Importance of Identity

Identity is a very important matter… just ask the person that has had their identity stolen.  It was reported last year that over 11.5 million people have their identity stolen by someone each year in the United States.  If this has ever happened to you, then you know the pain and all that goes with that.  Knowing that someone is parading around as you doing things that tarnish your name is enough to make the strongest person curl up in the fetal position.

Identity theft is a big problem, but a person not knowing their identity at all is defeating.  You can never be all that God wants you to be if you do not know who you are.  There are many people who will place a label on you and define you with an identity that is totally false, but if you do not know the truth of who you are, then you will just go with that label and live a life that you were never intended to live.

This is the reason that the key word for our church this year is "identity."  We are looking at who we are so that we can be and accomplish all that God intends us to.  The key to a local church knowing its identity is each individual member knowing his or hers.

The-Caterpillar-alice-in-wonderland-25961684-800-400In the children's movie Alice in Wonderland, there is an interesting character: the caterpillar.  If you've seen the movie, you've seen this blue guy sitting on a leaf smoking his stuff.  As Alice tries to talk to him, he asks her the important question, "Who are you?"

It is this question that has me thinking... this issue of identity is extremely important.  I thought I'd share a few reasons why I think so...

  • Your identity determines your directionIf you do not know your identity, then you will not know the direction that your life should be taking.  You may bounce from this to that seeking to find fulfillment, but it never comes.  We have been created and wired for a purpose.  That purpose is tied closely to our identity.  God has created us with certain abilities and passions in order to fulfill the purpose for which He has created us.

  • Your identity determines your determination. When a person is not clear about their identity, they may throw the towel in too quick.  Jesus talked about "rocky soil" and how it represented those who bailed out too quick when troubles came their way (Matthew 13:5, 20-21).  Troubles and persecutions are going to come in this life.  It's not a matter of if but when.  If a person does not know who they are, then they will be quick to run or quit and miss what may be intended for them.  The pressures that we face in life may not be attacks from Satan or our sinful flesh but character builders from God (James 1:2-4).

  • Your identity determines your dependency.  The fact is that we are all dependent beings.  We may like to be independent, but we all depend on something to get along.  Someone once said that each person is created with a God-shaped hole that calls for filling.  Different people will look to fill that hole with different things: relationships, money, fame, drugs, alcohol… the list goes on.  The fact that it is a God-shaped hole means that only one thing can fill it = God.  If we are not sure of our identity, then we will spend our lives being dependent on things that were never intended to sustain us or give us meaning.

  • Your identity determines your destinationGod has created a part of human beings to live for eternity.  Though the body will die one day, the soul will live on.  The question is "where will it live on?"  There are only two options: heaven and hell.  In two places in the New Testament (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 20:11-15), the Bible shows that the factor that determines where you will spend eternity is not what you do, but your identity.  Does Christ know you?  Is your name in the Book of Life?  It is interesting how a person's name in the Bible is tied so closely to their character and identity (Adam, Eve, Jacob, Esau, Moses, Jesus).

** This material was taken from a sermon that I preached at Bethany Baptist Church on January 5, 2014.


blissfulfinds said...

Reblogged this on blissfulfinds and commented:
I think we all have an identity problem. It's really hard to try and find who you are when you want to be someone else. We have to learn that God created us and our identity and shown through him.... This reading really inspired me. Thank You!!

Anthony said...

Glad to hear that these words brought some inspiration. Thanks for the comments.