How does the gospel affect my identity?
This is the first question we tackled in our weekly women’s gathering this summer. A great question for anyone, but maybe particularly women.
Our identity is how we view ourselves, who we are… or who we think we are.
Jena started the discussion with her own story. She honestly shared that she has spent most of her life trying to figure out who she is. Adopted as an infant, Jena told us about what her search for identity has been like. She described the names other people have called her over the years, as well as the names she has given herself… not all of them accurate.
She drew a house of cards. You know, the towers we try to build with flimsy playing cards… the ones that are so fragile a small breath could knock them over. The cards represented the false identities she had assumed over the years. And then she drew herself on the top of the tower of cards. Little Jena, precariously balancing on the top of so many flimsy, false identities. A small breath could have easily sent her tumbling.
And then she had us draw our own house of cards. A great exercise. My own cards were labeled with the false identities I’ve taken on at different times of my life… “good girl”… “dependable friend”… “standout student”… “no enemies.” And there I was, little Lindsay, balanced on top of a teetering tower, destined to come crashing to the ground. As soon as I made a mistake, let someone down, made a poor grade or offended someone, it was all over. Nothing to stand on.
That’s what happens to all of us. We assume identities that are not accurate. We allow others to name us. Or we name ourselves based on how we think we compare to others. And we balance on these names, hoping they will hold us up. They don’t.
Jena reminded us that only God can truly name us. Only God can tell me who I am. He created me, so he has the final word.
As a result, I can sweep away the house of cards for good. I can draw my little self standing firmly on the ground, standing on the truth, which is my identity in Christ. I can embrace names such as “new creation”… “chosen”… “forgiven”… and ”adopted.” Because of the gospel, this is who I am. Because of the gospel, this will never change.
And one day, I will receive a new name. At the end of my race, I will be given a white stone (Revelation 2:17). On that stone will be written a name that no one will know except Jesus and me. A good name, a true name. My real identity. My strong foundation. I can stand on that forever.