Why Many Christians Have an Identity Crisis and Don’t Even Know It
What the world does not give, it cannot take away.
Fill in the blank using 3 words or less: “I am _______________.” (Don’t give it a lot of thought; just write the first thing that comes to mind.)
You’ve seen things like this many times before, right?; it’s a simple, fairly common exercise. But, it’s also a very important one. What you put in that blank is pretty telling of how you perceive yourself, of what you most identify with that’s inside you.
So, what did you write? Did it have something to do with your work, your family, your personality or passion, or maybe your experiences?
I am a supervisor.
I am a business owner.
I am a student.
I am a stay-at-home mom.
I am an introvert.
I am an animal lover.
I am a free spirit.
I am a cancer survivor.
Here is something you may have not considered before: While each of these statements may be true about us, they do not define us. What we do is not who we are.
My brothers and sisters, this is about our identity and I fear that most of us are getting it wrong. As Christians, we have an identity crisis and we don’t even realize it.
I used to be there. And, I have the scars to prove it.
Several years ago, God called me out of a secure job that was relatively easy, paid very well, had great health benefits and more vacation and personal days than I knew what to do with. That’s not a job most people leave. But, I did because I knew that God wanted me elsewhere.
So, I started my own business, became a consultant. I jumped in with both feet. Worked a ton of hours—whatever it takes, right? I pursued, I chased, I strategized, I persevered. I was determined, I was destined.
But…things don’t always go to plan.
I became frustrated. Then scared. Then angry. Eventually, I became depressed. And numb. God, why did you call me to something just to frustrate me?
Have you ever been there?
Well, here’s what I learned from that experience: I had let my business become my identity. My self-worth, my sense of purpose – my security – all of these were dependent on me being successful in business. And, it was my own doing.
The good news is that God loved me too much to let me stay there. He hung in there with me, never left me. He gently and lovingly reminded me of who I am, what he created me to be.
Your True Identity
Identity is determined by birth and birth alone. In the natural, our identity comes from our birth parents. But our heavenly identity, the identity that is eternal, the one we have in Christ, comes from being spiritually reborn.
You have been redeemed, justified, grafted in, raised to victory, sanctified by truth. That is who you are.
Remember this the next time you mess up at work, when you lose the sale, don’t get the promotion, make a mistake in your parenting, or get discouraged by a health problem. Remember it, too, when you do get the sale, do get the promotion and do get your healing.
None of these determine your identity. None of these determine your value and not one determines your eternity!
If we allow the world to judge our worth – and that is precisely what happens when we try to make what we do our identity – the world will ultimately tell us that we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not handsome enough, not rich enough.
But, the world did not give you your identity. And, what the world does not give it cannot take away. Hallelujah! Aren’t you grateful for that?!
Look again at what you wrote in the blank. Is it your true identity? Or, do you maybe need to rethink it?
You can start by letting God’s Word affirm you. I encourage you to read this aloud to yourself and be encouraged by who he created you to be!
I am his workmanship. | EP 2:10
He knew me while I was still in my mother’s womb. | JE 1:5
He has called me by name, | IS 43:1
predestined me to be adopted through Jesus Christ. | EP 1:5
I was bought at a price, | 1 CO 6:20
saved by grace | EP 2:8
to be a new creation. | 2 CO 5:17
God greatly loves me | RO 5:8
and delights in me. | PS 149:4
I share a heavenly calling, | HE 3:1
a member of royalty. | 1 PE 2:9
Yes, I am a child of the most high God, | JN 1:12
a citizen of heaven, | PH 3:20
a co-heir with Christ | RO 8:17
who will one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant”! | MT 25:23