We're bombarded daily with messages about identity.
Your identity is your Myers-Briggs type.
Your identity is your job or your passion.
Your identity is your relationship status.
But what about when your Myers-Briggs type changes? (For those who were as clueless as I, people are advised to take it annually because it actually can change.) What about when your job changes or you lose interest in your passion? What about when your relationship fails to satisfy?
If you're staking your identity on shaky ground, life changes can be unnerving. It becomes less about morphing circumstances and more about questioning who you are at your core as a person.
Where to Start?
The world tells us to look within to find our identity. We are assured that our hearts are good, and we only need to be true to ourselves to find who we truly are.
God's voice says the opposite. He warns us that our hearts are deceitful (Jer. 17:9). He consistently gives the nation of Israel identity not for their unique traits but because they were chosen by the Living God and set apart as His people (Lev. 20:24).
Looking in the Wrong Places
Just as the song says that we're "lookin' for love in all the wrong places," we've been searching for our identity in places that can never define us.
We are not autonomous beings. We were made on purpose, for a purpose.
God created us. Until we recognize His authority, we will never fully comprehend who we are. Only the One who made us can define us.
And here's the catch: until we turn our eyes away from ourselves, we will continue in a futile search for identity. It is only when we stop searching within ourselves that we are free to discover who we are, not in ourselves, but as God sees us.
"Behold the Lamb."
In one of the most powerful statements throughout time, John the Baptist invited his disciples to look beyond themselves and see the One for whom they had been searching (Jn. 1:29).
We will discover our identities only when we know who God is.
Is God a merciful Father, eagerly longing for His children to return (Lk. 15:20)? Or is He a harsh judge, just waiting for us to make a mistake so He can punish us?
Is Jesus the fully-divine, fully-man Savior of the world (Jn. 1:14)? Is He the only One who can remove our sin and present us faultless before the Father (Acts 4:12, Jude 1:24)? Or is He merely a good man with good ideas?
Is the Holy Spirit God Himself, given to each believer to empower us and bring the nature of God into human flesh (Jn. 15:26)? Or is the Holy Spirit some ethereal idea, a pleasant feeling we experience from time to time?
God: A Mirror
How we view God is directly linked to our identities.
Psalm 18:25-26 explains,
"With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous."
If we see God as a harsh master, then we need to double check where that is coming from. Is that really God's nature? Or could it be that we are harsh and demanding and projecting that onto God to excuse ourselves?
When I began to understand more of the character of my God, I found security unlike any other in my life.
God is not merely loving; He is Love. I am secure in His unconditional love for me.
God is just. He will both correct me, in justice and in love, and protect me with His justice.
God takes such care and delight in me. I love spending time with Him and getting to know Him better! Nothing can destroy the joy of being fully known and fully loved by the God of the Universe.