Summary: How do we identify ourselves? By our name? By our job? By our income level? We can be accomplished and have many people admire us and gain a positive reputation. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t still wonder who we really are. Having an identity crisis
INTRODUCTION: How do we identify ourselves? By our name? By our job? By our income level? We can be accomplished and have many people admire us and gain a positive reputation. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t still wonder who we really are.
Take Nicole Kidman. She is an accomplished, well respected actress who can earn over 15 million dollars per film and yet here is a woman who has been quoted as saying, “I don’t know who I am, or what I am, or where I’m headed.” So we see that worldly success does not gain for us a meaningful identity. We may still be left wondering who we really are. Having an identity crisis is especially problematic if you’re a Christian.
1) Identity theft. Identity theft is a big problem in society today. It’s an even bigger problem when we’re dealing with spiritual identity theft.
• Satan tries to steal our identity. Jesus said in John 10:10 that Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. One of the things Satan wants to steal is our identity in Christ. Satan wants those who made a genuine commitment to Christ to feel that they are not accepted by God. That their conversion was a farce. How does he do that? By getting us to base our salvation on works, just like he tries to do for the non-Christian. So, when I mess-up I am either no longer a Christian or I never was to begin with. Therefore, my identity as a Christian is determined by my performance. One of the big problems with Satan’s identity theft is that if Satan can get you to forget who you are, then you will be powerless and defeated. Satan wants to steal our likeness to Christ. Part of his purpose in stealing our identity is to erase any identifying characteristics of Jesus in our lives. He wants to render us unidentifiable as a Christian so we can be ineffective and unproductive.
• Satan even went after Jesus’ identity. Matt 3:16-4:7. Jesus had just heard his Father say, “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Now, we hear Satan saying to Jesus, “IF you are the Son of God”. Satan was tempting Jesus to doubt his identity. He wanted to get Jesus to do certain things to confirm his identity. Jesus didn’t fall for it. God can confirm to us, “You are my child”. But Satan will be right there disputing that. Satan wants us to doubt. If we do, we are tempted to test God to see if he really loves us, to see if we are really protected by him, to see if we are really his. This is wrong. This lie by Satan feeds into our insecurities. Also, Satan will challenge our identity by saying, ‘If you were really a Christian you wouldn’t think that way; you wouldn’t act that way’. Although it’s true that when we sin we aren’t acting according to our identity that doesn’t mean we aren’t a Christian. Satan went after Jesus’ identity and he goes after ours as well.
2) Who do I think I am?
• Some have a confused sense of identity. German philosopher Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher did much to shape the progress of modern thought in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. One day as an old man he was sitting alone on a city park bench. A policeman, thinking that he was a homeless person, came over and shook him and asked, “Who are you?” The old philosopher sadly replied, “I wish I knew.” Theorist Erik Erikson coined the term “identity crisis” and believed that it was one of the most important conflicts people face in development. According to Erikson, an identity crisis is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself. Those with a status of having a scattered identity tend to feel out of place in the world and don’t pursue a sense of true identity. So when we’re confused about who we are we can become convinced that we’re insignificant and unimportant. We don’t fit in anywhere; we don’t have a sense of belonging. Therefore, we are nothing. And then we become depressed and suicidal. We convince ourselves that there’s nothing to live for. We are convinced that there’s no real purpose to our life. We don’t know where to go, we don’t know what to do; we don’t know who we are. Life becomes a burden as we are weighed down with stress and anxiety. Because of this we render ourselves defective and useless. Since we can’t figure out who we are and where we belong we decide there’s no point to our existence. We’re convinced that no one cares, not even God. Therefore, it’s time to make our exit.