Have you ever thought about what you would say to your younger self?
- Take this job, not that job?
- Give vegetables a chance. They’re good for you.
- At all costs, invest in a company called Google, Apple, or Yahoo?
What insights have you learned on your journey that would have been beneficial to know 5, 10, or 20 years ago?
Moments of reflection like this are as close to a do-over that we may get in life. If I could have a conversation with the younger me, I would stress the importance of identity. Without having the issue of our identity resolved, we will struggle through life, blindly grasping as we try to figure it out.
We are not that different from the Israelites, who are set apart by God yet struggle with maintaining their identity. They found themselves enticed by idols and the lifestyles of other nations, and over and over, this landed them in captivity.
When you choose to live outside of your God-designed identity, you will experience difficulties, and consequences never meant for you to encounter.
You know a culture and society are struggling with identity when they begin to redefine matters that God has defined. This is an attempt to sow seeds of confusion and redirect a generation away from the One who made them, pursues them, and knows them by name.
God is the Divine Designer who has created you with purpose and value and prepares a future filled with hope and promise. This matter of identity must be resolved to experience everything that God has created us for and be all that God has created us to become.
In most cases, when there’s an identity crisis in scripture, God Himself comes down to set things right. We see this in the case of Abram and Sarai when God explains to them that they would be the parents of a nation as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore.
Abram questioned God, and Sarai laughed because of how they saw themselves. They could not reconcile the promise of God with the current status.
God changed their names to help them see what He saw.
- Abram became Abraham which means father of many nations.
- Sarai became Sarah which means mother of many nations.
Name changes illustrated a new identity that established a new trajectory in life. In the New Testament, Simon’s name was changed to Peter, and Saul’s name changed to Paul to give them a new direction in life.
Don’t allow the names others call you to silence the new creation you are in Jesus. You are no longer the person you were, no longer the names you’ve been called. You have been given a new identity, a fresh start in Jesus.
- You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God.
- You are a son or daughter of God.
- You have been set free.
- God has separated your sin from you as far as the east is from the west.
Don’t settle for anything less than the new creation God is working out in you.
There is a reason why the enemy is working overtime at keeping you from walking in your God-ordained identity. He knows the potential that exists when we are fully surrendered to who God says we are.
Satan will work to put labels on you, confuse you with pronouns, and discourage you by reminding you of your past, but that no longer defines you. If you are experiencing an identity crisis, it’s because you are on the cusp of becoming who God says you are, and that poses a threat to the devil.
The enemy of your soul knows that his weapons formed against you cannot prosper when you know who you are in Christ.
The further we stray from our identity in Christ, the more incomplete we become.
There is no finding “ourselves” outside of Jesus. The more we try, the more desperate we become and will settle for something far less than who we are meant to be.
In Genesis 32, Jacob is at a crossroads. He is a son of promise, but he has made a terrible mess of his life. He has left a trail of broken relationships in his past, and now the effects of his poor character have caught up with him.
Suddenly he finds a stranger near him, who he later identifies as God. But before that discovery is made, the two begin to wrestle. The abrupt appearance of God to Jacob indicates that God had been there, but at this moment, Jacob sees Him.
God appears to Jacob in the middle of the night, at the darkest point of the day, which tells us that God is with us at the lowest points in life.
God has been with Jacob, but he was unaware because he neither recognized God’s omnipresence nor walked in his correct identity. Nevertheless, as a child of God, He has promised never to leave or forsake you.
Jacob engages God in a wrestling match because he has some things he needs to work out with God. He’s accustomed to outwitting or overpowering others to get what he wants, but now he is facing someone he can’t scam.
And so, as he wrestles with God, he has a decision to make. Do I continue living as I have, making a mess of people, places, and things? Or do I surrender to God’s ordained identity for me? God will give us moments on our journey like this where we will wrestle with God over the future.
This wrestling match may come in the form of a loss of job, tension with family and friends, or the consequences of our choices catching up with us, or we get a sober glimpse of who we are and don’t know what to do.
Whatever the circumstances, don’t waste that moment. Turn to God and wrestle with Him for as long as it takes for you to discover that everything you’ve been chasing can only be found in Him.
As the dawn breaks, Jacob asks God for a blessing. He wasn’t asking for wealth. He was wealthy. He wasn’t asking for land. God had already promised him land.
Jacob needed God to take the broken pieces of his life and give him a new identity.
So God asks Jacob his name. God needs Jacob to see who He is so that when He sees what He can become, he will never want to go back. Jacob’s name change gave him a new identity and a new direction.
2 Corinthians 5:17 declares that you are a new creation in Christ; the old is gone, and the new has come. It’s a done deal. Live accordingly!