BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
Where should we find our identity?
By Vernon Martin, Life Group and Worship leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
If you’ve been to or visited the Jubilee Centre over the last few months…
you will know that we are busy with a sermon series journeying through 1 Corinthians, exploring the lessons we can learn from the the issues facing the Corinthian church about our identity in Christ – our ‘Identity confirmed’ series. So, I’ve been thinking…. and interestingly, the word ‘identity’ doesn’t appear in the Bible; but let’s leave that there for now.
The term itself is a reasonably modern one and has its origins in psychology and social science. So, it’s a social construct; it was coined to answer the question “Who am I?” in an attempt to help people understand who they are in relation to others, their family and peers, the media and organisations we are part of and other connections in everyday life.
But how good is this! Linguistically, it’s taken from the Latin word ‘identitas’, meaning ‘the same’ or ‘sameness’ or ‘oneness’. The same word we get the English word ‘identical’ from.
As a Christian, this term takes on a unique meaning. In answering the question “Who am I” we’re not to look into ourselves to find the answer. Psychology encourages us to do that – who you are meant to be can found inside of you. What you want in life. Your desires. Your dreams. Your impulses and wants. Ironically, the answers to these questions end in everything less than “who I am”. It ends in a career. It ends in a sexual orientation. Or it ends in a lifestyle choice that leads to being unfulfilled. The ultimate question of “Who am I?” remains unanswered. Why? Because the desires of your heart, or what is inside of you is ultimately NOT what define you as a person or give you your identity.
“Who am I?” The answer is “NO” and a resounding “NO” at that!
The correct question to ask is “Who is God?” We have to start there if we are to understand who we are or, more precisely, who we are meant to be.
Scripture tells us that God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). So in order to understand ourselves, and who we were created to be, we have to look to the One in whose image we have been created. If you believe that you were created and didn’t just happen to pop into existence out of nothing, then there is no other logical approach to find out who you truly are. Or who you were created to be. And I deliberately say “who” and not “what” you were created to be.
Man was the only creature God described as being “very good” after He created them. But that’s about where the “very goodness” of man ends – it all goes to pot after that! Sin ruins that image we’ve been created in and the rest of our lives become a series of efforts to try to make up for our fallen state. We try to answer the question of “Who am I” in all sorts of ways, failing miserably as we do!
The word of God is clear – Christ shows us who God is and in whose image we were created. ‘He is the image of the invisible God’ – Colossians 1:15. If you want to find out who you were meant to be, look to the One in whose image you were created. Look to Christ.
The lessons we can learn from the issues facing the Corinthian church are as relevant today as they were in the first century. Division. Worldly wisdom. Idolatry. Greed. Lust. Greed. Sexual freedom. And the list goes on…. Bear in mind that these were issues in the church, not outside the church!
I’ve been so challenged since we’ve started this series. Our identity is found in Christ, we are called to be more like the One in whose image we are created. How wonderful it is to know that He is not only the one who made us in His image, but that He gives us our identity and allows us to see how far short we fall of what He intended for us. Then, he gives us His Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to make us more and more like Him.
Vernon Martin with his wife Yvonne
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?