This summer and fall, we are posting sections of our Life Group studies on Identity and Witness (full studies available in links). In the fall of 2019, our Life Groups will focus on the theme of Wisdom.
“Who am I?” is a question we all ask at some point in our lives. It’s normal to want to know the core of your identity and your purpose in life. And we’ll often listen to anyone we think can shed light on our identity, even if that’s a personality quiz on “Which Friends Character Are You?”
We’re also encouraged by our culture to look “inside” for our deepest desires and dreams to determine our identity. But our internal desires can change from day to day, not to mention over the course of a lifetime.
And in our weakest moments, we can even lie to ourselves. Maybe it’s a survival instinct, or a delusion, or a choice so we don’t have to face a difficult truth. But we all do it. And some of the worst lies are about our identity:
The common lie being that we are only what we make of our lives—accomplishments, failures, wealth, good deeds, biggest mistakes, on and on. Sometimes we lie to make ourselves worse than we are, but mostly we lie to present ourselves in a softer light.
We begin this study with the truth that we are not our own creations or who others say that we are. We have a Maker who loves us and gives us value. And though the story of our lives includes the place we’re born into, the choices we make, and the relationships we build, our core identity is established in relationship with a loving Creator.
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.” –George MacDonald
The book of Genesis is a book of beginnings. And it’s a good place to start thinking about human identity. In chapter one, God gives structure and purpose to the world. Each day he looks at what he has made and declares it “good.” Then, on the sixth day after he creates humans, God declares his creation “very good!” Humans are the pinnacle of his creation before he rests in his completed work.
God also gives humans authority and purpose in the world in these opening chapters. The first humans then get in trouble when they seek authority over God or apart from him—attempting to dethrone him as Creator. But in proper relationship to him, all humans find our place in the world. This doesn’t mean we all have the same calling or career, but we most clearly see our identity when we are in a right relationship with our Creator.
The first step of answering the question “Who am I?” is knowing that, before we make anything, we are made by Someone. If we are tempted to believe that our lives are only what we make of them or what has happened to us, we must remember: our identity hinges on who God says we are. He is God and we are not.