Where do you put your identity? This is a question that's been on my mind a lot lately. Lots of things have been driving me to ask this question. It's amazing how often the question of identity comes to the forefront in different places in life.
When we meet people, one of the first questions that we ask them is, "What do you do?" Identity is often found in our job or occupation. We ask each other where we are from or where we went to school. We find identity in the places from where we come. We find identity in the things that we do and the accomplishments that we have made.
Sometimes, we find our identity in our family of origin. This was the case with me when I had my first real identity crisis. For years, I had grown up as the pastor's kid, Tony's son. Everyone knew my dad and associating myself with him was an easy connection for many people. They immediately knew who he was and could make the association quickly.
The problem was, in my efforts to make those connections and associations, I lost my own identity. I remember introducing myself to people who I had recently met through InterVarsity as, "Jon, my father is a pastor." It wasn't until a few years later that I realized the ramifications of those statements and introductions.
In reflecting on this with a friend, I was unpacking it all out loud. We threw ideas and thoughts back and forth until finally, one of said, "As believers in Christ, if we put our identity in anything other than Christ, it can be taken away. But nothing can take Christ away from us." Reminds me of Paul's words at the end of Romans 8. What can separate us from the love of God? Nothing.
If we are followers of Christ, we can put our identity in a lot of good things. Our families. Our churches. Our worship styles. But those things, as good as they might be, are not the best thing to put our identities in. They can easily be taken away. And when they are stripped away from us, what is left of our identity when it has been steeped in these things? What are we left holding?
Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 5:17 speak this loudly. We are new creations in Christ. The old has passed away. We have a new identity that cannot be taken away from us. No one can steal us, there's no fear of identity theft. We are made new and we have identity protection.
Where do you put your identity? If it's anything other than Christ, it can easily be taken away and what will you have left when it is?