A post that actually got posted on time? Hell hath frozen over!
Here is a thought God has been pressing on my heart to write about for a while now. Hopefully I can put my thoughts together in a coherent manner despite exam stress. We shall see.
Identity is a sticky subject. We all have an identity, and how we define ourselves greatly affects how we measure our self-worth, measure others’ worth, and view the world. The question I want to ask today is, what do you find your identity in? What is it that makes you you?
From my experience, many people find their identity in the things they do. A writer, a dancer, a student, a secretary, or a CEO. Perhaps you tie your identity up with a group, such as a band, or sports team, or charity. Maybe you are a sister, or brother, or best friend. All of these things are good. It is good to be a student or a secretary, it is good to be involved in charities and groups and teams, and it is good to have deep and meaningful relationships with those around you.
There is a problem, however, with tying up your whole understanding of yourself in what you do, what you like, and who you love. The thing is, all these things are in constant flux. If you loose your job, do you loose your whole identity with it? If your favourite band breaks up, or your sports team looses in the playoffs, does it plunge you into an unfathomable depression and period of self-doubt? If your relationships get rocky, does your self-esteem rock with them?
The fact of the matter is there is only one place to find your true identity, and only one person who knows who you really are – even better than you know yourself. That person is Jesus. He made you, and loves you, and died for you, and He welcomes you into God’s family.
Let’s assume you are already a child of God – you’ve accepted Christ as your saviour, go to church etc. etc., but you’re struggling to accept your identity in Christ, because you just don’t feel like you’ve been born again, or that you’re loved, or saved, or whatever. Let me explain with an analogy:
Say you’re from Canada, but you’ve been living and working abroad. You haven’t seen snow in years, haven’t had a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving for just as long, maybe you’re even loosing your Canadian accent. You don’t feel very Canadian anymore. Are you still a Canadian citizen, though? Of course! You don’t stop being a Canadian simply because an absence of a white Christmas, pancakes with maple syrup, and other “Canadian” things have caused you to feel un-Canadian. Citizenship is not based on feelings, and the same thing holds true for the Kingdom of God.
Just because you’re in a dry spell with God doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian anymore. And even better, while the citizenship analogy falls apart when you start talking about visas and all that fun complicated stuff that goes along with living abroad, God isn’t like that. If you’re in, you’re in. You’re His child, and as it says in Romans 8:38-39, nothing in the whole wide world can separate us from Him.
So what does all that have to do with identity? It means that as a Christian, finding your identity in Christ means you are a child of God. I’m sure there’s a whole sermon series here on what “child of God” means, but I am not a pastor and don’t have the time to expand for five Sundays on the subject. I’ll simply leave with this thought: You don’t stop being God’s child based on how “Christian” you feel. To place your identity in Christ is to find yourself unshakeably loved. So how does that love change the way you live?