Who are you?
It is a loaded question that stumps many. The dictionary defines identity as the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. Each of us has a self-defined identity whether you acknowledge it or not.
So what is your identity?
I asked several people this question and after a long pause, many launched into lengthy descriptions of a role, a position, demographic characteristics, status or even their achievements. The responses consisted of am an employee of a certain organization, a mother of three, a wife, part of a certain social group, I live in this certain area of town, I am part of this socioeconomic group, I am part of this ethnicity or even drive this type of car. I also heard responses based in skill, talent or achievements pertaining to intelligence, hard work, wit, extraordinary talent or even financial acumen.
Most of the responses were quite impressive but all flawed. All flawed because they are completely and utterly fickle and can fail us at a moment’s notice.
What happens if you lose your job? Or you get sick and are unable to maintain your appearance? What if you have a financial crisis and can no longer maintain the lifestyle you have built?
I am not spouting doom and gloom, this is just the course of life, we live in seasons and the only thing constant in life is change.
What happens when you have built your identity on something so shaky and it fails?
It is just like the parable, Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says, anyone who listens to the word of God is wise and builds his home on solid rock even with the violent storms and flood, the house will stand because it is built on stable and sound foundation. However, those who do not obey the word of God, build their house on sand and when the same storms and floods come, the house will collapse with a mighty crash.
These two homes represent two disparate ways of life. I imagine the homes could be identical, Jesus does not say but imagine the same aesthetics, same square footage, same room placement, furniture, down to the hard wood floors.
However the foundation makes all the difference, under pressure, one will endure and thrive, the other will be destroyed.
What is your foundation based on? The unstable and sinking sand of the world or the powerful bedrock of God’s unchanging word?
Spend a few moments thinking about your own identity, is it sandy or rocky?
If you are still baffled, think about this, how do you introduce yourself to others? Where do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? These are often telltale signs of where our sense of identity and self-worth lies.
I can honestly say my foundation was based in sand for a long time and in the storm, my house collapsed so I know this to be true. I based my identity on my possessions, other people’s opinions and affirmation of me, my social standing etc. It did not sustain me, people disappointed me, the stuff did not fulfill me and most hurtful of all, I failed myself. But by the grace of God, my house was rebuilt, this time on the rock with clear dependence on Jesus and placing my identity in Him and only Him, Before launching into a discussion about how to form our identity in Jesus, let’s start at the beginning with how God formed our identity.
Let’s take it back to Genesis, yes, the beginning of it all.
In the beginning, God created the foundation of our world horizontally, light and dark, sun, moon and stars, water and land. Then God began building vertically, first the trees and the plants that are formed in the water and land, then the animals that feed and depend on the trees and plants and then God created the pinnacle of His creation, man to rule over all of his creation. Genesis 1:26 says, Then God said, let us make human beings in our image to be like us.
You look like God, let that sink in.
YOU LOOK HOW GOD LOOKS.
If you really meditate on that, it will change your life. It is impossible to feel negatively about the way you look or anything about you, if you live in that fact.
The perfect and all powerful God looks like me. The flip side is you definitely cannot think negatively about the looks of any other person because he or she also looks like God. This truth will change your perspective about the appearance and characteristics of yourself and others.
You were made perfectly and intentionally, Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
At a former job, one of my co-workers is a knitting fanatic and invited our whole office to attend a knitting class right outside of Washington DC, in Alexandria, Virginia. I have always thought I was decently coordinated but knitting made me feel like I had six thumbs and one elbow. In short, I was bad, knitting is not my gift. But i did pick up on some key truths regarding the art of knitting that helped me to understand this verse better.
Trust me, knitting is truly an art.
Real talk, knitting is complex but also delicate work, much more so than sewing or crocheting. Before you can even get into the exciting part, you have to “cast on” which is the foundational process of knitting. If you make a mistake especially in the casting on process, you have to start all the way over.
Also, knitting is not quick work, it requires patience and persistence. My knitting co-worker needed several days to knit a scarf and several weeks to knit a sweater! Knitting is painstaking work without immediate gratification, it takes time to create a masterpiece worth presenting to your loved one. Hopefully, you are catching the parallels to the handiwork of God in your mother’s womb, He made you complex and He took His time, He was patient, He worked with precision yet delicately in love. When you came from your mother’s womb, you were His masterpiece, sculpted with His perfect hand.
I do not know about you but that fills me with so much confidence and joy to know the Creator of all things, heaven and earth, took His precious time to painstakingly form every part of my being.
And we are fearfully and wonderfully made, each one of us unique and different like the stamp of our thumb prints. Even identical twins, though they make look the same have different thumb prints, so amazing!
So I have to ask, where did we get so deluded?
We began to believe we need the external things of the world for validation of our identity. But God made us in His own image and not only that made us perfectly in our mother’s womb. The things of this world will convince you that you need more, need to do more, have more and just be more than what you are. However, God says, I made you enough from the beginning, no worldly additions are needed, you are enough. As you allow me to live in you and use you for your glory, you are free to be your best self, who I created you to be.
I hope this has encouraged you to know how loved and precious you are to God.
We are just scratching the surface, next week, we will dig into more discussion of how to form our identity in Jesus.