BIG IDEA: True identity is found in defining yourself by who you are in Christ.
We’ve all heard the story: a beloved athlete commits suicide. Why would someone so gifted take their own life? A local reporter recently wrote an article on this topic. The authormentioned that being successful in a sport is a two-edged sword; on one hand it pushes you to be the best athlete you can be, but on the other it gives you an immersed identity that is not sustainable. Your fans have praised the talent and importance of your “athletic persona,” and when that cornerstone of your existence is taken away (whether by deteriorating health or exterior circumstances), depression, suicide, and discontent follow. Why does it shake us when we lose the thing we have used to define us? That is what this sermon series will examine.
So how do you know if your identity is misplaced? To find the source of your identity, ask yourself the following questions. 1) Who am I? 2) What makes me valuable? 3) How do I describe myself to other people? 4) What do I most readily boast about? What am I trying to slip into conversations when I meet others? What makes me uniquely “me?” 5) What would devastate me the most if I lost it?
Actors read from scripts to see how their character is supposed to think, feel, and react to others. Similarly, we also look for scripts to make sense of who we are. All of us play parts and have attached ourselves to certain identities that tell us who we should be and how we should act. Perhaps you like the identity of a hipster. Or maybe that of a country hick or a devoted mother. There is nothing wrong with this persona, but when it defines you, you will ultimately feel diluted, disappointed, and empty.
To avoid an identity crisis, we all need clarity about who we are in Jesus (II Peter 1:1-11). Generally speaking, we are image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26). This means we are mirrors, reflecting who He is. Ever since the Garden of Eden when Satan handed Adam and Eve a script, we have sought to find our own identity. So how do you begin constructing your true identity? The worst place is with yourself. The best place is with Jesus. When we trust Him as Savior, we can begin to reflect His image.
In order to practically image God, we also need to understand the WHO before the DO. The world tells us we are defined by what we do; the Bible tells us who we are defines what we do (Gal. 5:1, 5:25, Colossians 3:1). Action flows out of identity, so in order to act like a Christian, you have to know who you are. As an author said, “Attempting to live out your faith without first understanding your identity leads to a legalistic faith. Instead of enjoying the freedom that comes from a vibrant relationship with Christ, many Christians are handcuffed with performance-based Christianity, and the Christian life becomes a list of ‘have-to’s’.”
The goal of this series is not for us to feel better about ourselves or build our self-esteem using Jesus. The goal is to drain our world-identities so we can discover His glories. By the end we should be a little less in love with ourselves and a little more in love with Jesus Christ. The titles of the sermons in the series reflect the fallacies or identity imposters we are tempted to believe:
- I am what I do.
- I am what I have.
- I am who I love.
- I am what I look like.
- I am what I long for.
- I am who I have.
- I am what I’ve been through.
We have a patient God who reminds us who He is and who we are. Let’s remember to preach that gospel to ourselves every day: “I am in Christ and that is how I define myself.” Let’s all pray that our Heavenly Father will help us wake up every day with a fresh view of who He is. Not for ourselves, but so we can fall more in love with Jesus.
The world tells us we are defined by what we do; the Bible tells us who we are defines what we do. #identityrescripted
We will never have victory over sin until we know who we are in Jesus. #identityrescripted
When a created thing defines you, you will ultimately feel diluted, disappointed, and empty. #identityrescripted
Action flows out of identity, so in order to act like a Christian, you have to know who you are. #identityrescripted
Listen to Sunday's sermon here: