Identity — from Within or Without?

    • Romans 14:16 teaches:  “Let not then your good be evil spoken of.”

 “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemns not himself in that thing which he allows.” Romans 14:22

“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

For every man shall bear his own burden. Galatians 6:4-5

Fellow believers, do you have this kind of confidence?

Before I turn to the burdens of others I must bear my own burden.

Is my faith before God? Am I living outside of condemnation? Does my walk before God carry more weight than any other, enough to ignore the evil spoken of me?

What does it mean? Frankly put, do you know who you are?

Do you carry with you this identity and set of values into every varying circumstance? In addition, does what you believe have worth? Does this “weight of importance” follow in your actions?  Both are essential.

Friends, too often we succumb to our surroundings, capitulate in a certain setting, falter in an opportunity to make a difference. Why? Is it because we don’t yet know who we are — know our value? Most likely, yes.

“Culture pushes us powerfully and pervasively. It does it in an invisible way. I must have a secure identity which can be found only before God” (Keller).

Secularism teaches that (identity) self-development comes from “looking within.”

However, Sigmund Freud  discovered by observation an “Id” in man. He called it  “unsociable chaos”

Quoting Freud on the Id, “…desires for power, love, comfort and control…vie with one another and would trample on others to reach their goal, if they could.”

We have a barbarian inside.

We also have a regulating device for masking our “evil” self and on top of that our inner man consists with another member, an inner policeman which evokes “cultural norms” as a guide. Freud called these ego and super-ego.

Who decided that there exists inside a man an order for living — a true “person,” a righteous guide?

 

More quotes: “… your desires contradict … they are elusive. … if identity is your desires, you are going to be changing all the time” (Keller).

Contrarily, success can give a sense of worth. However, that success must continue.

If success fails or falters, my identity goes down with them.

Others look to other people to have a valid identity. But,

In the case of finding another for my worth,  that one must be “one who I adore and who also adores me.”

Nothing less can bring a consistent identity (quotes from Tim Keller, “Making Sense of God”).

Where does this leave us? My identity comes from God and God alone. 1 Corinthians 4:4 teaches, “It is the Lord who judges me. I judge not my own self.”

A quote from Isak Dinesen helps us see it.  True identity comes from “…faith in the idea that God had, when He made us. A person who has grasped this is conscious of the idea, and aspires to realize it. He does not aspire to happiness or comfort, which may be irrelevant to God’s idea for him. His success is the idea of God, successfully followed through, and,

He is in love with his destiny.”

In closing, C.S. Lewis gives us a great observation since neither society nor my own feelings control me and tell me who I am, “… even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. … In literature and art, no man that bothers about originality will ever be original … simply try to tell the truth … and you will, nine times out of 10, become original without ever having noticed it.”

Friends, Jesus Christ is that One who makes us original, unique.

We adore Him because He first adored us.

He will never change, never fail us. This very aspect of His love wins my identity. His purpose for my life starts and ends with simply “knowing Him.” Its who we are. Love ya