Friday, May 1, 2015

Identity

Identity is a big issue these days. You have identity politics, entertainers constantly creating new identities for themselves in an effort to stay popular, and publications and advertising telling the rest of us how to live out a certain identity. There is even a movie coming out that is about a woman who wins the lottery and begins a television program that is simply all about her. All of these have a couple of things in common; a focus on the self, and a very good chance of disappointment.

When I was younger, I built an identity as a pretty decent sprinter. I had dreams of making it to the Olympics. I even made it to being a part of a fairly well known track club, and was close to being a national class runner. I had just one problem. I reached the top of my potential and was not really good enough to continue putting the time and effort into the sport at that level. That identity fell by the way. Then my identity became that of a coach and teacher. I lived that out for a good long time until it too went away. I have had to learn the hard way that my true identity is as a beloved child of the Creator of the universe.

For a person who follows Jesus, the only identity that matters, and the identity from which everything else flows, is our identity as children of a loving Father and as co-heirs with Jesus of everything the Father has. We have been adopted as children with all of the rights and responsibilities of a son or daughter of the King. That identity is something that will never change and will never disappear, no matter what.

This identity means that it really doesn't matter what others think of us, because God loves us. He not only loves us, he likes us and thinks we're pretty special. It also means that our future is secure. Not only is it secure, but the renewal of creation is somehow tied in with our final redemption. That blows my tiny little mind! Our identity means that we are part of a family that stretches all over the world and through time. We never lack for brothers and sisters.

Our identity carries with it responsibilities as well as privileges. Because God is our Father, we are to live in such a way that folks see the family resemblance in us. We should be the spittin' image of our Abba. That means that we strive to treat others with the same grace and love with which our Father treats us, especially those who are part of the family. Our brothers and sisters should be as dear to us as they are to the Father. Since our final redemption is somehow connected to the restoration of creation, we have a responsibility to see creation as something good, to be cared for and stewarded as a gift from our loving Father. That also means using whatever creative gifts God has given us to bless others ands bring glory to our Father.

There is no greater identity than that of a beloved child of Abba. God help us to live in that reality.

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