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In order for our identity to be fixed, unchanging, deeply personal, and joyful, it must be found in Christ.

idol of identity

Discovering Your Identity

Who are you? How do you define yourself? It’s a tricky question and becoming trickier by the moment.

“This is my identity!” – it’s a popular phrase in current culture. Whatever the issue is, it somehow becomes unable to be questioned, critiqued, or explained when someone throws out this statement. Unless you have something affirmative to say, don’t say anything at all. Praise God He doesn’t take this approach!

John Calvin said, “The heart is an idol making factory.” And oh how true it is! We are forever making an idol out of a million things – often good things. We are tempted to find our worth as people, our confidence, and our purpose from sources outside of Christ. We place our identity in good things but not the best thing.

discovering your identity

My Identity as an Idol

Personally, I have gone so far as to make an idol of my own identity and I don’t think I’m alone. I have to be me. Whatever that means. At one point early in my Christian life I found my value in my church and the associations I had there until turmoil and heartache tore that away. Then I found my identity in friends until they were taken either by providence or some other means. Then I found my identity in who I would one day be – a selfless missionary, a famous writer, etc.

Now I struggle with my identity because I’ve learned, in a western culture, to understand my contribution to society in dollars and cents. Right now I am a stay at home mom who doesn’t get a paycheck for my countless hours.

I struggle not to put my identity in my husband, my children, my home, or what I accomplish. Does this sound familiar to you?

I am tempted, as are we all, to find my identity (worth, purpose, confidence) in any number of good – but not best – places.

Identity should not be in found in anything, good or bad, other than Christ. Only Christ. True freedom – that breath of fresh air to your soul, that sense of purpose, deep worth, and unshakeable confidence – only comes when your identity is found in the only unchangeable thing in existence – the person of Christ.

It is in Him that we find true and abundant life. Every other well runs dry and we are left thirsty.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no long I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

identityWhen a Role Becomes our Identity

When my role as a mother becomes my identity, my children become an idol. No longer free to work through life in a broken world, they become the source of my happiness and any struggles they face become a showcase of my failure.

When my role as a wife becomes my identity, my husband becomes an idol. His accomplishments suddenly say something about me and my personhood and his adoration becomes my chief aim.

When my outward appearance becomes my identity, any indication of a less than complimentary word or thought from someone else is enough to ruin my attitude.

When a job becomes my identity, I am crushed by anything that stands in its way. So it is with our paychecks, our friends, our churches, our causes, our volunteer opportunities, and our possessions.

Christ is immoveable and unchanging. The only lasting hope I can find is in Him.

We are called to steward the positions He places us in and the gifts He gives us. This means we can love the people and roles in our lives with genuine enthusiasm because they flow through the good hands of our gracious God. We can see our possessions or lack thereof with perspective and thankfulness without being consumed. Whether positive or negative we can face every situation with joy because the very God in Whom we “live and move and have our being” has orchestrated it all and has a real plan for them.

In order for our identity to be fixed, unchanging, deeply personal, and joyful, it must be found in Christ.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4

For more discussion on the Christian life check out A Call To Rest In the Presence of God!