As a piece of flotsam in the cosmos we may try to forge and identity by describing ourselves – by things we have acquired, a badge we wear or by an up-market car we drive. We may affirm ourselves by what we are or what we are not. We are not like the thriftless poor, we tell ourselves. We are practical folks. We do not belong to the chattering classes. We’ve had enough of complexity. If to us education is suspect then ignorance is surely bliss. Let’s all be Trumps and save the world through selfishness and ignorance! Who needs knowledge when you can rely on common sense?
Or maybe we find an identity in being aware and educated – not like the ignorant who find certainty in lack of knowledge. We, as distinct from they, the non-evolved and neanderthal are sophisticated and politically correct. All of the above are a variety of identity, but identity of a superficial kind. This is an identity formed from the knowledge of good and evil and from dichotomies of our own making. Not from I AM but from I AM NOT.
Someone wrote up their identity in Facebook as an ex-member of a fundamentalist sect. I could understand her jubilation in being free, but could see that she was not as free as she imagined. As a ‘former Calathumpian’ she remained tied to her old identity. She now possessed an identity based on a negative. I once wrote in Facebook that I was a charismatic. Later I changed it to something else. Now I intend to put that I am a son of God. This is our foundational identity that we can possess freely. It is all we need to be whole, content and to grow – to be our real selves and not some effect of some other person or thing.
Christ is our life. We have an identity in Him in spirit and in truth. Attempting an identity in anything less – even in His stuff leaves us less than ourselves. Father’s command is to believe His Son. Jesus’ testimony is that He is our life. We can try to sculpt an identity from a religious community and ‘a perspective.’ But this smothers our relationship with Father and debilitates our self. Harmless it is not, because this is how tares are planted in Kingdom soil.
Jesus gives us our real identity in Father. In anything else we are less than we are. In Him we are more than we are in the moment and positioned for infinite growth into our real selves as priests and kings who reign on the earth.
‘I am this’ and ‘I am not that,’ is our identity in the life of Adam. But since we are no longer in Adam and have not been since Jesus’ resurrection – our identity is no longer found in what we espouse or what we deny. It is found in Jesus. We find it in Father as daughters and sons. This is a growing thing. But as we rest in Father rather than scurry and fret in things and obsessions we grow up into Christ – which means we advance in the spirit of sonship, bringing glory to God and glory to who we were born to be.