We live in an upside down world. Some things are really out of whack. Many dabble in the outrageous and the absurd because they suffer from an identity crisis. Doesn’t it seem that in a world where self-esteem is focused on with such passion, the suicide rate would be at an all time low? Where self is the focus one’s true identity is lost.
It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to know we live in a self-obsessed society. Self-mania has not brought peace, but mayhem. This narcissistic, self-admiring, self-exalting, self-important, and self-loving culture is another fulfillment of the last days. The Apostle Paul said that the first sign of perilous times is “men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:2).
Signs of a self-obsessed society
- More materialism, obsession with celebrities and becoming famous
- Higher expectations but not success
- More short term sexual relationships
- Pathological gambling
- Higher rate of cheating
- Lack of empathy for others
Our self-absorbed culture has mastered the art of self-expression. Don’t worry about awkward moments in social settings, just be yourself. In an unfulfilled and unhappy marriage? No problem, leave. After all, you have to respect yourself. Want to brand your body or get that hideous nose ring? Yes, express yourself.
The pursuit of self has led to a culture that cries out, “Look at me! Pay attention to me!” People crave attention, but they have no clue who they are.
3 Ways People Learn Who They Are
1. Ascription – Who others say I that I am
The identity war of today is nothing less than a battle for the mind. It can leave one frustrated, lost, and alone. Without an identity there is no real purpose.
In an effort to become people of tolerance, society has thrown labels out the door. The effect of this attitude is far reaching. We now have a generation who is void of identity. Now peer pressure, Hollywood, and the world system define identity. Don’t let other people tell you who you are. You will drive yourself to the mad house if you try to please everyone and be liked by everyone.
2. Self-Description – Who do I say that I am?
What do you have to say about yourself? Too often the wrong questions and suppositions are asked. Too often people fall into the trap of wondering “what if.
- What if I had different parents?
- What if I had grown up in a different neighborhood, city, or country?
- What if I hadn’t quit school?
- What if I had different brothers and sisters?
3. Divine-Description – Who does God say that I am?
Jesus said to Simon, “…thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The description Jesus gave of Peter helped thrust him into his destiny.
Knowing what God says about you is the way to know your true idenity.
The Battle For Biblical Identity
This assault on man’s distinctiveness began in the Garden of Eden. When Adam sinned he lost his uniqueness and identification. The loss of identity was essentially the loss of understanding divine authority.
The gender-neutral movement of the day began in the Garden. Society has lost the understanding of roles such as father and mother. The real lifeline, the real pumping heart of society is the family. God made it that way, in spite of a world trying desperately to pollute the family.
IDENTITY BEFORE THE FALL
- Masculine and feminine – man and woman – Adam and Eve – Male and Female
- A sense of moral character – garments of light
- A connection to family – one flesh
- Stewardship of what God gave – dress and keep the garden
- A passion to be near God – worshipping in the cool of the day
- A connection to community – man was not isolated
- An appreciation for God’s gifts in their lives – Adam thanked God for Eve
- Willful obedience to the Creator and a holy awe of God
3 WAYS GOD REVEALS ONE’S TRUE IDENTITY
1. God Created Me —Psalm 139:13, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”
It is marvelous thing to know that God created the sun, the moon, and the Milky Way, but our worth is based on the fact that He created “me.” Our personal worth starts in the womb!
2. Significant Before Birth—thou hast possessed my reins
The reins are the innermost important part of my being. It refers to the part of me that makes me who I am. It is the root of my significance. Possessed here means “God originated, possessed, to buy, to get, to own.”
- Abraham said “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.”
- God “got” me before I was born
- The Lord not only created me, but He claims ownership to my inner most being—I belong to Him
3. Protection Before Birth—thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb
Covered here means to hedge, to fence about, to overshadow, to screen, to cover. God will cover what He possesses. He will provide for those He claims. The Creator of life is the Sustainer of life. The first time God supplied my need for Significance and Security occurred before I even knew my need.
The God who made me has the authority over my life. He gives me worth and value. His Authority over my life dictates my response…I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – Psalm 139:14
- Admiration towards God—I will praise Thee…
- Acknowledge His power—I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works…
- Associate with God personally—that my soul knoweth right well…
The more you know who God is the more I figure out who you are. Identity is found in Jesus!
I was running and You found me. I was blinded and you gave me sight. You put a song of praise in me. I was broken and You healed me. I was dying and You gave me life. Lord, You are my identity Now I know, I know who I am (Israel & New Breed, I Know Who I Am lyrics)
BLOG INFO: This post is partly taken from a new teaching series coming to AM called “Navigate.” Navigate is a six lesson series designed for teenagers and those who are committed to their growth and development.
The first 5 people who comment on this blog will receive a free advanced copy of Navigate. Pass the word.