Identity is defined as a name. A noun is a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify a class of people, places, or things (common noun), or to name a particular one (proper noun).
Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines identity as a noun: identity, as opposed to similarity and diversity. We talk about the identity of found property, the identity of people or personal identity. Being who or what a person or thing is. “he knows the identity of the bank robbers” for example.
It is often observed in a young or an adolescent, “They have an identity crisis.” In other words, they are trying to find out who they are or who they want to be. Identity is defined as “similarity”. An old English proverb says, “A man is known to the company he keeps”. When we think of identity as “similarity”identity can be qualified by the “similarity” he has with others.
We live in a time when many are experiencing an identity crisis. Generation Z, (ages 10 to 24, born 1997 to 2012), is a generation trying to figure out who they really are and who or what they identify with. The Barna Group (an evangelical Christian polling group) calls Generation Z the first truly post-Christian generation. “Previous generations had a basic education in the Bible and Christianity – but not Gen Z.” Among Gen Zers, many have serious questions about who they really are. For example, “A 2016 survey by the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group found that only 48% of Gen Zers identify as ‘completely heterosexual’ and 52% are unsure of their sexual orientation.
Identity, more than at any other time, has been understood as the choice of the individual. In many ways, it’s a choice. In our society, there are those who “identify” as male or female, or both (described as non-binary). Some choose to identify with something other than human. They identify as animal, post-human, or transhuman. ( I did not invent). Many on their journey to self-love and self-acceptance have chosen specific pronouns as to how they should be addressed. In our current culture, many people are adamant about the pronouns (he, him, his, her, her, his, they, them, theirs, etc.) used to describe themselves.
Fortunately, the Bible answers questions many people have, including Gen Z. “Who am I?” “Where did I come from? » “Where am I going?” ” What is my goal ? » “Who do I belong to? Who will accept me? Who will love me? Christianity and the Bible go right to the heart of these questions. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, all of these questions and more are answered. Especially the question of identity. As Christians, we identify with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection and the life we live now. Paul writing to the Galatians says:I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I live now in the flesh, I live it by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20).
It’s true. We have a choice in this life. God would have us choose life and blessing, goodness and truth. In the pages of the Bible, we are instructed to choose life or death, blessing or curse. God or the devil. Moses cried out in the desert, “……Who is on the side of the Lord? let him come to me. (Exodus 32:26). Again in Deuteronomy, Moses stood before Israel and announced: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse: therefore choose life, that you and your posterity may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Dear reader, we have a choice in this life. God himself accepts us and loves us as we are. I urge you to accept Jesus Christ. We could say, “Well, I can’t change who or what I am. You’ll have to accept me as I am. The good news is that God accepts us as we are and by his power changes us. We now identify with Jesus Christ. He became sin so that we could be made righteous. He died to give us life. He made himself weak so that we would be strong. He suffered shame to give us his glory. He went to hell to take us to heaven. He was condemned so that we would be justified. How do we change? We cannot change ourselves but He can. The scriptures will help us on our journey to change. Jesus said, “Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. (John 17:17) We are sanctified, (set apart and purified) by the Word of God. Paul states that by confessing Christ, God works a change in us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Word of God changes us. Peter said, “Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” (1 Peter 1:23) Paul said in Romans, “And conform not to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your spirit, that you may prove what this good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God is. (Romans 12:2). By renewing our spirit with the Word of God, we are transformed (changed) into His image. Friend, I want to encourage you to come to Christ, He will change you. He will begin a great work in you. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “Being assured of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will accomplish it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6). Friend, find your identity with the One who created you. He can do what none of us can do for himself. I encourage you to find your identity in Christ.
Gary Bailey is pastor of Light Ministries Church in Lewistown. To email Pastor Gary: [email protected]