Thursday, May 20, 2010
Where does your identity begin? or Out of what does your identity flow?
Don't just brush bye this question. I think the quality of your life and hope for your future depends on the answer. Does your identity begin and outflow from your birth family, ethnicity or the circumstances into which you were born -country, location, economics, race, etc? Has your identity flowed out of something that happened to you or something you've done in your childhood or in your youth? Is your identity driven by the cultural setting, the moral interpretations around us of what it looks like to be a successful man or woman? An honest answer to "Where does your identity begin?" matters.
I weekly interact with friends from our streets who have their identity shaped and often shattered by all of the above categories. "My dad was high up in a branch-off gang of the Hell's Angels. Spent years in jail. My mom used to ask me to leave the house for an hour seven or eight times a week so she could bring in a 'boy friend'. I have grown up surviving and no one else looks out for me but me! People need to know that I'm not to be messed with, I'll smash em if I need to."
Daily we are bombarded with images that tell us what kind of men or women we are supposed to be. The examples of those we worship in our culture constantly tell us how we are to dress for acceptance or in tune with a global moral trend, live in relationship or accept that relationships are merely for temporary entertainment, or what causes matter to us. We are told that all of us are just in the wings waiting to be discovered and therefore had better appear successful to a waiting world.
It doesn't matter if you grew up in 'disfunction' or if you grew up in 'health'- I would say that in regards to the genesis of our identity the Bible proves the most helpful. Genesis 1,2 describe for us the intentions and delight of God in creating a world where humanity could discover Him and each other. As far as the Bible is concerned our identity thread began in God. In fact in Psalms we are told, "before you were formed in your mother's womb I knew you."- God speaking here. Think on it... your not an after thought, your not a mistake. The opposite is true- your an forethought of God. "Before your thoughts came to you they were written down in my book."
Where your identity starts makes a life time of difference. In God you discover you were created for intentions, purposes and the deepest of relationship. Romans 1-8 is going to show us what happens when we ignore and deny this truth OR by faith we grab hold of an identity offered to us in Christ and live out the remaking of this identity.
What is central to all this promise of a remade identity?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”Romans 1:16,17
If you have been wondering what this remake might look like or what is at risk if we simply choose to live out of a self-made identity- read the upcoming blogs or listen to the podcasts on our website (coming soon). Our prayer has been that this will sink deep into the heart and soul of each one who is willing to honestly interact with these truths. Deeper often confronts, hurts and demands answers of our souls- this is what Paul is about to do in Romans 1-8 regarding the making of our identity, ready?