IDENTITY: Who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others. - Cambridge Dictionary
One of my favorite quotes, comes from a 1984 movie starring Howard Rollins, Jr. and Denzel Washington--A Soldier's Story! One of the characters, C. J. Memphis is berated by the protagonist, Sergeant Waters and sheepishly says nothing to defend himself!
After, Waters makes his exit, C.J.'s army comrades begin to harass him, asking why he took the beat down so casually! With all the wisdom and empathy of his backwoods training, he replies...
"Any man ain't sure where he belong,
gotta be in a whole lotta pain!"
My friends, I guess a lot of people are in pain! I see people everywhere, EVEN Christians who don't know where they belong! Some are on the wrong side of history in their socio-political views! Too many on the wrong side of the Bible in their cultural habits and life styles. I get it! Life is hard....the struggle is REAL! And like C.J. Memphis, I too, want to be empathetic but I grapple with conflicting emotions. Sometimes I'm outraged. Sometimes defensive. But mostly I'm confused!
Reading through the Gospel of John, something my pastor challenged our church to do during Lent; I found a simple way to affirm OUR TRUE IDENTITY and KNOW WHERE WE BELONG!
No Psychologist, Sociologist, or Life Coach Required
Only The Great I AM
🔎 I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE (John 6:35) - Our identity is NOT in our job, career, or work ethic. Although, colloquially speaking, money and financial security is based on how much bread we make; Jesus tells us in this verse that He is our Sustainer. Our livelihood has always been secured in God's will and grace! He is our Provider. He reminds us, as He did Satan during the temptation that, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Material things will never satisfy the heart of carnal man, only spiritual bread will suffice!
🔎 I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 8:12) -Our identity is NOT in belonging to secret societies. Over the past six years mainstream media has been engulfed with the antics of conspiracy theorists. They claim to have knowledge that is privileged and secretly coded in a way that only the very intuitive can decipher. These theorists are extremely popular as they prey on the ignorant and the lonely. They were around at Jesus' first coming and they will exist until He comes back again. But we do not have to be duped by this form of evil in the world. Jesus IS the LIGHT and the WAY out of this darkness all we have to do is follow Him. (John 3:19; I John 1:7).
🔎 I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND DOOR (John 10:9, 11) - Our identity is NOT in our achievements, academic degrees, or credentials. All these things depend on our own intelligence and abilities. It is better to put your trust in Jesus, like a sheep does with its shepherd. Sheep depend on the shepherd for food, guidance, health, and protection. They are not hunters! There's no stress, competition, or wrangling for power with sheep because they know they're going to be taken care of. They sleep well at night without fear because the Shepherd is the DOOR. Jesus. our Good Shepherd shows us the same care. We will always remain relevant and valuable to Him because we are the Good Shepherd's loving priority.
🔎 I AM THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE (John 11:25) - Our identity is NOT in living large in this life but having peace and joy in the After life. Million dollar homes, luxury cars, bling for days. Personal chefs, stylist, and hair dressers available at your beck and call. This is what some call the Good Life! But is it? The suicide rate and drug addiction among those living this life is astronomical. What many have found is that amid all the glamorous trappings their lives were actually dead! They were like zombies only going through the motion. BUT JESUS! He came that we may have true life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). When the dead things of this world has ceased, Jesus promises us another that is filled with hope. Glorified bodies that will not know pain or death. Mansions that won't need security cameras. Relationships that are authentic and lasting. Instead of red carpets, we'll walk every day on gold, encased in precious jewels. This is a life worth waiting for!
🔎 I AM THE WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE (John 14:6) - Our identity is NOT in a position, title, gender or sexual preference. It is very human to desire what is pleasurable to the flesh and feeds the ego (I John 2:15-16). The god of this world knows this! So he twist these desires in a way that is not only acceptable but deemed normal. But a Lie is never normal! With his limited power, Satan places aberrations in positions of authority or celebrity to make them appealing to the darkened mind. He then creates division among Christians, pitting groups exalting their natural heritage against those who cling to their spiritual one in order to weaken our Spiritual witness!
🔎 I AM THE TRUE VINE (John 15:1) - Our identity is NOT in our on-line persona, or social media connections. Working hard for the perfect selfie; staging backgrounds for a more interesting and appealing image, doesn't mean others think you are! Jesus tells us that we make our best impression when we stay Connected to Him. We do this through reading, studying, and meditating on His Word and sincere prayer. Do your really want to know how you are perceived? Forget your natural face and look intently into the Word (James 1:22-25). See yourself as God sees you (I Corinthians 13:12) not the dull, blurry images of shares and likes!
YOUR IDENTITY IS NOT IN ANY OF THE ABOVE SO LET GOD TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE...
You are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, God's holy nation,
God's special possession,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness
into His wonderful light.
(I Peter 2:9)