A New Identity
Text: Luke 6:12-16 | Listen to Message
What Makes Me A Somebody?
We’re all seeking our identity in someone or something. In traditional cultures, this is often in family, vocation, hard work, and good character. In progressive cultures, it’s often in freedom of expression and sexuality. Others seek an identity in politics, fitness, prosperity, or physical appearance.
Think for a moment about yourself: what do you seek your identity in? What do you need in your life to tell you that you’re important, that you’re unique, that you’re a somebody?
Okay, got something? Now apply a few questions to the source(s) of your identity:
- What poses a threat to me finding my identity in that thing?
For example, if I define myself in terms of my hard work and productivity, what happens when other people simply don’t notice – or don’t care – how much I do? What happens when they take credit for what I’ve done? What happens when I’m on vacation and I feel a gnawing sense that I should be doing something? What happens when I’m sick, injured, or disabled, and am no longer to maintain my productivity? What happens when I near retirement age and my whole sense of self has been based on my performance and productivity?
- What will happen to my identity when I die?
Let’s say I define myself in terms of financial success. What happens to my money, my property, and my possessions when I’m gone? Oh, I can be generous – I can be a philanthropist. But I can’t take it with me. And in a few short years, nobody will know – or care – how successful, how wealthy, or how generous I was.
- How do your answers to questions #1-2 make you feel? What does this make you think?
If we’re honest, it stinks that we’re defining ourselves in terms of things that are easy attacked, threatened, and lost! It’s frustrating to realize we could work so hard to be known by X, only to see someone or something come along and steal X right out from under us. No wonder Jesus said, “Whoever would save his life will lose it.”
There has to be a better way to identify ourselves – and there is!
You see, Jesus also says, “Whoever would lose his life will save it.” In other words, walk away from your self-made identity that’s based on your skills, your temperament, your relationships, your success, and your stuff. Follow Jesus in faith and listen to what he says your true identity is. He says, “In me…
- You’re forgiven.
- You’re free.
- You’re holy and righteous.
- You’re reconciled to the Father.
- You’re adopted as his child.
- You’re pursued as Jesus’ beloved bride.
- You’re a joint-heir with Christ.
Furthermore, Jesus says, “These things are objectively true of you whether you feel them right now or not. They’re true because your identity doesn’t depend on what you can do for me, but on what I’ve done for you!”
Are you willing to lose your life – forsaking the kind of identity that depends on you – in order to find your real self?