We got identity issues, people. Now wait, before you just click away, let me try to explain. My friends, it should not be a surprise to us that our social media feeds and our searches are filled with personality tests and identity profiles. As a matter of fact, some of you have probably taken a test to determine which character from Hamilton you are in the last week, or you are about to go look for it now. We have taken the Enneagram test, Meyers-Briggs, and many more. We spend hours on Tik-Tok, Instagram, and other social media feeds scrolling through our favorite people. We are always searching for ways in which to identify ourselves and who we identify with.
Sadly, we all think wrongly of ourselves in some corner of our brain and use the culture around us to fill out our identity. This is a miserable place to be in as we are never capable of being perfect in others’ eyes or our own. We are never fit enough, smart enough, artistic enough, or beautiful enough. We long to be the perception of perfection we pick up through pictures and profiles. Through this lens, we always see our inadequacies rather than the giftings of our God-given identity. On the other end, we begin to over-emphasize and pride ourselves in the world’s standards. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are the epitome of athletic, successful, and intelligent.
My aim here is to provide some insights which will help us rightly identify ourselves. How do we do so?
Destroy Idols: I guess an implied first step to this is to recognize your idols. One way to discern what they are is to observe what you hunger after or can never have enough of. We often center our lives around our gods, meaning we do whatever it takes to please them or conform ourselves to their image. Psalms 135:18 tells us “those who make idols will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” These idols, or little gods, of our life must be taken down, and the true God must be established and built up in their place.
Define Yourself First in Christ: This is to see what Christ says about you and what he is making you to be. You should know you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Ephesians 1 also gives us a wonderful picture of who we are in Christ, saying we are chosen, adopted, redeemed, and assured in him. Even more so, God is doing the work to shape us in his image. No, we will not be perfect, but he is perfecting us. We are no longer living “according to the ways of this world” (Eph. 2:2), but we are his “workmanship, created for good works” (Eph. 2:10). I pray your primary way of identifying yourself is as one loved and saved by Jesus Christ.
Discern Between Good Roles and the Best Roles: This does not mean all other identities mean nothing. These identities are even God-given and good. For example, God identifies humans as male and female (Gen 1:27). Also, around his throne, he identifies a multitude from “every nation, tribe, people and language” (Rev. 7:9). It is a good thing you are identified by God as male, female, husband, wife, black, white, hispanic, Texan, an 8 on the enneagram, and ENFJ. These are good gifts given by God. The best gift, and our primary identity though, is that he calls us sons and daughters.
What I do hope is that we know we are in Christ and there is no better way to identify ourselves. All others flow from his goodness.