There was no greater topic discussed in 2015 than that of “identity”. It was the most searched word on Dictionary.com and we were overrun with stories in news and popular culture of the struggle for individual identity. Whether gender, racial, or social class identity, we probably all found ourselves in this discussion.
The search for identity isn’t new. We’ve all been faced with it and some of us are still searching. Part of the struggle is that we’ve all grown up allowing labels to somewhat define who we are. Maybe we were called a “loser” or a “failure”. We may have been told, “you’ll never be like your sister,” or “you’ll never amount to anything”. It’s a reality that many of these labels stick with us into adult life. In fact, there seem to be even more identifying labels that can affect us later as adults. We begin to believe there may be some truth to it all.
What determines our true identity and who gets to make these determinations? Do these labels actually define us? Is it what we’ve done that explains who we are? How important is our identity? What does it have to do with how we see ourselves and how we then live?
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” The identity we believe about ourselves will have a lot to do with how we live. It can determine our outlook on life. Therefore, it is vitally important to see that God has defined our identity.
In Creation, God created man in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26-27) The purpose for which man was created was to relate to God and reflect His image in the world. We are to enjoy God’s blessings and represent Him in creating culture; making something of this world for God’s glory.
Psalm 8:5-9 says,
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
God has created us with great worth. With this great worth comes great privilege and responsibility. When I read these verses, I realize, I matter. My life and identity are determined by the God of the universe. I need to see myself as an image bearer given the privilege of knowing God and reflecting Him in the world where he has placed me. This is encouraging, even on days when I don’t think I’m doing such a great job of it.
In the coming days, we’ll be looking at how in Christ, our identity is secure. It’s been determined beforehand by God. In growing as disciples of Jesus, we grow in our understanding of who we truly are and get to live into that identity.
Join us as we journey toward who we really are in Christ.