If a person could buy stock in English words, years ago I would have purchased 1,000 shares of Identity. And I'd be rich.
"Identity" has become an ultimate word in our culture, primarily because people want to control their sense of it. The notion that someone outside of Self would have authority to define one's identity is an affront to personal autonomy – so it's rejected out of hand.
So, for example, we now have a thing called Gender Identity, which usually applies to an incongruity between one's biological sex and one's intuition of gender. To the ears of anyone in 1923, the implication of Gender Identity would be a meaningless, laughable non sequitur. But 100 years later, Gender Identity is considered both meaningful and coherent. What has changed?
Gender Identity is one's personal sense/intuition/feeling about who they are on the inside, as it relates to manhood and womanhood. That people today rely upon something as fickle as feelings says a great deal about the decline of the Western mind. Yet, feelings are now ascendant, and to point this out renders the observer guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Feelings, not facts, now claim ultimate authority. This is nothing less than the Emperor feeling he wears invisible clothes.
As delusional as this is, I have something far more remarkable (and encouraging for the Christian) to say about identity ... and it has nothing to do with fallible feelings. In fact, the truths I'm about to share will require repeated focus and meditation to actually get yourself to feel the wonder of it all. What do I mean?
Facts > Feelings
The Bible says you have a clear-cut identity, if you are a genuine believer/follower of Jesus. Below are some of my favorite verses that declare things about me (and you, if you are in Christ) that are stunning. These verses define my actual identity. And they're better than you think.
- I am a Creature (not an accident), created by Someone Else. "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Genesis 1:27
- I am a New Creation. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
- I am a Member of a Holy Nation. "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God..." 1 Peter 2:9
- I am a Vessel. "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." Galatians 2:20
- I am a Friend of Jesus. "I no longer call you servants ... instead I have called you Friends..." John 15:15
- I am an adopted Child of God. "To all who receive Him... He gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
- I am an Heir. "Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings..." Romans 8:17
- I am Hidden. "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3
- I am a Younger Brother to Jesus. "Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." Hebrews 2:11
- I am Not Condemned. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
- I am a Temple of the Holy Spirit. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" 1 Corinthians 6:19
- I am a Masterpiece. "For we are His workmanship (poema), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
- I am New. "...put off your old self ... put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness..." Ephesians 4:22-24
- I am a Citizen of Heaven. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus..." Philippians 3:20
Let the Bold Words above wash over you. Chew on them. Mull. Ponder. Ruminate. Reflect. We're often in a rush to get to the next thing. As a result, we're 3,000 miles wide but 1/16" deep. So pause and consider these words again:
Creature, New Creation, Member, Vessel, Friend, Child, Heir, Hidden, Younger Brother, Not Condemned, Temple, Masterpiece, New, Citizen of Heaven.
Who or Whose?
What do the above identity markers say about me? What question do they answer? They do not answer "Who Am I?" Instead, they answer "Whose Am I?"
Whose, not Who. My identity is first and foremost tied to belonging to God. My identity is who He says I am.
This is your true identity, if you are in Christ. Every other identity is either false or secondary. Now, live like you believe it.