We are pulled in both directions… will we be identified by culture or by Christ? Will we wear the labels of the world or of the Word? Who / what you allow to define you will…
– be what I die trying to please.
– determine my view of success & failure and how I judge myself in each.
– shape my value-system and dictate my level of investments of time and income.
Your identity is not what you do, but it will help you find what you should do! Who you are is not defined by your role in life, but it will help determine your role in life! Your identity is who you are when nobody is around, when you are reduced to nothing. Even after you die, your identity will still be intact. Your beliefs [about yourself, about God, about life] affect your behavior.
When your beliefs and behavior are in line it brings joy. When beliefs (identity) and behavior (actions) don’t line up, all you get is frustration. For example, a dad may say that he is a family-man, but what choice does he make on Saturday afternoons… golfing by himself or watching a t-ball game? Maybe you want to have a spiritual life but it grieves you because you don’t invest enough time with God. Some church members struggle with putting their money where their mouth is – if you know what I mean! These will always lead to anxiety and stress – every time.
The clear message that I get from culture says – “We will set the bounds of love, family, and relationships. We will tell you what we tolerate and the terms of our acceptance.” It’s the classic ‘Borg’ strategy from Star Trek (more info) – promise perfection by assimilation into the group. Promising a better life while sucking the life’s blood right out of you. Promising individuality and liberty – all the while stripping you of your personal identity and entangling you in a web of bondage.
But God says something very different… He approaches you as ‘Everlasting Father’ (Isa 9:6) and offers you a family. He wants to adopt children – but not just any child – YOU! You are invited to be a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister. Christ already came and made the arrangements. The paperwork is completed. If you accept, you will also become an heir of the inheritance of God (an equal heir to Jesus himself!).
This is how much God desires a relationship with you. This is how much He longs for intimate fellowship with you. Time spent with Him (Scripture reading, prayer, worship) is never wasted!