The Search for Identity
Have you ever struggled to find your worth? How do you identify yourself? What do you look to as your identity? The culture we live in has taught us to find our identity in different ways — all of which will prove to be empty and unsatisfying views of self and cannot and do not sustain us.
For instance, a common question to ask someone after their name is usually, “What do you do for a living?” We have trained and been trained to find our sense of worth or belonging with what we do in the world.
Or, our culture teaches you to obey the world’s first commandment: love yourself. Therefore, we find our identity in self, whether that is our sexual identity, our marital status, or our familial relationships.
The world has delivered to us a lie crafted by the Deceiver: you create your identity, you determine reality. And like all lies from the Devil, this too will prove to be fatal, empty, and vain, bringing only death and sorrow.
Ever since the entrance of sin into the world in the Garden, every one is searching to find their identity apart from God. As Ecclesiastes rightly repeats, this search is vanity (see Ecclesiastes 1:2-11).
The Undoing of Identity
When we attempt to create our identity in terms of who we (think) we are or by what we do, this will only serve us temporarily. If you ground your identity in what you do — what happens when you are stripped of your job?
If you bound yourself up with your sexuality, what happens when you find emptiness and sorrow in the temporary fulfillment of sexual pleasure, or lack thereof? When your worth is found in what you own or who you are apart from, what happens when all these are lost and crumble?
We would consider it loving for a surgeon to expose the decay in our bodies and to cut it out in order to heal us. Could it be that in God’s wise and gracious providence, He has ordained your trouble and calamity to expose your faulty foundation?
Hebrews 12:5-6 (ESV), “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.'”
The Lord wounds to heal; He severs to mend; He exposes to bind up (see Job 5:18; Hosea 6:1). In all of your troubles, God’s kind hand of providence has ordered all of them so that you might find your all in Him. Only in Christ does the Father prune us to increase our holiness.
God often drains our broken cisterns that hold no water so that we would find our all in the fountain of living water.
The Foundation of Identity
According to the Bible, the more we study God the more we shall better understand our personhood. Man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) to glorify God in all that they do (1 Corinthians 10:31). In Christ, you have died and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (see Galatians 2:20).
Hear the heart-enthralling good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that liberates us from the slavery and dread of attempting to find our identity in ourselves, our work, our status, or our sexuality:
- Galatians 3:28 (ESV), “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
- Colossians 3:11 (ESV), “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
Why? You have been united to Christ by faith. All you are is bound up in Him. Your standing before God is as righteous as the Son of God, your purpose on earth is to glorify God, and your communal belonging is found in the church of God.
Allow one of my favorite verses in all of Holy Writ to end this joyful news, Colossians 3:3-4 (ESV):
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”