Summary: This is the first sermon in the series called Perspectives, where we look at a few important things in life from a Christian perspective.
# 1 – IDENTITY
Hello and welcome to the 1st of a series of talks on ‘Perspectives.’
If you’re reading this message with someone, turn to them and say, “Hi Who are you?” (If you’re reading it alone, of course, just read). You know we never greet somebody with the words “Hi, Who are you right?” If it’s family members in the morning we just say ‘Good Morning’ perhaps ‘How are you?’ if it’s a friend we’d say, ‘How are you?’ but we’d never say, ‘Hi, Who are you?
Today we’re going to be looking at a very important question, a question that’s on the minds of millions of people. A question that mankind has been trying to answer for centuries. It’s the question of identity, ‘Who am I?’ You know, deep inside all of us lingers this question. We don’t wake up every morning with this question being the first one that we are trying to answer, but unconsciously we go through our day very often trying to answer this question, and we are going to see what are the different ways we seek, to try to answer this question.
Until we discover the answer to this question, we’re going to continue to search for the rest of our lives. Now take a look around the place you are right now. Identify any man-made thing and you will find that every single item has a name. Everything has a name, you call it a phone, you call it a Mic stand, you call it a laptop, you call it a window frame, whatever it is, it’s got a name right and it’s made by man.
Just like that, you and I have a name, an identity and we need to discover what that identity is. You know we have various ways we seek to answer this question of ‘Who am I?’ It is unconscious, but we employ various methods in our lives every day.
I am going to use ‘P’s’ to make it easy to remember. For some of us, we derive our identity from our Physical Appearance. Our looks matter. We think that if we are good looking in the eyes of the world we are somebody, and if in the eyes of the world we are not good looking we are nobody. For other people is it their Physical Abilities or their skills. Their skills define who they are. There are others for whom their proficiency defines them. Their knowledge, how much they know. For others it is their Position; their position in their families, their position in the school, college, work-spot, society, in the country. Their position matters so much. For others it could be their Possession, the wealth or their property. People want to have more and more, because they feel that defines them. The more I have the more I am, the less I have the less I am. Some other’s get their identity from the Power that they can wield over people, the power they have over people, the amount they can control people. For still other’s it’s their Past that matters so much, their background, the things they have achieved in the past, that defines them. You’ll find such people talking about all the things they have done over the years, trying to impress others so they get a sense of identity from their past. For some others their Parents give them a sense of identity, their parents or grand-parents. You will find such people talking about their Parents or Grand Parents a lot, because they sense that’s who I really am. The son of or the daughter of, or the grand-child of so and so. For others their Popularity defines them. It’s who they know that matters. It’s how many people they know that matters. If they have lots of friends, if they are known by lots of people, if they are famous well, then they are somebody and if they are not, they feel they are nobody. For some others it’s their Performance, their work, things they do define them. Others get their identity from the amount of Pleasure they can have. For them life is all about having lots and lots of fun, and if they can have fun that defines them.
All of the above things fall short of defining us for who we are because over time we can lose them. Our looks change, we are unable to perform the same skills we had, our knowledge fades we lose our positions eventually, we may lose our possessions, we may not be able to have the same authority or power we had over people, our past doesn’t matter suddenly, because people aren’t so concerned about our past as much as we are. Our parents go, our grand-parents go, we may even lose friends. We are not so popular suddenly. Maybe we are not able to perform as we used to earlier, we grow older, unable to work and do the things we used to. May be we are not able to have the kind of pleasure we had and so, if we derive our identity from all of these things, we are going to come to a point where we get back to square one, where we are asking the very same question, ‘Who am I?’