Throughout this series, we’ve seen how our orphan hearts tend to look to everything but God for the significance, security, and satisfaction we long for deep down. We’ve seen how we look to people, power, and possessions to know who we are. And, how they all end up letting us down.
But the good news is that we don’t have to live like orphans in this universe, always fending for ourselves. Jesus has made the way back home to our Father. He died in our place and for our sake. He exchanged identities with us. And He rose again so that we can come home to the Father by grace through faith in Christ.
Which means we can now live, not as orphans, but as children of God. Our truest, fullest, deepest, thickest, most durable and robust identity is simply to be: A child of God.
And as we wrap up the series, we’ll explore a few final insights on living as a Child of God.
1) The Worship of Identity:
Every single one of us has a sense of identity, a sense of self in this wide world. Now, what’s interesting is that those 3 deep identity needs engage our hearts in distinct ways:
- We tend to serve whatever promises significance.
- We tend to trust whatever promises security.
- We tend to love whatever promises satisfaction
And just look at those words: serve, trust, and love. Those are words of devotion.
Where we find our identity, we give our devotion: our service, trust, and love.
This means that there’s a deep connection between identity and worship. Identity formation is an act of worship; essentially, we are what we worship.
We can’t form our identity without doing theology because identity formation is an act of worship. The only question is: Who are you worshipping, and as a result, who are you becoming?
2) The Weight of Identity:
Throughout this series, we’ve been talking about the three primary strategies we use to get our deep identity needs met: people, power, and possessions.
There are internal and external dimensions to each one of these methods. This distinction between internal vs external helps us understand some of the differences between traditional, community-oriented cultures and late-modern, individualistic cultures.
In traditional, community-oriented cultures, the focus is on the external. If you want significance in the community, if you want security in the tribe/nation, if you want satisfaction in life, then live into the expectations of your family and people group and you will receive honor, prestige, and leadership in the community, and have a happy and fulfilling life. But notice it’s mostly external validation.
In late Modern, individualistic cultures, it’s just the opposite… the focus is on the internal. If you want significance, value yourself. If you want security, trust yourself. If you want satisfaction, treat yourself.
In traditional, community-oriented cultures, the question is, “Who do I need to be for my community?”
In late Modern, individualistic cultures, the question is, “Who do I need to be for me?”
And in the West over the last century, we’ve been experiencing a decisive shift from external strategies to internal strategies. The reason is simple: if you build your identity externally, you’re vulnerable.
A creation-based identity is vulnerable.
So, it’s not without reason that people have been shifting to an internal strategy for their identity, because it’s so much easier. But the problem is this:
A self-created identity is crushing.
This idea of forgetting what others think and just pleasing yourself sounds good on paper, but in reality, our own opinion just doesn’t carry enough weight. All the self-acceptance, self-approval, and self-applause comes up short. We can’t escape our need for outside validation.
A creation-based identity is vulnerable. We’re orphans worshipping the creation, and it leaves us vulnerable.
A self-created identity is crushing. We’re orphans worshipping ourselves, and its crushing in the end.
What kind of identity is life-giving?
3) The Wonder of Identity:
A Christ-graced identity is abundantly life-giving.
When you are a child of God, you are adopted into God’s family forever. Which means that you are significant, secure, and satisfied.
Takeaway: In Christ, we become ourselves.
To be “in Christ” is to be a child of God. And the more we become like Jesus, the more we become ourselves, the selves we were always meant to be.
Download Identity Traps Verses: https://www.moodychurch.org/id-verses