Identity is one of the big questions of our time – if not the big question. There’s the search for identity: Who am I? Then there’s the desire to create an identity. After all, nobody wants to be a nobody – as Rocky put it in the film of the same name: “All I want do is go the distance … [so I’ll know I’m not] just another bum from the neighbourhood.” And there’s the assertion of identity: I have a right to be who I want to be – summed up by Elsa in the film Frozen: “It’s time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through! No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free! Let it go! Let it go!”
Be who you want to be. It sounds liberating, but it’s actually incredibly stressful. How do I choose from so many possible identities? How do I know if I’ve chosen well? What if I’m not happy with the identity I’ve chosen? What then?
What a relief, by contrast, to accept the identity given to me by God himself. First, I am made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Next, I am a child of God (John 1:12). That gives me dignity, significance, security, purpose, hope. Perhaps this striving for identity is just one of the latest ways in which we’re trying to do God’s job for him, when we’d be much better off letting God be God. [With thanks to Rankin Wilbourne in his book Union with Christ].
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)