are.”
Robertson cited the moment in Matthew 16 when Jesus asked his disciples who the Son of Man is, and they simply repeated what the world often said. But it was Simon Peter who told Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God,” to which Jesus then replied that Peter would be the rock the Church would be built on.
“(Jesus) gave Peter his identity, and then He gave him his purpose,” Robertson said. “We’re never going to figure out who we are until we figure out who God is. When we see who God is, we will know who we are because we belong to Him, and we will know what we are called to do because He gives us our purpose.”
At age 14, Robertson was thrust into the spotlight by the rapid popularity of “Duck Dynasty.” Being so young when she became “famous” — a word she struggled to accept — Robertson said she didn’t know her purpose in all of it. At a conference, Robertson felt the voice of God deliver her.
“(God) said, ‘I’m not calling you to be famous; I’m calling you to be a sister and a friend to those who don’t have a sister and a friend,’” Robertson said. “I do not know how to be famous, but I do know how to be a sister and I do know how to be a friend. From that little word, it’s launched me into what I’m doing now. Here I am seven years later, and God has done exceedingly and abundantly way more than what I thought He would’ve done.”
Robertson recently spoke at the Passion 2022 Conference in Atlanta, Ga. She published her first book, “Live Original,” in 2014 and created her “Live Original Tour” in 2016. In February, she will release her new book, “Who are You Following?” about how to live in a social media-obsessed culture.
Robertson said every project has happened because God has given her the opportunity. She said she identifies with Jesus’ disciples in the feeding of 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish, carrying Christ’s provision to others and witnessing His power.
“The disciples didn’t have to do anything besides pass out the food; Jesus is the one that had the power,” she explained. “The disciples were strengthened by just being able to be in that moment and see what Jesus was going to do. When I get to see what God is going to do (through me), it not only impacts the people there, it impacts my faith.”
Having been given such a large platform on social media, Robertson said she has adapted her status as a 24-year-old “influencer” to compel others to shine God’s light through their social media feeds.
“I love social media because I see the potential, but I also don’t like social media because I see the darkness,” she said. “Not everyone is famous, but everyone is an influencer. I want to use my (platform) to lead people to Jesus, because that is the most influential thing you can do in someone’s life.”
Speaking directly to the thousands of Liberty students in attendance, Robertson spurred them to act as messengers of the Gospel on every platform available.
“Every single one of you has the opportunity to affect change,” she said. “You have the power of God living inside of you, so do something with it. You are not too weak for God to be strong in you.”
At the conclusion of Convocation, the arena full of students joined Campus Pastor Jonathan Falwell in wishing Liberty President Jerry Prevo a happy birthday via a phone call with Prevo, who was out of town celebrating with his wife, Carol.
Students will return to the Vines Center this evening for the first Campus Community of the new year, which will kick off a new series titled “Echoes,” about the prophesies of Christ the Messiah found in the Old Testament.