Answer this question, “Who are you?” You have 1 minute and can use no more than 150 words. Go!
If you did this exercise (or especially if you listened to someone else do it) you soon discover what is revealed is more than simply the sum of the words used. You get a picture of how the person defines their identity. Was the answer about looks? Strengths? Weaknesses? Experiences? Beliefs? Relationships to others? Activities? Accomplishments? Failures?
The phenomenon of meeting people over the internet has spawned a great deal of related issues. One of the most infamous is finally meeting someone face to face, only to discover that they bear little resemblance to the person they described themselves to be. Was it outright deceit or merely self-deception?
One of my core beliefs is this: How I primarily identify myself determines how I approach life. Why is this idea so foundational? Because if your primary identity is rooted in things that are temporal and changeable, your life can be upended and you can be left floundering.
One of the ways I used to identify myself was “successful”. I believed those things I put my mind to would turn out well. Grades, career, important relationships, etc would all thrive because I had the skills to make it so. But for me there came a day when things weren’t successful. The loss of identity resulted in shame because I now had a new and unwelcome identity: failure. But this too was as false as mask as the one worn by the worst internet poser. As a “success”, I approached life one way. As a “failure”, I approached it another. Neither provided anything stable.
These distracting labels, along with a thousand others, obscured what God wanted to teach me about life. My primary identity was to be rooted in Jesus Christ. In Colossians 3:3, Paul says that he has died and his life is now hidden with Christ is God. Things like success and failure have little impact on one who knows that he or she is profoundly loved by the God of the universe.
Read Philippians 3:3-11
- As Paul describes himself, distinguish the various areas that he uses to label his identity? What does he say about those things now that he is pursuing Jesus Christ?
- List some of the primary identities our relationship with Christ affords us?
- If we have come into a saving knowledge of Him, what can we do to remind ourselves of our primary identity?