Why You Should Never Self-Identify


At the end of the day, we all have two choices: look for identity in places it can’t be found, or bow our opinions about ourselves to God’s Word and what He says about us.

We live in a day and age when people are desperately searching for identity, meaning, and purpose. I don’t write this to point the finger at those who are struggling to find their identity. I write this to point all of us back to the only one in whom our identity can be found—God. It is only in seeking and coming to know Him that we can truly come to know ourselves. But when we lose sight of Him, we have nothing to hold on to. We end up grasping frantically for an identity but repeatedly come up empty.  

Romans 1:21-23 puts it this way:

What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. (The Message)

God did not create us so that we could remake ourselves. He created us in His image so that we can reflect Him to the world. There is no identity we could possibly imagine for ourselves that is better than the one He had in mind when He created us.

Your heavenly Father wrote out the intimate details of your life in His book long before you drew your first breath. No one else can live your story. It is time your pages came alive. Living the story lines written for others will leave what God has written of you unfulfilled. But how do we find His unique purpose for us?

The good news is that God doesn’t leave us in the dark. As we pursue Him, He reveals who He made us to be. We see this unfold in Peter’s interaction with Jesus in the book of Matthew:

He asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some think He is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He pressed them, “And how about you?  Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God Himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.  And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. (Matthew 16:15-18 MSG, emphasis added)

When Peter had a revelation of who Jesus truly was, Jesus gave Peter a revelation of his own identity. So it is with us. We will not have an accurate perception of ourselves until we see Jesus as He is.

At the end of the day, we all have two choices: look for identity in places it can’t be found, or bow our opinions about ourselves to God’s Word and what He says about us.

Because He is, you are.  Because He is love, you are loved and you can be loving. Because He is life, you are alive. Because He is able, you are capable. Because He is almighty, you are mighty. Because He is a healer, you are healed. Because He is wisdom, you can be wise. Because He is a master artisan, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Beloved, in a world that is desperately searching for identity, we have something so much better than the triviality of self-identification. You have been identified by your Creator as one who is incomparably made, uniquely loved, and powerfully purposed. Get alone with the One who hung the stars in the night sky, fix your gaze on Him, and let Him tell you who you are. Because I can guarantee you this—there is no self-identity that can hold a candle to the one He has for you.

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