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Thoughts 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.

Jubilee Church Wirral Life Group leaders Vernon and Yvonne Martin

Vernon Martin with his wife Yvonne

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