Identity: In Christ or in crisis?

Who are you?

If in answer to this question, your mind floods with details of your greatest achievements/ biggest failures, current occupation, relationship status or any other external attribution, then you my friend, as is the case with the vast majority of us, have missed the point.

The reality is that human beings are identity sponges. We look to everything and cling to anything that promises to elevate our happiness and perception of self-worth. But this susceptibility to submit to an aesthetically alluring accolade or the sweetest sounding voice is one of the enemy’s greatest vices and has all too often proven to be humanity’s fatal flaw.

Genesis 3 sets the scene of the very first recorded incident of identity theft; the great act of deception that set the world’s depravity in motion. The enemy’s goal was simple—to destroy the confidence that Adam and Eve had in their identity as God’s children, created in His image and likeness to enjoy, worship and fill the earth with His glory. In his subtle suppository line of questioning towards Eve, satan corrupted the canvas of God’s character in her eyes; plaguing her heart with doubt in God’s love, the validity of His Word and the authenticity of His affections. The growing perception became that God gave sparingly, and withheld the very best things for Himself.

“When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin”

Charles Spurgeon

Suddenly, who God was, their reverence of Him and all that He had said and done paled in comparison to their desire for knowledge and their pursuit to be “like God”; and so “she took some [fruit] and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it” (Genesis 3:6) at which point the essence of Romans 1:25 rung true- “they exchanged the truth about God with a lie”. In doing so, they traded their intimacy with God for a false sense of freedom, and their righteousness for rubble, thus rendering themselves void of an identity.

As we study the Word, we see this poignant theme amidst the heroes of faith, who all seemed to struggle with the stability of their identity at one point or another. Gideon professed that he was the “weakest in the tribe of Manasseh” (Judges 6:15). Moses, in response to God’s instruction, countered with “who am I?” (Exodus 3:11). Jonah “RAN away from the Lord” (Jonah 1:3), led by the paralyzing fear of his inadequacy. Even the great prophet Elijah, at the height of his prominence, having slated 850 false prophets was void of an identity that could stand against the threats of Jezebel (1 Kings 19:3). Unfortunately, the debasing experience of identity theft has transcended throughout generations, to this present age.

Satan assaults identity. He knows that if he can control who you perceive yourself to be, he can control how you live. Your thoughts preceded how you function. In his most audacious venture, he even tried to tempt Jesus into doubting who He was; from the moment God announced His identity to the world as His Son (Matthew 3:17), to His dying moments on the Cross (Matthew 27:32-44). At the crux of every temptation that we face, is the enemy’s ploy for us to establish our identity on something other than God’s declaration over us in Christ- to replace the definitive period that God uses to punctuate our identity, with a question mark.

Life Between Two Gardens

In the garden of Eden, prior to the fall, Adam and Eve “were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). They reveled in the fullness of their identity and radiated the essence of God’s glory because they knew God and were known by Him. While in perfect union with the creator, there was absolutely no shadow of doubt about who they were because they were certain of whose they were.

Your relationship with God IS your identity

We all fawn over the idea of life in the garden, and in the same breath, mourn over the reality of how far removed we are from the perfection of Eden. We live at the center point, in a state of constant tension between our innate knowledge and longing for shalom (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and God’s promise of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21); where neither are physically tangible, but are just as real as what is. In this present place of spatial ambivalence, we fight to appease the itch- to create some sense of stability and cling to it, desperately hoping that it won’t fail us. But this is the issue. As created things, we don’t possess the power to form, only to fashion, and so we seek to patch together an identity that is both internally satisfying and externally glorifying … Oh, how the enemy loves this(!)

We CANNOT formulate a version of ourselves that trumps the righteous identity that is imputed to us in Christ. It isn’t possible! There is no better version of you than the one that is in a deep, meaningful and intimate relationship with the Lord. There is no “best life” to be lived outside of a covenant relationship with the giver of life! The single, most infallible truth about who you are is what God has ALREADY declared over you.

And so again, with the utmost love and respect, I ask: Who are you?

If your answer this time around is even a little less certain, I guess I’m thankful. Far better is the humble recognition of not truly knowing (yet!) than the pride-fuelled destruction of living in deception with veiled eyes.

Who does God say you are?

In His charge against Israel, God professes “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), specifically, of God (verse 1) and of His Word (verse 6). It is His word that creates, sustains, quickens, enlightens and comforts. It is His world that will remain when heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33). His Word is the fullest culmination of all of His attributes. His Word is the single, most incorruptible truth of all that is in existence.

And it is His word that says that YOU are:

Regardless of what your circumstances look like, or how you feel about yourself, THIS is the truth of who you are. This is who you were created to be. In Christ, you find your truest identity.

Do you truly believe it?


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