Foundations for Identity

Here is the latest Parson’s Pen from pastor Jeremy: 

We are living in an age of radical self-definition.  Cultural and societal mores and norms have (sometimes rightfully) been called into question, and self-definition has swept our global culture. Each person has increasing opportunity to define ‘self’ according to a highly internalized sense of what ‘self’ means.  Our world has awakened to a radical sense that “I, and I alone, shall choose who I am, who I will love and how people will identify me.” And the tools at our disposal for shaping our identity are endless: online social media profiles, clothing, make-up, personal coaches, cosmetic surgery and even gender re-assignment surgery.  As Bruce Jenner has recently taught us when he re-introduced himself as Caitlyn–you can truly be whomever you feel you were meant to be. 

 

We have not always been afforded this much freedom.  Look around the world at cultures that still reflect a much more rigid understanding of identity, gender, social class, etc. Those cultures remind us of a world where identity was derived externally from social norms, family, custom, and class.  Clearly, both the previous age and the one we find ourselves in are fraught with perils and problems.  Neither leads us to our true identity.
 

The Bible offers a foundation for human identity that stands as a rock of truth and a lighthouse of wonder and joy for all who will consider it honestly.  In the Genesis creation story humans are the Creator’s penultimate creative act.  In Genesis 1:26 God says about us “Let us make [humankind] in our image, after our likeness.” The Genesis story declares a truth too beautiful to comprehend—we were created to shine with the glory and likeness of God, representing God’s character in the stewardship and leadership of this wonderful planet. King David was caught up in the wonder of our true identity in Psalm 8:5– “…you have made him [humans] a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” David wrote another song addressing God about the wonder of our creation and identity. Psalm 139:13-14 says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Neither Self nor societal norms should be the foundation for our identity.  Our identity is most truly established by God’s design and finds its roots in the character of God!

For the person who believes in Jesus the story gets even better. Not only is our identity established in God, it will culminate in glory. 1 John 3:2 gives us this glimpse– “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” Would you consider these truths today? Will you ask God this question: “Who do YOU say that I am?” He knows who you are! (All quotes from the English Standard Version.)


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